Hanging bed swings are a comfortable, dramatic element for any comfortable guest room, but we know that guest rooms get ranked on more than just the bed. Making people feel welcome is a Charleston tradition that stretches back to the early days of the colonies.
If you’ve visited Waterfront Park downtown Charleston you probably saw the big pineapple fountain – a symbol of hospitality. Back in the day, sea captains would bring pineapples home from their voyages then stick one on a fence spike outside their front door. A pineapple on the fence was an open invitation to stop by, enjoy an exotic treat and trade stories. You won't find many (real) pineapples on fence posts in Charleston these days, but you will find plenty of open-door hospitality. As such, Charlestonians have a few secret tricks about how to create guest rooms that are far more than pretty.
Love and comfort, not white-glove service
Make the room livable. If your guest room looks like a picture out of a magazine, guests will be afraid to touch anything. If it looks like you went dumpster diving for furnishings - they’ll still be afraid to touch anything. Make your guest room homey and inviting by mixing old with new and adding plenty of personal and handmade touches. Our favorite ingredients are antique or family quilts, personal photos and local art, and a few pieces of reclaimed or heirloom furniture that has some wear and character. Go for super-clean, not super-perfect.
A comfortable bed
Splurge on a comfortable mattress. House guests have either been on airplanes or have been in the car for hours. No matter how long you stay up talking, they are secretly hoping for a good night’s sleep at some point. Hanging swing beds are a delightful touch to a guest room and can accommodate standard size mattresses. Memory foam is the most comfortable for the widest range of preferences.
A stash of ‘Things Too Hard to Ask For’
Help your guests retain their dignity by leaving first aid remedies like aspirin, stomach fixers, sunblock and aloe gel for sunburns under the sink or in an obvious place. Our guests also get access to our freebie toothbrushes and toothpaste from the dentist and free boutique toiletry samples. We also save the free sunglasses, hats and white long-sleeved t-shirts we accumulate from 5K runs and promotional events throughout the year.
Keep guests occupied during downtime with a stack of magazines, current newspapers or a book of short stories. Reading materials also occupy insomniacs and early risers, and give introverts a way to recharge while still being part of the group.
Leave a dresser or tabletop completely bare. It will look too empty before guests arrive, but 10 minutes after they walk in it will be crowded with keys, jewelry, change, electronics, wallets, and sunglasses.
“Where do you want to eat?” is an overwhelming question for hungry out-of-town guests. Having a basket of menus from your favorite spots lets guests pick from your pre-approved list of eateries. It’s also a great way to provide suggestions for the days they’re on their own.
A little thought and effort can help house guests enjoy their time with you. For us, a comfy hanging swing bed plus a little space, privacy, and few small conveniences keeps our guests coming back for more good times.