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One of the great joys of staying in a luxury hotel is, well, the luxury. The staff put together a collection of small surprises that are designed to make you feel spoiled (think plush robes and slippers, daily newspaper deliveries, and treats left on your pillow). You look forward to these small indulgences, so why not give your houseguests the same treatment when they come to stay? As event planner Lauren Grech, the CEO and co-founder of LLG Events, says, “If you’ve ever dreamed of running a bed and breakfast, having overnight guests is your chance to live out that dream without all the commitments of actually running an inn!”
Today, however, there is an element of safety to consider whenever you bring someone outside of your immediate circle into your home due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to making your guests feel welcome, it’s also your job to help them feel safe. Grech and other seasoned hosts share their best tips and tricks for making your houseguests feel as if you’ve spared no expense—or safety measure—during their visit.
Related: Six Signs You’re the Ultimate Houseguest
Etiquette expert Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, recommends customizing your guests’ stay whenever possible—literally. If you want to go above and beyond, provide monogrammed pillowcases with your guests’ full names or initials. A robe, eye mask, or brand-new slippers can also be placed by their bedside; all or some could be monogrammed. If that’s not in the cards, just providing guests with their own set of essentials—so that they don’t have to grab something out of the linen closet or medicine cabinet—goes a long way in terms of keeping them comfortable. Plus, this means there’s no confusion over whose item is whose.
Simply hosting guests for dinner? Meier loves the idea of embroidering your guest’s first initial onto their dinner napkin. This can double as a place card, so there’s no confusion over where to sit when it’s time to gather around the table.
Welcome guests with an arrangement of their favorite flowers placed in their room, adds Meier. She also likes to curate a collection of reading materials for her visitors; place a selection of fashion magazines or newspapers from their hometown or country next to their plate come breakfast. Stocking the bathroom with black makeup washcloths is also a next-level touch (your loved ones won’t worry about smearing mascara over your linens), as is providing a sound machine, so they can customize their sleep experience. Just as important? Providing a box of disposable face masks, a selection of hand sanitizers, and wipes for them to use during their stay.
To craft the most luxurious stay possible, Grech recommends sending a personal survey along with the invitation: “Whether it’s just a fun girls night or a holiday family gathering, create your own invitation either online or in-print, and provide your guests with your address, directions, phone numbers, and any other important notes. Be creative and have fun with the accompanying survey, letting it inspire their room décor or your menu for their stay.” The survey might include questions about your guest’s favorite scent, flower, snack, coffee, cocktail, or breakfast. It’s also a great way to assess your guests’ current comfort levels in the context of the pandemic. Are they comfortable exploring? Will they be spending most of their time indoors, in your home? Do they currently dine at restaurants (and should you make reservations?), or would they be more comfortable with take-out?
“Place an extra iPhone charger in their room next to instructions on how to connect to the WiFi, and be sure to ask if they need assistance printing any travel documents,” Grech says.
Easily Accessible Coffee, Tea, and Snacks
If you have the means, tuck a mini fridge into the guest room’s closet—and then stock it with drinks and healthy snacks; a French press, an electric kettle, and an assortment of teas in the kitchenette will make their mornings brighter, too. Fresh pastries are also a nice touch, says Meier. To go the extra mile, designate one brand-new mug per guest, so they can feel safe as they sip their morning brew.
A Local Touch
Meier suggests leaving a little something for your guests that’s unique to your town. This can be something as simple as a box of locally-made chocolates that you’ve taken the time to tag with your guest’s name. Grech recommends leaving out a couple of postcards from your local city for guests to write to their partner or children. An itinerary or a list of local recommendations can also be helpful, especially if your loved ones planning to do some (careful) exploring on their own.