The Most Charming Bed-and-Breakfasts in Big Cities Around the World

See recent posts by Christina Vercelletto

With a quiet and cozy atmosphere, friendly hosts, and a scrumptious breakfast served on china, a quaint bed-and-breakfast can be the perfect place to get away. But that’s all on the inside. Step outside these charming properties and you often find, well, not much to speak of. But who says bed-and-breakfast lovers have to sacrifice exciting days for those enjoyable mornings and nights? The following inns and bed-and-breakfasts are located in major cities, so your days can be as memorable as that apple cinnamon French toast and nightcap by the fire. 

Encore Bed and Breakfast, Boston

Smack in the middle of Boston’s trendy South End neighborhood, this 19th-century townhouse is owned and operated by a friendly couple. The rooms all have private bathrooms, but we recommend opting for the Albee Room, which boasts a furnished balcony with views of Boston’s skyline, too. Continental breakfast is served every morning in the cozy breakfast nook, and includes pastries from nearby bakeries, strong coffee, and juice. When you’re ready to explore, Copley Square, Symphony Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Back Bay area are all within walking distance of the hotel. 

The Canal Park Inn, New York City

This row house, which features lovely exposed brick walls and other charming touches, is two blocks from the subway and within walking distance (20- to 25-minutes) to the 9/11 Memorial, High Line, high-end SoHo boutiques, Hudson River Park, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and other iconic spots. The 1826 inn, which was a former playhouse, remains one of New York’s few surviving examples of early 19th-century Federalist architecture. It’s an official historic landmark, with rooms that offer private baths, kitchenettes, and sitting rooms. Framed posters of past play productions adorn the entrance foyer, and guests check in at the “Tickets” counter in the lobby-cum-cafe, where breakfast is served amongst playhouse props. There’s an old-fashioned popcorn machine, a giant reel of tear-off theater tickets, stage spotlights hanging overhead, and framed play reviews decorating the walls. And its cream-painted brick, Georgian windows, and red-awning facade sits in polite contrast to west Canal Street’s more industrial surroundings. 

Villa D’Citta, Chicago

Two blocks from three subway lines, this Lincoln Park bed-and-breakfast is also within walking distance to restaurants and bars, lake beaches, and the Lincoln Park Zoo. It has an intimate, Old World vibe that starts in the grotto-style backyard with a grill for guests use, and continues with the large, luxurious rooms with fireplaces. There’s also a rooftop sun deck for an extra spot to hide away and relax. In many Italian homes, meals are served family-style, and that spirit is alive here, with a spotless communal kitchen to share with fellow visitors. It’s even thoroughly stocked with breakfast foods and fresh snacks. 

Al Colonnato di San Pietro, Rome

Location, location, location. The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica looms one block away from this small, family-run bed-and-breakfast, which is housed in a beautiful white building built in the 1870s. Plus, the Vatican is within a 10-minute walk, as is the Castel Sant’Angelo. If you’re up for grabbing a limonata and strolling a bit further, you can visit the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Piazzas di Spagna and Navona on foot. Bus No. 64 stops down the street, and its route includes major tourist draws, including the Colosseum and the Forum. Since there is no common area, breakfast (cappuccino, fresh fruit, granola, and pastries) is served in the rooms every morning. More fruit as well as bottled water is offered all day. Each of the Colonnato’s three rooms, which overlook the ancient Aurelian Walls, have free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. 

Greenlake Guest House, Seattle

This homey property in the Ballard neighborhood makes you feel, well, at home. The 1920 Craftsman-style bed-and-breakfast offer views of Green Lake Park, which has three miles worth of biking and hiking trails, a lake, tennis courts, and more. The Seattle Public Theater is tucked into this park as well. Folks can also walk to eateries like Duke’s Chowder House (try the wild Alaska salmon sliders during happy hour). For dessert, head over to the Chocolati Cafe and indulge in some white chocolate-dipped fortune cookies. You’re a little over a mile from the Woodland Park Zoo and a 10-minute drive from downtown and the famous Pike Place Market. When you’re back in your room, warm up in front of the stone fireplace. 

Taft Bridge Inn, Washington, D.C.

You may feel like one of the political elite stepping into this turn-of-the-20th century Georgian mansion, which is set near embassy-lined streets. Located just off Connecticut Avenue, this bed-and-breakfast is walking distance to the Dupont Circle metro station and the restaurants and nightlife in Adams Morgan. And the National Zoo is just a five-minute drive away. Guests will appreciate the breakfast menu, which changes daily. Another nice perk: guests get a free pass to the local sports club.

Inn on Castro, San Francisco

Modern art, exotic plants, and a bounty of big bouquets add color and life throughout this Victorian bed-and-breakfast in the Castro neighborhood. Usually quiet during the day, the neighborhood is home to many creative boutiques, small businesses, cafes, restaurants, bars, and nightspots. A full breakfast is served in the formal dining room, which features a fireplace. Various forms of public transportation are easily accessible, though the tufted seating and complimentary brandy in the living room may make you slow to get moving. 

Sydney Harbour Bed & Breakfast, Sydney

Located in a restored mansion in The Rocks, this bed-and-breakfast offers a cozy place to stay in one of the city’s most celebrated historic areas. The nine rooms here vary in size, with the largest big enough to accommodate a small family. It’s also near many top sites — the Sydney Opera House takes about 15 minutes to reach on foot, while the Australian Museum and Hyde Park are a 10-minute drive away. The Taronga Zoo is a 15-minute drive away without traffic, while Bondi Beach takes closer to 20 minutes. At the zoo, visitors can get up close and personal with critters that can be hard to see in the U.S., including Tasmanian devils, Australian little penguins, southern hairy-nosed wombats, and of course, koalas. 

40 Winks, London

This eclectic, artsy 18th-century townhouse seems like the result of both Tim Burton and Anna Wintour’s combined imaginations. It’s definitely a memorable little place, with unusual pieces of furniture, unexpected color palettes, and a light fixture that resemble a bouquet of shower poufs. In addition to his theatrical design, the owner warmly welcomes guests and fuels them with a hearty breakfast. The property also hosts a full calendar of spoken word, music, and tasting events worth consulting when booking a room. Cap off the evening at the on-site bar with small batch distillery drinks.

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