Posts Tagged ‘Bed and Breakfast’

5-star reviews: What B&B innkeepers will do to wow you

September 12th, 2016 by Sandy White

How do Michigan bed and breakfasts with 5-star reviews earn all those 5-star reviews?

Dave from Midland, MI, says the innkeepers are the key ingredient. In a TripAdvisor review about the Chelsea House Victorian Inn in Chelsea, Dave wrote: “We have stayed an a number of B&Bs over the past years. It has been our experience that the quality of the hosts makes all the difference in how much we enjoy being at a particular B&B.”

For innkeepers who have the hospitality gene, the ways they cater to guests are, to them, so effortless that they don’t realize they’re doing anything unusual. But guests notice, even the small things. A couple examples:

Mike Venturini of Munro House B&B, which gets a lot of 5-star reviews

Mike Venturini at the front door of Munro House B&B, Jonesville. No matter what the hour, he’s wearing a smile and a University of Michigan shirt.

  • At Munro House B&B in Jonesville, no matter how late you need to arrive, owner Mike Venturini opens the front door with a smile. And then, by 6 or 7 a.m., he’ll be in the kitchen making a full breakfast. Mike’s cheerful attitude: “Guests come first, no matter how much it may inconvenience the proprietors.”
  • When a prospective guest called Frankenmuth B&B asking how to get from Flint’s Bishop International Airport to Frankenmuth, long-time innkeeper Bev Bender didn’t hesitate. “Don’t worry,” she said. “Tell me when your flight gets in, and I’ll pick you up.” Thirty miles one way. To Bev, it is just part of the service.

How to find a Michigan B&B with 5-star reviews

Search this site first because all Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association (MBBA) member inn are periodically inspected and approved by independent, trained reviewers. And what is MBBA’s promise to guests? That “you can rest assured of quality lodging, warm hospitality, enjoyable breakfasts and an exceptional experience.”

But we know you read online reviews, too. So, if you agree with Dave from Midland that the innkeepers make all the difference, peruse TripAdvisor and other review sites for nuggets like the following, all excerpted from recent published reviews. Click each inn’s name for more info.

The Heather House, Marine City: “One morning the men in our group planned an early round of golf and informed Helen. She insisted on preparing them a delicious, hearty meal and had them out the door on time! This is the kind of attention the innkeepers give their guests.”

Dove Nest B&B, St. Joseph: “We had a flat tire while we were there and John jumped right in to help my husband change the tire.”

More from Dave of Midland about Chelsea House Victorian Inn, Chelsea: When we called to book a room for our 59th wedding anniversary getaway, “Andy asked it we planned to attend the play at the Purple Rose Theater. We said we did. He asked it we had tickets. We did not. Andy then said he would place an order for tickets for us, which he did. Next, he asked if we

sunset over Arcadia Bluffs golf course

The guests had arrived on bicycles, so Bear Lake B&B’s innkeepers drove them to Arcadia Bluffs golf course, so they wouldn’t miss the sunset, complete with bagpiper.

would like to eat at the Common Grill before the play. We said we would like that, so Andy said he would put us on the wait list for 5:30 p.m. on the evening (of) the play. Needless to say, that was quite a favorable introduction to the Chelsea House Victorian Inn!”

‘The wedding fairy’ wowed them

Candlelite Inn B&B, Ludington: “At one point I asked if they had Sprite or 7Up. They didn’t, but within ten minutes, Gary knocked on my door with two 7Ups and stocked the fridge.”

Bear Lake B&B, Bear Lake: “Cindi and Greg … walk the extra mile for their guests. Just like that, they took us to Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club to enjoy a gorgeous sunset. We had traveled on bikes, so this was really an exceptional offer for us, which we did not expect at all.”

Hankerd Inn, Pleasant Lake: The reviewer had rented nine rooms for a wedding, including a cottage where the bride and bridesmaids dressed for the wedding. “You cannot imagine our surprise and delight to return from the reception to find that the wedding fairy had come in while we were gone and straightened up a cottage left in a whirlwind!”

Next time you want to experience a Michigan B&B with 5-star reviews, start your search here. Pick a city. Any city. It would be hard to go wrong.

10 great apple recipes, plus one, from Michigan B&Bs

October 18th, 2013 by linda

We’re so excited about Michigan’s bountiful apple crop that we’ve raided our new Michigan Bed and Breakfast Cookbook and posted on our website 10 apple recipes popular at Michigan bed and breakfasts, plus one more.

What a great way to celebrate Michigan apple growers’ rebound from a dismal 2012 crop and to sample for free our 368-page cookbook. (To buy, click on the cookie, left, or here.)

Grandma's Apple Torte

Grandma’s Apple Torte, specialty at Torch Lake B&B

Considering Torch Lake Bed and Breakfast’s proximity to leading Northwest Michigan apple orchards, it’s only natural that the breakfast menu might feature Puffed Apple Pancakes, Grandma’s Famous Apple Torte, or an Apple Filling that’s perfect in crepes. “We always came running when we knew Grandma was making crepes,” says Debra Cannon, innkeeper at Torch Lake, who also is sharing the old family recipe for Hungarian Crepes Suzette (Palacsinta).

What is it about the combination of apples, butter, cinnamon, sugar, flour and eggs that puffs up like magic in a hot oven? This happy chemistry takes place in other Michigan B&B kitchens besides Torch Lake:

  • The innkeepers at Chesny’s Keswick Manor, Bay City, let their German Apple Pancake stand for five minutes after removal from the oven and then serve slices with cream fraiche, sour cream or Rebecca sauce.
  • With two small alterations, Albion Heritage B&B’s Apple Puff Pancake can be made gluten-free. This recipe includes separate instructions for preparing the dish in a skillet or in individual ramekins.
  • At J. Paule’s Fenn Inn, in Fennville, Apple Puff Pancakes, prepared in two 8- or 9-inch pans, are always a “wow,” the innkeepers say.

Michigan Bed and Breakfast CookbookWhich variation of these prep-the-night-before baked French toast dishes do you want to try first?

Sandy WhiteOur guest blogger is Sandy White, innkeeper at Adventure Inn Bed and Breakfast, near Port Huron. When serving dishes from the Michigan B&B Cookbook, she says she always gives credit to the inn whose recipe she stole, but that guests are too busy chowing down to care.

Innkeepers Debunk First of Five Myths About Bed and Breakfast Inns

February 28th, 2011 by linda

Here in Michigan, bed and breakfast innkeepers have taken on the task of debunking five misconceptions people have about B&Bs. The first myth is that B&B decor is cookie-cutter, limited to lace doilies, paisley wallpaper, antiques and patchwork quilts. It sounds lovely to me.  But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

You won’t find any doilies at  The Kalamazoo House, whose owners Laurel and Terry Parrott have outfitted their Victorian-era home with all the modern amenities that today’s travelers demand. At this downtown Kalamazoo inn, all the guestrooms feature flat-screen HDTVs and DVDs. The decor is an eclectic mix of antiques and more modern furniture, all chosen with comfort and function in mind.

Traditional meets contemporary at Dewey Lake Inn.

You will find lace doilies at Dewey Lake Manor in Brooklyn — two of them to be exact. You’ll also find gas-fired fireplaces in every room, private baths and free WiFi. 

A young first-time B&B guest checked in last Friday, Innkeeper Barb Phillips recalled. She called her mother to say, “You would like this. It’s my kind of place.” A second first timer checking in about the same time exclaimed in surprise, “This is nice!”

Dewey Lake Manor is similar to The State Street Inn in Harbor Beach. As Innkeeper Janice Duerr says, “Sure, you can find a lace doily or two, antique furniture and handmade quilts.  But you can also enjoy a guest room with a fireplace and flat screen TV, WiFi, 24-hour coffee, tea and microwave popcorn. A ‘bottomless’ cookie jar is conveniently located in the dining room and each guest room is stocked with bottled water and snacks.”

Comfortable, contemporary and clutter-free common room at Prairieside Suites.

If two doilies are sufficient to deter you from a B&B stay, take a look at Prairieside Suites Luxury B&B in Grandville. Here, each room is decorated after a different part of the world. Innkeeper, owner and designer Cheri Antozak invites  your to enjoy the Tuscan Villa, Southern Mansion, Spanish Hacienda, French Riviera and English Cottage suites. Each allergy-free spa room has a clean, sophisticated decor with modern furnishings, flat screen TVs with more than 100 cable channels and luxury amenities.

Still not convinced? At Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods, Kathy and Michael Henry built their home in Holland  in 2005 as a B&B.

Big windows offer views of the woods at Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods.

“We created a more contemporary environment that fits our lifestyle,” Kathy said, “using relaxed, comfortable and touchable furnishings. Lots of windows with unobstructed views of the surrounding trees and pond were part of our planning.”

Lou and Paula Meeuwenberg built The Sheridan House B&B in Fremont in 2001. While there are some family and Civil War pieces, there is no wallpaper or patchwork quilts. The decor has a southwestern flair with a number of original western paintings, a Saguaro Cactus lamp, large baths and a wet bar. Each room has pillow-top mattresses, 32″ flat-panel cable TV and individual heat controls. The entire inn is air conditioned.

When Cindy and Jay Ruzak designed the Grey Hare Inn B&B on Old Mission Point to be reminiscent of a rustic farmhouse in Tuscany or Provence, they purposely stayed away from lace doily-type decor.

The Bistro at the Grey Hare Inn B&B near Traverse City.

“Sometimes, I’ve referred to our sense of style as Amish eclectic and casually elegant,” said Cindy. “Our decor is designed to be uncluttered, as many Victorian styles can be, with natural stone and wood elements throughout. We want guests to feel they can use the amenities without fear of breaking something and yet feel elegantly pampered at the same time.”

Pucci enjoys the contemporary, limited-edition rugs made in New Zealand, focal points of four rooms at Adventure Inn.

With tongue in cheek, Sandy White of Adventure Inn in North Lakeport said her decorating philosophy “is guided by the question, ‘How much am I willing to dust?’ since cleanliness is the most basic of guest expectations.” The result is a clutter-free environment that still has plenty of eye food.

Cathy Russell of White Swan Inn in Whitehall used her own blog to help debunk the lace doily myth. You can read it here.

In Lexington,  Captain’s Quarters Inn owner Pat Cutler recognizes that B&Bs are all very different, whether it be decor, location or inn-keepers’ personalities and guests’ wants and desires.

“On the rare occasion when sometime comes to my B&B for a tour and I sense it isn’t just what they want, I tell them there are five other B&Bs in Lexington and suggest they go see them all. We give them a walking map with the other B&B’s marked and a Lake to Lake pamphlet so they can see there are not only different types of B&Bs, but different locations as well. ”

Well said, Pat. The fact is that no two B&Bs are alike. Each is unique. From antique to contemporary, from countryside to cityscape, from woods to water, you will find the only truly identical thread linking bed and breakfast inns is their hospitality, their cleanliness, their comfort and their attention to safety.

Gift Certificates Make Great Gifts Year Round

July 19th, 2010 by linda

Are you stumped about how to show your appreciation to your retiring pastor or your child’s favorite teacher?  Your folk’s 50th wedding anniversary? Your own anniversary? Valentine’s Day? Christmas? Do you know there’s a single, simple solution for every gifting situation?

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