How to be a great host: seven tips for having people to stay

A beautiful guest bedroom and having friends popping in and out has got to be one of the great pleasures of life. There are things you can do for guests that would be impossible to maintain in your everyday life, which is why it’s fun rather than a nuisance to do them. Those extra frivolities are what makes someone comfortable and feel welcome. Here are some tips that will have your guests booking up for the next time before they’ve even left.

  1. The more luxurious you make the bedroom the more time your guests will want to spend in it (this isn’t meant to be unfriendly but it but it does take the pressure off both parties feeling like they have to be entertaining each other all the time).
  2. Make the bed as inviting as possible, with  blankets folded across the end. (Daylesford and The New Craftsmen have lovely ones). Hot water bottles in winter and dressing gowns, hotel style, are lovely extra touches that don’t take much extra effort.
  3. Make sure there are enough squishy pillows (I find square are the most comfortable) and a bedside lamp. It’s also nice to leave some reading options on the bedside table – magazines or short stories work well (as there’s nothing worse than getting stuck into a good book and then having to leave it behind). My personal favourites are back issues of Vanity Fair and a book of good ghost stories.
  4. It’s also helpful to leave a bathroom package of things people may need – toothbrush, toothpaste, some luxurious bath oil, razors, tweezers and q-tips. I like to use Baby Laguna B tumblers to store the smaller bits.
  5. In old fashioned houses you often find writing paper and envelopes, which are always rather tempting for sitting down and sending out gossipy letters in that Jane Austen fashion – but quite unrealistic. Postcards are much easier and more likely to get written; leave them by the bed with stamps on the back and a pen. It’s a rather quaint but charming idea in this age of texts and WhatsApp.
  6. Think of leaving a jug of water, a small decanter of whisky and a tin of good biscuits for your guest’s midnight snacks.  A Ferrero Rocher on the pillow may be a step too far but some squares of dark chocolate, broken off a bar in a little bowl is a delicious touch.
  7. Finally, if your guests are arriving late on a Friday night, don’t forget that they may have missed dinner and be starving after their journey. In these instances, tray dinners by the fire are really divine. There’s something magical about something delicious being brought to you in the sitting room. It doesn’t have to be fancy – some soup and bread would do just fine.

It’s extraordinary how different it feels when arriving in a house where your host is ready for you and excited about your arrival compared with one where there is a rather frazzled atmosphere. These fairly simple things will make your guests feel instantly at ease and as though this moment has been looked forward to. There is something wonderful about arriving somewhere late at night, tired and slightly disorientated, excited to be with your friends and full of anticipation for the forthcoming days of fun.

Below is my edit of products that will make your guest bedroom a real pleasure for friends to stay in.


Soft Wool Throw Blue French Stripe by Cox and Cox – £65


Medium and Baby Murano Tumblers by Laguna B from £59


Organic Scottish Shortbread Fingers by Daylesford – £4.99


Checkerboard Throw made with wool from Daylesford’s Cotswold sheep – £150


Quercus Robur Pack of 10 postcards by Pentreath and Hall – £14.50


Abesalom Jug by Oka – £48


Tweed Emphasise Blanket in Dusty Rose by Mourne Textiles for The New Craftsmen – £195


Small Artur Lamp in a stone crackle glaze by Pooky – £115


White Daisy Tumbler by Laguna B – £54