Avoid going “spider monkey” mid-way through a visit by following these tips.
No Back-to-Back Guests Ever! – I’ve taken one group of Guests to the airport in the am, picked up other Guests from the ferry in the pm, Never again! It’s exhausting and I am not a Gracious Host after working as an unpaid chambermaid all day. Beware – unforeseen things happen, your dryer breaks, plumbing issues, car trouble, flights get canceled and your Guests can’t leave — and you can have 2 sets of Guests and not enough beds.
Two or Three Night Rule – Don’t break this rule, unless your Guests are on the “Best Guest List.”
Guest Room Ready – Think luxury hotel, regardless of the size of your home or budget. Welcome Guests by setting out nice soaps, clean towels, a map, brochures about things to do in your town, a book or magazines, and a little gift. Forget the nice robes, those are a nightmare, and take forever to dry. Stock the shower with nice shampoo, cream rinse, and liquid body soap.
Appetizers – Be prepared. Guests arrive hungry after a long trip, so have food for them to snack on, so nobody gets cranky, and guests feel welcome. Try a charcuterie platter.
Welcome Dinner – You must feed them it’s part of being a Gracious Host, Guests are tired from traveling, will not want to go out, will appreciate a relaxing dinner at home, and it sets the tone for the visit. Set the table before your guests arrive, so it looks festive and welcoming, and prepare a simple dinner. Pasta, green salad, bread, and sorbet makes a great dinner. Spicy Lobster Pasta is a great recipe and you can substitute shrimp. Vegetarian and/or on a budget try Summer Squash and Basil Pasta. Can’t cook – order take out.
Wine, Beer, and Alcohol – My absolute favorite Guests, who are on my “Best Guest List” and get invited back year after year, bring a case of really nice wine, which we all enjoy during their stay. Other Guests will drink you dry, don’t realize how much they drink, will not chip in or buy a thing, or buy one bottle of wine and drink six. Know your guests, if supplying all the alcohol bothers you, have enough wine, beer, or alcohol for the first couple of days, don’t fully stock the bar for their entire visit, and hopefully your Guests contribute. If you’re lucky, they just might share a glass with you.
Sheets – Guests offer to strip the beds when they leave. My cousin, who has tons of Houseguests gave me a great tip, she now asks Guests to put clean sheets on the bed when they leave. I now have plenty of sheets ready to go and ask Guests to put clean sheets on the bed. If you are a control freak, iron or steam the pillow cases and the top of the top sheet — me I’m letting that one go.
Be Prepared for Bathroom Cleaning – If you have a lot of Houseguests, don’t have a cleaning person, or a cleaning person who comes after every Houseguest leaves, get yourself some really good heavy duty long rubber gloves and a long toilet brush because you are going to be doing some cleaning, my friend and lots of it.
Bathroom Cleaning Challenge – I’m constantly trying to make my life easier and be able to enjoy my Guests. Next year, I’m determined to make bathroom cleaning fun and appealing for family and regular houseguests, so I’m planning a discrete challenge – new bucket, toilet brush, rubber gloves, sponges, and cleaning, so everything is new, clean, and not one bit icky. This bucket is going in the Guest bathroom with a big bow on it, I’m hoping someone will take the challenge, and give the bathroom a quick clean before they leave. Keep you posted.
Towels – If I could make my guests drip dry, I would. No white towels, too hard to keep clean, they get stained with sunscreen, makeup, and self-tanning lotions, opt for tan, grey, or blue towels, and do not buy super thick or plush towels because they take forever to dry. When you are doing 10 plus loads of laundry – time is everything. Love Turkish towels because they are thin, dry quickly, and are just plain better for the environment, so give each guest one regular towel and one Turkish towel.
Do you have tips for being a Gracious Host – contact me. I’d love to hear from you.