Our 53rd Season!

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions guests may have about staying at our small Inn.

I’ve never been to a small inn or bed & breakfast but I’m considering it. What can I expect?

Our Inn described by a recent guest on Trip Advisor as “a spotlessly clean, elegant & refined without being the least bit stuffy or pretentious, with just a really nice, relaxed vibe” is an ample description. We start your day with our buffet style continental breakfast & a coffee carafe available from 8:00-9:00AM daily. There are individual tables both inside the breakfast room and on either of each of our 2 spacious outdoor patios. As owner/innkeepers, we & our staff are on the property & available to assist you in any way possible, but we are also mindful of your need for privacy.

What post COVID precautions remain in place in 2023?

We have implemented a variety of changes to keep both our guests & staff safe, and enhanced cleaning & disinfection will always remain a priority. For guest arrivals, we continue to offer both our traditional office meet, greet and brief tour or, for those guests that prefer our “self check-in” process remains in place with instructions emailed to all guests 48 hours before arrival. We continue to offer housekeeping with our guest preferred “non-entry” laundry/amenity replenishment system, but also offer “in room” housekeeping upon request for those guests who prefer. We encourage all of our guests to support small Inns and Bed & Breakfasts and to “Stay Small, Stay Safe”.

What is a continental breakfast?

There are a few different types that vary from place to place. Essentially, it is a lighter breakfast option & does not include “hot” choices like eggs, bacon, pancakes etc. We are licensed to serve a continental breakfast & can’t provide a “plated” breakfast from items prepared on a griddle or on the stovetop. However, that doesn’t prevent Denise, our chef extraordinaire, from being creative with “hot items” baked in our oven in muffin tins. These include a variety of hot items including egg tortillas, soufflés etc. that vary daily including French toast cups & other surprises. Her popular signature items such as “Overnight Oats” & “Swedish Crème” among others, are also treats that our guests frequently request. Denise includes a variety of fresh fruit each morning, normally sliced & provided in a fruit cup in addition to whole fruit like bananas etc., breakfast salads, yogurt, granola, & varying choices of her homemade freshly baked scones, muffins, & breads. Coffee, both regular & decaf, tea, juices & bottled water compliment the meal.

I have food allergies/special dietary restrictions & wondered if you can accommodate them?

Unfortunately, as we are not a full service kitchen we are not licensed for special dietary preparations & unable to provide for special dietary needs. We suggest to our guests with those needs to bring along any items they might require as we provide refrigerators in each guest room.

I’m uncertain about a stay as I know many bed & breakfasts don’t offer TV, wi-fi, or air conditioning. Do you provide amenities that we’re normally accustomed to in a hotel?

We offer many of the same room conveniences you’ve come to expect at a hotel that include free wifi, flat screen cable TV, AC (seasonal), refrigerator & room amenities from Bath & Body Works. Hair dryers, irons & ironing boards are also available in each room. Towels & other amenities are refreshed daily by our housekeeping staff. We offer concierge services that include reservations for dinner, tours & specific information about any activity of your interest. We provide local magazines, guides, activity brochures & our popular Ship’s Knees Guest Information Guide is available as a PDF document here. We provide free parking in our spacious parking area & have a large bike rack if you plan to bring your bike. We also have extra bike locks & helmets in the event you forget yours. Outside, we also have smaller intimate seating areas around the 1 ½ acre inn grounds where you can relax in a hammock or enjoy a board game at the picnic table. Relax around our beautiful outdoor pool or enjoy an evening beverage in our courtyard garden patio around our popular gas fire pit.

What are the inn’s hours each day & what if we need you in the event of an emergency?

We don’t offer a 24/7 front desk as our office hours daily are from 7:00AM to 6:00PM & winter hours from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, but we are available 24/7 if needed in an emergency as we reside at the home just 25 yards to rear of the inn property. Our cell phone #’s are provided in the welcome letter placed in your room at arrival, on the blackboards throughout the Inn & posted on each of the two office doors when the office has closed.

What do your inn rooms look like?

Decors at the inn as described by our guests are comfortable, with warm color schemes & have a nautical, beach like, & airy feel to them. Original artwork from local artists & artisans is tastefully incorporated into each unique room décor & also into our common areas. The Ship’s Knees Inn is an 1820 sea captain’s home & while most of the rooms are not “Marriott size”, our many repeat guests enjoy the special feel that our inn provides them. You may view professional photos of each of the inn’s 17 different accommodations on our rooms pages that will give you a representative look of what to expect. You can also call us or email us & we’d be pleased to answer any questions you may have about any of the rooms or anything else of interest about the inn or the area.

I’ve always heard that small inns/bed & breakfasts have a bunch of rules/signs of what not to do & that you have to share a bathroom with strangers. What “rules” must we observe & do you have private baths in the rooms? What if we stay out too late?

Our “rules” are really not any different from a conventional hotel that you are accustomed to. Our basic policies for the property is non-smoking throughout all interior & exterior areas, we are adult oriented so we welcome ages 12 & older only, are not a “pet friendly” inn & ask that you extend common courtesy to our other guests by observing our “quiet period” with no loud noise or activity between 10:00PM & 8:00AM. 15 of the inns 17 accommodations have private baths with 2 of our rooms upstairs in the main inn sharing one bath across the hallway. Post COVID we continue with our policy: “when 1 of these 2 rooms sharing the bath is rented, the other is automatically blocked & restricted from use.” The exception is if a family or friends desired to rent both of them together. There is no “curfew” at the inn & we just request if returning to your room late that you keep noise to a minimum.

I notice that your inn & some other small inns/bed & breakfasts I’ve contacted have an age restriction with regard to small children. Why is that?

We can’t speak for other properties but the reasons we limit children to ages 12 & older are specific to our property. First of all, we love children as we have 4 of our own & 3 grandchildren. However as an 1820 historic inn the walls are made of horsehair & plaster (without soundproofing), many of the rooms are just too small to accommodate playpens or cribs, 60% of our guests are repeat & expect no children, & most importantly the inn is not “child proofed”. While we carefully maintain all interior aspects of the inn we would be very concerned about the safety of any small mobile toddler or child. Kids should be allowed “to be kids” & our place is unfortunately not an appropriate place for them. We can & do suggest full service inns/bed & breakfasts that do welcome children when we get this type of request.

I don’t really like the beach but my wife does & she is coming for a conference. What else is there to do around the area?

We’re just a ¼ mile up the hill from the very famous Nauset Beach, about a 5 minute walk from the inn, however there are plenty of activities both in Orleans & in adjacent towns if the beach is not of interest. The town of Orleans is equidistant between both Hyannis & Provincetown making Orleans an excellent choice for exploring the Mid, Lower, & Outer Cape areas. Whatever your interests we can provide an enjoyable option from great golf courses, excellent biking & hiking trails, kayaking, paddle boarding, deep sea fishing charters, sailing, whale & seal watching cruises, bird sanctuaries, art galleries, artisan crafts, antiquing, shopping, museums, live performing arts theatre, concerts & music festivals, diverse tours to match your interests, fine dining, the list goes on. We’d be pleased to provide you our “Cape Cod Activities” list that includes the activity provider, phone & website information that highlights many of the aforementioned & provides many other options too numerous to provide here.

What happens if I reserve with you & I’m unable to arrive by the standard check-in time?

Our standard check-in begins at 2:00PM daily & while we always prefer to greet & welcome you in person, post COVID we continue to offer our “self check-in” process for guests who prefer, or arrive after our 6:00PM office closure. 48 hours prior to your scheduled arrival date we’ll provide you by email exact directions to your room from our parking area so that you may perform a “ self check-in”. We leave the door unlocked, your key on the dresser, a room light on & provide you our cell phone # in the event you have any difficulty. We also provide you directions to the breakfast room & other significant areas of the Inn.

What if I make a reservation with you & I have to cancel unexpectedly?

Our deposit & cancellations policies are very similar to most other small inns/bed & breakfasts. Our policies for deposit & cancellation appear on our website, our on-line reservation system, & our email reservation confirmation. If you cancel 15 days or more prior to your arrival you’ll receive your deposit refunded less a $25 cancellation fee. If a cancellation is received less than 15 days of your arrival date the guest is subject to the charges of the entire reservation period, unless we’re able to rebook your accommodation & then your monies are refunded for whatever night(s) were able to rebook on short notice. We work diligently to rebook your room especially if cancelled within the 15 days of arrival as we prefer to have a guest stay with us & not penalize you for having to cancel, but unfortunately we make no exceptions for any reason to our cancellation policy. We will normally place your room with an OTA (Online Travel Agency) similar to an “Expedia” in an attempt to recoup at least a portion of your monies as these sites require a commission. We also keep you informed in this process by phone or email of the status of your cancellation & our success in re-reserving your accommodation. If successful we return your monies for whatever night(s) & rates we’ve been able to rebook.

Why is your cancellation policy somewhat restrictive as with hotels & motels I can cancel with as little as a 1 day notice with no penalty?

Hotels & Motels generally over book to compensate for last minute cancellations. Over booking is a part of “yield management” taught in all leading college level hospitality programs & practiced by virtually every major hotel or motel chain. Frequent travelers have probably had the experience of arriving at a large chain hotel with a confirmed reservation & been told the hotel was “sold out”. The hotel then finds you comparable accommodations & rates at another local hotel often times “comping” you for the inconvenience that they have caused you. Normally, at small inns/bed & breakfasts over booking is not practiced. At the Ship’s Knees we never over book. Your room is guaranteed & will be available when you arrive, no exceptions, no excuses.  This is the reason for the design of our cancellation policy. We also provide guests the option of Travel Insurance available on our website thru Allianz Global, a leading world provider of travel insurance plans. Guests are encouraged to contact them directly, determine an appropriate plan, and/or investigate other plans to compare & evaluate. Our guests have told us that the cost of the insurance is approximately 5-6.5% of the cost of their stay with us. Seems like short money for a little piece of mind with regard to an unexpected cancellation, as no one plans to cancel, but cancellations usually occur usually due to ‘life events”. While we remain sympathetic to these “life events” please don’t request us to take responsibility for them. A direct link is available on our website, just click the link for additional information & easy on line quotes or call us & we’re happy to assist you.

Enjoy your summer vacation at the Ship’s Knee Inn Beach Hotel on Cape Cod.