Cottage Courtesy

vintage beach sceneAs the summer temperatures increase so do the opportunities to visit leisurely with friends and family. Hosting cottage retreats can be wonderfully rewarding and fun but can also lead to friction and angst if not managed carefully. Here are a few tips to preserve your entertaining sanity and your relationships!

1. Provide clear written details in e-mail or in a fun themed invitation to your guests. Follow the traditional who/what/where/when/ why/how format to be sure you’ve included all the pertinent information. For destination events be sure to state policies on pets, sleeping arrangements, what guests should bring along to wear or to eat if meals are being shared, clear travel directions and any special features with the accommodation – outdoor plumbing is best not kept as a surprise! Keep the tone light to avoid seeming like boot camp but remember that the more information that is shared the less chance there is of misunderstandings brewing.

Have a clear pet policy!

Have a clear pet policy!

2. Allow guests to help out if they offer. Never turn a vacation into a work party for guests if it isn’t meant to be one and don’t disappear alone into the kitchen leaving guests to wonder where you are – no need to be a martyr and attempt to do all the chores yourself! Some of the best conversations often take place while washing up the dishes together.
3. Realise that different people and families approach the daily schedule differently; sleeping in might mean 7:30 am to some while it means 10:30 am to others. As a courteous host, have breakfast and coffee fixings easily available for early risers as well as suggested activities they might explore. Initiate a conversation about the next day’s plans the evening before so that everyone can gauge the best time to get a start.
4. Respect that while it is wonderful to spend lots of time together, it is also important to allow guests to enjoy time privately as well. Offer books and magazines to read, information on local attractions they might visit, and space in which they can nap or retreat alone.
5. Besides reading material, it is always considered a thoughtful gesture to provide a basket of items which can easily be forgotten at home. Travel sized toiletries are widely available and when collected together in a basket make a fun decoration for the guest room or bath. Your guests will appreciate the kindness especially if they find they’ve forgotten a toothbrush and they are saved from having to announce it to everyone in the cottage! Always be sure that towels and bed sheets are plenty and freshly laundered. If the cottage is rustic and linens are not provided be certain to advise guests well in advance.
The host that is well organized and has anticipated the guest’s needs in advance is the most relaxed; the most relaxed host creates the most pleasant environment for his or her guests. “Visit” us again on Friday when we turn the tables and talk about being a great guest.


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