Dawn Rebel


Hotel Secrets to Make Your House Holiday-Ready

So your family is coming to dinner…

The Mark Hotel bathroom in mint and black.

So your family is coming to dinner…

Well, mine is. They’ll all be here this coming Monday to celebrate Thanksgiving.

My family is big, loud, funny, dynamic, quick-talking, and just a little too honest. It’s situations like these that make me grateful my husband loves to cook, while I micro-manage the heck out of everything else.

I know that my to-do list will include shopping, cleaning, and re-arranging to squish more chairs around our table.

In all of this hubbub, it’s important for me to remember this: it’s not the absence of dust-bunnies that make a host’s home feel warm, inviting, and special. It’s the small things that sparkle.

When I was in elementary school, my best friend’s mom always made her house feel like a hotel. Little soaps in the bathroom, luscious wildflower arrangements in blue glass bottles, rolled hand-towels in the washroom. Granted, she did actually WORK for a hotel. And, not surprisingly, I loved to stay there because her sparkly touches made me feel welcome and special.

Special touches do not have to be complicated, expensive, or time-consuming.

I decided to talk to some former hotel employees to get their secrets on how to go that extra mile for your guests. Here are 5 easy things you can do to give your holiday guests the hotel experience:

1. “Zhush-up” your TP: Make your guests feel like theirs is the only bum ever to grace your commode. Start with your toilet paper. Hotels will always fold the ends of their toilet paper into a pretty point. Easy and sweet.

You can also upcycle the tissue paper that is too battered to put back in your wrapping drawer, and roll your toilet paper in pretty (holiday themed or house colour-schemed) tissue. We all love visiting a hotel for the feeling of “I am the only person ever to inhabit this room” and this colourfully packaged TP should do the trick.

Plus, you were going to throw out that tissue paper anyway!

2. Use rolled hand towels: While you’re at the dollar store or Ikea, grab some cheap, white, facecloths. These ones were forty-nine cents each. Roll-'em-up and stick ‘em in a basket. Voila! You’re such a Martha Stewart (minus the jail-time).

3. The “pillow mint” or equivalent: This year, I’ll be having an overnight guest after our family meal (Hi Mom!). It takes almost no effort to put a little treat on your guest’s bed. If you have a gift cupboard, you are already ahead of me on this one: use what you have! Do not go out and get something specifically for this. Ain’t nobody got time for that.


- Any treat you have stockpiled from the Dollar Store (chocolate, scotch mints, even a cute lollipop)

- Adorable stationary

- The little bottles of liquor that come in gift packages

- The perfume or cosmetics sample that came with your Shoppers Drug Mart purchase

- A tasty chocolate duo that came home with you from one of BlissdomCanada’s sponsors

…really. Anything works. Plus, if your dinner was the pits that evening, this token offering will go a long way to making up for that.

4. Hotel toiletries and tiny samples for guests: The samples are my absolute favourite part of staying in a hotel. These teeny bursts of toiletry bliss are like a little product-vacation in themselves. Plus, you can only use so many individually wrapped shower caps, so then you get to TAKE THEM HOME (said in the Oprah giveaways voice)! You can put them in a cute basket, on a cheap cake plate, or even keep them stowed in a special “guests” drawer. Any way you keep ‘em, now is the time to use ‘em.

5. Make your own shaved soap curls: When one of my secret hotel sources suggested this, it sounded both weird and hard. Then I tried it.




I have spent the entire day searching for muck piles to touch so that I have an excuse to wash my hands. I am not messing around here. I could not be more against make-work-projects…this is different.

To create these little strips of paradise, I took one of the free hotel soap samples I have in my stash. I then ran the vegetable peeler down the side of the bar = instant bliss. How often can we have that much fun in our own bathroom? [insert awkward poop joke here]

Going the extra mile for your guests does not have to be a stretch. In fact, these little touches may even make you feel like a guest in your own home.

Are you a current/former hotel employee? I’d love your secrets for giving guests those special experiences! Maybe you’re an avid traveller who has seen an amazing hotel touch that could be re-created at home? I would love your ideas—I’m sure there would be enough material for another post on this topic.