Many luxury hotels do a great job of making their guests feel welcome. Some guests find that feeling in the friendly staff, others in the scent of fresh flowers in the common areas, and others in the quality of the amenities. However, nothing is more wonderful than feeling welcome in someone’s home. I strive to make guests’ experiences in our home special.
From the minute you walk over the threshold of someone’s home, you should feel that they are very excited to have you as a guest. The care and preparation for your arrival should be evident, from fresh flowers in nearly every room to the enormous bowl of fruit just waiting to be plucked and enjoyed to the never-ending cheese, olive platters, and delicious wines. And that’s just in the public rooms.
Step into your guest room, and you’ve hit the hospitality lottery. A wrapped gift on the bed—inside, you might find a beautiful candle, an excellent book, or a box of delicious specialty teas. There are more fresh flowers, a fancy bottle of water, irresistible chocolates, and the latest magazines (with pages earmarked and notes like, “I thought you’d like this story about…”). A new favorite beauty product in the bathroom to make you feel like you’re at a spa.
“The first few minutes when someone comes into your home set the tone for the weekend.” Having lots of munchies out and at the ready signals to guests that they can be casual and make themselves at home. “We want our guests to know they can let their hair down for the weekend.
“As for gifts, the most important is to start with a handwritten note in your guest’s room. “When people take the effort to get on an airplane or in a car to visit, it’s nice to let them know that we’re putting everything aside to enjoy this special time together.”
Of course, you might feel so welcome that moving in will cross your mind!
Try to make the items you leave out in a guest room as specific to the person as possible. For example, if your guest is fluent in Italian, give a book of Italian poetry or current Italian magazines from the local newsstand. Does your guest have a particular fondness for chocolates or French macaroons? Seek out the newest bonbons from an up-and-coming chocolatier or local bakery.
Men love “beauty” items too. Look for an old-fashioned shaving kit with a brush, unusual razor, specialty toothpaste, and a fancy toothbrush.
Pajamas and cozy slippers during colder months are always a hit.
If you know your guest’s tastes and special interests, new CDs and books are always appropriate. Sharing your favorites can be an excellent way to introduce them to something new.
Regarding food, it’s nice, not to mention easier on you, to plan meals and snacks so that they can easily be pulled out and served after a day out sightseeing. “If you are staying in to share a special meal, try to keep the recipes delicious but straightforward so that the emphasis is on your time together at the table, not over the stove.
Share recent discoveries with your guests. It doesn’t have to be anything significant: Even introducing them to something as simple as your favorite new ice cream will create fun moments and memories.
Does your guest love fashion? Books about her favorite designers, as well as luxury beauty items, are always a treat.