After 15 years of contemplating opening a bed-and-breakfast, five years of planning and purchasing, 10 months of construction, and many months of prep, St. Francis Cottage (SFC), a seven-room Urban Cottage style bed and breakfast opened on April 14, 2017, in East Brainerd. Having hosted over 2,500 guests, many of whom have stayed at the Cottage multiple times, St. Francis Cottage is celebrating its fifth anniversary.
Wallace and Nancy Braud opened the first “built from the ground up” bed and breakfast in this area with little background in this industry and but have built and maintained a 5-star guest rating on Google, Expedia, Travelocity, Tripadvisor, and other online travel agencies and booking.
In 2020, Hotels.com awarded the Cottage with their “Most Wanted” award and repeated that in 2021. In 2020 and 2021, based on reviews by guests, TripAdvisor honored St Francis Cottage with the Travelers Choice Award, placing them in the top 10% of their listed hotels worldwide. Business at SFC was primarily unaffected by the COVID pandemic and actually increased due to many travelers between Florida and the northern states.
“Our guests have been very kind to us and taught us so much over these first five years,” said Mr. and Mrs. Braud. “We had done our research and some training, but you never really know what you will encounter. Our guests have been patient, wonderful and supportive as we have learned the ropes and strived to serve their travel needs.”
The Cottage has been visited by guests from all but two states and from many countries abroad and has become known for its hospitality, atmosphere, and home-style breakfasts. Both Bs in B&B are very important and SFC strives to provide the best of both by offering essential traveler amenities including ensuite baths and individual temperature control in all rooms, an ADA compliant bedroom, seasonal gardens and hot tub, soft drinks and 24-hour access to a coffee/tea service and snacks, as well as in-room amenities and an ample three-course breakfast along with an evening wine-and-beer happy hour.
The Brauds do not consider the Cottage to be opulent, but just hope to provide a homey place for folks to get away, take a break during a long trip, or enjoy our great multi-faceted city and its surroundings. It is a place at which to rest, relax, and restore while in a location that is “away from it all in the middle of everything.”
The Brauds look forward to many more years serving their broad range of guests and hope that though their reputation has grown throughout the U.S., that they will become less of a well-kept secret in the Chattanooga area.