By Megan Murray
Over the past 26 years, we have developed our own signature spin on hosting with certain rituals that we treat every guest to, whether they're in Berlin or Austin. From getting the lighting just right to a stash of cookies in every bedroom, we aim to create spaces that our members can feel at home in.
'We make spaces that take our members from morning, through noon and into the night in a relaxed home away from home,' says Soho House Founder, Nick Jones. 'Whether it's designing our bedrooms, getting the lighting just so, or mixing the perfect nightcap, this is our way of living.'
If you're preparing for friends to visit for the evening or overnight, here's how you can replicate our unique hosting techniques.
Create a ‘home away from home’
One of the secrets to great hosting is imagining the comforts your friends enjoy at home and recreating them without being asked.
'When you walk into a House, you want it to feel like walking into your own living room,' says Soho House's Chief Membership Officer, Samantha Stone. 'Great hosting is about pre-empting what your guests will need or want before they do. Welcome them with a drink and nibbles, keep a blanket close in case it gets cold, pop a toothbrush in their room in case they've forgotten theirs. These little touches make a difference.'
Select the right playlist
Music is important when setting the mood for guests. Soho House's Head of Music, Dom Chung, has curated playlists that are reflective of our Houses and suited to different times of the day.
You can access some of these on Spotify by searching for Soho House. We recommend trying the Soho House Malibu playlist for a party or large gathering for its upbeat energy.
Don’t underestimate candlelight
Stone says that one of her go-to ways to prepare for friends is by lighting small candles around her home - a trick she's learnt from the Houses.
'Votive candles are perfect for scattering around a living area,' she says. 'I position them along my bookshelves and place a few candlesticks in holders around the room, too. When you walk into our Houses in the evening, this is one of the things you'll always notice: the whole place is glowing.'
Keep refreshments coming
With homemade cookies in every bedroom and afternoon tea served in select lounge spaces, we can guarantee that planning some treats for your guests' arrival is a great sweetener.
At the Houses, we always ensure our members are never without a drink, and so you'll find the same signature cocktails on the menu all over the world to create that feeling of familiarity. And in the bedrooms, our minibars are stocked with glassware, shakers, citrus fruits, and full-size spirits, mixers and cocktails, so that our overnight guests can make a proper drink.
There may not be a need to install a minibar in your guest room, but fixing your favourite drink and having it ready when friends arrive will always go down well.
Prepare the bedroom for relaxing
'We create a welcoming atmosphere through warm lighting and music to calm our guests as soon as they set foot inside the door,' says Thierry Lepinoy, Soho House's Rooms Division Director.
'When preparing a bedroom, one of our tips is to leave music softly playing. We choose classical music and always play it on a Roberts Radio for a little bit of Britishness. It makes the experience sensory.'
Lepinoy also recommends adjusting the lighting to a warm glow. 'A Soho House overnight guest will never walk into either a dark or brightly lit room,' he says. 'We ensure that the lamps and wall sconces do most of the work, so that overhead lighting doesn't need to be used.'
Dress the bed for guests
An inviting bed is a sign to any guest that their visit has been expertly prepared for, and our seven-pillow set-up is something our members know us for. 'It's all about the bed,' says Lepinoy. 'We have a standard that each one is made with seven pillows - it looks beautiful and makes you want to jump right into it.'
The formation is as follows: three medium, square pillows along the back, against the headboard. Two large, firm pillows layered in the middle, and two medium, long pillows at the front.
Then, give the bed depth and texture by adding a few choice scatter cushions, preferably with a trim or pattern. Layering a single throw at the end of the bed will give it that final special touch.