By Megan Murray
The holidays are a great opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones, especially those travelling from afar to come and stay. If it's your turn to host friends and family overnight this season, read our tips on creating a welcoming atmosphere and how to encourage guests to treat your home as their own for an experience they'll always remember. Indeed, away from guests' usual routines and comforts, it's those thoughtful touches and ensuring that they feel looked after that makes all the difference.
In our House bedrooms, there are a number of ways we do this for our members. A mixture of lighting and soft furnishings brings comfort and ambience, a fully stocked bathroom provides them with everything they need, and small surprises show them we're excited to welcome them. From hand-written notes and freshly baked treats to the beauty essentials to have on hand, these are our tips for creating a home away from home for your guests.
Create a bedside area
When planning the layout of Soho House bedrooms, our designers prioritise the member experience, putting comfort and practicality first. High on the list comes a well thought out bedside area, because everyone likes somewhere to put their cup of tea.
Even in a small space, think about how your guest will use the room, not just how it looks. Providing an uncluttered bedside table with space for a carafe of water, a warm drink and a book, plus a good reading light that can be turned off just before bed, is essential.
Curate a calming atmosphere
Light, scent and sound all set the mood of a space, which we suggest doing ahead of your guests' arrival. We want our members to feel instantly welcomed when they enter one of our bedrooms, so we have a Roberts radio playing classical music on a low volume and some soft lighting for when they walk in.
Add to this a lit scented candle, a loose arrangement of cut flowers in a jug or vintage bottle looks considered but homely.
Layer up texture for cosiness
Make the bedroom feel warm and inviting with layers of soft furnishings. We position a rug halfway under the bed so that there's something warm underfoot when a guest steps out, as well as layering a throw on the end of the bed.
Our signature pillow formation uses three medium, square pillows along the back, two large, firm pillows in the middle, and two medium, long pillows at the front, for a sinkable effect. Bring in a mix of textures and influence the colour palette with some decorative cushions to finish. You might also want to consider changing the curtains to a thicker, richer fabric.
Let them make the space their own
No one likes living out of a suitcase, so add a temporary coat hanger to the back of the door and clear some drawers if possible. An accent chair at the end of the bed, under a window or in a corner gives your guests somewhere to relax when they need a minute, but also can be used as a clothes horse, too. A laundry basket is a thoughtful touch, as well as a robe and some slippers.
Write them a note
To surprise returning members and guests, we sometimes leave handwritten notes in their room, welcoming them back to stay. A simple note to say how excited you are to host your friends and a few helpful details such as the WiFi password or what time to expect a coffee in bed in the morning, will no doubt make them feel special.
Something freshly baked
There's no better welcome than freshly baked cookies, which is why you'll find a treats tin filled with snacks straight from the oven in all of our bedrooms. It's our signature way of greeting members - and they always goes down, well, a treat! Do the same and either store them in a tin of your own or lay them out on a serving plate ready to enjoy immediately.
One while getting ready
If your guests don't already feel generously taken care of, surprise them with 'one while getting ready'. In select Houses around the world, our team wheels one of our famous bar carts down the halls, asking members staying the night if they'd like a cocktail while changing for dinner. It's fun and sets the mood for a great evening.
If your guest is sharing the main bathroom with you, there are little ways you can make their experience feel personalised. For example, mimic that spa feel with a botanical scented candle. We like Cowshed's Balance candle with rose geranium, linden blossom and frankincense.
You can also prepare an overnight hamper with anything they might have forgotten, such as a toothbrush, comb, razor, body moisturiser, face cloth, and any skincare essentials. Our Soho Skin Discovery Kit includes a mini serum, face cream, eye cream, lip balm, shave gel, cleanser, and our signature 24/7 mask - ideal for a weekend away.
Try your own turn-down service
Soho House Founder, Nick Jones, has often said that one of his favourite things about staying in the Houses is turn-down service. So much so, that he has even suggested trying it at home.
Treat your guests to something similar by bringing some water to their room, turning down overhead lighting and switching on bedside lamps, and remaking the bed. You could also restock the towels - it'll make everything feel fresh.
Finally, burn some calming essential oils or set up a diffuser, so that they're immediately soothed when re-entering the room.