Story last updated at 11/27/2013 - 2:11 pm
I don't know about you, but I like a good Bed and Breakfast. They are generally in quieter, more residential areas than hotels, often have much better beds and housekeeping, and many offer some outstanding food and snack options. But I am very particular about the type of B and B I will stay at. I like a private entrance, close proximity to local attractions or public transportation, and flexible hours on breakfast.
Long before VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and couch surfing became the rage, Alaska has had hundreds of high quality bed and breakfasts to choose from. How do you find the one that suits your needs? There are a number of strategies to make sure you are sleeping like a baby in your home away from home next time you travel.
First of all, consider using a reservation service. In Southeast Alaska, the premier reservation service is Alaska Travelers Accommodations. This service predates most of the Internet travel sites and acts as a concierge for Bed and Breakfasts in Juneau and Ketchikan. If you know what you are looking for, you can browse their extensive multiple listings and select a lodging, but you are also welcome to fill out a wish list with your travel dates and let their staff recommend a property. This service ensures that you get a high quality, comfortable lodging with no surprises because their staff can answer all your questions and help you pick the perfect place.
Lodging owner/operators like this service because the reservation staff handles all the logistics of making a reservation and keeping the calendar current as well as offering travel information and advice. It also cuts way down on the number of phone calls an innkeeper would have to answer.
And there is truly something for every budget in the selection of lodgings, from a guest room with a semi-private bath in a downtown home for $75 to a private 3 bedroom, 2 bath beach house for $275 a night miles from city lights.
One of the most appealing guest suites I've ever seen in Ketchikan is the Penthouse studio apartment at the "Nantucket House" looking out to Tongass Narrows. Not for the faint of heart, or those who loath stairs, this professionally decorated top floor private lodging features cozy furnishings, plush bedding, an adorable twin bed window seat with an eagle eye view of Ketchikan and all the kitchen amenities you could want. Learn more at www.alaskatravelers.com. It's my pick for the most luxurious room in Ketchikan.
Another option for finding quality lodging in Southeast Alaska and all over the state are the listings at the Bed and Breakfast Association of Alaska. With more than 160 members, the BBAA offers visitors a wide variety of sleeping options, from rustic cabins to luxurious private suites.
Association membership does not guarantee a perfect visitor stay, but membership is a good sign of a lodging owner who is serious about the visitor industry and interested in offering a quality guest experience. Bed and Breakfast Associations offer their members cooperative marketing, educational opportunities and continued membership is determined by a high standard of visitor comfort and safety that are insured by regular peer inspections.
Many BBAA bed and breakfast hosts are long-time Alaskans who enjoy sharing local knowledge, ideas of what to do and see, and can tell you what it's like to live in their area. This personal touch is what makes a good B and B experience so enjoyable. For a short time you can live like a local in your vacation destination, giving you a broader picture of the community than an anonymous hotel room.
Homestay hosts can also be more flexible and accommodating than hotels. I've enjoyed the luxury of late check outs, luggage storage, spacious public areas, beautiful gardens, fresh baked goods, and crisp cotton sheets and plump pillows at the Alaskan Bed and Breakfasts I've visited. Pick one out for your next trip at http://www.alaskabba.com/