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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More Than Just A Place to Sleep

More Than a Place to Sleep

Enchanting Inns Across Southern Oregon

Story by Rebecca Hanford

Southern Oregon vacations personify adventure, often including hiking, biking, eating and sightseeing. Astute travelers want the inside scoop from trusted sources on the best wineries, trails, restaurants and hidden gems in our valley. Local inns have always shared information with travelers and created a welcoming atmosphere. Modern day innkeepers continue to offer a haven for guests who want a home away from home and personalized, friendly service. At an inn, you’re one of the family, not another name on a check-in sheet.

Bed and breakfast options in Southern Oregon are plentiful. Owners know intimate details and secrets about the region, creating a distinct difference from major hotel chains. “At many bed and breakfasts the person at the front desk is the owner,” says Fred Wickman, who owns the Prospect Historic Hotel with his wife, Karen. The visitor is priority number one. “Innkeepers are there to take care of the guest,” Fred explains. Owners spend quality time with their guests, forming friendships and creating long term, repeat customers. Part of an innkeeper’s job is to ensure all guests have a memorable trip unlike any other. “Guests should go away thinking this was the best thing since bubblegum,” says Fred.

Guests form genuine bonds with the owners, swapping stories about the day’s activities and adventures. Vicki Capp, innkeeper of the Iris Inn Bed and Breakfast in Ashland, says owners inform visitors about local area attractions. This hands-on approach is one of the values that makes a bed and breakfast unique in the hospitality industry. One night after attending a meeting in town, Capp joined her guests on the patio and chatted about the day. She learned what they had seen in Southern Oregon and still wanted to do. “I have created personalized itineraries for guests,” says Capp. Each itinerary specifically fits the guests’ wants and needs.

As any true innkeeper would, Capp also amends her menu to accommodate people with allergies or dietary restrictions. At the Prospect Hotel, Fred and Karen have created all the recipes for the breakfast and dinner house. “We do the cooking during the slower seasons,” Fred says, “and have staff that follow our recipes during busier seasons.”

“Individual attention to customers is a hallmark of the industry,” says Robert Roos, owner of Jacksonville’s Magnolia Inn. Jacksonville has a bustling bed and breakfast scene and the town becomes better known each year. Southern Oregon’s growing wine industry has brought in wine aficionados and foodies from across the country. “These visitors are seeking something different from big box hotels,” says Roos. “If you like hamburgers, you can go to a McDonald’s anywhere and it will always taste the same. But you missed the opportunity to get something unique or special because you stayed within that particular brand.”

“Travelers are becoming more and more selective about their lodging choices,” says Jamie Kerr, owner of the TouVelle House in Jacksonville. Each inn offers a particular experience. “They are one-of-a-kind houses or historic buildings,” says Kerr. Southern Oregon’s robust history is woven into the fabric of each bed and breakfast. Whether it’s the history of Jacksonville or learning of famous patrons like Theodore Roosevelt, guests leave knowing more about Southern Oregon than when they arrived.

The popularity of bed and breakfasts grows every year. Southern Oregon lodging was up 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015. More people are visiting Southern Oregon and seeking a lodging experience they can’t find anywhere else—lodging with a personal touch. They want to know the owners and dish about the best spots in the area. Fortunately for visitors and locals alike, Southern Oregon has an abundance of friendly places you can stay. Each bed and breakfast, and every owner, are ready to welcome you home.

Inns Around the Valley

Not a complete list of all inns in Southern Oregon.

 

ASHLAND

 

Iris Inn Bed and Breakfast

59 Manzanita St.

541-488-2286

www.irisinnbb.com

 

CENTRAL POINT

The Willows Bed and Breakfast

3347 Old Stage Rd.

541-665-3020

www.thewillowsbedandbreakfast.com

 

JACKSONVILLE

Magnolia Inn

245 N. 5th St.

541-899-0255

www.magnolia-inn.com

 

TouVelle House Bed and Breakfast

455 N. Oregon St.

541-899-8938

www.touvellehouse.com

 

PROSPECT

Prospect Historic Hotel

391 Mill Creek Dr.

541-560-3664

www.prospecthotel.com

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