Not Your Average Bed and Breakfast

or... What it's like to stay at the OutBack Inn

The lead article in the July 2001 issue of Consumer Reports magazine ("Best hotels/Better rates", page 12) rates hotel and motel chains. There is a sidebar called: The Pros & Cons of B&Bs.

The OutBack Inn is a Bed & Breakfast (there's a bed and continental breakfast), but we differ enough from the usual B&Bs that it's worth mentioning here.

What They Say

Visitors to B&Bs, says Consumer Reports, "cited charm, a peaceful atmosphere, hospitality, good home cooking, and conversation with fellow guests as reasons for visiting. But they cautioned that living in someone else's home -- perhaps next to the innkeeper's family -- isn't for everyone."

What can go wrong? One respondent to their survey was bothered by "open displays of religious objects." Another person complained that he was housed "in a garage, under a room with a noisy jacuzzi."

What's it like at the OutBack Inn?

A B&B is Worth Trying, If...

A B&B may be right for you, says Consumer Reports, if you...

  1. Like meeting people.

    No wait! Carol and Steve (the proprietors) are interesting people, but the emphasis at the OutBack Inn is more on privacy -- a "home away from home" -- than socializing. Which is to say, you don't have to sit and chat. In fact, unless you make a point of sitting and chatting, we won't know if you're home or out seeing the sites.

  2. Like eating a big breakfast.

    No big breakfast here. It's continental breakfast -- scone, danish pastery, cereal, coffee, etc.

  3. Like discussing your plans for the day with strangers at a big breakfast table.

    The only strangers at the breakfast table are the ones you invite into the cottage.

  4. Feel comfortable sharing a bathroom (necessary in some inns) with strangers who begin to feel like friends.

    The Outback Inn has its own bathroom and shower.

  5. Don't mind leaving your room unlocked (in some inns, doors don't lock from the outside).

    You're in your own little house. Lock the door whenever you want. In fact I would expect you to.

  6. Aren't bothered by notes like "Our pretty towels don't go to the beach" or "Beverage glasses leave stains on our lovely dressers."

    We don't leave notes like that. If you're not sure how to behave or aren't sure what's right, ask youself, "What would Mr. Rogers do?"

  7. Can do without a coffeemaker, refrigerator, and microwave oven in the room.

    This is Seattle; there's a coffeemaker. There's also a small refrigerator. No microwave oven though.

  8. Can survive without [the TV show] "Survivor." Some inns don't have TV sets in each room; some have a communal set.

    Watch all the TV you want. You get [free] local channels and basic cable.

  9. Enjoy touches such as afternoon tea.

    On a sunny day, afternoon tea on the back deck is nice. But, you'll have to make it yourself.

  10. Can wait for service. If you want the heat turned down in the middle of the night, are you prepared to wake the innkeeper?

    You don't have to wait for nuthin'.There are separate thermostats in the main room and the bathroom. Adjust to your liking. If you want to get up early or stay up late, that's fine too. Remember, the OutBack Inn is a separate cottage, your own little house, your home away from home.

So, in summary, imagine visiting a big city and finding a modern cottage 15 minutes from the heart of town. It's got most of what you need: food, water, shower, a place to sleep, off-street parking, cable TV, a quiet place to relax, nice backyard, etc., with no one to bother you unless you want to be bothered.

That's what it's like at the OutBack Inn.