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At B&B's, skip the extra fees

By Mary Thurwachter

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Spending the night at a large resort never fails to renew my appreciation for bed-and-breakfasts. It's not that I don't enjoy resorts with multiple swimming pools, golf and tennis courts and restaurants. I do. But the extra charges bug me.

My husband and I recently booked a room at a gorgeous beach-side resort in the Keys and had a great time. We were able to secure a very reasonable rate. However, the final tab gave us a serious case of sticker shock. With taxes, tips, breakfast and a resort fee, our $199 deal turned into more than $300 overnight.

We were charged a daily resort fee that included use of the tennis courts, golf, beach cabanas, fishing rods, kayaks, bicycles, fitness studio, wireless Internet, local 800 calls and DVD rentals. Since our visit was so short, we didn't use any of those.

Most of these services, if available, are free at a bed-and-breakfast.

Many hotels charge 50 or 75 cents for a local or toll-free call; long-distance rates are outrageous. Local and toll-free calls are free at almost every B&B and many have telephones with data ports in every room.

At a resort or hotel, breakfast costs $9 to $35. Most B&Bs provide a free full breakfast, including fresh fruit and juice, main dish with breakfast meats, plus home-baked rolls, often served on antique china.

Room service at a hotel, including tip, are often double or triple the cost of eating in a local cafe or restaurant. While B&Bs don't offer room service, some will serve breakfast in guest rooms at no extra charge.

B&Bs don't often have mini bars, but are well stocked with complimentary (or for a small charge) soft drinks, coffee and tea makings, wine and beer, cookies, candies and sherry.

Concierge services at resorts often call for a tip, but at a B&B, the innkeepers provide many of the same services for free (restaurant and theater reservations, advice on the best place for shopping, antiquing, etc.). Tips are not expected.

All in all, B&Bs are a real value!

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