BYA: Because You Asked..Reservations, Rates, Policies, B&B Etiquette, Innkeeping life, recipes and more....
6/29/2016 Did You Know (DYK):
Third party booking engines such as Booking.com, Expedia, Travelocity and TripAdvisor, BedandBreakfast.com to name just a few cost both you and the innkeeper money. The guest is paying a service fee and the innkeepers are paying monthly fees for their listings as well as commissions up to 20-30% when a guest books through these services. B&B's lose 20% of our room rate by accepting gift cards, this often puts us "in the red" for a nightly stay. This drives the nightly rates up and takes any profit away from small businesses. Many of my guests are quite surprised to learn that listing on these directories is not free and is a cost that is factored into your nights stay. As these 3rd party booking directories are becoming more popular, they are raising the rates on innkeepers just to be listed. Booking through a 3rd party does not provide any benefit or more assurance in terms of your stay or guaranteed reservation than booking directly, in fact, you are better off if you are dealing directly with your innkeeper to ensure your stay expectations are met. When booking with a 3rd party reservation service, the customer service may not be as good and the innkeeper has no ability to access or modify your reservation for you...you must work only with the customer service representative. Please help keep small businesses in business - with highly competitive lodging rates, we do not want to become "hotels or motels" our intent on becoming an innkeeper was to provide a more specialized and customized stay experience. We can offer much more when our nominal margins are not consummed by a distant 3rd party provider that has no personal or direct knowledge of our facility. There you go, now you know!
Why make reservations on line?
We encourage all guests to make reservations on line - this confirms that you have been informed about all of our policies and ensures that your reservation is secured with your credit card. No charges are made in advance of your arrival. Credit cards may be changed upon arrival or guests may take advantage of our 5% discount if paying in cash.
If we are away from the phone, most information and answers to questions can be found on this website regarding the cottages including descriptions and pictures. Reservations on line is protection for both the guest and the innkeeper - it is a documented record of your reservation and our guarantee & terms for staying on our property
The Innkeeper's Schedule
Since we work all weekends, our personal "weekend" typically fall on Mon and Tues or Tues and Wed...these are our days to rest, relax and take some family time, personal time, etc. We will do our best to answer your calls and emails when we return to the office. Thank you for understanding that we also need a little personal time and may not be able to take all phones calls personally.
Please remember, we are typically unable to answer the phone between 6 am - 12 noon - during this time we are cooking, serving breakfast and checking out guests. From noon until 3 pm, it's cleaning time before the next guests arrive at 3 - 8 pm for check in. The best times to call are bewteen 3-8 pm. Any time after 8 pm, please leave a voicemail - this is our personal time to jump in the shower, prep food for the next day, make a quick run to the grocery store...etc. .We apologize if we can't grab your call all the time...as a "single shingle" business we do not have a front desk attendant and we do not answer the phone or take walk up reservations after 9 pm.
Making Confirmed Reservations Online:
Please make your reservations on line through our secured website reservation system whenever possible. I realize there are circumstances where guests may not have access to the internet or do not know how to use the interent and may need assistance making reservations. The on line reservation is HTTPS safe, PCI secure and automatically generates a confirmation number and a confirmation email sent directly to you with a 2 copies to me. This is the the most efficient way to make a reservation and eliminates the need for us to enter any other information upon arrival or check out processing.
We had a guest a couple years ago that unfortunately thought that a "parking lot" conversation updon departure indicating that they wanted to return the next year the same time, ensured that they had a reservation for the next year. Unfortunately, they did not make a confirmed reservation or provide a credit card to secure a room. The following year, 2 weeks prior to their desired travel dates, they were dismayed to find out we had no availability. We are certainly glad they had a wonderful time and wanted to return, however we have many many guests and inquiries, and while all guests are special, there is no way for us to make and hold reservations for over a year, or any extended period of time without all the necessary information and a method of payment to hold the reservation. A credit card method of payment and other information is necessary to secure a reservation in your name, for the time period and the cottage of your choice. We do not do any advance charging or debiting to your account, payment is due upon checkin. I get many calls to make a reservation by phone because folks either don't have a credit card or don't want to provide a credit card by phone. I have always worked to accomodate our guests, but given this recent experience, I will no longer take phone reservations without a credit card to hold the room. It has been our objective to keep our business simple, friendly and uncomplicated, but it only takes on such occurrence to move to enforcing standard business processes by formalizing the reservation process, requiring advance credit cards to hold and confirm the reservation to protect ourselves and inexperienced travelers.
A general email request for a reservation will be followed up by a phone call and will not constitute a confirmed reservation, We will only make manual entry reservations when it is the ONLY way due to circumstances where the customer does not have internet or does not know how to use internet. With all the fradulant events such as Target and Home Depot, it is also the most secure way to make your reservation and provides all the information necessary at that time to reserve and generate a confirmation number. If you are on property and want to make a reservation, this will always be done at the office desk and will generate a reservation confirmation sent to your email and we will provide a paper copy at that time so you are walking away knowing that you have a reservation. If you have walked away without a future reservation in hand, you do not have a reservation.
With our sincere regrets, this new policy will now be strictly enforced.
New Posting August 2014
Our Pricing Philosophy
Stated simply, we don’t markup our room rates to artificially mark down just to make folks feel better about getting a discount. Our prices are based on what it takes to operate and maintain the property in the necessary condition to keep our guests safe and comfortable. We have not joined programs such as AAA or AARP or the other travel sites that offer discounts because of the outrageous annual membership costs would simply have to be countered with higher rates to absorb the membership charges. Most folks don’t understand that providing rate discounts actually costs the business to participate in those programs – so rates unfortunately get raised to cover membership fees and ultimately, the discount. Participating in those programs is no assurance that a member property is any better managed than nonmember properties. The reality is that we simply cannot operate a property for less than what it costs to maintain it properly. No games or gimmicks, our rates are reasonably set based on the amenities, service and privacy that our property offers as compared to other similar properties in our market. We don’t misrepresent our property with “flowery” descriptions and professionally doctored pictures that would only serve to disappoint a misinformed visitor upon arrival. Some travelers shop strictly on price, others choose overall value. Value includes considerations beyond price such as location, quality of accommodations, food, amenities, etc. We hope that you’ll read our reviews on TripAdvisor.com from travelers and visitors just like you and see that we work very hard to provide true value for every travel dollar. Both Steve and I each have over 3 million miles in an airplane seat and countless points from staying in hotels – so we understand what the traveler expects for comfort, safety and value for their travel experience. We WANT to EARN your business, we’d love for all of our guests to return because they enjoyed and found value in their stay. We ENCOURAGE our guests to stay at another inn…and we hope that dollar for dollar comparison, we’ve EARNED your decision to come back again in the future.
Bed and Breakfast Etiquette
A Bed and Breakfast stay can be a very enjoyable experience, for both the guest and the innkeeper as long as everyone knows what to expect, or what not to expect. No one wants to be a "needy" guest and the innkeeper wants to devote an equal amount of time to all the guests. The innkeeper wants to provide service above and beyond the ordinary hotel visit including exceptionally clean rooms, outstanding gourmet food and luxury amenities such as cozy plush bathrobes, high quality linens and comfortable bedding. Experienced B&B goers usually know the ropes, however some inn’s have different rules and policies, so don’t hesitate to ask. These guidelines are intended to be helpful and with the deepest respect for our guests comfort and for our desire to continue to keep down escalating costs and the price of comfortable night stay at a wonderful B&B!
Calling a Bed and Breakfast to inquire about services:
If you have never experienced a B&B inn and want to call about the services offered, it is often best to check out the website first to see if your questions can be answered from the website information first. Innkeepers have limited time during the travel season between cooking and serving breakfast, check outs, cleaning rooms and checking arriving guests. A little research in advance will be much appreciated. However, if there is a desire to speak with the innkeeper directly, remember that morning calls during the breakfast service hour are probably the worst times to call, as are calls after 9 pm at night.
Innkeepers love talking about their inns, but would prefer that all inquiry calls typically be made after 11:30 am when breakfast service is completed and before 9 pm. A B&B Inn is a very time consuming business that requires attention to details. As small business owners, innkeepers personally deal with clogged plumbing, electrical issues, laundry, servicing rooms or providing support to a lodging guest. When you call and leave phone message, please be sure to leave a contact number and a brief message regarding your inquiry (lodging, wedding services, food selections, event ticketing, etc.) Once you get to your B&B destination, you’ll understand how precious the innkeeper’s time is during the day when guests are on property. We want to make your precious getaway time as uneventful and pleasant as possible.
Arrival and Departure:
Inns will have specified check-in and check-out times. Our check in time is 3 pm and check out is 11 am. This allows time for the proper room/cottage turnover and essential sanitizing before the next guest arrives.We only have housekeeping on site from 11 am - 3 pm. If you are arriving early, please call the innkeeper first to inquire first if your accommodations are ready early before showing up…likewise, if you will be arriving very late, please advise the innkeeper so that keys may be made available in a designated location for you. Most innkeepers rise very early in the morning, typically 5-5:30 am to begin the process of preparing a fresh gourmet breakfast and therefore need to retire at a reasonable hour at night.
We serve breakfast at 9 am each day, not too early and not too late. Most B&B’s have a specified time for breakfast to ensure that your meal is fresh and hot. If you are going to be late or have made other plans and will not be eating breakfast, please let your innkeeper know in advance. Gourmet meals take considerable time for preparation and it is very disappointing to throw good expensive food in the trash.
Please come to the breakfast area dressed appropriately. Shoes and shirts are always required, please no pajamas in the dining room! It is not recommended to ask the innkeeper to move your place setting to another location, it is best to ask in advance if you would like to eat outside or in your room (if it is an inn policy) vs. a common dining room. It can be disruptive to the other guests if the innkeeper has to stop the meal service for the needs of one.
Guests are not allowed in the food preparation areas during cooking and preparation by the health inspector policies. While bed and breakfast owners love to engage in conversation with guests, hanging out in the kitchen is not helpful when the rush of plating breakfast is in progress.
The innkeeper will usually ask if you want your room serviced during your stay – typically rooms are freshened up while the guests are out for the day. Innkeepers respect your desire for privacy, so we are happy to hand you fresh towels or necessities following the breakfast service hour. Soiled towels and trash can be placed outside your door in bags provided by the innkeeper (please do not mix the two). If something has broken, please notify the innkeeper at the earliest convenience so repairs or replacements can be provided. Unless it is major problem, blocked plumbing or heating and cooling, it is appropriate to notify the innkeeper first thing in the morning. Tipping housekeeping is appropriate as it is in any hotel or motel the provides a service.
For folks that are experiencing their first B&B stay, you’ll find room amenities, luxuries, fine furnishings and other conveniences to make your stay more enjoyable. Most inns provide complimentary waters or sodas in your room each day. Beyond the complimentary amenities in your room when you arrive, you should plan on bringing your own additional drinks, snacks or other special goodies since a bed and breakfast is not an “open pantry”.
Please treat the innkeeper’s possessions as if they belonged to your best friend. Do not move or rearrange furniture in the rooms or remove wall hangings in the rooms.
Do not use the towels for wiping up spills or cleaning personal items. Facial wipes are typically provided for make-up removal, bleaching will not take out waterproof mascara and some foundations.
Cleaning items and extra amenities are left for the convenience of our guests in the event of a spill...we appreciate if you leave our cleaning supplies under the sink, including extra paper towels, trash bags, toilet paper, etc. We stock extra items for emergency use and are not "paid extras" built into the cost of the nightly lodging. Most folks don't need more than one roll of toilet paper for a two night stay...please help us keep our costs and rates down. Sorry for being so blunt.....
Just as in your neighborhood at home, keeping noise and loud music down after 10 pm is required by the city and is expected at a bed and breakfast to respect the privacy and relaxation of your fellow guests and neighbors. Please ask the innkeeper to address a noisy guest issue.
We off a luxury in parking in Eureka Springs....off the street and level! The innkeeper will advise you of designated parking during your stay. Unless otherwise stated, please respect the parking needs of the other guests. If you need a cloth for cleaning something off your car, please ask the innkeeper for rags, do not use the lodging towels. These are very costly luxury towels for your indulging during your stay.
It is appropriate to tip housekeeping, envelopes are provided for your convenience. In general, tipping etiquette dictates that business owners/innkeepers are not tipped. If your room was comfortable and clean, it is appropriate to tip the housekeeping staff, especially if they are not part of the innkeeper’s family and work on an hourly wage. Tip them as you would in a hotel, housekeeping, just like waitressing, is a minimum wage job dependent upon tips. Typically tipping is $5/day. However, if something has not been addressed or was missed by housekeeping, then tipping is not expected. Please notify the innkeeper at your earliest convenience or upon departure of the deficiency.
We sincerely hope that some of this information will help you on your first or next B&B adventure!
Well...updating and publishing the new version of the Rock Cottage Gardens Favorite Recipes Book did not get to the top of the priority list this past winter...we'll keep working it and in the meantime, I will post more of the recipes that we use for our breakfasts. In the meantime, the Arkansas Bed and Breakfast Association Cookbook is available for purchase featuring recipes from many of the bed and breakfasts across the state. Inquire during your visit or by email. BBAA cookbooks are $20.
In the meantime, the Arkansas Bed and Breakfast Association Cookbook is available for purchase featuring recipes from many of the bed and breakfasts across the state. Inquire during your visit or by email. BBAA cookbooks are $20.
Rock Cottage Gardens Eggs Benedict - Serves 4
English Muffins - 1/2 per person or better yet - canned croissant dough - one triangle formed into a "cup" by pinching the long side of the dough together, placed in a cupcake pan sprayed with nonstick spray
Fresh spinach - 2 cups stems removed
Flour - 3 TBLS
Butter - 1/2 stick
Half & Half creamer - 1 cup
Garlic Herb Seasoning - 1 tsp.
Parmesan Cheese - 1/4 grated
Nutmeg - 1/8 tsp.
Salt and Pepper to taste
Ham - 1 cup juliened cut, cooked
4 eggs - poached - 4 min for soft yolk, 6 min for firm yolk
Hollandaise sauce - homemade or Knorr package mix (more stable)
homemade - 1/4 cup cold butter cut up in chunks, 1/2 half fresh lemon juice, 3 egg yolks
whisk egg yolks with lemon juice, add butter chunks, cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until
thickened. Serve immediately. If you can serve immediately, go with the Knorr mix for longer stability.
To prepare: Toast muffins and lay in a glass baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. In a 1 qt sauce pan, melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux...gradually stir in creamer a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook mixture until thickened; if too thick add a little creamer to make a "pourable" sauce. At this point, add in the parmesean cheese and stir until thickened, along with garlic herb seasoning, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Sauce should be thick, but easy to stir. Remove from heat, stir in fresh spinach leaves to coat with sauce, set aside to let heat from sauce wilt the spinach, but do not cook further. Next step, sauté juliened cut ham bite size ham strips (easier to eat if the ham is precut - learned this from watching Alton Brown on the Food Network) until the water/moisture from the ham is gone, but do not cook ham to dry it out.
To assemble: spoon 1/4 of creamed spinach mixture on top of each toasted muffin half. Top with 1/4 of ham strips on top of spinach. Top with 1 poached egg. Spoon hollandaise sauce over top of egg and serve immediately with steamed asparagus. For delayed serving, you can cover eggs before applying hollandaise sauce with NONSTICK foil - or spray egg tops with nonstick spray before applying foil and keep warm for up to 20 min at 170 degrees for later serving.
For Eggs Sardou
cook and assemble as directed but spice up the creamed spinach with a little hot sauce to taste and add a steamed artichoke heart before piling on the ham for a New Orleans style Eggs Benedict!
Rock Cottage Gardens Breakfast Quiche
9” Pie Crust – prebaked 15 minutes at 375 degrees – you can make your own or if you are short of time, use a Pillsbury piecrust from the grocery store ( I don’t like the store or off brands). Serves 6
5 eggs – beaten with fork
1 cup whole milk
½ tsp Herb Season
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Mix these 5 ingredients together and set aside
In a frying pan, sauté the following in 3 tbsp of good quality olive oil for 3-4 minutes
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
½ cup mixed onions, green and red peppers (frozen vegetable mix available at grocery store)
½ cup precooked crumbled bacon
In bottom of prebaked pie crust, place a layer of fresh spinach leaves (remove any long stems), followed by half of the bacon/mushroom/onion & pepper mixture and then topped by a layer of shredded cheese (I use a blend of cheddar, provolone & mozzarella). Repeat layers again.
Pour seasoned egg & milk mixture over the layered vegetables and cheese into the pie shell. Top with very thin slices of roma tomatoes – I use 6 slices for each quiche to mark the wedges to get 6 nice size slices from each quiche.
Bake the quiche at 375 for 40-45 minutes until center is firm and top begins to brown lightly.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing into wedges. Cover with foil if you need to keep warm before serving…lower oven to 250% to avoid further cooking.
Hope you enjoy our quiche recipe! For a Mexican variation…substitute good Mexican cheeses like Monterey Jack and Colby cheddar blends (with or without jalepeno peppers) and add a few tablespoons of chunky picante sauce with the bacon and peppers for a little extra kick. You can decorate the top with poblano pepper strips on top…if you don’t have bacon, use crumbled cooked chorizo pork sausage.
RCG Four Cheese Stuffed & Roasted Roma Tomatoes
Preparing the tomatoes for stuffing. Use firm roma tomatoes about 2” in diameter. Depending upon the size of the tomatoes –2” or larger are cut in half and cored out, for small tomatoes 1” diameter, cut of the top stem area and core out centers with a melon baller tool. Hint: to keep the tomatoes from rolling around, slight cut off the bottom of the tomato just to create a flat surface, but not so much as to open up to the center of tomato. If that happens….do not use for filling, save for a salad! You can't believe how many tomatoes I eat for lunch!
Cheese filling: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and smash together using wooden spoon.
1-8 oz bar of cream cheese, softened
½ cup finely chopped mushrooms, fresh only
½ cup cooked crumbled bacon (leave out for vegetarian version)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (can substitute grated cheddar)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp Greek seasoning ( do not add extra salt)
½ tsp ground pepper
Once mixed, roll into a log and wrap in saran wrap and store in frig (up to 7 days, do not freeze). To fill tomatoes, slice cheese log into pieces sized for your tomatoes. Roll into a ball and stuff into the cored out tomatoes.
Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs on top of each cheese stuffed tomatoes and lightly drizzle with good quality olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 – 25 minutes depending upon the size of tomatoes or until breadcrumbs begin to lightly brown. Serve warm. If you are not serving immediately, do not hold in oven, tomatoes will continue to cook and become mushy. You can reheat very quickly in microwave for no more than 30 seconds.
Stuffed French Toast
This can't be easier and is a wonderful dish to make during all seasons. The key is to get creative and use a jam or fruit that is typical of the season...in the spring and summer I use a lot of berries...blackberry, strawberry, plum, blueberry...you can use fruit jams ( I buy locally if possible, the Amish wedding jams are great), in the fall and winter I use apples, pears and pumpkin butter....
You can take 2 cups of any cut up fresh fruit, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and make your own filling. Add a little cinnamon or nutmeg, and cook down slowly until the mixture is thick. Allow to cool before using as a filling.
To assemble the french toast, you can use either the Cinnabon bread or the seasonal variety of Pepperidge Farms bread. Spread one piece of bread with softened creamcheese and another with the jam of your choice. Put the bread together as a sandwich and dip/soak in a mixture of egg and milk custard ( 1 egg + 1 cup milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a shot of vanilla, almond or hazelnut syrup) . Fry in butter as you would regular french toast. The french toast can be assembled the night prior to breakfast and kept overnight covered with foil in the frig. It is not necessary to dry out the bread because it has a firm texture to begin with vs the regular solf off the shelf sandwich bread - which does not work well for stuffed French toast).
Once fried to a golden brown, I cut the French toast sandwiches into diagonal quarters with a good pair of kitchen scissors and hold in a 250 degree oven until ready to serve. Bon Apetite!