Summer is the time for travel. Perhaps you have friends or family who plan to stay at your home in the coming months. Wedding weekends, family reunions and weekend getaways to catch up with friends are always popular during summer months. Providing a comfortable space for guests is a generous gift. It can also be overwhelming to have others staying in your home. Having a plan in place and thinking through the details of their stay will allow you to feel prepared and more relaxed as a host.
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Guest Room or Luxury Hotel Room?
When preparing your guest room, think about amenities that are provided in luxury hotels. You certainly don’t have to offer room service, but thoughtful touches will go a long way to make visitors feel at home.
A tray of snacks and drinks placed in the guest room can be a nice touch. No need for guests to sneak down to the kitchen and rifle through the pantry when they need a little something to eat. Ask guests before they arrive if they have any allergies you should be aware of or food they enjoy.
Freshly laundered sheets and towels are a must when expecting guests. If your towels are looking matted and ratty, replace them. Make sure there are plenty of towels in the guest bathroom for the entire stay.
I love it when hosts provide a collection of books or recent magazines in a guest room. Perhaps the latest issue of Abilene Scene on the nightstand?
A cozy blanket is always a nice addition to a guest room. It can be used as extra warmth if guests are cold during the night or during nap time if they’re lucky enough to sneak in a nap!
What is it about fresh flowers? Maybe it’s the splash of color or subtle scent. They instantly make a room feel special. Adding a bouquet of fresh flowers to your guest room will add that extra touch of hospitality to the room.
Have you noticed that hotels always have some sort of stationery on hand for guests? It’s so handy. Have a notepad and pens on hand in case guests need to jot down a note or reminder.
Having a small gift in the guest room is a thoughtful way of welcoming your visitors. The gift need not be expensive or fancy. Hand cream or a candle in a favorite scent is always nice or a sleeve of golf balls or coffee mug for men. If children are expected, a toy they can play with during their visit and then take home at the end of the stay is an extra special treat.
It’s the worst when you’ve thoughtfully packed (or in my case, OVER-packed) your suitcase for every unforeseen catastrophe only to realize you forgot your toothbrush. It never fails. Help your guests out and have a variety of toiletries available in the guest bathroom. Place items on the countertop where they can be seen easily.
• Dental Floss
• Hand Lotion
• Hand Sanitizer
• Cotton Balls
• Cotton Swabs
Clear the Deck
Oftentimes, guest rooms are used as storage spaces for the majority of the year. When a visitor is expected, clear junk and clutter to make way for any bags, suitcases, and personal items your visitors will bring. Make room in the closet for hanging clothes and have at least one empty dresser or nightstand available for guests to use. If drawer space isn’t available, consider purchasing a small, portable suitcase stand that can be folded and stored when guests leave.
Ensure Guests will Sleep Tight
Staying in an unfamiliar space doesn’t always induce the best sleep. There could be strange noises, room temperature preferences or early morning sun streaking through a window. Consider providing items for your guests so they can sleep like a baby:
• Sound machine
• Box fan
• Extra blankets
• Eye mask
• Blackout curtains
Make a Test Run…or Test Sleep!
Once your guest room is set up, take it for a test drive. Designate a day and sleep in the bed and use the guest bathroom. In short, use the space just as guests do. This may seem like overkill but consider the valuable firsthand experience you’ll get in return. How else would you discover that the shower head doesn’t have enough water pressure or the mattress needs to be rotated? Are electrical outlets accessible? Some guests would rather lose a night’s sleep than tell their host that the ceiling fan in the guest room squeaks with every single rotation. It’s worth going the extra mile to make sure guests are comfortable down to the very last detail.
Check Off Your To-Do List
Am I the only one who uses hosting parties or having guests stay at my home as motivation to complete those pesky projects? Take advantage of the situation and wrap some things up. Plant those summer flowers in the containers on your front porch. Buy new pillows for the sofa. Hang those pictures that have been hiding on the floor behind the bedroom door for two years (I’m speaking directly to myself now). When company’s coming, the pressure is on so why not take advantage?
Have a Plan
Communication is key when guests are staying in your home. The more clear you are, the less awkward it will be. Let guests know details such as when breakfast will be available, where the coffee will be in the morning, and any plans for the coming day. The more open you are as a host, the more comfortable your guests will feel.
Abilene is a wonderful community to show off to visitors. Hosting friends and family can be an extra special experience that begins with creating a comfortable guest room. Thoughtful touches not only make guests more comfortable during their stay, they also communicate the love and affection you feel for them.
By Callie Harris
Photos By Shayli Anne Photography