We have visitors a lot, we love it. There is something about living in a warmer climate and a dreamy city which seems to draw in an endless stream of family and friends. Here is how I prepare for guests to make sure that it is an easy, relaxed trip with very little stress for either party.
First, prep the house. I like to keep the guest room ready to roll so that if a friend decides to crash last minute, it’s no problem. This means making sure that the room is cleaned as soon as a guest leaves, the linens are swapped out for fresh ironed sheets and all the towels and robes are washed and re-stocked. I put a glass bottle of water and a clean glass by the bed. I also take note of the toiletries to see if we need replace anything.
I learned to buy travel sized toiletries from a family friend, it’s so nice to stock the cabinets with: extra toothbrush, toothpaste, Advil, Alka Seltzer (THE BEST for a hangover), hair brush, deodorant, razors, shaving cream (men), make up remover, cotton pads, q tips, shower caps (great to swipe from hotel rooms), chapstick, nail clippers, moisturizer, and so forth — basically, anything a guest needs should be there. I keep king-sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash and moisturizer on hand. It’s also lovely to put a few face masks and eye patches or creams out — nothing major but can be a nice touch, you can even grab from whole foods. By the tub, I keep bath salts, bubble bath, a nice scented candle and matches. I know this seems like a lot to buy but I am always surprised by how infrequently it needs to be re-stocked, even with lots of visitors. Most of the time, guests bring what they need. It is a nice gesture and fun for your company to feel well looked after, it sets the weekend off on the right foot and also takes the pressure off to entertain in other areas.
Now that your guest room is ready to go, all you’ll need to do is make sure that the cats stay out of it (in our case), and to air it out the day of arrival. I throw open the windows and put the fan on in the morning and add some fresh cut flowers in the afternoon. The guest room is ready to receive! Oh, and sometimes I remember to pick up some recent gossip magazines or to put the latest issue of Vanity Fair on the bed. I also love to leave some great easy reads by the bed in case of trouble sleeping/a forgotten kindle, I love “Into Thin Air”.
Next up, groceries. Often our guests are arriving right off the back of a long work day + travel. This means a night in with an easy, healthy meal but a bit of a treat too. Most likely, we will grill some vegetables and fish or chicken, have a big salad with lots of avocado, and some garlic bread or a quiche on the go. I always make sure to have lots of guacamole and chips ready and wine, beer, cocktails, depending on the guest(s) and ice cream and cookies/fresh berries for dessert. I try to take care of as much of this as possible before guest arrivals, but it’s not always finished between the end of our work day and baby bath time. I might invite our guest(s) to take a steam shower or bath while we prep and to get into pjs if preferred. Some people won’t feel comfortable doing this but others will be relieved to get into a fluffy robe and really unwind.
For breakfast, I like to have coffee, orange juice, tea, toast, eggs, fruit and peanut butter in the house. Most of the time we end up doing a coffee/pastry run in the morning anyway. I like to sleep in the morning and invite our guests to too but I want to make sure that they have everything they need if they rise earlier, including the house alarm code in case of an early morning walk/jog.
When we have guests who have never been to Charleston, we will often take a walk downtown on the first morning. This way, our guests orient themselves with this small City and have the foundation for exploring on their own throughout the weekend. I also love showing our company Sullivan’s Island and we keep a few spare bikes around for jaunts around our neighborhood. It totally depends on the crowd, but in my opinion, it’s not crazy to let your guests explore on their own too. Oftentimes, they might wish to see something, a plantation, park or shop and are perfectly happy to spend a few hours on their own. I think this leaves everybody refreshed (it’s also a great vacuuming opportunity, do I sound like a grandmother or what?!??) for dinner. xxx