It's very British not to complain, especially to an individual (rather than a big company). You might have good reviews, but you might notice they compliment the location, or the kitchen and mention nothing else about the overall decor, or their stay. This is called 'damning with faint praise'! so don't get complacent, give your guests a wow, it's so worth the investment when you're at the higher end of the market
1. Uncomfortable bed. Everyone remembers a rubbish night’s sleep. So make sure all your beds have comfortable mattresses, high threadcount bedlinen and a strong, preferably upholstered headboard. Guests like nothing more than sitting in bed, reading or checking out great places to visit on their iPhone. A sumptuous headboard will make them feel that much more appreciated and cared for.
2. Irritating bathroom. There’s nothing worse than a feeble-flushing loo, a dribbly shower, or a mean little basin with nowhere to put your cleanser or your other half’s shaving brush. People need to feel spoiled when they are away. Or, if they come from a beautiful home anyway, they want something at least as nice when they are away from it.
3. Lousy lighting - Ditch the old energy saving lightbulbs, you know, those spirally bulbs, or the big chunky ones which take 10 seconds to ‘warm up’ when you flick the switch. LEDs have overtaken this technology and are vastly superior. Any lamps, ceiling lights, wall lights with bulbs should all be replaced with warm white LED bulbs. (You must recycle the old bulbs appropriately as they contain mercury and other nasties, so check with your local council website). If you already have down-lights, get a quote from an electrician to replace old halogens with LEDs, they will elevate the look and reduce your electricity bills over time.
4. Cast-offs from your own house, your parents' house etc.
It’s one thing to have fun quirky or stylish vintage or antique furniture, it’s another thing entirely to end up with a bunch of old MFI and Ikea flatpack, of varying styles and colours. I’ve been disappointed in the past when I’ve stayed in places with mis-matched chairs, different curtains (in the same room!), bent cutlery and mis-matched, chipped crockery. It makes your guests feel un-loved and can take them back to their days in student digs, it’s just a major downer. Your guests deserve the best, they don’t want to be reminded of the classic 80s TV series 'The Young Ones’.
5. Faded, patterned or dark coloured bedlinen and towels. If there is one golden rule, it’s to go for crisp white cotton bedlinen as it gives that boutique hotel feel and is easy to launder as it won’t fade and can be bleached if necessary. I’ll go into more detail on bedlinen later.
6. Woodchip, Anaglypta, carpet tiles, ceiling tiles(!), or artex (‘swirly icing’) ceilings. If you’re taking on an older house and it comes with any of these relics of the past, please get them addressed, if you can’t afford to do it immediately, at least get it costed, get the house tested for asbestos and plan the works for off-season. Ideally get it right, out the gate, then you don’t need to think about the mess and disruption later on.
7. Ditto coloured bathroom suites or dated kitchen tiles. It’s not charming to see 90s era decor in a chocolate box holiday cottage, it’s a false economy as it underwhelms your guests. Maybe the kitchen layout and units are in good order, but you could re-tile, replace the work top or doors or upgrade the knobs and handles. All of these together can save a fortune on a new kitchen, but don’t right, will add that wow factor and positive experience you want your guests to have.
8. Dark leather sofas. You know what the says to your guests? ‘We don’t trust you to look after this place, so everything is wipe-clean’. They’re not students, they’re paying guests and deserve comfort, and style. Fabric sofas and chairs photograph so much better and feel much nicer to sit or lie on. I’ll talk more about high tech fabrics that won’t get you panicking over a red wine spillage. Plus they look terrible in photos. So choose a sofa with slipcovers you can take off and wash, preferably in a hard-wearing fabric like denim or linen. And make sure they aren’t of the roll-arm variety or with giant, bulging cushions that need constant plumping. Straight-sided arms will leave you with more room, making the space look bigger and its lines cleaner.
9. Anything broken, wobbly, cracked, stained, chipped, or squeaky. Fix any squeaky floorboards, oil or replace rusty hinges, or doors which won’t close properly. These little annoyances are something you get used to in your own home, but they’ll really grate during a short stay.
10. Dodgy odours and dampness - Deal with any odd smells from drains, or damp, and get someone impartial to do a sniff test. If you have any water ingress or damp, get it dealt with professionally, damp and mould are a health hazard as well as smelling and looking unpleasant. Invest in some nice reed diffusers with essential oils (not the overpowering sickly ones which are a huge turn off for some people, you know which ones I mean, that big American brand).
If you need some design advice, or are looking for full implementation of your holiday home renovation and fit-out, get in touch! Call Helen on 07784 469 334