by Marti Mayne
David Wilkening, a leading writer for Travelmole.com, warned travelers to expect more fees when visiting hotels this year. In his recent article entitled Hotels: In airline style, expect more fees Wilkening quoted Bjorn Hanson, an associate professor at NY University Tisch Center predicting “Despite a forecast for a continued decline in hotel rates in 2010, hoteliers will become more aggressive in collecting fees and surcharges this year”. According to Wilkening, Bjorn predicted an increase over the existing one billion dollars in collected fees and surcharges by US hotel companies this year.
While I enjoy staying in hotels from time to time, I prefer B&Bs not only because they are each so distinctively unique, but they are also fee-free. Nothing bothers me more than the high prices for add-ons at hotels, and nothing makes me happier than all the complimentary amenities at B&Bs. Just for kicks and giggles, I decided to do a little comparision shopping between hotels and B&Bs in Boston.
First I called two Marriott hotels. Not only was a surprised at the high fees for parking, breakfast and Internet access, I found it incredible that the costs vary from one Boston Marriott location to the next. I found the same high parking, breakfast and internet access costs at the Westin Copley Place too. Surprisingly, the Ritz Carlton Boston Common came in lower than the other Boston hotels. Next, I ventured a little farther out of downtown Boston and talked to the Holiday Inn Brookline. Here prices were decidedly lower, and even offered wi-fi access free, but they were still sizably higher when compared to Boston’s B&Bs.
Comparing this to Boston’s downtown B&Bs, it is clear that B&Bs simply present a much greater value, offering complimentary deluxe continental breakfast, free wi-fi, and parking rates much lower than at Boston’s hotels. The Clarendon Square Inn, located right off Tremont Street provides guests with a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast each morning complete with ham, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, cereals, juices, baked goods and plenty of tea and coffee . No need to go to the neighborhood Starbucks, complimentary coffee, espresso and cappuccino are available 24-7 for guests. Parking is limited, but costs only $25 per night versus up to $44 at the Marriott. One feature offered by the Clarendon Square B&B is a roof top hot tub overlooking the city for guests’ enjoyment.
The Charles Street Inn, located in the heart of Beacon Hill, delivers a full continental breakfast to guest rooms each morning including a choice of fresh fruit, fruit juices, cereals, hard boiled eggs or prepared quiches, pastries or scones, bagels and cream cheese, toast, fresh coffee or tea, included in the rate with no additional room service charges A free wi-fi signal is available to guests throughout the inn, and limited parking is available for $20 per day.
Venture a little farther out of downtown to Brookline and the Beech Tree Inn also offers a deluxe continental breakfast, free wi-fi, an extensive DVD library, TVs with DVDs in each room along with parking at a rate of $7 per night. The GreenTurtle, a floating B&B, located in the Charlestown Navy Yard offers a free shuttle to the T, complimentary parking, wi fi and a fully stocked refrigerator with coffee, snacks, yogurt, granola, water, sodas, gourmet coffee and more. Fresh pastries are delivered free for guests each day, and best of all, a deck with chairs and tables with just about the closest waterfront view anyone can find in Boston! The Bertram Inn also provides movies, complimentary wi-fi and breakfast to guests too.
Compare the rates, and not surprisingly, the B&Bs come in lower than the Boston hotels with the two Marriotts starting at $179 and $249 (for concierge level) per night while rooms at the Clarendon Square B&B started at $135 (in March and April) per night and rooms at the Beech Tree inn start at $89 per night.
Do the math
The B&B savings add up to as much as $150 per day. Add on the extras from Boston’s B&Bs like complimentary snacks and beverages (which will run you upwards of $10-$15 from a hotel mini-bar), complimentary DVDs and movie libraries and it translates into a savings of as much as $175 per day. Consider that most people take a two-day getaway to Boston, and we’re looking at a $325 savings by staying at a B&B. Cleary for today’s thrifty traveler, more than a $300 savings makes the B&B choice a winner.