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Be my guest

Lowcountry Living Magazine
Pages 17-19
Written by Stephanie Burt Williams

Changing the sheets. Cleaning the guest room and bath. Stocking the fridge. Providing concierge services. Sound like the amenities at a good hotel? Yes, but that�s not all. These are also some of the things a good host does before guests arrive.

With the holidays upon us, most likely we will be either hosting a guest or being a guest ourselves, or both. Hospitality is about respect, and that goes for guests as well as hosts. When staying with friends or family, never forget you are in someone�s home, not in a hotel � no matter how great the turndown service is.

Communication is Key

�Communication is No. 1, whether you are a host or guest,� says Cindy Grosso, owner and founder of The Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette. �As a guest, communicate your plans ahead of time, what time you�re going to arrive, and when you expect to leave.�

Ann Muir, who has lived in the Lowcountry for 16 years, agrees. She and her family have hosted a number of guests at their home in Mount Pleasant�s Old Village, but there have been a few times that she has encountered less-than-ideal guests.

�I had one friend who was a last-minute planner, and she was driving from the Northeast and stopped in Charleston. She called and I had other guests � my family. She asked if she could spend the night, and I said no. She said she didn�t mind sleeping on the floor, but it wasn�t that. It was an imposition of my time, which was for my family,� says Muir.

No Prisoners

As a guest, you don�t want to be stuck in your room if you�re an early riser, or keep your hosts tiptoeing through the house while you sleep in. Find out what the typical schedule is at your host or hostess� house and plan accordingly.

�It can be as simple as asking, �What time do you usually get up in the morning?� � says Grosso. �If you have to, set your alarm.�

If you�re an early riser and your hosts aren�t, consider asking if you could go for a run before breakfast or if it is OK to turn on the television early. Just be aware of the normal routines of the household and do your best not to upset them.

Come Bearing Gifts

�Bring a gift or buy a gift or send a gift afterwards,� says Grosso.
A little something for the home or a bottle of wine is a generally appropriate gift, but during your stay, as you get to know your hosts better, you might decide to purchase something special for them that catches your eye.

Muir likes it when her guests take care of a meal. �One nice thing for a guest to do for the hostess is to treat the host family to a meal. It can be takeout or pizza or whatever, but the hostess doesn�t have to plan that meal,� she says.

Leave a Good Impression

�A thank-you note is never wrong,� says Grosso.

But before you return home to write that thank-you, think about how to help your host before you leave. Can you strip the bedding off your bed? Do you need to straighten the bathroom? Did you eat every cup of yogurt in the fridge? If so, it�s a nice idea to replace them. A key here is to think of how you�ve impacted the home � and what it will take to re-establish order when you�re gone.

Despite the shakeup in routines, however, Muir says she often looks forward to having guests.

�All in all, I don�t think that saying about guests smelling like old fish after a couple of days is necessarily true,� she says. �Having guests can be a wonderful experience.� 

To read this magazine please go to:



Author: Stephanie Burt Williams

Source: Lowcountry Living Magazine

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