As your mama always told you, first impressions do make a difference. And when you tend to stay at small owner-operated hotels and B & Bs like I do, the welcome you receive – both good and bad – can create an irreversible impression.
Take the B&B in Sedona that my husband and I visited last March. While I had been to the town before, Don never had – and we were looking forward to a weekend of hiking, Jeeping and good food at a beautiful location.
Our B&B managers, apparently, had entered the wrong Vortex. While the room was great, their attitudes stunk. Through our initial polite chitchat, we found out how much they hated Sedona, how much they hated running a B&B and how they couldn’t wait to return home (they were from Australia). Needless to say, we didn’t linger.
Fast-forward 18 months. We arrived, exhausted by a full day of driving, to The Motor Lodge in Prescott, about 90 minutes south of Sedona. I had been looking forward to the hotel, based not only on TripAdvisor reviews, but on the friendliness that owner Joe had exuded over the phone (When I told him our plans were in flux, he told us we should come because a bar in town was having an 80s night. Who can resist?).
And sure enough, the welcome delivered. Raymond offered us wine and beer when we checked in, along with personable, unforced conversation that made us feel at home. He gave me the lowest available rate automatically because they weren’t full ($69!) We bothered the owners a couple of times during the evening (wi-fi password? hair dryer? directions to Phoenix?) and they continued to be cheery and helpful – offering us not just a corkscrew, but glasses so we could drink our wine and veg out to Project Runway.
Maybe their great attitude comes because the Motor Lodge, a revamped motorlodge with a hip retro feel, hasn’t been open that long – a little over a year. Or maybe it’s because they are creating something different in Prescott, a cowboy kind of town known more for hard drinking than high style. But it was a welcome much appreciated that I wish more small hotels would duplicate.