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February 15, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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By Ann Moore-Spencer
IT'S CARNIVAL TIME AGAIN. For some of us that means
relatives from abroad descending on the home. I look for-
ward to socialising with family and friends. As a hostess I
want my guests to be happy and comfortable and as a
guest I look forward to a pleasant stay. It's not just provid-
ing a place to sleep. The thoughtfulness of the hostess
makes any guest feel special.
Pay attention to the décor. As a guest I feel special if my
room is nicely decorated. Yes, I may be in the study or in a
little-used bedroom. But, it does not have to be anything
big: coordinated bed linen, nice wall colour and window
treatments, attention to lighting and an area rug. Why
not experiment with colour; try something unexpected. If
you are not brave enough to use colour in the rest of the
house, try using it in the guest bedroom. You have to pro-
vide bed linen; why not make it coordinate?
A tip is to use white or off-white linen for your guests. All
white will always look good, and pieces from different
sets will work together. All you need is to accessorise it
with a throw or coverlet and some accent pillows. Many
people are afraid of white. They say it soils easily. People,
please! You don't think the chocolate brown linen would
not be soiled too? It is just not showing. That does not
make it any less dirty! In hotels I like the comfort of white
linen. I know the last guests' soil is not on it. It has to be
laundered. Let me get off my soapbox.
Keep temperature comfortable. Nothing can compro-
mise comfort as a room that is too hot or too cold. The in-
cidence of too cold is probably not relevant in Trinidad.
But I often spend my Christmas abroad and I am very
grateful that my hosts are sensitive to my tropical roots. I
never have to complain about the temperature when I am
indoors. Just so, I try to provide a well-ventilated room
with fans or an air-condition unit for my guests.
In addition, if you can provide both a coverlet and com-
forter. Let your guest choose what is appropriate for their
comfort. It would be appreciated if the room has travers-
ing drapery that can close to keep out unwanted eyes or
unwanted sunlight at the crack of dawn. Or can open to
allow for plenty of natural light and fresh air.
Private space. Please give me my privacy. Very often
when we have guests over, no one has privacy; not the
guests and not the hosts. Put some thought into how you
can provide privacy for your guests. If you cannot provide
an en-suite bathroom, provide your guests with robes and
an ample supply of towels and washcloths in their room.
This gives you the opportunity to coordinate the bath
towels with the room décor. Pamper them with special
bath soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, lotions and extra ra-
zors. Consider placing these items in baskets and/or lay-
ing them out nicely on open shelves. Your guests are likely
to be out late enjoying the parties. They would want to
have access to entering the house without waking the en-
tire house. Consider giving them a key.
Relaxing oasis. For the little down time, your guest will
appreciate is in-room accommodation for lounging, read-
ing and looking at TV. Provide them with a few good
books, the newspapers, some puzzles. Your guest can
have private time without always being in your face. They
can entertain themselves. Guests can look at what they
want on TV or just read a book. A comfortable chair with
a good reading lamp is a thoughtful bonus for your
guests. It's a plus if the lamp and chair look good and are
well coordinated with the décor of the room. And stacked
books can be a good design detail. It helps them feel com-
fortable and relaxed, even though they never open them.
What about a small refrigerator with some drinks and ice
cream just for them?
Fresh flowers. What about some fresh flowers on the
side table or the dressing table: a single stem or a bou-
quet? Nothing artificial. You do not have to spend a for-
tune. Something simple from the garden will do. This says
'Welcome home. We love to have you here'. It will bring a
smile to their lips. But, unless you know their preferences,
choose something pretty, but scentless.
Storage space. Face it; living out of a suitcase is uncom-
fortable. Your guests will appreciate having space to store
their clothes and the suitcase itself. Provide them with
space for their folded and their hanging clothes. If you do
not have closet space, over-the-door hangers can suffice
for overnight guests. Give them nice, sturdy, quality
wooden hangers; not the wire ones you got from the dry
cleaners. Bedside tables and desks with drawers can do
The idea is to make your guest feel special. You may not
have a designated guest room and may be using space
from your study, office or family room. Please clear out all
the clutter and configure the space with your guests in
mind. It must never look like an afterthought or imposi-
tion. If you cannot have everything looking well-coordi-
nated, just your thoughtfulness and attention to detail
will not go unnoticed.
Ann Moore-Spencer is the Managing and
Creative Director of Beyond Drapery Limited.
It's not just providing a place to sleep.
The thoughtfulness of the hostess
makes any guest feel special.
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