Sunday, August 30, 2009

Staying at a Bed and Breakfast - What to Expect (part 3)

This post topic is the value of staying at a B&B. This is a touchy subject since everyone's opinion of "value" is different.

Today, when staying in a hotel or resort, they seem to nickle and dime you to death. They have wi-fi, but most charge you for it. Staying at a downtown hotel? You can add at least $25 per night to park your car. If they are a "resort", you'll have to pay a resort fee whether you'll be using the spa, golf course etc, or not! A lot of hotels and motels are now offering "free breakfast". This usually consists of some bland looking and tasting bagels, pastries and really bad coffee. Room service? Sure, but you'll pay an arm and a leg for it.

My previous posts have been rather generic in nature because I've been talking about B&Bs in general. For this next "value" section I'll be more specific about the value you receive here at the Sandlake Country Inn. We think our Oregon coast Bed and Breakfast offers a better value than most hotels. When you stay at Sandlake Country Inn, you'll find these items are all included in your room rate:
  • A 4 course hot breakfast delivered to your door in the morning
  • Your choice of Ron's home roast coffee, varieties of Stash teas, or gourmet hot cocoas delivered to your door an hour before your breakfast
  • Robes
  • Slipper Socks
  • Jacuzzi/whirlpool tubs (3 rooms have double jacuzzi/whirlpool tubs)
  • Luxury bubble baths, lotions and soaps. All of our bath amenities are natural, green products
  • Fireplaces
  • Private Decks
  • 24 hour beverage area and famous cookies
  • Free local phone calls
  • Complimentary wi-fi
  • Parking
  • Concierge services...we'll help you plan day trips and inform you of all the local great spots around Pacific City, 3 Capes Scenic Route, Tillamook and other towns up and down the amazing Oregon Coast. We'll also tell you about our favorite local restaurants and wine tasting rooms
  • Business services...free fax and we'll print up your boarding pass.
  • Bottled Water
  • DVD/VHS players in your room
  • Extensive movie collection for your use
  • CD Collection
  • CD Player in your room
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Board Games
  • Starlight Suite has telescope to view stars
  • Hammock
  • Picnic table
  • Piano
  • Deer, humming birds, wild life in our peaceful setting
So, what do you think? Sounds like value to me!

Your stay at a B&B is more of an experience, not just a place to rest your head. If you have never stayed at a B&B, try it! Each and every one is different and offers a different experience, so sometimes you need to try a few to discover the one(s) that fit your style.

At Sandlake Country Inn, we specialize in romantic getaways on the Oregon Coast. Our rooms are large, private, comfortable and relaxing. Let us pamper you while you have your private breakfast in your own room. After you check in, the stress of your hectic life will disappear. To see our rooms and check availability, log on to our website at sandlakecountryinn.com We look forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Staying at a Bed and Breakfast - What to Expect (part 2)

This time I thought I'd talk a little about policies. Typically, a B&B has stricter cancellation, deposit and minimum stay policies. Why is this?

Cancellations: Cancellations greatly affect a small lodging establishment. When you book a room at a B&B, you book a specific room. That room has been taken off their inventory and has been saved just for you. Many other people will have looked at the room availability for that B&B and saw your room was not available, so they went elsewhere. When you cancel even 1 week ahead of time, it's often not enough notice for the B&B to be able to re-rent it. If that room goes empty, the B&B loses a significant percentage of their income for that day or days. If you are considering booking at a B&B, do your best to make sure that you are sure you'll be able to keep your reservation. Each B&B will have set their own policies for cancellations, so make sure you are fully aware of them before you book.

Deposits: Again, each B&B will set their own policy on whether they will charge a deposit before your arrival or whether you just need to provide them with a valid credit card.

Minimum Stays: Many B&Bs will have some sort of minimum stay policy. If a B&B is very popular, you will most likely see a 2 night minimum on weekends. What's up with that you might wonder?! There's a couple of explanations for this. Most people looking for a single night stay are interested in staying over on a Saturday night. Sounds great, right? Full on a Sat. night! Well, now think about the Friday, the night before. When planning your little getaway, do you look for lodging on just a Friday? Hmmm, probably not. Ouch, now the income for that little B&B just went down by 50% for that weekend because they can't rent that single Friday night stay. That's why most popular B&Bs will have a 2 night minimum. Here's a hint. If you're looking for a Sat. night stay only, call the B&B a couple of days in advance to see if they are full and if not, they may give you that room for just 1 night.

The bottom line is that hotels have a lot more inventory than a small lodging establishment, so their policies can be much more flexible and lenient. On the other hand, the experience and amenities you receive at a B&B in my opinion is so superior to a hotel, that it's definitely worth the adjustment of making your plans fit into the policies of the B&B.

in the next blog post, I'll talk a little more about the value of staying at a B&B. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Staying at a Bed and Breakfast - What to Expect (Part One)

One of the great things about bed and breakfasts is that they are all different. One of the confusing things about bed and breakfasts is that they are all different!

At Sandlake Country Inn a lot of our guests have never stayed at a B&B before and don't know quite what to expect. Well, first of all, you can relax. Literally! This is a place you come to leave the stress of jobs, kids, traffic and sleepless nights behind.

The old image of a B&B with shared baths and the feeling that you'll be staying in "Aunt Jane's room" is not what you'll find in today's modern B&Bs. When you stay with us, don't be afraid to sit on the furniture and put your feet up!

Here's how we're a bit different than your traditional bed and breakfast. When you stay with us you will have affordable luxury with new comfortable beds, jacuzzi bath tubs, fireplaces, private decks, high end soaps, lotions and bubble bath, robes and slipper socks. Oh yeah, and the most important part...breakfast is delivered to your door! That's right! Forget about having to sit around a breakfast
table with a bunch of strangers. We'll deliver your hot beverage of choice along with juice an hour before your breakfast. Don't worry, your hot beverage is in a caraffe and will be hot and steamy when you're ready for it. Enjoy lounging in your romantic room after a good night's sleep and opening your door to find our own home roasted coffee, tea or hot cocoa on a silver tray. Later, your hot 4 course sumptuous breakfast will be delivered to your door. Our breakfast elves knock to let you know it's arrived and when you open your door they will magically be gone! It's all about you and your loved one. No chatty chit chat to deal with. Enjoy your home cooked breakfast at your leisure.

After breakfast, indulge yourself with a luxurious bubble bath in one of our amazing Jacuzzi tubs! Add some of our special fragrance bubble bath, but watch out! Only a couple of drops or you'll have more bubbles than you've ever experienced.

Part Two: Staying at a Bed and Breakfast (part two)  Why B&Bs need to follow a few different guidelines for reservations, deposits and cancellations.
Part Three: Staying at a Bed and Breakfast (part three) The value of a B&B stay

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar Dates Announced

October 18-21, 2009
Are you an aspiring innkeeper at heart? Ever said "I'd love to have a B&B one day"?

Come and join us for our Aspiring Innkeeper Workshop October 18-21 at the beautiful Eagle Rock Lodge near Eugene, Oregon.

Being an innkeeper and having your own bed and breakfast is a wonderful, rewarding profession. Find out what life as an innkeeper is really like. Many people right now are in transition. The economy has forced many people to re-evaluate not only your jobs, but maybe even your life goals. Home based business are on the rise, and you can't get any more "home based" than a B&B!

Having a B&B and being successful takes a lot of time and commitment. It's not just being a gracious host/hostess and meeting wonderful people. It's a business, and like any other business you need to have a business plan, financing, marketing, and the education to make it a success.

Join Diane Emineth of Sandlake Country Inn and Debbie Dersham of Eagle Rock Lodge for this important seminar that could just change your life. Some of the topics covered are:
  • Pros and cons of purchasing an existing B&B or start one yourself
  • How to develop a business plan
  • Financing - How much does it take?
  • What to look for when buying an inn - profit & loss/future potential
  • How to explore financing options
  • Once you have your B&B, now what?
  • "Build it and they will come"...not anymore! Find out how to get "heads in beds". We emphasize learning about website design, marketing, PR, photography and how to create an internet presence.
To learn more about our seminars, visit our Bed and Breakfast Seminars website

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Three Capes Escape Featured in The Oregonian

This post is reprinted from the Oregonian. Sandlake Country Inn Bed and Breakfast is located between Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda

Three Capes escape

by Jim Moore, special to The Oregonian
Saturday August 08, 2009, 8:00 AM

It was the quintessential day at the beach on the Oregon coast. My 3-year-old son and I raced the waves while my wife wandered the beach with her camera. Our two friends tried their hands (and feet) at surfing. Dogs chased Frisbees. Kites soared briefly and then plunged earthward. Children built sand castles and then destroyed them with glee.

But something was vaguely missing. The coastal vibe I grew up with in Oregon was somehow absent. I pondered a moment ... and then I realized: There wasn't a T-shirt shop in sight. My only-at-the-beach craving for saltwater taffy wasn't flaring up. I wasn't fighting the temptation to buy a cute creature crafted of tiny seashells for my knick-knack shelf back home.

Was this heaven? Nope, Oceanside.

Three towns
Growing up middle-class near Portland, a trip to the beach pretty much meant Seaside. Go-karts and sticky-sweet treats and $3 souvenir shirts. The Pig'n Pancake. Three thousand people sharing our beach. Such are the things that make memories, and long-term impressions.

But a few years ago I rode my bike the length of the Oregon coast, following the designated bike route. When the map took me off U.S. 101 at Tillamook, I discovered the Three Capes Scenic Drive. My relationship with the Oregon Coast was forever altered. And immeasurably improved.

This area is not a secret, but it's enough off the path to make all the difference. Here you'll find all the things that make the coast a treasure and few of the things that make it tacky.

There are, of course, three capes. And, really, only three towns.

Oceanside (pop. 326) is the northernmost, and my favorite. There's little in the way of a retail strip beyond the justifiably renowned Roseanna's restaurant, a couple of small hotels and the Brewin' in the Wind coffee house. There's a small parking lot and a big beach. There's even a tunnel carved straight through a rock outcropping, connecting the main beach and another one to the north.

Netarts (population 744) is an unassuming little town set on a lovely bay, a haven for clamming and crabbing. It also has a "treasures" shop that could be tacky, but any place named "Lex's Cool Stuff" recognizes irony, and therefore manages to stay on the funky side of that line.

Pacific City (pop. 1,027) is the commercial center of the Three Capes route. You'll find a much larger collection of retail establishments, some time-share condos -- always a warning sign -- and even the occasional small traffic jam. But it somehow maintains the quaint air of authenticity required to remain charming. It also has some awesome food choices, among them the Riverhouse fine-dining restaurant, the Grateful Bread bakery and the Pelican Pub.

Rugged capes
But then, this peaceful stretch of rugged bliss isn't named for the towns. Let's talk about the capes.

Cape Meares, at the northern end of the route, features a classic lighthouse, the undeniably fascinating Octopus Tree (a massive Sitka spruce with six trunks) and a coastal seabird nesting area.

Just south of this cape a treasure-seeker can suss out the path down to Short Beach, a secluded inlet that until recently attracted only those nimble or foolhardy enough to skid down its steep dirt trail. But thanks to the efforts of a local volunteer, now there's an eccentric staircase down to the beach, making the trip safer, if less exciting. The beach itself sits beneath a large waterfall that, even though it spills over a manmade causeway, still lends a Blue Lagoon-style ambience to the scene.

Cape Lookout, halfway down the route, juts a mile and a half out into the ocean, offering hiking trails through deep coastal forest that feels more remote than it is. A five-mile round-trip will get you to either the upper tip of the cape for stupendous and solitary views or down to the beach via a gradually sloping trail.

Cape Kiwanda, standing sentinel over Pacific City, offers the utterly irresistible dune climb. I dare you to stand at the bottom of this sheer wall of sand, several hundred feet tall, and not go full-on conqueror. Those who make it are afforded majestic views, and the chance to roll, run or even glissade back down. But you can also scale the smaller hill next to the water and still get a nice look around. There are wonderful rocks and tide pools to explore on the south side of the cape, with easy beach access, and you might even get a chance to watch as one of the famous dory fleet gets launched from (or lands on) the sand.

You'll find plenty of activity on the beach at Pacific City; between the adjacent brewpub, the car-accessible beach, the dune and the surfing, it can get mighty, um, well-used here. So, for a nice counterpoint, make sure to include a stop north of Oceanside at the site of Bayocean.

Bayocean, built on a spit south of Tillamook Bay, was a developer's dream that turned into a nightmare. The vision of Thomas B. Potter, this planned community opened in 1912 and eventually had 4,000 lots and a town proper, including hotels, a school, advanced phone and water systems, and a massive indoor saltwater swimming pool. But storms and erosion gradually destroyed the town; by 1956 the few buildings that hadn't been swept into the sea were bulldozed. These days, it's fun to walk out on the spit and spend some imagination time with the ghosts.

Resisting the crowds
It's not that my childhood memories of going to the beach are bad. And I do have a youngster, so it's probably inevitable that someday soon I'll find myself dodging sunburned tourists with melting ice cream cones in their hands, on crowded sidewalks running in front of souvenir shops. Because somehow, some day, he will discover what I once experienced. And once your kid's been to the Pig'n Pancake, how are you going to keep him down on the capes?

But if your destination is still your choice, head for those capes. For a weekend or a week -- there's enough to do here to keep you busy that long -- the Three Capes Scenic Route delivers the best the Oregon Coast has to offer. It's my (adult) version of beach paradise.

Reach Jim Moore at travel@news.oregonian.com

Three Capes


Getting there: From Portland, take U.S. 26 west and branch off onto Oregon 6 toward Tillamook. Arriving in Tillamook, turn south onto U.S. 101. Three blocks later, turn right onto Third Street/Netarts Highway. The Three Capes Route reconnects with 101 just south of Hebo.

Where to stay: A comprehensive list of hotels, motels and B&Bs can be found at the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce site (only chamber members listed). Numerous private rentals dot the area; try Vacation Rentals By Owner

Where to eat: Roseanna's Cafe, Oceanside. Lunch/dinner. Seafood, pasta, sandwiches; dinner entrees $10-$25. Open 10 a.m-9 p.m. daily; no reservations. 503-842-7351. The Riverhouse, Pacific City. Lunch/dinner. Traditional gourmet dishes plus seafood; dinner entrees $20-$30. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily; no reservations. 503-965-6722. Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City. Breakfast/lunch/dinner. Pub fare plus pizza and seafood; dinner entrees $12-$20. Open 8 a.m.-10/11 p.m. daily. 503-965-7007. The Grateful Bread, Pacific City. Breakfast/lunch. Pastries, sandwiches, pizza; most dishes less than $10. Open 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Thurs.-Mon., 503-965-7337.

What to do: All three capes feature state parks; go to oregonstateparks.org and search for North Coast parks for individual links and info on lighthouses, trails and more. Surfing in Pacific City -- rentals available at Kiwanda Surf Co.: 503-965-3627. Clamming and crabbing in Netarts Bay, license required: go to licenseinfo.oregon.gov and search for "shellfish." ATV dune riding in Sand Lake Recreation Area -- permit required; no rentals. Hebo Ranger Station, 503-392-5100. Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge

More info: pacificcity.org/3capes/drive.html