Oh my goodness, it seems like my poor city just can't catch a break. First we have the unrest from a month ago and now so many are homeless with everything they own under flooding waters. Again, this blog seems a little frivolous, but I was working on a series on how to treat a guest in a luxurious manner before this tragedy happened and, since there are so many displaced people in Baton Rouge staying in other's homes, I thought it couldn't hurt to continue this series on how to pamper a guest when they are in your home.
In the previous posts, I gave craft projects on how to decorate a guest room to make it look a little less stark and uninviting. I had my husband help me put up my "art" and, though I still think the walls are a little bare, it is definitely much better.
Here are my before pictures of the guest room:
|This is the few from the bed. Televisions are nice, but a little art would make it better.|
|I use my guest room as my accessories closet. These are some of my prettiest shoes, I am considering them to be "art".|
|The bedroom closet. I had sliding doors, which all our bedrooms had, so I replaced them with curtains.|
|A friend of mine got me the Be Our Guest pillow when he went to Disney World and I love it. But, it does nothing to liven up the walls.|
And here are my after:
|My "suitcase" and postcards size travel posters on the wall.|
|A closer view.|
|I actually think I want to add another column of pictures above the bed, but this is much better than nothing.|
|Much cozier and more welcoming than the blank wall.|
But that is not all you need to make a guest feel comfortable- in truth, it is not even the most important thing. Think of the nicest hotel room that you have ever stayed in. Have you got that image in your head? You want you guest room to emulate that experience.
Broken down to its bare essentials, a hotel room is a clean, blandly decorated room, full of amenities, with bathrooms stocked with fresh fluffy towels and free shampoo. You should take this formula and make your guest room the "fanciest" hotel room that your budget will allow.
Rules of HospitalityRule Number 1: Do not make your guest have to look for anything. Place items in the room so that your guest knows where they are and in a way that they know those items are there for them.
Rule Number 2: Put items in the guest room that will make your guest feel more welcome and comfortable.
By now you may be asking "What type of items are you talking about?"
Well, I'm so glad you asked.
In my guest rooms I like to make certain that the following items are placed in the room:
Small Personal Touches
Fresh TowelsI like to have towels expressly for guests. This way I can ensure that the towels remain nicer longer. (Yes, I have to hide them from my husband or he uses them.) You can keep these towels in the linen closet and let your guest's know they are theirs and which ones are okay to use. Personally, I don't relish the idea of people going through my closets, so I try to make it so that my guest does not feel the need to go through my closets. I fold the towels nicely and placing them in a prominent area in the guest bedroom.
I love to fold my hand towels so that they make a little "pocket". In this pocket I can put toiletry items or a folded wash cloth.
|You can't really see my pocket because I have a washcloth folded like a fan and put in there. But, I promise it is there. Along with a brand new bath sponge and two cupcake shaped bath fizzies.|
How to Fold a Hand Towel to Make a "Pocket"
1. Place the towel so that the "back" side of the towel is facing up.
2. Fold the towel from the bottom, toward the center, stopping once you are 1/4 of the way up the length of the towel. This fold will make your "pocket".
3. Turn the towel so that the "pocket" you just folded is facing away from you. Fold the towel, lengthwise, toward the center of the towel holding the "pocket" in place.
|Notice I am gripping the fold so that the "pocket" stays in place.|
4. Fold the towel, lengthwise, basically folding the towel into thirds, making sure to hold on to the fold to keep your "pocket".
|Remember, grip the fold.|
|I know it doesn't look like much now, but it will get better. I promise!|
5. Fold the towel in half with the "pocket" away from you. This will ensure the "pocket" will remain on top once the folding is complete.
|Back view of the towel after done folding.|
|Front of towel with "pocket" showing.|
6. Insert items into "pocket".
|Isn't that cute?!?!|
I put my towels on the guest bed. (Although, for the pictures, I have it on the dresser so that it can be seen better. Cream towels on a cream quilt don't stand out well in photos.) This pretty much guarantees that the guest will see them and they will know they are there for their use.
SnacksThere are few things that I like less than being hungry when I am staying in someone's home. Even when my host says that I may help myself freely to whatever they have in their cabinets, it makes me feel uncomfortable to actually go through those cabinets to find something to eat. So, again, I have taken my example from hotel rooms and I create a snack basket for my guests which I place in the room.
|My basket got chewed by my dog before I took this picture, but you get the idea. :-)|
You can place anything that you want in this basket. When in doubt, think of items that you have seen in food gift baskets. Also, if you know them, think of the tastes of your guest. If your guest is a vegetarian, they won't appreciate beef jerky in their basket but would probably love veggie chips. Here are some "basics" that are, generally, safe to put in a snack basket:
Flavor packets for the bottled water
Trail Mix (Unless your guest is allergic to nuts.)
Fresh Fruit (Such as apples, pears and bananas)
Snack bars, such as granola bars or Rice Krispy squares
You can make these baskets as elaborate or as simple as you would like. Either way, even if they are not used, they will be appreciated by your guest.
AmenitiesThis may be my favorite part of getting ready for a guest - preparing the amenities. These are the items that are, frequently, forgotten by your guest and make their lives easier if they are provided for by you. I like to keep an amenities box in the closet of the bathroom which I go through twice a year (If I haven't had any guests to use the items.) to make certain that all of the items are fresh and appropriate for a guest use. I like to get travel size versions of these items, that way my guest can feel free to take them home once they have used them. Because they are in a box, I can easily take them out and they are ready for my guests to use without too much fuss and worry.
|Below the toothbrush and other items is a box containing mini sample bottles of perfume and cologne.|
Amenities I like to include are:
Bath Fizzies or Bath Salts (I make these myself and will give instructions how in another post.)
I even like to save trial size bottles of perfume/cologne that I receive as samples when I buy perfume and save them in a little box for my guests so that they may use them if they so choose.
Entertainment OptionsIdeally, you and your guest will spend most of your time together and that will be the main bulk of entertaining your guest. However, at bed time, I know that I need to relax in bed before I ever go to sleep and I like to give my guests this option as well.
The type of entertainment that you provide for your guest depends entirely on your budget. I have an old television in my guest bedroom. This television used to be in the living room, but was replaced due to the fact that my husband received a larger one as a gift. I also have a VCR and a Play Station that plays dvds and video games. All of these are items that my husband and I used to use on our living room but got replaced by newer versions when these items became obsolete. They still worked perfectly well so I put them in the guest room. In the dresser drawers underneath them I have placed movies and games that work with these systems.
If you don't have a television, you could put a book that you think your guest might enjoy on the night stand. Although, if it is a novel, do not expect it back as they may want to keep it so they may finish what they are reading.
Or you could do a relaxation coloring book with crayons or colored pencils.
Or a crossword puzzle.
Some other items you can put in the room to help entertain your guest are:
A Deck of Cards
The password to your Wi-Fi. (As most people now have smart phones or tablets.)
Puzzles (Nothing too elaborate these could be mind puzzles or jigsaw puzzles.)
Magazines (This is a great use of last month's magazines.)
Book of Quotations or Fun Facts
|This book cracks me up. It is called: The Natural Inferiority of Women-Outrageous Pronouncements by Misguided Males. I often leave it on the night stand for my female guests to enjoy.|
Extra BlanketsThis one I don't feel I need to dwell on too much.
Keep an extra blanket at the foot of the bed, in the guest closet or in a drawer where guests know where to find it. Remember, what is comfortable to you, may be freezing cold for your guest.
It also doesn't hurt to have extra pillows in the closet. If you can, make certain your pillows are a mixture of feather and foam. That way your guest should be able to find a pillow that suits their likes.
Small Personal TouchesThis one is totally up to you and is based on your knowledge of your guest. My guest that I was preparing for is a baker. She loves to bake elaborate cup cakes, cakes, macaroons, and other sweet desserts.
To give her some "personal" touches in her guest room, I put in a candle for her to light that smells like birthday cake.
|Don't forget to give them something to light the candle with if you put a candle in the room.|
I also know that she loves to take long baths. So I put some bath fizzies in her room that were in the shape of cupcakes. These fizzies were actually a gift to me from a dear friend, but I knew he wouldn't mind if I shared them, because he was also friends with my guest.
These were not expensive items, but they let my guest know that I was thinking about her when I was preparing the room. You should do the same for your guest.
Finally, you should always write a welcome note to your guest. This note should let them know that the snacks and amenities are there for them. If you have a television and other electrical equipment in the room, you should also inform them how to access these items and give them any necessary instructions they may need. (Such as television must be on channel 4 or in video mode, etc.) You should also let them know that, if they should need anything you have not thought of, to let you know.
Well, this is the end of this post. I was going to start another two week menu this week, but I think I will postpone that until life gets to be a little more normal in Baton Rouge. I will think about what may be a useful post to my friends that are currently waiting to get back into their houses and reclaim their lives out from under the water. To those of my readers who live in Baton Rouge, please stay safe.
-- The Frugal Femme