Best B&BS for Business Travelers
and Small Meetings and Retreats
While most bed and breakfast inns specialize in the business of romance, some also cater to guests traveling on business. A number of inns in California offer business amenities to rival those of chain hotels—including free WiFi and on-site meeting space—but in a more peaceful setting and with special touches such as boxed breakfasts for guests taking off for early morning meetings or flights.
Sue Gillingham, co-owner of the 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach, spent years as a “road warrior” for a global information technology firm, and knows well what business travelers want. The inn offers an attractive meeting space that accommodates up to 25 people. The space comes complete with a projection screen, easel, and tables and chairs. Lunch can be catered in, and the innkeepers are happy to set up group dinners at numerous restaurants within walking distance from the inn. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and many rooms have in-room desks. Guests with early-morning meetings can request a boxed breakfast to be delivered the night before to their in-room refrigerator. Not only is breakfast included, but complimentary wine is served each afternoon, providing a great way to unwind from a busy day. The inn also provides two additional amenities that were Gillingham’s pet peeves when she was traveling for business: free chilled bottled water and a lighted magnifying makeup mirror in every bathroom. For guests traveling on government order, the inn honors local per diem rates, with only a $20 charge for breakfast, parking, and happy hour. The inn is located two blocks from the beach and is just 10 minutes from San Diego International Airport and the convention center.
Just north of San Diego, the elegant Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla also caters to business travelers. The inn offers special corporate nightly rates with automatic upgrades based on availability. For business breakfast power meetings, the inn will serve a full gourmet breakfast to guests and one additional business associate at no extra charge. For those with early morning appointments, the inn will provide a Business Brown Bag Breakfast or set up a continental breakfast. Complimentary wine and cheese are served each afternoon. Work spaces and/or lap desks are available in all of the rooms, and the inn provides complimentary use of the laptop, printer and desk in the library/den. Free faxes are provided for up to five pages. The inn also provides free WiFi, local calls and parking. Complimentary fresh fruit, sweets, bottled water, soft drinks, and hot and cold beverages are available anytime, day or night.
The Inn at Playa del Rey is just five minutes from Los Angeles International Airport, but it’s a world away from the workday grind. The peaceful retreat near the beach overlooks a 600-acre bird sanctuary. Business travelers will appreciate the complimentary WiFi, in-room phones with voicemail and guest computer work center with a printer. A private living room overlooking the wetlands is available for small meetings. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine are served each evening for guests and their associates. Complimentary home-cooked breakfasts are prepared each morning. Guests can unwind after a busy day with an in-room massage, a soak in the Jacuzzi, or take one of the complimentary bikes for ride on along the beach.
The Bavarian-inspired Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea caters to small meetings and retreats with its poolside meeting room, which features a fireplace and a full kitchen. The meeting room can accommodate classroom seating for up to 24, banquet-style seating for 30, or a stand-up reception for 40. The room is ideal for private personal dining parties, where guests can bring their own chefs or work with the Hofsas House chef of choice, Dory Ford of Aqua Terra Culinary. The hotel can also arrange a complimentary continental breakfast to be delivered to the meeting room for early morning meetings. Hofsas House owner and general manager Carrie Theis personally works with business travelers and event planners to help with their arrangements and provide catering recommendations. In addition to the poolside meeting room, the Hofsas House caters to individual business travelers with free WiFi, complimentary use of the inn’s Netbook in lobby and complimentary coffee and tea available throughout the day. Copies can be made and faxes sent for a nominal fee. The family-owned hotel provides a peaceful respite and European charm within walking distance of Carmel’s restaurants and shops, wine tasting rooms and the beach.
With two conference rooms and multiple outdoor spaces, the Inn on Randolph in Napa is ideally suited for corporate meetings, seminars and executive retreats that can combine business productivity with relaxation. The Neiman Event Room is outfitted to accommodate up to 20 people and features a coffee and wine bar, built-in Miele cappuccino maker, mini bar fridge, icemaker, wine refrigerator, wireless 55” television with laptop connection capabilities, WiFi, large projection screen and its own private ADA-compliant bathroom. The Spa Room is easily converted into a meeting space for a more intimate gathering or as additional space for larger meetings and also feature its own private bath. Large and small outdoor areas provide additional space for breaks, luncheon service and breakout sessions. The Inn on Randolph is a hip, modern bed and breakfast in a restored Victorian that honors the building’s architectural past. It’s located just blocks from downtown Napa and all that Napa Valley has to offer.
The Tallman Hotel, in the historic town of Upper Lake, California, is a handsome country hotel built in the 1890's. The hotel was completely restored and expanded to a 17-room luxury facility in 2006. The hotel offers conference space in the adjacent Riffe’s Meeting House, which seats up to 40 people banquet style, 50 people theater style or 20 people around an antique conference table. The room features high speed internet, TV/DVD, projection screen and other meeting essentials along with a small, upright piano. Lunch or dinner can be provided through the hotel’s on-site restaurant, the Blue Wing. Business travelers will appreciate the in-room desks, refrigerators, televisions, DVD players and free WiFi. The hotel offers the friendly, personalized service of a traditional bed and breakfast combined with all the amenities associated with a luxury hotel.
Located in a wilderness setting in the High Sierras, Sorensen’s Resort in a perfect place for a low-tech retreat to reshape goals or establish a new vision. The resort’s collection of cabins and quiet gathering spaces create a relaxed setting for small conferences, seminars and workshops. Facilities include the two-story Norway House, a sod-roofed, hand-hewn log structure imported piece by piece from Norway. The space can accommodate up to 40 people theater-style and features a full kitchen and a large wood-burning stove. Smaller cabins and outdoor sites can serve as break-out areas. Though the resort does not have phones or televisions, it does have a satellite internet connection—weather permitting—and audiovisual equipment. The small resort features a full-service restaurant, a wood-fired sauna and 165 forested acres for hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Kirkwood Ski Area and Grover Hot Springs State Park are just a short drive away.
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