Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Art of Hospitality: Lunch on the porch, Dinner @ 8:00 PM, Breakfast is self-serve...

Katie Rodgers

It's Monday before Christmas, Hanukkah is under way, and you've done it... the gifts are bought and wrapped, travel plans made, menu decided, and family and friends are coming in to stay with you for the Holiday.  Spending time with friends and family means so much and is a wonderful break from our busy lives.  Making the extra effort for your house guest(s) says to them, "You are important to me."

As you prepare your home, apartment, or beach house for entertaining a Holiday guest(s), keep in mind that all of the small details from good pillows and fresh towels, to a stack of toiletries, add up to create an inviting, comfortable space.

"I want my guest room to be a retreat where friends and family can get away and relax; ... Before your guests arrive, open a window, season permitting, and let in some fresh air.  In the evening switch on a lamp so no ones has to walk into a unfamiliar room in the dark... Turn down the sheets, it's a simple gesture that makes anyone feel pampered." 
- Designer Bunny Williams

A beautifully designed, planned, and laid-out room with your signature welcome such as fresh flowers and/or scented candle (anything from Jo Malone), fresh sheets, and a set of fresh, new if you can, towels for each guest, (please not the towels you use for washing the car ... I am not mentioning names) a new bar of soap, a desk and a comfortable chair and ottoman, good reading lights next to the bed, a bottle of water and small plate of cookies or fruit, is the short listThis attention to details can be achieved next to a pull-out sofa, none of the items need be extravagant, but each practical and stylish - it's the Art of Hospitality.

"Lunch on the porch, Dinner @8:00 PM, Breakfast is self-serve: Coffee, bread, orange juice & toaster is set up in the kitchen.  Help yourself.  See you at noon."  

A small itinerary checklist left by their bed for the next day will put your guest at ease.

Over the years I have collected Guestroom Checklists.  Here is my compilation, I would love to hear what's on yours.  Enjoy!

The Art of Hospitality
-Guestroom Checklist -

"It's the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting."
 - Audrey Hepburn


.   Every room needs a bedside table, perferably two, and/or a table/desk that can be used as a dressing table or a desk where guests can plug in a phone, an iPad, and any other electronic devices.

.   On the desk: postcards, brochures of local attractions, map of area, and stamps.

.   A chair, or if space permits, a comfortable chair for reading or watching TV is a pleasure, and so is a pull-up bench or an ottoman for propping up feet.

.   Good reading lamps.  I will tuck a small "book light" in a nightstand in case one wants to read while the other sleeps.

.   Fresh Flowers and/or a scented candle.

.   Tissue, small travel-size is best and guests can bring it with them.

.  Books, old and new, current magazine particular to your guest tastes, and that day's newspaper.

.   An alarm clock.

.   Along with notepads next to the phone, keep nice pencils on hand - I like the all-black by Dixon from Office Depot.

.   Small TV or portable DVD player, and/or a CD player with Christmas by Michael Bublé is a nice touch for the holidays.

.   Blackout blinds or shutters for the non-early risers.

.   For the Kids: a small basket of books, Go Fish Cards, jump rope and/or art supplies.

.   If your guests plan to visit for several days, they might wish to put away their things in a chest of drawers - much neater and nicer than living out of a suitcase.


.   Start with a good quality med-firm mattress and mattress pad.

.   Use only 100 percent cotton sheets.  For a fresh, fragrant touch, add lavender water to the rinse cycle.

.   Take the time to do a little ironing.  At the very least, press the pillowcases and the fold-over hem.

.   A variety of good pillows are essential.  Include 2 large 27" European squares for reading in bed, and two (preferably four), standard pillows on a queen-sized bed.  Treat yourself and your friends to a luxurious down pillows, with protective pillow covers, but keep one good quality non-allergenic for anyone who can't use feathers or down.

.   Fold a duvet over the foot of the bed for chilly nights.

.   Soft throw over the foot of the bed for naps.

ON THE TABLE - Snacks and Drinks

.   A plate of tempting cookies and/or a basket of washed fruit.  If I know they are arriving late in the evening I will also leave out some cheese and salami with fresh ground pepper, covered.

.   Bottled(s) water, one per guest, and/or a carafe with the cup on top is a must.

.   Coffee Maker with the all the trimmings or a thermal Carafe of Coffee.  And a hot-chocolate thermal carafe for the kids.  This could also be set up in the kitchen on trays. 

.   In my guest room closet I have a small fridge with glasses, soft drinks, water, sparkling apple cider, cookies, yogurt and other nibbles.  On the top I have a Wolf Gang Puck Hotel coffee maker (which you can purchase online, very affordably) with all the fixings, de-cafe/caffeinated coffee, sugar, sweetener, creamer, coffee cups with saucers, and spoons/stir sticks.


.   Matching padded or wood hangers.

.  Use neutral room fragrances like lavender to keep the closet smelling fresh.

.  A full-length mirror on the inside of the door.

.  Small iron and tabletop ironing board.

.   Luggage rack.  Bags are dirty from the airlines and what not, and definitely don't belong on the bed.

.   Terry cloth robes in a size large enough to fit everyone.

.   If you use this closet for out-of-season clothes, put them in long garment bags keeping them out of your guest's way and the closet neater.

.   If space permits, summer hats, and umbrellas for your guest's use and pleasure.

 "The golden rule of hospitality, however, always remains the same: comfort comes first and preparation is essential." - Designer Jane Schwab

IN THE BATHROOM - Keep toiletries stocked for anyone who may have forgotten something essential, including:

.   Toothbrush, toothpaste, Advil travel size, emery board, sun block, disposable razor, and a travel size sewing kit.  These can be placed in a pretty basket or in a drawer with a lovely card that reads:  For Your Convenience.

.   Thick absorbent terry-cloth towels, I prefer white for easy cleaning with Clorox2, at least one set per-person (bath towel, hand towel, and wash towel).

.   Fresh soaps in both masculine and feminie scents, or bath gel, I love any by Jo Malone or Mistral.  If you hate to waste a full-sized bar, buy guest soaps and toss them after each visit.

.   Hair dryer.

.   Check shower curtain liners for mold and change as necessary.

.   Place a pretty glass tumbler next to the sink, or bottle of water.

.   Beautifully scented candle and matches.

.   Fresh flowers.

.   Free-standing or wall-mounted cosmetic mirror.

 "Life is an exciting business and most exciting when lived for others."
-Helen Keller

Most of all, enjoy your time together.  The Holidays can be stressful, but don't let circumstances or a particular person let you become negative, discouraged, where everything starts to feel like a struggle.  Stay positive, hopeful and expect good things and have fun!

If you're the guest, my mom's advice would have been; remember this is someone's home, chip-in: take the dog for a walk, help with the dishes, or play a game with the children.  Be a delight to have and be around, and don't forget to send a thank you note and some flowers afterwards.

I wish you a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas!

My prayer for you is   LOVE   .    JOY   .   PEACE

xx Rié


  1. Hi Rie,
    Thank you for visitng my blog, My first visit to yours, I will be staying in the guest room!!!
    Lovely post for preparing for guests, We want their experience to be more than they imagined it could be...
    Merry Christmas may it be all you dream of...

    1. Gail, Thank you for stopping by! And yes, you are welcome anytime! Merry Christmas to you and yours! xx Rié

  2. Dear Rie -
    Thanks for sharing all of those wonderful tips! We can all be a bit more gracious when hosting others, especially during the hectic holidays.
    Merry Christmas!
    Warm greetings,

    1. Loi, You are always so thoughtful and I appreciate it greatly! Merry Christmas to you both!

  3. These are all such wonderful tips to pamper guests...and we all love to be pampered!!
    Mary Alice

    1. Mary Alice, Well it's lovely where you are! I am sure your guests will be awed by your design. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  4. Rié, everything looks perfect here! That bedroom with the all white and pink roses, that is my dream of a bedroom. STUNNING! Anita

    1. Anita, Thank you for the kinds words and for being so supportive! If anyone could re-create the bedroom of her dreams, it's you! You are so talented! Happy Holidays to you and yours! Rié

  5. Love the tips for treating your guests so well during their visit!! Thank you for the lovely share!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

    1. One of my friends said I should have had a FOR THE HOST section and at the top of the list book a massage for after the guests leave. :) Merry Merry to you! xx Rié

  6. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

    1. How thoughtful of you to leave a very kind comment! Thank you for coming by, hope you do so again soon! All the best, Rié

  7. Thanks for sharing. I hope it will be helpful for too many people that are searching for this topic. Keep posting and keep this forum a great place to learn things.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and your encouragement! I wish you all the best! Rié

  8. This is a well written article. I will make sure that I will bookmark it and open this page again to read this useful information provided by you. Thanks.

  9. Interesting. Your instructions look clear but I'm not very good at this so I hope this will work well for me. Thanks for the tips!

    1. I think we all can practice this... :) Thank you for your kind words!


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