|New England Hotel Reservations|
|Some seasons, New England's hotels and inns are in high demand, and you should reserve the room you want well in advance.|
Know the Rules!
Inn and resort brochures paint rosy pictures of the warm welcome you're bound to receive, and of the friendliness and hospitality of your hosts.
But innkeepers are in the lodging business, and they must make a profit, so they make certain stipulations that you must know about.
If you make a reservation and put down a deposit, and the inn or hotel accepts your deposit and confirms your reservation, you have made a legal contract. However, it is usually the inn that spells out the terms of the contract, and this can lead to unpleasant—and sometimes costly—surprises.
When making reservations, you can avoid hassles and disappointments by asking some of the following questions:
—Is smoking allowed in the inn?
—Are children welcome? What age?
—What about pets?
—Is there a required minimum stay of two, three, four nights, or even more?
—Can you reserve a precise room or sort of room ("with antiques," "in the main inn and not in the annex," "with a canopy bed and full bath," "with a view of the water") or must you take whatever the innkeeper gives you?
—How many beds does the room have? Real beds or sofa beds?
—Can you get all this in writing?
—Are meals included or required? If breakfast is included, is it store-bought doughnuts and instant coffee, or freshly made pastries and brewed cafe au lait?
—If the inn has no dining room, how close is the nearest restaurant?
—Is there a service charge? Is there tax? How much?
—Are there any other charges, such as for activities or use of a fireplace? They might not tell you if you don't ask.
—Are credit cards accepted? Never assume that they are! Many of the most popular inns refuse to accept credit cards, preferring not to pay the 2% to 6% service charge to the credit-card company. They require cash, traveler's checks, or an approved personal check, sometimes for the full amount of your reservation, which might approach $1,000; and sometimes the full amount must be paid upon arrival. Be prepared. (For the record, the majority of lodgings in New England do accept credit cards.)
—How much deposit must you send, and how soon?
—Under what circumstances can you ask for, and receive, a refund of your deposit? What if you are delayed in transit by car problems, a late train or ferry, or weather conditions impossible for flying?
—Does the deposit guarantee you a room at the inn absolutely, or does the innkeeper have the option of finding you "equivalent lodgings nearby" if the inn is overbooked?
—If your deposit is to be returned, will a "service charge" of 10% to 25% be deducted?
—What is the deadline for the innkeeper's return of the deposit? Two weeks? Two years?
Paying attention to details such as these is tedious, but it's necessary if you want to have a hassle-free vacation.