B&B's offering urban alternative to the traditional hotel stay

A weekend at a bed and breakfast conjures images of peace and quiet. It's a place where you can get away from the outside world, enjoy nature and be with your thoughts.

That's unless that bed and breakfast is in the city.

Not all Bed and Breakfasts cater to the "peace and quiet only" crowd. Greater Cincinnati's urban B&B's attract locals and those in nearby cities that crave excitement, not silence. These travelers prefer a night out on the town instead of a cozy night in. They'd rather catch a symphony than stroll grounds.

A number of such B&B's dot Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. They're located in Over-the-Rhine, downtown, and points outward, stretching across the river to Newport, Covington and Bellevue. These B&Bs have the expected creature comforts: big breakfasts, plush quilted beds, and antique furnishings, but they also offer the bonus of the city, just minutes away from art museums, concert venues and playhouses and professional sports teams.

"People get to feel like they're far away, but they're really close enough to their homes and families," said Weller Haus Bed & Breakfast owner Leanne Saylor. "I think people want to be able to get out to dinner for evening or shop. People say they want to get away from it all, but we're so wired today that we really want access to things we're used to."

About 70 percent of Saylor's lodgers come from a 50-mile radius of her B&B's location in Bellevue, with much of the rest coming from Indianapolis, Louisville, Columbus and other nearby cities. She also gets football fans who spend a weekend when catching a Bengals game.

Saylor bought the established B&B about seven years ago. Located in a residential neighborhood, it's in two side-by-side renovated Victorian Gothic homes that are listed on the National Register of Historic places. And lest you think it's too big city, the Weller Haus is also known for its secluded backyard gardens.

In Over-The-Rhine, one bed and breakfast has proved so successful that it's expanding into an adjoining historic building. The Symphony Hotel & Restaurant, near Cincinnati's Music Hall, attracts guests looking for dinner and a show before retiring to their rooms. Located on 14th Street in a renovated mansion, its six rooms (three more will be added with the expansion) are named after composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. The Hotel will continue its popular food service before CSO concerts at Music Hall during the renovations. 

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
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