Posts Tagged ‘Grand Rapids’

3 tips on B&B location for aspiring innkeepers and 3 tales of “What were they thinking?”

October 11th, 2016 by Sandy White

For people who dream of owning a bed and breakfast, choosing a B&B location is the critical first choice. Innkeepers can change a lot of things after they select and buy a property, from room configuration to decor to breakfast menu. But they can’t change B&B location.

B&B road sign

Are there signs that some B&B locations won’t be successful? At least one veteran innkeeper says yes.

One #MichBnB innkeeper advised succinctly: “‘Build it and they will come’ only works in the movies.” Even if that’s not the exact quote from “Field of Dreams,” the takeaway for an aspiring innkeeper is: Keep the emotion out of choosing a location. Don’t think how much you want to live way out in the country. Don’t focus on how inexpensive the property might be. Don’t romanticize reviving an old house. Instead, ask:  Will sufficient numbers of guests want to pay to stay in that house in that setting and with the attractions nearby (or not)?

No-nonsense advice on choosing a B&B location will be available from Michigan’s two primary inn real estate agents as just one part of a one-day, informative workshop for aspiring innkeepers in Grand Rapids Sunday, Nov. 13. Click here for more info.

While you’re in click mode, check out the four thriving B&Bs mentioned by name below.

B&B location strategies to consider

Gerry Shields, innkeeper at Saravilla Bed and Breakfast in Alma says: “College towns, particularly those with private colleges, are really good for the inn business. Except for perhaps a few slow summer weeks, colleges and universities are always bringing visitors to campus who need a place to stay, and many come back again and again.”

Shields notes one downside to the college-town B&B location strategy:

Failed log home B&B

This failed B&B location in Northwest Michigan is described as Mistake #1 below.

“Don’t plan on a long Florida vacation in January and February because you’ll be busy.”

Remember, too, that although you are serving breakfast, guests also need other meals. You may want to live in the woods, but, as Mike Venturini of Munro House B&B and Spa in Jonesville says, the availability of “good restaurants nearby is one of the greatest amenities guests enjoy.”

B&B location also could affect an innkeeper’s personal job satisfaction. Sandy Werner, owner of Hexagon House B&B in Pentwater asks: “Do family and friends live near you? With elderly parents, siblings, and grown children, it’s tough to maintain relationships and attend personal functions if your extended family is not in the area of your bed and breakfast. It’s been one of our toughest challenges.”

Three B&Bs doomed from the start, and why

As an owner of the Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast for the past 16 years, Patricia Widmayer often drives between Chicago and Glen Arbor via US 31. Over the years, Widmayer observed the birth and slow deaths of three B&Bs that popped up along that highway in the 60 miles between Ludington and Benzonia.

What primary flaw did all three have in common? Bad location. “I felt so

Nice home that failed as a B&B

Failed B&B location in Northwest Michigan described below as Mistake #2.

sad for these folks who invested hopes and dreams and money,” Widmayer says.

Widmayer took photos of all three in case she ever had the opportunity to advise an aspiring innkeeper.

Mistake #1: A log home built to be a B&B.
Major flaw: Five or six miles west, Ludington offers wonderful Victorian B&Bs with nearby experiences, and places to dine, so why would someone stay in a field along the highway two miles north of the turnoff from US 10, and near to nothing?
Wrong thinking: With all the lovely lakes in Northwest Michigan, did the owners really think the pond behind the house would be a draw?
Kiss of death: The portable, lighted-arrow sign at the road.

Mistake #2: An expensive new structure with stone pillars
Major flaw: A roadside location one mile north of Manistee’s Little River Casino and several miles north of town.
Wrong thinking: Why would travelers prefer this isolated, though lovely,

Failed B&B location.

This ranch house B&B location is described below as Mistake #3.

home over casino resort excitement or the charms of waterfront condos, B&Bs, and other accommodations in Manistee?
Kiss of death: Traffic whizzing by at 60 mph.

Mistake #3: A ranch house on a rise
Major flaws: Bleak views of U.S. 31, treeless fields, and a long-abandoned gas station where semis park. Also, to find a restaurant, guests would have to drive a number of miles to Bear Lake or back to Manistee.
Wrong thinking: Who wants to stay at a place reminiscent of a motel, absent any other attraction?

In conclusion, aspiring B&B innkeepers will learn vital, money-saving strategies and tips at the one-day workshop Nov. 13 in Grand Rapids. Click for details. Even more useful, timely information will be available for those who stay an additional day and a half for the annual Michigan Bed & Breakfast Association educational conference. Click on that, too.

If you know someone who dreams of owning a B&B, please share this post and also make sure they also know about this page of Michigan B&Bs for sale.

In addition to the useful, sometimes entertaining news we publish about staying at Michigan B&Bs, we also plan more articles with valuable information for aspiring innkeepers. You don’t want to miss it. Click this icon to get all the updates.

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Michigan’s Finest B&Bs In Pictures – Part 2

January 30th, 2014 by linda

These featured Michigan bed and breakfast inns demonstrate the unique differences between each and every B&B.
There are no cookie cutters allowed!
Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods, Holland; The Farmhouse Inn, Homer; and Leonard at Logan House, Grand Rapids

Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods (Southwest Region)Crimson Cottage front door

Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods isn’t your typically Victorian bed and breakfast inn. A new construction of contemporary design and crimson accents like its welcoming front door, this B&B features sun-filled rooms lit by spacious windows overlooking a quiet, residential woods and pond. Located in Holland, it is modern, yet secluded; tastefully appointed, yet wonderfully comfy. The innkeepers provide bicycles to guests who want to ride the mile to Lake Michigan beaches on trails that crisscross the area. Shopping and dining are just a short drive away. It’s perfect!

The Farmhouse Inn, Homer (Southeast Region) Farmhouse Inn

Within an easy driving radius of two private colleges – Albion and Hillsdale, The Farmhouse Inn in Homer is just a 45-minute drive from Michigan International Speedway and welcomes fans throughout the racing season. This Italianate-style farm home, built around 1870, is in the heart of Amish country and near an Amish-owned bakery, a general store and other family-owned shops, locally-acclaimed Cascarelli’s of Homer known for its signature pizza, a winery and a brewery. Enjoy the inn’s landscaped decks and swimming pool as well as area golfing. birding, canoeing and kayaking.

Leonard at Logan House, Grand Rapids (Southwest Region) leonard at logan guest refreshments

The always-accessible guest kitchen at the Leonard at Logan House in Grand RapidsHeritage Hill historic district is a prime example of what puts bed and breakfast inns head and shoulders above other lodging alternatives. Like most B&Bs, this magnificently-restored 1914 mansion near downtown provides no-cost-added amenities like complimentary beverages and snacks. Here, you don’t pay extra for a bottle of water or a can of pop! Enjoy continental breakfast during the week and a full, delicious breakfast every weekend. It’s all part of the traditional B&B package. Live well!

Have you stayed at any of these one-to-a-kind bed and breakfast inns? If so, “rate your stay” and write a review. We’d love to hear what you think.

Discover more B&Bs on our official Michigan B&B website.

Watch right here for the next installment of Michigan’s Finest Inns, Part 3.