Another Myth Busted: Bed and Breakfast Inns Tout Private Baths

The clean, contemporary lines of this private bath reflect the comfort Saugatuck's Serendipity B&B offers its guests.

Who would think so many innkeepers would respond to a call to debunk the commonly-held myth that if you stay at a bed and breakfast, you must share a bathroom with others — even total strangers! Respond they did, with their own stories and proof the myth is only a myth in the images captured in their own inns.

April Tubbs, innkeeper of Adrounie House in the charming little City of Hastings, tells how she and her husband and innkeeping partner, Don, shared a bath “with others” the first time they stayed at a B&B in the mid 1980s.

“One bathroom was shared among three guest rooms. It was not very convenient. When we wanted to use it, someone else would be there. After all, “When you gotta’ go, you gotta’ go!” Besides that inconvenience, I didn’t feel comfortable holding others up while putting on make up.

April and Don made private baths work to the benefit of their guests. Agreed?

“Some 10 years later, we opened our own six-bedroom B&B with past experiences in mind.  It was important to us that each of our guest rooms have a private bath. In our B&B, only one of room has a full-private bath that is not “ensuite” — that is, it’s outside the room and across the hall. But we did add a pedestal sink and mirror to that room — the better to allow our guests to apply make-up and use blow dryers without pressure. Four other rooms had closets we converted to baths, with elegant tubs tucked in a corner of the bedrooms. The sixth guest room already had a full attached bath with shower.”

Innkeeper Chris Mason said when Parish House Inn, her B&B in urban Ypsilanti, was moved to its current location in 1987 and redesigned as a bed and breakfast, the original owner saw the importance of in-room private baths. Some rooms had space only for showers while others have bath tubs. What’s important is, all are private!

At Crimson Cottage, each guestroom enjoys a spacious private bath.

“Private bathrooms for each bedroom were an absolute must when we built our home and inn in Holland in 2005, said Kathy Henry, innkeeper and owner. At Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods, we decided early on that building a B&B would better equip us to have full-sized bathrooms versus bathrooms inserted in closets with sinks in the bedrooms. Our guests really appreciate the privacy and comfort of our planned bathrooms.

Innkeeper Janice Duerr stressed that “the majority of all B&B’s today have a private bath for each guest room.”

Her State Street Inn B&B in the Lake Huron coastal village of Harbor Beach  has four guest rooms, all with ensuite baths.

“Shared bathrooms are a thing of the past,” said Janice.”

Well, not entirely. Beverly Bender of Frankenmuth B&B offers four guest rooms and two baths. Does that mean you should avoid this inn? Absolutely not. Bev explains on her inn’s website:

“We have just four guestrooms — two on each floor — and two guest bathrooms, one on each floor. Here’s how we handle it:  Friends or family who are traveling in a group of, say, four or up to six will share a bath, and we do provide luscious, comfy robes. But if a couple books first, we simply do not book the other room nearest to that bathroom. This assures guests they will not be sharing a bathroom with strangers.”

This configuration of bedrooms and bathrooms is ideal for couples traveling together, for a girlfriends’ getaway or for a family. The handful of  B&Bs that still offer shared bathrooms have similar restrictions and requirements to prevent strangers sharing with strangers.

Kalamazoo House Innkeeper Laurel Parrott calls this jetted tub "sinfully comfortable."

The Kalamazoo House guestrooms feature private and luxurious baths, despite that the home was built in the Victorian era. Some of the nine rooms were recently updated to provide the most modern and sanitary jetted tubs available. The Victorian mansion’s original bath, now private to the master bedroom in Room #4, has original tile, a beautiful antique marble-topped vanity, a tiled walk-in shower and a huge, sinfully-comfortable jetted air-tub that’s perfect for two.

Not only does Prairieside Suite’s Luxury B& B in suburban Grandville feature all private baths, each of them boasts condensation-free mirrors, heated towel bars and heated toilet seats.  White Swan Inn in the Lake Michigan resort community of Whitehall has gone for the “Wow” factor, calling its blend of vintage with modern baths “a retreat unto themselves.” Read about it in Innkeeper Cathy Russell’s blog.

If you’re still nervous about the bathroom situation at Lake to Lake-member Bed and Breakfast Inns — or at any of the thousands of reputable, state association-member inns across the continent, just ask the innkeeper when you call for a reservation: “Will I have a shared or a private bath?” It’s a sure bet they’ll answer truthfully.  The last thing any innkeeper wants is for you to be unpleasantly surprised.

Innkeepers everywhere are invited to add their two cents to debunking the shared bathroom myth. Offer your comments here or on our Facebook page.