Before I moved to Scottsdale many years ago (for the first time) I had been, like many, a frequent visitor to the Valley. I would come visit my grandparents who were snow birds, and nothing was more liberating than getting off the plane and knowing the heavy winter coat in my hands would be obsolete for the next week as I enjoyed my spring break in beautiful Scottsdale.
Now, many years later, as a permanent resident, there isn’t a January through May that I don’t have at least 2 or 3 visitors from the Midwest or East Coast coming to enjoy the sunny 70-degree days. As fun as it is to have visitors, it can be challenging having people, even if it’s your family or closest friends, staying with you while you still work, your kids have school and your family’s daily routines. You want your guests to feel like they are comfortable, have their own space, and enjoy your company as well as enjoying all Scottsdale has to offer. Below are some tips and tricks on how to survive out of town visitors and be the hostess with the mostest!
1. Prepare for their stay with some personalization. Prior to your guest’s arrival, find out any of their needs. You don’t need to go full blown grocery shopping for them, but finding out how they take their coffee, if their have any specific dietary needs, or any chemical allergies (cleaning supplies, fragrances, etc.) will be imperative to them feeling at home. I have a niece with a dairy allergy so I always make sure when she visits that I have rice milk for her to drink, and an aunt who loves gin so I always make sure I have some on hand when she visits even though it’s not something we normally have stocked in our bar. These personalized touches will make your guests feel very loved.
2. Turn your guest room into the Ritz Carlton. Are you a person who saves all the cute little soaps from your travels? Well, now is your time to use them! Place the soaps and shampoos in a basket or bag for your guests and have them noticeably displayed in their room. When tidying up your guest room, try to make sure you have space for your guest’s items like space and extra hangers in the closet as well as one or two empty drawers for their items. If they are sharing a bathroom with other members of your family, designate certain towels for their use and place them in their guest room, that way they won’t have to go looking for specific towels prior to having to take a shower. I also always leave out an extra blow dryer just in case my guest wakes up early and wants to shower without disturbing anyone.
3. Share some reminders. Yes, you want your guest to feel like they are on vacation, however your home has certain nuances and you need to still run your household. I have a list of “need to know” things that I give my guests when they are staying with me. For example, what day the trash and recycle gets picked up, what days my landscaper and pool maintenance comes so they won’t be surprised, as well as when our Roomba is scheduled for vacuuming. We also all have the one faucet that takes a while for the water to heat up, or that one sticky door that’s hard to open. Those are good things to make your guest aware of. We also have a toddler so some guests may need a reminder about staying with young children. I always remind my guests to keep the pool gate shut, to leave sharp objects like razors and scissors out of reach of little arms, and to keep the door to their guest room shut so they don’t get a lego (or five) in their suitcase.
4. We all aren’t Martha Stewart, so meals should be quick and easy. Your guests will most likely be checking out our dining scene in Scottsdale and eating out, but as the good hostess you are, you’ll want to make sure you have some easy food on hand for quick breakfasts and lunches. I usually have tamales in the freezer along with waffles for breakfast. Some deli meat, cheese and bread is perfect for sandwiches. Don’t feel like you have to cook non-stop. Ordering a pizza or doing burgers on the grill with thrill your guests, or something simple like chili in the crock pot and cornbread. To make clean up easy, use paper plates and napkins. That way you spend less time doing dishes and more time with your guests.
5. You don’t have to entertain 24/7. Being a great hostess can mean giving your guests the freedom to do things on their own. If they didn’t rent a car, I will have them drop me off at work so they can explore on the local areas on their own. Sometimes your guests don’t want to “use you as a hotel,” but encourage them to explore and you can meet up after their day trip to Sedona for dinner and they can show you all the pictures. The reprieve can be beneficial so you can get some work done, do some laundry, and complete some errands you have put off.
6. You aren’t a travel agent, but as the hostess, you are the local expert. Your idea of the perfect trip to Scottsdale may not be your guests cup of tea, but you can make suggestions as a hostess. I always suggest Sedona and a Pink Jeep tour for a day trip, Pinnacle Peak for a hike, and The Scottsdale Quarter for a unique dining and shopping experience. Of course I could make a list 50 pages long of things I love to do in Arizona, but I usually have those as my “must do” list for anyone. I also try to suggest restaurants that are unique to Phoenix. I’ll never forget when my friends from Chicago came to visit and stayed at a hotel in Scottsdale. They asked the concierge where they should grab lunch nearby and she said, “there is this GREAT sandwich place nearby! It’s called Portillos!”. Well, nothing against Portillos, but the last things a couple of Chicagoans want to do is eat at Portillos! I like to suggest local restaurants like The Thumb for a unique and fun location, Isabella’s Kitchen for a beautiful view, and The Vig to enjoy a beautiful evening on the patio.
7. Make sure to enjoy yourself, too! It can be stressful to want to impress your guests, keep your kids booger free and their rooms sparkling clean, all while trying to make sure everyone in your house behaves and your guests have the time of their lives. Your guests are most likely your close friends or family, and they want you to enjoy yourself too! Don’t worry if there are dishes in the sink or laundry that isn’t folded, spending time with your guests and making memories is the most important part of being a good hostess. The laundry can wait!