Children and inns is a subject that is very sensitive to many, and one that every innkeeper has to delicately address, factoring in the ambiance they are trying to achieve with their property and the potential benefit/loss ratio of either allowing kids or not allowing kids. For the record, I don’t know of an innkeeper who doesn’t like kids. Many have their own children and grandchildren and love them dearly. However, many have established no child policies at their properties for varying reasons. We are one of those. Our policy is 12 and up when it comes to the bed and breakfast. We have in fact bent our rule many times, but are more and more inclined to not do so. This upsets some who want to travel as a family and who do not wish to stay at chain hotels and motels, but our reasons are many. **Please note: We do allow children to dine at our restaurant who are not staying as long as they are tended by their parents and kept at their table so as not to intrude on the dining experience of others. We do not have a children’s menu, but we will offer half portions of the menu for that evening.
First and foremost, our focus as a destination bed and breakfast is upon gourmet dining, which is not something that most children understand or appreciate because young palates are not as developed or sophisticated. We also wish to create an adult environment that allows guests to enjoy the company of their significant others or friends and to get away from their own children. It is incredibly important for parents to get away from their kids every so often to rejuvenate and reconnect. We view our bed and breakfast as just the place for that and it would be unfair for us to allow one person’s kids when another room is looking for a child free weekend.
Secondly, we have many valuables and sentimental items on display throughout the house. I will make a disclaimer that not all children are hyper or incapable of behaving, but children are children. They are curious. It’s a new environment and they want to explore. That’s normal and I would not expect it to be any other way. I just don’t want them touching and picking everything up or breaking anything which puts both us and the parents in an awkward position.
Thirdly, children are not usually the problem, it’s the parents. I cannot tell you how many times I have made exceptions for kids and the parents tell me their children are very well behaved and mature. Perhaps when they are at home or in an environment that they are accustomed to, this is true, but in a new environment all bets are off. Parents are relaxed, they are trying to enjoy themselves, they may even be enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two. That’s great, but that doesn’t mean you stop minding or disciplining your children. What ends up happening is that we as the innkeepers end up having to either entertain the kids or keep them from harming themselves or something else. Some parents don’t mind, but others take offense to this. It’s uncomfortable all around and it distracts us from what we really should be doing, which is to provide our guests with everything they need and to create outstanding food.
So these are just some reasons innkeepers may have for maintaining a no child policy. Others welcome families. It’s an individual decision and a very personal one. As for us, we love kids. We have many young ones in our family that we enjoy being around and in fact are quite good with kids. I am personally passionate about education and specifically about food in schools and have on many occasions participated in school and after school programs with young kids educating them about healthy eating. But when it comes to the experience we are trying to craft for our guests, we have to hone in on what best suits that vision and for us that means keeping it to adults only.