We are thrilled to be hosting a house guest this weekend. One of my best friends is making the drive from Alabama to see the sights and sounds of Durham and we are happily getting our little casa and guest bedroom all spiffed up for her arrival.
While on a work adventure this past week, I got to spend one night at the Camellia Cottage in Wilmington (thanks Paula for the awesome business rate and tasty breakfast!) My stay lasted less than 12 hours but it only took minutes to soak in all the charm and hospitality of this cozy bed and breakfast.
I stayed in the Crane Suite which used to also be the sunroom for the house.
The bathroom had HUGE plants that were a bit overwhelming but beautiful when the sun out in the morning.
As you might expect the bathtub had claw feet, but so did the fireplace.
Of course lots of fun accents made sure that I wouldn’t forget I was in the Crane Suite.
or that I was on the coast…
The house was previously owned by a Wilmington artist, and Paula, Steve and Sparky have kept the spirit alive in other parts of the inn, including adding art the ceilings.
Although the stay was extremely short I managed to pick up some tips on hospitality and how to make even total strangers feel right at home.
1. Cozy bedding and fluffy towels are a must. It’s great if your guests say, “man I wish I had this at home” or even go looking for the tag to see where you picked up those perfect sheets. We are not quite here yet in our guest bedroom (sorry Carrie!), but our new towels are pretty nice.
2. Add unique accents that will make your guests want to explore their new digs. This doesn’t mean your room has to have a theme (can we say, “Welcome to the Star Wars Room, it’s my personal favorite in the home…”) but a conversation piece like a great rug or funky artwork can make a big impact.
3. Be sure to have items of convenience handy for guests. At the Camellia Cottage this ranged from a giant pile of menus right by the door so you scope out local restaurants without leaving the house to somewhat interesting bath slippers. We adapt this by having a new toothbrush and other travel sized toiletries on hand in the guest bathroom and magazines we think our guests will enjoy beside the bed.
4. No one ever gets upset about good food. I don’t expect to become a professional french toast maker like Paula (she made peach stuffed french toast by the way) at the Camellia Cottage but I can at least run to the store to pick up drinks, snacks and fresh foods that I think our guests will like. Maybe one day we’ll be far enough ahead of the game to have fresh herbs greet our guests at the door.
For now our guests just have to appreciate the fact that we move all the tools down to the basement before they arrive and that the beasts get a good scrubbing.