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You’re steamed. You just dropped a bundle to spend a luxurious weekend at an adorable inn.
When you checked in you discover that although the online description of the place wasn’t exactly a lie and the pictures weren’t photo-shopped, neither represents reality.
Don’t despair. You’re not alone. Trying to find the perfect bargain weekend getaway is a challenge.
Here’s a quick guide to help you separate fact from fantasy when you read a description of your dream getaway spot. Try these tips to help you choose the perfect bargain weekend getaway.
If the price is hundreds less than similar properties in the same location, rest assured you will, without question, get what you paid for.
A bargain, maybe; a sumptuous experience, no.
It’s true most hotels slash their rates during the off season, but anything over a fifty percent reduction should be viewed with extreme skepticism.
Watch for Clue Words in getaway descriptions
If size matters to you, be alert to the following clues in the room’s description. “Petite” comes right out and tells you the room you’re considering is tiny. You should also assume that if the accommodation is described as “cozy,” “intimate,” or “quaint”: it’s small.
Many, but not all, dormered rooms are, if not downright diminutive, not welcoming for taller folks. In addition, they are also usually on the third floor, so be prepared to climb a couple of flights of stairs.
Look for signs in the photos
Another clue to consider when trying to choose a bargain weekend getaway is the website photos.
If you are trying to discern the size of a room look carefully at the website photographs. Do they mostly show pretty close-ups of a vase of flowers or a pile of books nestled on the nightstand?
A picture of the pillows on the bed, not the whole bed?
Whenever you see photos that concentrate on details instead of an expansive shot of the entire room, it is a dead giveaway that it will be an “intimate” experience for you and your companion. Not a bad thing, but possibly not what you are looking for.
And, if you see nothing but stock photos, and no actual photos of the hotel itself steer clear for sure!
What does breakfast included really mean?
You might also be curious to know what to expect for breakfast in the “bed and breakfast” weekend getaway package you are thinking of booking.
In order of less-to-more, there’s “toast-and-coffee,” “continental,” “deluxe continental,” “continental plus,” “full breakfast,” and “made-to-order breakfast.”
If you are unlucky enough to be offered a “grab-and-go” breakfast, assume your goody bag will include a small water bottle an apple, and a granola bar. If you are avoiding carbs, grab-and-go is not for you.
Toast and coffee
“Toast-and-coffee” is exactly what you will get. Any condiments will be in individually wrapped packets, and jelly, if offered, will be grape.
Most of the time, the serving area consists of a coffee pot, a loaf of bread, and a toaster. Keep in mind that unless you are the one who opens the loaf of bread, multiple hands will have touched the slices before you reach in for yours. Ummm, gross.
The difference between “continental” and its fancier cousins “deluxe” and “plus” may be nothing more someone wanting to use adjectives.
A basic continental breakfast includes coffee or tea, juice, and some kind of bread, muffin or croissant. Anything over and above the basic elevates the meal into the “deluxe” or “plus categories.”
“Deluxe” may add in yogurt, cold cereal, and fresh fruit, usually apples, bananas, or oranges. A “plus” typically indicates that there may be eggs on offer–cold hard-boiled, or scrambled, in a steam pan.
There’s usually bacon or sausage and continental breakfasts, no matter what category, are served buffet style.
Full and made-to-order
“Full” and “made-to-order” breakfasts are the most luxurious meals you’ll get for your money. The catch, if there is one, is that you will have to wait for them to be prepared–a small price to pay for good, hot food.
Innkeepers tend toward sweet, so you can expect to be tempted by items such as stuffed French toast with fruit, jumbo muffins, or pancakes swimming in real maple syrup.
They get carried away with eggs, so you may find eggs Benedict, salmon quiche, or eggs Florentine on the menu. Keep in mind such bounty comes at a price, so prepare to open your wallet.
A final tip to keep in mind when choosing a budget get-away inn is the address. The prettiest pictures can obscure the fact that the inn is located on a busy highway or next to an all-night bar.
Do a little research and check the street view. It can make all the difference between a restful retreat and a noisy, wakeful night.