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Help me make my holiday let awesome!

(101 Posts)
Kracken Sun 27-Jul-14 18:13:28

Hi all, we welcome our first guests into our holiday let in a week! I will obviously be cleaning and gardening madly all week but I wanted to ask you wise folk what you need from a holiday home to make sure I haven't missed anything!

Kitchen equipment is all new and I've made sure there is plenty of everything and sharp knives as I hate it when all you can find are blunt rubbish ones when on holiday. I am doing a quick guide to all appliances, boiler etc plus info on local area etc. Decor is very neutral. I plan to put flowers in main rooms.

What has 'made' a self catering holiday for you? What would drive you mad if it wasn't there? What would you expect to have in your welcome groceries, am planning milk, tea, coffee, sugar, bread and some dishwasher and laundry tabs, couple of loo rolls and one kitchen roll. Debating leaving wine and should I bake something?!

Any thoughts really welcome, thank you. I am starting to panic!

SwedishEdith Sun 27-Jul-14 18:19:21

Yes to wine and something baked - preferably a local speciality. Also a soft drink for kids. Basic kitchen stuff like salt and pepper and oil. Rolls of foil and cling film.

HindsightisaMarvellousThing Sun 27-Jul-14 18:20:07

I think there is no point in leaving bread unless you leave butter, jam etc, but then you can't tell what they would like on their toast, so I honestly wouldn't bother with the bread. Leaving a home made cake/biscuits would be a far lovelier idea.

Can you get an ordnance survey map of the area and pop it in a clip frame and hang it on the wall - I've always thought this was a lovely idea, and if it is framed then there is less chance of it walking off.

Do you have wifi? Is it easy to use?

SwedishEdith Sun 27-Jul-14 18:21:36

One place we rented had everything for a full English breakfast in the fridge - that was lovely! Ice cube making trays. Cork screw

Kracken Sun 27-Jul-14 18:38:32

Ah yes, good point about needing butter etc if leaving bread. Will consider either providing stuff to go on bread or no bread at all!

Soft drinks are a great idea and DH has just suggested a few beers. I think cold drinks would be appreciated as it's quite hot here at the moment (London).

Have one ice cube tray but will get some more as one isn't enough really, and we have a corkscrew.

A framed map is a great idea and I might try and find a London underground map too!

This is all being added to my (massive) to do list... Thanks!

museumum Sun 27-Jul-14 18:42:32

The quality of the "local info" folder makes a big difference. Restaurant recommendations with menus. Local spas or masseurs, swimming pools with opening hours, shops, doctors pharmacies, church services, library even??
And I do like a book swap shelf smile
And board games.

museumum Sun 27-Jul-14 18:43:48

Oh, and if you can arrange a small discount with local small businesses that's nice too smile

WaitingForMe Sun 27-Jul-14 18:46:47

Ice cube tray filled and frozen is always appreciated.

HairyPotter Sun 27-Jul-14 18:47:55

My pet hate is glass chopping boards. I totally get that's probably the best option for owners to provide. Easy to clean, no scratches etc, but I loathe them with a passion angry

I take all my own sharp knives and my favourite huge nonstick pan blush

I love huge fluffy white towels, with more than enough for everyone. Good quality bedding and decent pillows. Maps would be useful too.

I would be delighted to find wine and a homemade cake but I wouldn't expect anything else. I really wouldn't provide much more tbh, it would eat into your profit unless you charged more for all the extras.

foxdongle Sun 27-Jul-14 18:52:09

Get a guest book- always liked reading and adding to those and you get some feedback.

Pack of cards.

one place we stayed left a lovely bowl of fruit, another left some posh biscuits.

Is there somewhere to sit and eat outside? We always want that.

bottle opener/good can opener.

Taz1212 Sun 27-Jul-14 18:52:54

Is it in London? I'm not fussed about having food/drinks in places I've rented. I just like having plenty washing up liquid, toilet rolls, kitchen rolls and cloths that are clearly to be used for the washing up! I do really appreciate having directions to the nearest M&S, supermarket and Boots.

mysteryfairy Sun 27-Jul-14 18:55:48

Notice everything you use in your kitchen over the next week and think about any gaps. We just came back from a let with no can opener. No scissors has also annoyed me before. Hate having no cafetiere too.

Also we stayed in a lovely house in Cornwall multiple times which really had no mirror you could use to put make up on in - actually took one with me after the first year.

If it's a seaside let loads of drying space - maiden for swimming costumes etc.

My children would not contemplate going somewhere without wifi

SE13Mummy Sun 27-Jul-14 18:56:08

The place we've rented for our holiday for the past three years always provides something baked (scones, cookies etc) and some locally sourced juice in the fridge which has been a welcome snack on arrival.

I love it if things like cling film, ketchup, washing-up liquid and tupperwares are provided. Likewise, a coolbag and ice blocks (in the freezer) are helpful for the self-catering experience. A selection of books, leaflets from local attractions and that sort of thing are appreciated too.

Pastperfect Sun 27-Jul-14 18:59:41

No no no to flowers - unless one very small posy.

We stayed in a let where there were flowers - I felt responsible for taking out the dead, refreshing the water and when they were all dead, finding a bin and cleaning the vases. Too stressful for me on hols.

The three most important things for me staying anywhere is a powerful shower, wifi, hand wash and washing up liquid and proper sized towels.

Good luck smile

FishWithABicycle Sun 27-Jul-14 19:30:51

Salt, pepper, a bottle of cooking oil and perhaps 2 or 3 generic dried herbs - these are things that guests find irritating to have to buy a whole container of when they are only staying a week.

We had an almost-completely-awesome holiday let recently and the lack of the above was a minor contribution to what made it "almost". They had left teabags & sugar on the side and a little jug of milk in the fridge which was great. They also left a sponge cake which was very sweet of them but also a bit annoying because it wasn't that nice but not actually nasty so would have felt guilty throwing it away but didn't really enjoy it that much. Some biscuits would have been better honestly.

Whatever you are leaving, make sure you make your guests aware that these things will be available - either in the pre-arrival info or on a notice in the cottage. I remember one time doing a quick run to a local shop to acquire dishwasher tablets (we were delighted that the house had a dishwasher) and then a couple of days later found that what looked like a purely ornamental tin on the kitchen window sill held a week's worth of tablets, which was a bit annoying to discover late on in the holiday.

Agree that having the ice cube tray filled and frozen on arrival is a brilliant thing to do. The hours between arrival and first gin-and-tonic can then be so much shorter!

I wouldn't leave wine, and don't go overboard on flowers (a small inoffensive posy on the dining table, nothing else). your guests may not share your tastes in either.

Another thing that made ours awesome was that the owners had arrangements with the best local baker, butcher/deli/cheesemonger and greengrocer so they could offer the option of doing an online shop for delivery on arrival day without having to use a big national supermarket.

make contacts with local services offering things like babysitting, visiting massage/beauty treatment therapists etc to give your guests ideas about how they might give themselves a treat while they are with you. see if you can arrange a discount with such services.

Kracken Sun 27-Jul-14 19:52:35

This is brilliant! We have fast wifi, fluffy bathsheet size towels (they are black though, we were worried white ones could go a bit grubby?! Bedding is all white, feather duvets and pillows) and a fairly good shower but the water pressure is a bit rubbish and I think that may well be the thing we get complaints about. Short of installing an electric power shower which we can't really afford at the moment we can't do much about water pressure.

I now have a great shopping list of basics including clingfilm, tinfoil, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper etc. I think our 'welcome pack' will be wine, beer, cold soft drinks, tea and coffee stuff and some homemade cookies.

Setting up deals with local businesses is a great idea but I probably don't have time. I will list the best local delis, butchers, beauty salons etc in the house info though.

Off to Oxfam bookshop tomorrow to pick up some reading material!!

Now re-thinking flowers...

Another question, would you expect a BBQ? The house has a reasonably large garden with a table and chairs to eat at. I think I could pick up a half decent BBQ fairly cheap but wondering if it's worth it.

Pastperfect Sun 27-Jul-14 20:11:33

Now I feel like a PITA but I'd rethink the feather duvets/pillows.

I love a feather duvet but I travel a lot for work and notice that virtually all hotels have stopped them on the grounds of "allergies" - they are also a bitch to clean in the event of any spillages/accidents, which I'm afraid will be inevitable.

Pastperfect Sun 27-Jul-14 20:14:29

Oh and we put a pump on our master-bed shower (well it was fitted into the cupboard next to the shower). Wasn't particularly expensive if i recall and made lots of difference.

I have to say when I travel if the shower is worse than the one I can have at home I feel really shortchanged so I would focus on that rather than the bottles of wine and beers.

Pastperfect Sun 27-Jul-14 20:15:58

And I wouldn't bother with a BBQ - people can buy disposables if they really feel that way inclined and you certainly don't want to be responsible for cleaning the grills - cos you can guarantee your guests won't.

TurquoiseCat Sun 27-Jul-14 20:17:32

I've stayed in quite a few cottage lets around the country, and a good selection of takeaway menus is always a bonus, as well as up to date leaflets on local attractions.

A DVD player is always good, especially when there's a few DVDs (charity shops should be good for that)!

Yy to wifi, toilet rolls, plenty of crockery/cutlery and a means of cleaning them.

bluesky Sun 27-Jul-14 20:21:24

Unless on your website or joining instructions you mention that the duvets/pillows are feather i would have a spare non-feather in a cupboard somewhere.

temporaryusername Sun 27-Jul-14 20:24:06

Sounds like you've done really well, and obviously you really care which is the main thing. If they have someone they can call with any problems who will care/respond that makes a world of difference. I think I would be less keen on black towels, but then that is just me probably.

I must admit that I do react badly to feather pillows, eyes get swollen, red and itchy. I would try to offer at least one set of microfiber/non-allergy bedding. If not, it would be fair to make it clear or email that the bedding is feather, then if anyone has a real problem they can bring their own pillow at least - could be hard to bring a duvet if not driving. I usually ring to ask or take my own pillow anyway, since I know I have a problem. The other thing that has really impressed some of my family is places that have a memory foam/bed topper if the beds are hard. Some people really struggle with very hard beds (yours probably aren't though).

Since it is the first let this probably won't be an issue, but if you get lots of lets in a row don't forget to change the batteries in the TV remote. I know, god forbid anyone have to get up to change channel blush

TheGirlOnTheLanding Sun 27-Jul-14 20:27:41

The thing that makes the difference for us between an adequate and a good holiday let is homeliness. Some well chosen books and DVDs really help, rather than bare shelves, and a few ornaments and pictures that look like they mean something to someone, rather than random tat from the charity shop or worse, IKEA prints throughout.

And wifi and ideally Netflix or Lovefilm for rainy days or when the kids are in bed.

Doilooklikeatourist Sun 27-Jul-14 20:32:10

No no no no to black towels
Towels must be white

FishWithABicycle Sun 27-Jul-14 20:32:48

Yes definitely get a barbecue - you can as you say get decent ones quite cheap, but then would you be able to provide one bbq's worth of charcoal as part of what is left when your guests arrive? Even if you don't provide charcoal definitely add matches and firelighters to the list of things that there are stocks of in the house.

Not a thing to worry about right now if everything is new, but make sure that checking that the batteries are still working in the TV/DVD remote controls should be a regular step in your between-guest-tidy-ups.

If the garden is large enough, have an outdoor storebox containing a few outdoor games - a football, perhaps a net that can be strung between 2 trees and a couple of badminton or tennis racquets, a boules, quoits or croquet set. Some long sticks and an old sheet that can be used to make a den.

Could you put a hammock in the garden anywhere?

Include an ice pop maker among your kitchen equipment?

Other things that are sometimes missing from kitchen equipment: Ice cream scoop, salad spinner, range of sizes of cookware (when we rent a house which sleeps 12 all saucepans are extra-large which makes cooking a one-portion meal for the kid with special dietary requirements a bit tricky), fruit bowl, a few bits of tupperware for keeping leftovers in or taking out on picnics

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