A gracious host

Remember when I shared my Airbnb discovery? Well, Jeremy and I had so much fun perusing, we actually booked a trip to a bed and breakfast! It’s little place owned by a gentleman with lots of charm.

It got me thinking, if you are like me, you have overnight guests maybe a couple times a year. We are lucky enough to have a guest room in our home, but it often serves as a closet or goes untouched until we know people are coming…but this guy has guests constantly! He doesn’t have a housekeeping staff or chefs. He just enjoys being a host and happens to live in a beautiful home that people will pay to stay in.

Not too long after we made our B ‘n’ B reservations, we found out we were getting guests of our own. It’s family so I won’t charge them bed and breakfast rates (for now 😉 ) but I do think it’s important to make our home a place they will be comfortable staying.

I’ve stayed with people who don’t take any special measures but just absorb me into the daily routine and other people (e.g. my Mom) who has gift bags waiting on the bed when you arrive. I don’t mind either way (I think being a gracious visitor is just as important) but I always appreciate being made to feel welcome and considered.

So, I thought I’d share my approach for being a gracious host to visitors:

A drawer holds a welcome sign, fresh towels, a candy or jewelry dish and a tray.

Bedside: lamp, water carafe, alarm clock, pad & paper, tee game and nightlight.

  1. Clean! It doesn’t have to feel like a museum, but if I’m putting people up, the sheets will be fresh, the dog hair tumbleweeds will be reduced and the bathroom will be as spotless as a 55-year-old bathroom can be.
  2. Storage. Because we have the luxury of a guest room, I try to not cram my crap into every nook. I have one dresser drawer, one bench, a nightstand with a drawer and door hooks available for use. Real Simple has my favorite tips on preparing for guests.
  3. House tips. Also, from Real Simple, I have a worksheet that includes everything a guest might need to know. Plumbing, security system, towel locations, allergies and more.
  4. Food.If it’s someone I know has a favorite food or allergy, I will try to have appropriate items on hand, but overall, I get small snacks and Andes mints to leave in the room.

    Bedside: welcome worksheet and basket of mini soap, deodorant, lint roller, hair spray, etc.

  5. Necessities. I keep a small basket under the nightstand with every mini item I fall in love with (promo items, hotel items and impulse buys) that include soap, shampoo, lint roller, wrinkle reducer, hair spray, floss, deodorant, and more.

I will clarify that I love doing these things. Honestly, it often stresses me out, but I choose to because it’s important to me to provide little touches and hope it makes the visitor smile. I only recently gained some perspective: some visitors may hate it. So I’m adding one more item to my list above:

6. Manage expectations. If you are visiting or being visited, discuss your house rules and expectations openly. Some people are offended if a guest doesn’t offer to help wash dishes. Others are offended if a guest tries to help do the dishes. If you are a guest, only offer to do the dishes in earnest (not because you think you should ask). If you are a host, answer honestly in kind. **Ignored irks or assumptions now can mean unnecessary resentment later!**

I certainly never feel like they owe me anything in return or that they should feel that it was an inconvenience for me. I’m learning that not everyone thinks the way I do. That sounds obvious, but it wasn’t to me about this. Who wouldn’t like a fuss made over them? Turns out, plenty of people. And as I said, it’s about making the visitor comfortable–what I’m learning is how that varies.

I’m really looking forward to taking the getaway with Jeremy and seeing how the bed and breakfast treats us (according to the Airbnb reviews, we have a wonderful host).

How about you guys? Do you do anything special when guests come to visit? Maybe it depends on who the guest is and how often you have them! And what makes you feel like a special guest? Maybe you expect a host to make an effort, maybe you think it’s all very unnecessary, or maybe it makes you uncomfortable? Expand those comfort zones and let’s chat…

3 responses to “A gracious host

  1. I personally just like to be included in the household instead of acting like a guest. I so love your little basket idea with soaps and such in it!

  2. Pingback: Second wedding anniversary | Greenhorn Living

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