Posted by Victoria Amory on August 01, 2014
EVERY GOOD HOSTESS knows what to do to make a guest’s stay wonderful. I always put myself in my traveling friend's shoes-what would I want upon on arrival? If the trip is short, a chilled beverage is all I need. If the journey involves air travel and accompanying jet lag, I never want to sit through an elaborate meal – I would be exhausted. A warm soup or tasty frittata is an ideal offering. I always have two or three more substantial dishes semi-prepared on hand in the refrigerator in the event a guest is, indeed, eager to sit down to more than one course.
If you think back on your most memorable house visit, chances are the meals are what come to mind first. The room you sleep in is likely the second thing you remember fondly. Even though I have a house full of children, some of my city- dwelling friends prefer a bed in my house to anything else perhaps because there's always the aroma of good food in the air and the pool is just steps away!
A lady of grand consequence once told me that she slept once a year in each of her guest rooms to make sure they were as comfortable as hers. She did have a few houses, actually palaces, and I am sure that each bedroom was as well appointed as hers.
To make the guest room comfortable and cozy, spend time in the room, carefully look around to insure that everything is as it should be. Turn on all the lamps and lights and replace dead light bulbs. Sit on the bed and in the chair to detect squeaks, lumps or anything that might cause discomfort. Open and close curtains and windows and draw the shades up and down-there's nothing worse than having to fiddle with a non-working Roman shade. Check to make sure there are enough hangers in the closet and an empty chest of drawers, so that guests can fully unpack rather than living out of their suitcases. Place a scented candle or a bowl with pot-pourri, fresh flowers, pad of paper and a mint julep cup filled with pencils by the phone, and stock the bathroom with piles of clean towels. When I am a weekend guest, I love to have interesting books and magazines at my fingertips – it's always a welcoming touch.
Luxury comes in many guises-my version is not about showy things- like matching sets of sheets, pillows and bedspreads. It's not necessary to have gold plated hardware or windows covered in silk taffeta in the rooms. Small details are what makes your friends feel welcome: a new soap in pretty soap dishes, a hairdryer that works and drawers lined in scented paper.
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