Life is full of surprises. When my house was a bed and breakfast, I had hundreds of people coming and going through my door. During the past few years, however, I haven’t had many overnight guests. There are times I miss the buzz of activity in my home, but for the most part, I’m happy that my guests are a select few.
Going to school for hospitality management, running a bed and breakfast, and having some recent opportunities to travel, I’ve learned a thing or two about hospitality. I don’t know about you, but I love traveling. That’s why when Carnival Cruise Line invited me to team up with them this year, I couldn’t have been more eager. While there is no place like home, I love the experience of staying somewhere else, especially when that luxurious place is the the middle of the Caribbean.
After taking two different Carnival cruises, I’ve certainly come to appreciate their state room amenities. They offer 24-hour room service, nightly turndown service, cozy linens, a television (not that you’ll need it much with all of the activities on board), and so much more. Basically, you get all of the comforts of home and then some.
I loved so many things about cruising with Carnival, but a couple items stand out in relation to my room. First of all, the room attendants are always around. Whether you need more towels, want your clothes laundered / pressed, or have a question about the ship, they are there to help. (I’m honestly trying to figure out how to get this kind of service at my own house.) They also typically stop by your room twice a day to provide clean towels, make your bed, etc. Another thing I love is the nightly turndown service. If you’ve experienced this at a hotel or on a cruise, it’s certainly one of those details that make you feel like a king (or queen). In addition to the towels shaped into animals, the service includes a little Fun Times guide put together by Carnival for each day of the cruise. The guides detail all of the onboard activities, what time places are open, what the weather forecast is, and more. Each evening I found myself lying in bed planning out the next day. It’s the best.
Anyway, I sort of went off on a tangent there. Inspired by vacations and my professional experience in hospitality, I thought I’d share a few ideas to make your own guest room ready for visitors. These little touches require minimal time and money, but they will help you welcome your guests. Whether you implement one or all of these ideas, your guests are certain to feel special and pampered.
Let’s get started!
First, consider the basics – the bed linens. While you don’t need the most expensive brand out there, give the linens a test drive. Make sure they are comfortable and feel a bit luxurious. I recommend white because it’s easy to care for and helps to keep a space bright and cheerful.
Have an extra blanket handy in case your guests get chilly. A few extra pillows are nice as well to ensure the comfort of your guests.
A bedside reading lamp is a must. In fact, having a couple lighting options is great. If possible, when looking into options, try to find something that can be dimmed or has different lighting levels.
Have a mirror in the room. Ideally, a full-size one.
Also, as you decorate your guest room, be sure to leave some open areas. More than likely your guests will need a space to set out their own things. It’s also a good idea to have a place available for them to set their luggage. This can be something as simple as a bench or chair. A foldable luggage stand is another option. It will discourage guests from setting their possibly-dirty luggage on those beautiful white bed linens.
Although it’s assumed that your visitors will bring everything they need for their visit, have a few personal care items tucked away just in case. Fill a box or a basket with soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, deodorant, stain-eraser stick, etc. Put the box or basket in a drawer or bedside table and let your guests know it’s there if they need it.
It’s also helpful to have some basic medical items available. A few things to take away a headache, clear up indigestion, stop a cough, etc. are likely to be appreciated. Sometimes people can be embarrassed to ask for these things. If they are available, they won’t have to ask.
I also like to set out lotions or sprays to help guests create a spa-like experience if they wish. If you choose things in unique containers, they can double as room accessories.
Similar to the Fun Time brochures Carnival puts in their state rooms each evening, having a few magazines or books in the bedroom can give your guests some evening entertainment and a way to rest their brains before bed. A crossword or Sudoku puzzle book would be nice as well.
I also like to have a pen and small notebook somewhere in the room. This is handy for your guests, and it gives you a place to leave your guest a welcome note if you’d like.
Another thing I love about cruising with Carnival is that they have wifi. While I try to stay offline as much as possible while on a cruise, I do need to go online now and again for work. Plus, it’s important to me to have a way to connect with family in case of emergency.
It’s also safe to assume that your guests may want to connect while they are visiting. If you do have a wifi password, be sure to write it down somewhere (maybe in that little notebook you provided) and place it in the room. This is especially important if the password is complicated.
Have you ever stayed with someone and had a craving for a midnight snack but didn’t want to tip toe down to the kitchen? Prevent this from happening to your guests, by providing them with a few nibbles in their room. Things like trail mix and apples are great choices.
Making water available is another great idea. Whether it’s bottled water or a pitcher of water with glasses, this is a touch your guests will certainly appreciate.
And if you really want to “wow” them, leave a few pieces of fine chocolate on their nightstand. Who doesn’t enjoy a piece of chocolate at the end of the day?
Finally, let’s touch on a few extra amenities.
If you’re really looking to make your guests feel special, or maybe they are celebrating a special occasion, why not add some wine or champagne to their room? Be sure to include a couple glasses, and if necessary, a corkscrew to open the bottle.
Fresh flowers can likewise add a thoughtful touch to a room. You can find inexpensive bouquets at the grocery store. However, if you don’t want to buy flowers every time you have a guest, a low maintenance plant that can stay in the room will certainly do the trick.
Other things like candles (Don’t forget the matches.), chocolate-covered strawberries, bathrobes, or slippers can be added to show your guests how much you care.
Now, I know this sounds like a lot, but don’t feel overwhelmed or that you must to all of these things to make your guests feel comfortable in your home. Build your guest room over time. Even one or two of these ideas will have your visitors feeling at home.
Remember, as you’re creating or improving your guest room, think about the things that you most enjoy having in your room when you travel. That’s always a good place to start.
And for more details about all of Carnival’s fabulous accommodations, head on over to their website.
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.