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Hospitality is all about creating a home away from home. Learn how to create a guest room they won’t want to leave.
Traveling is stressful. There is so much to remember when you pack, especially if you have a family. Commercial flights used to be nice, even fun. Now your knees are crammed into the seat in front of you and you’re forced to touch thighs of strangers in ever shrinking seats. Moreover, airlines no longer treat you like a person. If there is one thing you desire when you travel, it’s comfort. That’s why when guests choose to stay with us, I take it as a personal mission to make them feel comfortable.
Create a Guest Room
Create the perfect guest room by making your guest comfortable – and you make your guest comfortable by anticipating their needs. Basic needs are hunger, thirst, sleep, and personal and spacial cleanliness. I certainly don’t have all the answers. But today, I’m going to share what I do to make guests feel at home.
Textiles & Bedding
Getting a good sleep is pretty high on the list when it comes to comfort. Sleeping in a strange place causes most of us to repeatedly wake up in the middle of the night. Therefore, I strive to make guests as comfortable as possible. First, I provide the same quality of bedding as I do for myself. So my guestroom has quality pillows, Egypitan cotton sheets and belgian linen (Pottery Barn duvet and shams). I provide extra blankets and bedding in this beautiful custom Amish cedar chest. You never know if a guest will be too cold or warm in the middle of the night. Therefore, I provide a blankets and sheets of varying warmth. Which leads us to the next must-have item in your guest room. Black out curtains or curtains that block out the light reasonably well. Guests may nap during the day or need to sleep in. That being said, I also know that sleeping in a strange place with different ambiant noises and light can be challenging, so I also provide guests with the following:
- Ear plugs
- Sleeping Mask
- Do not disturb sign (so I know they are choosing to sleep in)
It should go without saying, but consider providing a hamper and wastebasket for your guests. I’m often surprised how many times I don’t have this when staying with someone. No one wants to sleep in a mess. Give them a place to put their dirty clothes instead of the floor, on furniture or wadded up in luggage.
I had a job that required me to travel and I will tell you, I despise living out of a suitcase. This is why I always try to provide drawers, hangers and closet space for my guests. Offer guests as much comfort as you can.
You don’t need to purchase a luggage rack, although that’s a nice touch. But someplace to store their luggage (a corner, a closet, etc) is definitely nice so it’s out of their way. A table top ironing board and iron is helpful, but not necessary (Tip: Never, ever iron directly on a mattress. Mattresses contain a highly toxic fire retardant that can release carcinogens when heated and top bedding can ignite quickly.)
Food & Drinks
I’ve been surprised how many guests have mentioned they loved this, because it is such a small thing to do, but I create a snack basket for my guests. Let’s be honest, we all get a late night snack attack and when you do, you don’t really want to sneak into your host’s pantry – especially if you’re already in your pajamas or skivvies! Awkward. I get it. So I create a small basket of savory and sweet snacks.
Some ideas could be: nuts, granola bars, chips, fruit snacks, chocolate, candy, popcorn, hot chocolate, tea, juice boxes, soda, fruit, chex mix, mints, etc.
We have a refrigerator in our media room which is adjacent to our guest room, so I don’t worry about drinks too much. That is, except for water.
Have you ever woken up parched in the middle of the night? Everyone has. Moreover, they may take medicine or vitamins and need water to swallow them.
When you create a guest room, always provide a carafe of cold water with a glass. If you are worries about water rings on furniture, you can provide a tray and coasters.
I actually provide an in-room single-serve coffee pot. I’m a coffee and tea drinker. I know many people would love to have their coffee while they are getting ready for the day. On the other hand, some people just prefer to have that cup in the peace and quiet of their room.
Obviously, a television is a great way to entertain your guests. Most people have streaming accounts so a TV and a Roku stick are great. That said, make sure to provide guests with your wi-fi network and password so they don’t have to burn through their data. I made and framed a cute wi-fi signed that I framed in the guest room. You can make one yourself or purchase this for your own room from my Etsy store or shop.
Should you choose not to put a TV in your guest room, I suggest putting an alternate form of entertainment like magazines and coffee table books. Make sure to provide a reading light or lamp.
These days, everyone has devices, but I still provide a radio alarm clock or dock as a back up alarm. In addition, provide a visible outlet near the bed to charge up devices. A charging station really makes it easy for your guests. I’ve provided a link to the two I love.
Create a Guest Bath
There is a reason why hotel rooms don’t have cabinets in their bathrooms. It’s awkward to rummage behind closed doors that aren’t yours. Hotels always have necessary items within reach and in view. Guests want to know where to find things and don’t want to invade your privacy when they need things.
Let’s be real for a moment. There are very few things as embarrassing as being in a guest bathroom with no toilet paper. Having to call out to a host or ask a room mate to fetch you a roll is awful. Make sure there is more than enough toilet paper and towels than their stay requires and keep it in plain sight.
I’ve used floating shelves, but you could also use a toilet paper holder like these below. I actually have these in other bathrooms.
- Hand towels
- Bath towels
- Wash cloths
- Toilet paper
- Hand soap
- Body Wash
- Fresh Flowers
- Candle or air freshener
- Cotton balls and cotton swabs
- A basket of toiletries
I’ve traveled a lot in my life. 32 countries is nothing to sneeze at! But despite all my experience, it seems like I always forget something! I know how inconvenient it is to hunt for a store at 10 p.m. to get a toothbrush. That’s why I try to provide guests with a few things they might forget.
In the bathroom, I keep a little basket of extras. In our basket: sunscreen, lotion, face cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tampons, maxi pads, disposable razor, facial tissue, lip balm, deodorant, contact solution, hairspray, body powder, trial size cosmetics, leave in-conditioner, dental floss, dry shampoo, etc. I basically don’t throw away samples I get. They wind up here to help out forgetful guests.
In conclusion, I seek to create a relaxing, refreshing haven for my guests. I hope I’ve helped you learn how to create a guest room. I would love to hear the special things you do for your guests, in the comments below.
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