Sunday, August 14, 2011

Guest room amenities

What are important amenities in a guest room? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what is important, what is helpful, and what is more of a detraction than a help.

A comfortable bed is obviously central to the mission of a guest room, though everyone has different tastes in mattresses. (We’re changing our guest bed from a king to a queen, which seems to be large enough for many people when they’re traveling even if they’re used to a king at home.) A variety of nice bedding and pillows allows you to adjust the bed to your personal preferences.

A guest bathroom is a lovely amenity, but not one we can add here.

A light that you can adjust and turn off from the bed was a huge upgrade in our own bedroom, so I’d like to provide that. I don’t find fan remotes all that important, since I’m not usually trying to change the fan speed in the middle of the night. But having a fan and windows you can open is important.

Guest towels. Somewhere to stash your luggage and hang some clothes. Convenient power outlets so guests can charge their cell phones, laptops, and cameras. Power outlets near the bed for CPAP machines, laptops, alarm clocks, etc. Window shades and/or curtains so the light level from outside can be adjusted. Some books to read. Can there be too many books in a guest room? A television? The purpose of a television can be handled by providing a computer, and an internet connection seems far more vital when traveling. A landline telephone might be an annoyance if you don’t turn off the ringer, since guests probably don’t want to answer the phone and certainly don’t want to be woken by it.

Little shampoos and soaps? Candles? Fresh flowers? Pen and paper? A mini-fridge and microwave? How far should a guest room go towards imitating a hotel room, rather than learning from it?

I don’t mind lots of bookshelves, as long as they’re mostly filled with something interesting. My parents turned the bookshelves in my old room into file storage, and that makes it much less pleasant to stay there. What guest room mistakes have you seen?


Vardibidian said...

Nothing specific coming to mind yet, but in general--

I tend to assume with guest rooms that the people visiting will be spending almost all their time with us, and only retiring to the guest room to get ready for bed. In fact, we have had a few guests who need to put in a few hours of work during the day (which allows them to extend their trip). I wonder if a chair-and-table set-up in the guest room would be helpful with that, or if there is something else that would be good? It's not something I need, myself, so I don't really know.


irilyth said...

I wrote up a long long comment, full of helpful insights, but when I tried to sign in, it said "We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.
The following errors were found:
Input error: Cookie value is null for FormRestoration" and my comment was lost. :^( My bad for not composing it in an external editor, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Make sure there's a power outlet close to the bed, in case you have guests who use a CPAP (like me). I'd say little soaps and shampoo bottles go too far in the direction of a hotel room, especially if there's no guest bath so guests are using the same shower as the hosts. They can use the same soap and shampoo as the hosts. I wouldn't expect a TV or computer, either. If I'm staying with friends, I'll watch TV with them in the living room, and ask to borrow their computer to check my mail. The thing to remember is you're not a bed & breakfast: your guests will (I assume) be friends and family members, not strangers.

Antony Green said...

The previous comment is mine.

Michael said...

@V: I have a home office, and would love to keep it uncluttered enough to allow guests to work there if they wanted to. In fact I never have clear desk space, so a small desk or table in the guest room would be more usable. Though of course they can always use one of the downstairs tables just like we often do.

@I: Argh. I chose a full-page comment form for the blog, so the back end shouldn't use third-party cookie filtering and shouldn't cause that kind of problem. I'll call Google tech support and find out what's up. Your insights are welcome in person or by email/phone as well.

@A: Electrician is coming tomorrow, and I'll add that to the list. Can a CPAP be plugged into a power strip along with chargers and lamps and such, or is it better to plug it directly into the wall? We actually did have a stranger staying in our guest room on Saturday night (friend of our nephew's), but I'm less concerned about making strangers happy than I am about friends and family.

Laura said...

For me, a bedside table on which I can have a glass of water is nice. (With a coaster if necessary to protect a wooden surface.)

Jennifer said...

A bedside table is hugely important, since I need someplace to leave my eyeglasses. Also, a box of tissues is appreciated (and I would never say no to Godiva Chocolates, but that's probably going a bit too far :-)