Why We’re No Longer a ‘Bed and Breakfast’

Several people have asked us why we changed our name from the “Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast” to the “Phineas Swann Inn & Spa.”

It slightly complicated, and maybe a little wonky, but if you’re if you’re interested, read on.

One obvious reason is that we have added a day spa to our campus, SpaVermont. We now offer all of our guests, and indeed people in the area who may not be staying with us, spa services including saunas massages exercise bikes, and hopefully later this year, facials, manicures and pedicures.

But the larger reason why we no longer are called the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast, is that the term “bed and breakfast” has become so damaged and diluted during the past five years, we no longer wanted to be associated with the term.

Let me explain.

When AirBnB burst on the scene in 2012, Lynne and I were just in the process of buying the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast. The Phineas Swann, as you know, is a true bed and breakfast. We have amazing rooms and suites with extremely comfortable beds. We serve one of the best breakfasts in Vermont. We provide customized service for our guests, and always on call on property to answer any questions or concerns. At breakfast every morning, you’ll find us giving our guests personalized suggestions about how to enjoy the amazing beauty here at the top of Vermont.

Now let me start by saying I have no grudge against AirBnB. In fact, we are listed on AirBnB, although you’ll quickly discover that if you book directly on our website the rate will be much, much lower than if you tried to book us on AirBnB, Expedia, Booking, or any of the other third-party sites. But what AirBnB has done to undermine B&Bs, us this extremely sad.

First, there is no second “B” at most AirBnBs! Most AirBnBs give your a room or a house with a bed, and they don’t serve you breakfast! We often have guests from our area who are staying in short-term rentals show up at our doorstep in the morning wanting to know if we serve breakfast to the general public. For the record, we do not. We believe our breakfast is one of the unique amenities that should be saved for our guests, who have taken the time to come and enjoy the full experience of the Phineas Swann. It’s also unfair to ask our guests to share a dining room with people who have decided to stay elsewhere, mistakenly thinking they’re saving a few dollars.

Every week our mailbox is filled with horror stories from around the country of people who have rented AirBnBs, and then had horrible experiences ranging from not getting the type of stay they were promised, to fleeing in the night to avoid dangerous and unsafe conditions. We regularly have our own experiences with this. Not a month goes by that we don’t have a phone call or have someone show up at our front door who has rented an AirBnB and has arrived to find that it was unsafe, dangerous, not what was promised or in many cases even not having running water. We take them in, we feed them, we give them a good night sleep and we hope they’ve learned that thinking that you’re saving a few dollars doesn’t mean much if your vacation is ruined. I have never understood why people who have very little time for vacation, would be willing to gamble that vacation to save a dollar or two.

It’s worth noting, that there are plenty of great AirBnbs out there. But quite candidly, after several years of having prospective guests calling us on the phone and asking, “Is breakfast included at your bed and breakfast?” we’ve decided to surrender. The name “bed-and-breakfast” has been damaged to the point where we can’t in good faith continue to use it.

So we’re the Phineas Swann Inn & Spa. We still have amazing beds. We still serve those amazing breakfasts each morning. We continue to provide that person-to-person concierge style service that we always have. Our fireplace room remains warm and inviting, and our gardens are amazing. We may not say “bed and breakfast” anymore, but know that we still offer you that and much, much more.


2 Comments

  1. Rebecca Cummins

    I am so glad to read this, Darren. It is a thorough and heart-felt explanation of how the off-site owners are muddling the idea of vacation accommodations. Thanks for sharing this so openly. Also, as a local, we will be booking some time at the Spa soon! So glad to have this opportunity.

  2. And I call them Air Bed & Bath….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.