Each year, Booking.com celebrates properties with a review score average of 8.0 and above and with 10 or more reviews online. We know that these properties have offered great guest experiences and our Guest Review Awards are a great way to showcase this achievement.
The history of Valentine’s Day–and its patron saint–is full of mystery. We do know that February has been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as it is known today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine? How did he become associated with this ancient rite?
The Catholic Church has recognized at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, and all were martyred. One legend says that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Valentine may also have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
FESTIVAL IN FEBRUARY
While some people believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which is believed to have occurred around A.D. 270–others believe that the Christian church may have placed St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.
TYPICAL VALENTINE’S DAY GREETINGS
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines….. men, what happened?
Choose to stay at a romantic Bed and Breakfast and make up for time lost!
For the perfect Valentine's Day getaway or romantic weekend, escape to The St. Mary’s Inn Bed & Breakfast. B&B's are the perfect place to celebrate an anniversary, honeymoon or simply your love for each other. Only 4 % of travelers have ever tried Bed and Breakfasts, yet they have the highest return ratios for travelers coming back.... a testament to the comfort and service.
For couples that are at the beginning of their relationship, a weekend away can be an important opportunity to learn more about each other. For couples deep into a relationship, romantic holidays offer an equally important occasion to switch gears, recharge, and realign.
According to a study from Travelocity, 56% of couples agree that travel is important for retaining the spark in a relationship, but 31% of couples have never been on a romantic, couples-only getaway.
A romantic getaway to St. Mary’s Inn Bed & Breakfast focuses on romantic time together in beautiful surroundings with unmatched indulgence and true comfort. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at one of Colorado Springs many fine restaurants, then return to enjoy deep sunken whirlpool tubs, sleep in a deep luxurious king or queen size bed, some of them even require step stools. In the morning, a full hot gourmet breakfast is included for all of our guests.
Make special memories and spend quality time together. As a sanctuary for romance, if you can’t make it on Valentine’s Day, don’t worry, this is an excellent location to snuggle at any time of the year.
Winter weather shouldn’t send you indoors, go outside and play in it! If the ski slopes aren’t your thing, we put together a list of fun winter activities to see and do in Colorado Springs and local areas.
See where Olympic dreams are born at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center or discover beauty and geological history at Garden of the Gods Park. You can explore the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s multidisciplinary culture or just go wild at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Events.
Want to stay warm during the colder winter months? Sample a pint from one of Colorado’s craft breweries. In a state known for craft brewing, Colorado Springs is no exception. Enjoy a beer at one of the many local spots, including Great Storm Brewing, Colorado Mountain Brewery and Pikes Peak Brewing Company, where you can taste brews named for area landmarks — like the Summit House Oatmeal Stout, which gives a nod to the spot atop Pikes Peak from which you can see all the way to Kansas.
Are you looking for fun and silly activities for all ages? Join us at Manitou Spring’s Great Fruitcake Toss for old fashioned games of tossing fruitcakes, costume competition, libations and a fruitcake bake off! January 28th, 1:00pm to 3:00pm, Memorial Park!
One of the truly amazing Colorado winter activities you don’t want to miss is Cripple Creak’s Ice Festival Event from February 11 – February 19, 2017. Local and world-famous sculptors create beautiful displays of ice. The Cripple Creek Ice Festival is one of the most exciting times of the year in this historic town. Be sure to join the Cripple Creek community as 160 pound blocks of ice are transformed into this year's theme of Mythological Wonderland. Don't forget to stop by the main event tent, where you can purchase votes for your favorite ice sculptures.
On February 25, 2017, one of the ways to keep warm is to fill your bellies, warm your bones and cheer on competitors at this year’s Annual Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off and Carnivale Parade in Manitou Springs! Fill your bellies, warm your bones and cheer on competitors at this year’s annual Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off in Manitou Springs! Each division competes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, as well as “Best Showmanship” and “People’s Choice” Award. All winners are determined by the public. The competition begins at 11 AM. Cost is only $1.00 for two samples of gumbo. Awards and the announcement of the new gumbo champion will start at noon. Be sure to stick around until 1:00 PM for the Carnivale Parade in downtown Manitou Springs.
You can still find thrills in Colorado without speeding down a mountain, and this is just a small list of fun winter activities to see and do in Colorado Springs and local areas.
Myths About B&Bs That Are Just NOT True
While bed and breakfasts are becoming a more popular option for travelers seeking unique and authentic accommodations, there still are many travelers who simply do not understand what a B&B
is about. There are so many major differences between a Bed and Breakfast and chain hotel. A traveler may wish to learn a little more about them before they decide to book any future trips?
Some common misconceptions about B&Bs are:
1. B&Bs are expensive
In Europe B&Bs rate commonly lower than a top chain hotel. Here in the USA, it is the opposite. So here there is a misconception that Rates are sometimes higher at B&Bs than they are at chain
hotels and larger properties, but there is more value included in your stay. At a larger hotel property, there are many more rooms and significantly more guests at any given time. Generally, you don’t
experience the same atmosphere nor receive the same service as you would at a B&B! In addition, the hotel will price everything per item. If you want WiFi in your room, that will be an extra cost and they are limited. Snacks from the mini-bar are outrageously expensive. There are never enough cookies to go around.
At a B&B, those amenities are included:
2. B&Bs are not an ideal option for business travelers
Many people think of B&Bs as a place where couples can get away for a romantic weekend getaway or what is often called a “staycation”, but the reality is these small accommodations providers love to have business travelers stay at their properties. This is because business travelers are potentially loyal repeat guests. For business travelers, it’s often difficult to leave home in order to fulfill their professional obligations, and a B&B provides them with a home away from home. There are many amenities available that they prefer and enjoy, including:
3. There’s no privacy at a B&B
The B&Bs that you book today are far different than the B&Bs of several decades ago. Most are designed for privacy, and offer private bathrooms as they have become a must-have for many people who are booking rooms today. Many of these properties have extra added insulation between rooms and floors to increase guest privacy during their stay. Finally, many people are worried about having to eat meals family-style with strangers. But B&Bs usually include tables and
chairs within the room space for those who wish to dine alone, and there’s often dining rooms with multiple tables in the common eating area. The reality is that guests love to socialize and enjoy having breakfast together…. proven at The St. Mary’s Inn.
No. 1 - Money, "Big Cities to Live In"
No. 1 - Outside Magazine, "Best Town"
No. 1 - Forbes, "America's Most Pet-Friendly City"
No. 1 - Men's Health, "Best Cities for Dogs"
No. 1 - Zillow.com, "Santa's Top 10 Favorite Cities"
No. 2 – Livability, “Pet Cities”
No. 2 - Men's Fitness, "Fittest City in America"
No. 2 - Women's Health, "The Best Places to Live for Women"
No. 2 – MSN.com, “Cities of Convention Wisdom”
No. 2 – Livability, “Cities for Veterans”
No. 2 – InsuranceProviders.com, “Safest City in the United States”
No. 3 – Hellawella, “Fitness-Focused Cities”
No. 3 - Men's Fitness, "Top Sports Town"
No. 3 - Earth Day Network, “Best Places to Live”
No. 3 - Car and Driver, "Top 10 Best Drivers' Cities"
No. 3 - FedSmith, "Best Southwest City for Defense Jobs"
No. 4 - Frommer's Travel Guide, "Cities Ranked and Rated"
No. 5 - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, "Best Cities to Live, Work and Play"
No. 5 – Kiplinger, “Great City for Young Adults”
No. 5 - MSNBC, "Best Cities to Live, Work and Play"
No. 6 – U.S. News & World Report, “Best Weekend Getaway”
No. 6 - Forbes, "America's Most Wired Cities"
No. 6 - SustainLane, "Top Ten Alternative Fueled City Fleets"
No. 7 – American Lung Association, “ Cleanest U.S. Cities”
No. 7 - Backpacker Magazine, "Best Places to Raise an Outdoor Kid"
No. 8 - Business Week, "Best Places to Start Over"
No. 8 – Sunset Magazine, “Fittest City in the West”
No. 9 - Forbes, "America's Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities"
No. 10 - Forbes, "Best Places for Business and Careers"
Top 10 - Outside Magazine, "Best Big Cities for Active Families"
Top 10 – Fox News, “Least Obese Metro Areas”
Top 10 - Kiplinger, "Great Cities for College Grads"
Top 10 - U.S. News and World Report, "Green Places to Retire"
Top 10 - Men's Health, "Best Teeth"
Top 10 - Budget Travel, "The 10 Coolest Small Towns" (Manitou Springs)
No. 10 - GALLUP - 2012 Least Obese Metro Area
No 10 - CNN Money's -10 Best Places to Retire 2013
No. 11 - University of Toronto, "Best Places to be a Kid on Christmas Morning"
No. 11 - ERC & Primacy Relocation, "Best Places to Relocate"
No. 11 - The Boyd Company, "Best Places to Build a Data Center"
No. 12 - Forbes, “Top City for Careers”
No. 12 - Cooking Light Magazine, "America's Healthiest Cities"
No. 13 - The Advocate "Gayest City"
No. 14 - FreeBackgroundChecksUSA.com, "Safest Cities in America for 2010"
No. 15 - Portfolio Magazine, "America's Top 25 Smartest Cities"
No. 15 – Parenting.com, “Best City for Families”
No. 17 – Farmer Insurance Group, “Most Secure Places to Live”
No. 17 – Relocate America, "Top 100 Places to Live"
No. 18 - Bicycling Magazine, "America's Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities"
No. 18 - TripAdvisor, Travelers' Choice 2010 "The Best Destinations"
No. 24 – The Daily Beast, “Funniest Cities”
Top 20 - Blue Rhine, "Top Cookout Capitals"
Top 25 - American Style, "Mid-Sized U.S. City Art Destination"
No. 27 – USA Today, “Most Literate City”
Silver Award - League of American Bicyclists, "Bicycle Friendly Community Award"
Hotels have come to notice and realize that loyalty programs hold the key to the heart of the all in increasing traveling millennials in particular, and of course, many other traveler segments as well. The result is that many corporate chains are now spending and implementing in a big way, and with large budgets, loyalty programs that will attract and retain new guests.
When a guest books through an OTA (Online Travel Agent), it will cost the hotel a large commission. Internet OTA companies saw that there was an opportunity to become the middle man for all of these, and now the Hotel chains are fighting back to recover!
Expedia and Booking.com are the biggest of all and control much of the hotel travel booking business. It has become for many, more convenient, not less expensive (although some believe it could be as well) to find the best rates on these search engines. Why is this? Because some use Expedia only and perhaps not Booking.com and vise versa.
Expedia Inc., controls many of the websites/names of the booking engines such as, but not limited to, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels, BedandBreakfast (recently purchased), Trivago, Expedia Affiliate Network, Home Away, Egencia, Hotwire, Expedia MediaSolutions, motif group, Classic Vacations, CarRentals, Expedia Local Expert, Venere, Expedia cruise ship centers,… etc. Expedia once owned TripAdvisors but I bet they are sorry they let them break away, as they may be back in a whole new way… as competitors! Priceline.com owns the Dutch company named Booking.com. They are a larger force in Europe and contenders here in the US.
SO: Why would the huge investments of huge infrastructures of buildings of all kinds, hotel, resorts, bed and breakfast etc.., be wanting to get the guests to circumnavigate the OTAs and book direct with them like they used to? Answer: to avoid the huge commissions they now pay these OTA booking engines? Commissions range from 10 to 20%. So how do they do that? Incentivize the guests to book direct with them and give them more than they can get online. They have increase their rates/prices and give back incentives to "direct booking guests" who can search the online and then call the Hotel to book direct. If they are going to spend money on these programs and get their guest booking direct again, they had better train their reservation staff as well. Here lies a sleeping problem. Prevalent with the bigger hoteliers.
For example, Marriott created a campaign titled “It Pays to Book Direct.” This current rewards program is expressly designed to incentivize travelers to book directly on the Marriott website. Benefits of booking direct with this huge hotel chain include the ability to modify reservations and the option to pay at the time of your stay rather than prior to your arrival which based on airline pricing, typically is 21 days advance, or more . They offer additional perks if you join their rewards program, including free Wi-Fi, (always free with us) mobile check-in (always available with us) and the ability to earn free nights the more stays that you book with Marriott.
Hilton also launched their new marketing campaign called “Stop Clicking Around.” This campaign encourages its rewards members to book direct by offering additional discounts, upwards of 10%.
All hoteliers are now rethinking their strategy to get guests to book direct.
We at The St. Mary’s Inn, Bed and Breakfast will also start a new program effective immediately.
As a small one of a kind property, when we signed up with the huge OTAs, we could not compete by having lower prices on our own website as it would be in direct competition to the OTAs who “guarantee” lower prices. We can however upgrade guests. We can definitely offer cash discounts as the OTAs can not accept cash....hard to send over wires!
SO: effective immediately we will offer all guests who book direct with us:
FEEDBACK: TELL US WHAT YOU THINK?
Zeno and Conchita
719-540-2222 Book Direct in our website:
Bed and Breakfasts are known for enjoyable stays at the greatest variety of places and premises. The diversity is endless and along with that I raise the question….Is it the best place for a traveler on a business trip to find it desirable to stay at a Bed and Breakfast or is it best for vacation travelers, or a Romantic Getaway?
The answer of course is all the above! At the St. Mary’s Inn we offer it all, and all find it extremely suitable and comfortable for their personal needs. While the business traveler is on the go and time management is critical, what better place than to wake up and have a free breakfast downstairs rather than having to drive to a restaurant. For a change, have a healthy (full hot gourmet breakfast) at 8 am and be out of the door as early as 8:15 in the morning, satisfied! Special needs carefully taken into account. Unlimited beverages and food. Which restaurant can even compete with the service and food?…none!
Wake up early and fresh coffee, tea and hot chocolate are ready to enjoy, while you plan the day and keep in touch with everyone through free hi-speed internet. Oh, have I told you that there are No extra charges, no parking problems or fees, no disguised fees for building renovation in the form of a tax, no resort fees, emergency care. Instead we have free water bottles, all just like the good old days of excellence in hospitality where owners really care. The Gourmet breakfast is included for Free. Have you ever stopped to think of the value? Your car is not 1 block away in a public parking lot that valets have to go and get for you (it all takes time and money) but in a private parking lot within steps. It’s all about convenience, isn’t it? Time is of the essence for any business traveler! The rooms afford more luxury, such as individually air conditioned, ceiling fan as well, writing desk and chair, and all the luxuries. So have I made a case for our Colorado Springs Executive Stay for the business person being better off in a Bed and Breakfast? There is so much more…
But let’s discuss our Colorado Springs Romantic Getaways. The vacationers who want to enjoy all of it, but may have some more time? Keep in mind, many want to visit the College, go on a tour and may also be in a rush. Most are not as rushed as the business traveler we spoke about. They want personal attention and find out the lay of the land, where to go, things to do and where to enjoy delicious meals. The Inn is suited for the Romantic Getaways where couple can get reacquainted or just get away from it all and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. I recommend a minimum of a 2 night stay where we witness the de-stressing of guests…. it makes a huge difference. Romantic getaway because you have set the course, raised the sail and decided to be romantic in an environment which is conducive to the cause and goal. Everything becomes romantic when comfort abounds and you get a good nights sleep, followed with not having to cook, wash dishes, make beds….. so walk away from it, you deserve a romantic getaway that embraces love and rejuvenation. Try our Honeymoon Suite for the ultimate in luxury and romance.
Only 4% of all travelers have ever stayed at a Bed and Breakfast… amazing!
Introducing our new modern website on which you can directly book all of your reservations. Our availability will always be up to date and available for immediate viewing and booking your reservations. Prices are dependent on seasons and availability and are subject to change. We have had the old website with old pictures since January 8, 2006. It was time for a change. We hope you enjoy the Google Virtual Tour in which you will be able to experience walking through all of the rooms to aid in deciding which suite you will enjoy the most.
The St. Mary’s Inn Bed and Breakfast in Colorado Springs has now joined Expedia.com and Booking.com. These two websites are the biggest in the industry. Expedia.com has just purchased BedandBreakfast.com, which was formerly the only website we were members of. Now with the Expedia.com and Booking.com partnerships we are experiencing triple the amount of bookings. So for our loyal customers, please book in advance. If the reservation chart shows that we are fully booked, please call us directly for any suites that we may have reserved! Welcome to the new age of technology at The St. Mary’s Inn, Bed and Breakfast.