Most of us don't have enough space for ourselves or enough rooms for our kids, much less the ability to dedicate a separate room entirely for a guest. Myself, a pull-out sofa or a blow-up mattress is about the best I can offer.
But in the world of the rich guest rooms are a top priority and well covered in the butler academy. In this house where I work, in addition to the family bedrooms, there are three rooms set aside specifically for guests.
As you might expect our uppity guests need their privacy, comfort, and access to the outside world. Each one of these rooms has its own bathroom - the premiere with a huge tub on a marble platform, the others with smaller marble-encased tubs and showers. Each room has a sitting area complete with a coffee table and end tables, and most importantly a desk. There's a telephone and cable TV in each room of course, along with a stable internet connection.
Basically these rooms are set up like a hotel. There's a luggage bench and the closets are empty, with plenty of wooden hangers inside. The bureau drawers are empty as well, and the bathrooms have essential luxury toiletries in case the guest's luggage doesn't make it on the same plane.
As the butler academy taught us here's what we do if a guest is expected:
- Open the balcony doors or windows and air out the room.
- Replace hanging towels with fresh ones, in case dust or odors have collected.
- Double check that bed sheets are fresh and smoothed out.
- Make sure the soap dishes have fresh bars of designer soap.
- Put current, gender-specific magazines on the coffee table. Or neutral magazines like The New Yorker and Robb Report if we don't know who's coming.
- Make sure the TV Guide is current and remote batteries are okay.
- Check all light bulbs in the room, especially reading lamps.
- Set a vase of fresh flowers on the coffee table.
- Turn down the bed.
- Finally, vacuum our way out of the room so as not to leave footprints in the carpet.
I feel quite sure you do the very same things if your mother-in-law or other relatives are coming for the weekend, right? But around here, this is the normal and expected sequence of events when guests are coming - which is all too frequent if you want my opinion.
Mercifully we have a full staff to handle all this, including a florist who drops off the vase of fresh flowers. And the kitchen staff is geared up for breakfast, snacks, and extra meals if the guests hang around and don't go out. Being professionals in our jobs, there's really nothing much to it, all said and done.
The only burning question in our minds upon the arrival of every guest is "How frigging long are you going to be here?"
But the problem is that rich people themselves, not having any significant schedules to keep up with, often don't know how long they're going to plunk down in any given spot. So our tricky balancing act is not to be too accommodating or make them feel too comfortable - or else they'll be here for a solid month.
Thanks for stopping by this evening,