Hosting guests can be a challenge, but with a little planning it doesn’t have to be. This is my third season in Florida and I’m beginning to feel like an expert. Even with all the Covid precautions, we’ve had plenty of visitors. My kids & their partners, my girlfriends, parents, brother and sister-in-law, several couples—have all made use of our main guest room.
Since this condo is still new to us, I always ask each person, “Tell me what what would make it more comfortable in your room.” And they do tell me. Freely. I’m happy to comply, because not only do I want my guests to feel cared for, I want them to be self-sufficient. If you’re expecting visitors, or haven’t entertained in a while, I think you’ll find this list helpful.
Things my Guests Have Asked For:
Luggage Rack. Even though the closet has plenty of empty shelves and hanging space, some of my guests prefer to live out of their suitcase. For them, a luggage rack is essential. As my friend Lisa told me, it’s awkward to access your things when your bag on the floor. I ordered this handy rack from Amazon, which also has a laundry basket underneath. It collapses to be stored in the closet or under the bed when not in use. Basic, but my guests love it.
Phone charger. People often forget theirs or need more than one. I bought this charging pad because it charges every type of phone/earphones/tablet and there’s no need to worry about the right fitting plug. A winner!
Bedside Clock. Not everyone uses their phone to tell time at night. My mother was so annoyed by my lack of a clock she started bringing her own. That was the nudge I needed to buy a basic digital alarm clock with big numbers.
Bar soap. I prefer liquid hand soap and body wash, but my friend Elaine doesn’t feel right about using either to wash her face. A Dove beauty bar was an easy amenity to add to the bathroom.
Throw blanket. My son Nick pointed this one out. Someone is always chilly, and a snuggly throw solves the problem. Visitors can use it for napping, an extra layer when sleeping or just to wrap up in while reading or watching TV. When your visitors feel super cozy in their room, they’ll stay there a little longer, giving you more time to get organized or just do your own thing.
Extra Coffee Maker. My husband and I like our coffee very, very strong. Unfortunately, most of our visitors find it undrinkable. We’ve solved the problem by putting a second coffee maker in their room. Now our friends can brew their cup of joe exactly as they like it and savor it it in the privacy of their own room. No one wants to make early morning chit chat before the caffeine kicks in anyway.
Cleaning Supplies. Elaine also asked for a shower squeegee and bathroom cleaner so she could keep things sparkling. Gotta love guests who want to tidy up. Elaine, you are welcome back anytime!
Strong Wifi. Many of my visitors end up working when they’re here, so reliable internet access is a must. After a few dropped zoom calls in the early days, we amped up our wifi service.
Spare tote bag. Everyone arrives with a suitcase and carry on, but inevitably my guests need a casual bag to take to the pool or pickle ball court. Putting a basic tote (even a spare Lulu Lemon bag) in their room makes all the coming and going a breeze.
Multiple Mirrors. I’ve had this request from several guests and I’m working on it. I need a full length mirror in the bedroom. My visitors want to be able to see their whole reflection before heading out. Also, when their roomie is using the bathroom, they need a secondary place to do their hair and make up. A make up mirror in the bathroom is very useful as well.
Things That Make Hostessing Easier for Me
My guests haven’t specifically asked for these things, but I’ve learned that visits go better when I provide them.
A Detailed Tour. When my guests arrive I show them around so they know where to get sunscreen, beach towels, snacks, goggles, bug spray, etc. I also show them how to work the TV, fans and window blinds, which can be tricky to operate. Anything to promote self-sufficiency, which is what my friends prefer as well.
Keys. I give my guests their own set of keys and fob so they can take a walk, hit the gym or hot tub anytime they want. Depending on your set up, you might provide a car key, bike lock or guest pass as well.
Insulated Water Bottles. It’s hot here in Florida and my guests from up north need to stay hydrated. I assign visitors a sports bottle when they arrive to use for the duration of their stay. It’s easy for them to take to the beach or on bike rides and cuts down on dishes and plastic. Perfect for toting a cocktail to the pool as well.
Reading material and games. I can’t entertain my guests every minute. Having some light fiction, local guides, playing cards and word games on hand gives them something non-tech to enjoy when I’m walking my dog or running errands.
Schedule. When guests come for a longer stay we often use a white board to keep track of our schedule. I add any appointments of my own so visitors know when they’re free to plan their own time. It’s nice when everyone knows what’s happening and can look forward to it.
Chill Vibes. When my girlfriends arrived for a long weekend on four different flights, I tried to pick them all up at the airport but it just wasn’t possible. They didn’t expect it anyway! I’ve learned to do what I can for my guests but not go above and beyond with the hospitality. It actually makes my friends uncomfortable if they feel I’m knocking myself out. They want to feel at home and are happy to help. So rather than stress myself trying to be a perfect hostess, I try to be organized upfront and relaxed throughout. After all, the main point is to enjoy each other’s company!
What works well when you have guests at your house? I’d love to hear your tips.