Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

What makes a good/bad hostess?

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weegem:
(Mods, if this is oin the wrong place, I apologise! Please move it as needed)

Hi all!

My cousin, his wife, and their 5 month old baby will be visiting me in Scotland for a couple of weeks from the US. I haven't seen my cousin for close to 15 years (we were close as teenagers) and have never met his wife. This cousin is the only one from that side of the family that has kept up some sort of contact with me through the years, so I really want to make a good impression. They'll be staying with us in a guest bedroom downstairs, and I want them to feel comfortable and as 'at home' as possible.

When you visit someone, what kinds of things do you really appreciate? As a host/ess, what are your favourite things to do to make your guests feel special? Also, share any good/bad experiences you've had with guests or when you were a guest and what you would've done to make it better :)

Thanks!

Lisbeth:
Well, when I visit I like to know that I have enough space to put my things, that my sleeping area will be sufficiently comfortable, that I'm not "in anyone's way" or displacing any permanent residents of the house, and that we'll have enough time together to make the visit worthwhile.  I'd rather not visit and find that due to work concerns, etc., the hosts don't have any time for me or very little time for me.  It makes me feel like I'm in their way.

As a hostess, I like to show my guests areas of the locality, landmarks, tourist attractions, fun things to do, etc., that will appeal to both me and them, treat them to dinner (things they'll like), and spend time with them.  What I don't want is for the guests to be totally on their own schedule and use my home as an unpaid hotel and restaurant or fail to clean up after themselves.

weegem:

Completely agree with everthing you've said, Keen! Especially the using my house as an unpaid hotel. When I was little we lived about 1/2 hour from the border in SoCal, and we always got relatives coming over to stay. We'd never see them though, because they'd be off to Disneyland or Mexico or Seaworld or wherever and just use our place to sleep.

Xanthia, Maker of fine Tin-foil hats since 2007:
Some good general basics are to let them know where certain things are, like towels, where to put wet towels, what is OK for them to eat in the fridge (some people have special foods they use for allergies or medicines).  I always have some extra shampoo, conditioners and cheapie tooth brushes just in case. 

Get some brochures for them to let them pick what they may be interested in seeing.  If you have to work while they are here, some maps of the area or access to MapQuest or something like that so they can go sight seeing on their own.  Let them know how to work your washer and dryer incase they want to do laundry, and basically treat them the way you would want to be treated if you were visiting them.

Also, if they offer to prepare a meal for you or take you out for a meal, I would graciously accept instead of arguing that they are your guest, they want to do something nice for you so let them!

All of the advice I am giving is from someone who lives in Central Florida and has had my fair share of guests visiting to go to Disney, LOL.

kingsrings:
One thing I really, really appreciate as a guest is having my own, private bathroom. I know it's not always possible based on what kind of house it is, but I still prefer it if it's at all possible. I don't like bathing and cleaning up in bathrooms that others have used, plus I don't like coordinating bathroom-use schedules amongst multipe users.

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