The very best inns and B&Bs in North America

What scares me most about bed & breakfasts is the fear that they might be nothing more than someone’s home with a couple of converted rooms for paying guests. Sure, living in a local’s house can be a cool thing, but sharing a bathroom with the family and enduring a half-baked attempt at breakfast can quickly ruin a holiday.

So how does one find and book a truly great B&B?

The problem is that B&Bs tend to be owner run and operated so there is never the confidence and assurance of quality one is guaranteed when booking with a brand name hotel chain. And there’s no telling until you get there whether Martha Stewart or Leona Helmsley is running the place.

There is, however, an organization which can help out.

Select Registry: Distinguished Inns of North America is comprised of 400 member properties throughout America and Canada which have passed a rigorous and anonymous quality assurance inspection program. Only the very best inns make the cut, which means that Select Registry has indeed become a brand itself, a mark of quality which guarantees the very best and consistently delivers on that promise.I know this is true because I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in three inns on the Registry. In fact I learned about the registry by random chance when my girlfriend and I booked the Glendeven Inn on the Mendocino coast a year ago. The accommodations were so superb and the food so excellent that I quickly grasped the concept of Select Registry and now consult the handy website any time I travel in North America.

Since that first stay, we had an equally outstanding experience for my girlfriend’s birthday at the The Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, California. And then, most recently, we stayed at the Washington Square Inn in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. The rooms here were quite nice–albeit small in a San Francisco sort of way–and the location wonderful, but with such high standards and expectations based on our stays at the other properties, we were disappointed to find the happy hour and the breakfast to be simply average at best. Sure, we were spoiled at the other properties, but the Washington Square Inn still needs to improve their food if they want to remain on this exclusive list.

Despite this small, one time setback, you really can’t go wrong with the Select Registry. Check out their web page for your first visit, but once you stay at a property, be sure to pick up a free book detailing all 400 “distinguished inns of North America.”