As a business traveler, looking for the comforts of home while working with clients in small and mid-size cities, I opt for local bed and breakfasts, especially if the destination also happens to be a college town, like Corvallis, Oregon, home of Oregon State University. Typically in these communities there are not enough hotels and cookie cutter mid-range national brands accessible to all pocket books, dependable and efficient but devoid of much charm.
Bed and breakfast inns today offer far more than get-away romantic retreats. With the growth of the entrepreneurial "share" culture of HomeAway/VRBO and Airbnb, they must create unique personalities to be competitive, and often luxury at expense-account-friendly prices. Not only that, but they attracta certain clientele, both business and leisure travelers, who appreciate their alternative touches and are friendly, well-behaved and respectful of others' privacy. That's especially important as a professional traveler who needs to get work done and may not want to interact with anyone else over afternoon tea or hors d'oeuvres at the cocktail hour.
I initially learned by accident about the benefits of B&B inns for business travelers when trying to reserve a hotel room for two nights just before Homecoming Weekend at a client university in the Midwest. Everything was booked - and I was desperate!
My newest favorite is Fernwood Circle Guest Houses in Corvallis, Oregon, home of Oregon State University. Whether you're contemplating a trip to the Willamette Valley or elsewhere, it's an excellent template for standards to expect and search out wherever you are. Located in residential neighborhoods or a few miles out of town, the six Fernwood Circle properties draw consultants and others doing business with the university as well as college parents and grandparents, couples experiencing the regional wine country and, at my last visit, two sisters who were visiting their uncle in the hospital and wanted a more home-like alternative to hanging out several days in a motel. I keep returning to the Sage Guest Rooms in the main Fernwood Circle Guest House, about 7 minutes from the Oregon State campus. (I always request the room with the private bath as some have a shared bathroom in the hall.)
Fernwood Circles' innkeeper Alexandra Eder is a savvy, gracious host, who knows how to anticipate your needs in tasteful upscale lodging - Epgyptian cotton linens and towels, signature creams and soaps, self-serve fresh Continental breakfasts, fully equipped kitchens, Wi-Fi and TVs (and the usual soaps, ironing boards, hair dryers, etc.), keyless entry and easy parking. I love the Virtual Concierge app, BnBPal, that she developed and that makes it so easy to navigate logistical details. She has carefully put herself in her guests' place to create a comfortable atmosphere, bright and fresh, cozy and modern, with intuitive features appealing to a range of preferences. Some of the accommodations are pet-friendly, others are pet-free; most have decks and outdoor seating, certain ones are more suitable to single families or groups of friends as vacation rentals while others offer professional travelers a variety of comfortable spaces (including large dining or work tables) for extended stays.
For a different assortment, see what's available through these sites in two states definitely worth visiting: