When offering to host house guests, it pays to put in a little preparation. Establish your reputation as the host with the most. People will be clamoring for an invitation and those who are lucky enough to get one may never want to leave.
SO. Ever since we moved down to the coast, we have always had a guest room. Otherwise we would never see our Melbourne friends and… it means they can drink wine with us and sleep off their hangover. LOL! No but seriously, in all my years as a host I would like to think that I have mastered a few tricks to make them feel really welcome. I actually love hosting friends and family. I make it my mission to go the extra mile, because where is life’s meaning without making your closest feel special? Read on to read five easy tips for being the perfect host to overnight guests.
1. Discuss and confer
It helps to have a proper conversation with guests over the phone before they come (ie not via text or email) just to clarify expectations of their visit. Details on when they will be arriving and leaving, any dietary requirements, will they need a cot, are they meeting other friends etc. is helpful as the host. You would be surprised how many people will just stay on indefinitely, or worse cannot eat anything that you cook. (this happened to me once when I served meat to a vegan guest). Just get it out in the open and then everyone knows where they stand.
2. Clean, cook and re-stock
I like to give my place an extra scrub down when people are coming. Clean the windows, bathrooms, floors and puff the cushions. Re-stock the loo paper, ensure that dust has been wiped away and that the fridge is well stocked. Set up a a bar and ensure it offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and ice. Check that the pantry has lots of accessible snacks for guests to help themselves to also.
As the host people will want to catch up and chat with you, so plan out meals that can be cooked ahead of time that take the minimal amount of cleaning up. Slow cooker meals are great for winter, or BBQ’s with lots of pre-chopped salads in summer are easy and delicious.
3. Set up a beautiful guest room
Perhaps the most memorable part of any overnight stay is the room. It is so easy to create a gorgeous room when you are hosting a guest with these simple efforts:
- Bed: Ensure that the sheets are clean, the pillows are fluffed and that there are extra blankets available for colder evenings. If it’s warm, leave a key for the window.
- Bedside: Leave a nice scented candle, a novel or a magazine, some paracetamol, a carafe of fresh water and some insect repellent for those buzzy uninvited guests.
- Room: Provide a luggage crate or a small table for guests to lay out their bits and pieces; provide a few wooden hangers if you have a wardrobe, and a single stemmed flower.
- Toiletries: People will always forget something, so leave a set of spare toiletries in the bathroom. A toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and a comb and of course leave a lovely body wash in the shower with fresh towels.
- Tech: Provide an iPhone charger and the Wifi password written down on a card.
4. Create a warm welcome
When guests arrive, appreciate that they have traveled a distance to get to you, and will need to refresh. Before launching into catch-up chats and D&Ms, show them their rooms and the bathroom. I love how in Thailand luxury hotels you are welcomed with a hot towels and a cocktail to refresh yourself. Metaphorically, this is how you should aim to make your guests feel. This will immediately put them at ease.
Set out a casual platter of snacks, offer a tea or coffee or a cocktail if it’s cocktail hour. Make sure that they know to help themselves to things, and offer a guide as to where things are and the routine of the house. Have a relaxed chat about loose plans for their stay so they know where they stand and when they can schedule in their own time. This also establishes when when you might need to spend time with your kids or other significant family members.
5. Accept help when its offered
Hosting house guests can be busy. You need to accept help when its offered. This is a funny one because I used to absolutely insist on doing EVERYTHING for my house guests before I had kids. My friends would offer and I would brush them off telling them to relax. (such a hopeless people pleaser). So I would wait hand and foot on everyone, and not really have that much of an enjoyable time. Then I had kids and I realised that my ridiculous high standards had to stop.
Do not hesitate to hustle some help in the kitchen or delegate someone to watch the kids. The team camaraderie will boost morale and make the experience loads more fun for you and everyone else, and you won’t be the stressed host trying to be perfect.
Once you have set all of these things up, it’s important that you have fun too. Let the dishwasher wait, go with the flow and take some time out to catch up with your friends and family. Keep it spontaneous. Play some music, dance or go out to the pub.
Being the perfect house host is actually about helping your guests to relax, and that starts with you. Making memories is what it is all about, not you being judged on whether you remembered to light the candles or turn down their beds.
What do you do to make your house guests feel welcome? Have you had any horror experiences? Please share below!