It’s a dream of mine to run a bed and breakfast, and this past week I got a taste of it as I prepared our apartment for friends visiting San Francisco for their honeymoon. David and I were happy to hand over our keys and head to my parents’ home outside the city while our guests explored San Francisco using our apartment as their home base.
Of course, being invited to stay in someone’s home is special in and of itself but there are a few things that can make the process as smooth and delightful as possible for all parties; making guests feel welcome in a new city and creating cherished memories in your home.
One. Let them know what to expect. Make sure your guests know the best way to get from the airport to your home (be it uber, the subway, etc) as well as roughly how long the ride will take and how much it will cost. Additional details like “we live in a 7 floor walk-up” or explaining the parking situation around your home will ensure they step through your front door on the right foot.
Two. Keep tabletop decor to a minimum, especially if you don’t have a dedicated guestroom and are giving guests your bedroom. I put away my jewelry box and decorative bric-a-brac and only leave a lamp, flowers, and a tray on my dresser so our guests can spread their things out and use the space. The bedside table should have a nice clock, lamp, and tray to corral jewelry and prevent it from rolling off the nightstand.
Three. Similarly, make sure there is ample drawer and closet space. Leave at least 2 feet of bare rod in your closet and 15-20 hangers suitable for pants, tops, or dresses.
Four. I love putting out a little welcome tray for guests, that might include champagne if they like to drink or Pellegrino if they do not, along with the appropriate glasses, some current reading material and a beautiful candle.
Five. Fresh cut flowers are always a beautiful way to welcome people to your home. If your guests are allergic to flowers, a vase of simple greens, succulents or potted orchids (which have sticky pollen that won’t drift into the air) are all great options.
Six. Fresh linens and two pillows per person are a must. (Remember to check if there’s a down allergy!) Additional blankets to pile on for cooler nights and a fan if it’s warm will also be greatly appreciated. In San Francisco very few homes have air conditioning so a fan is essential!
Seven. Provide at least one bath towel and one hand towel per person. We also like to leave nice soap for guests to use and keep extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors and the like on hand in case anything was forgotten at home.
Eight. Write out your wifi network and password on a card and place in their welcome tray. This is especially important for international guests who may be reliant on wifi for their data connection.
Nine. Lastly, compile a list of your favorite local spots to share with them. I’ve gathered all my favorite local restaurants in San Francisco on this pinterest board, and still have this one from my NYC days.
Photos by Stacie Flinner for stacieflinner.com