It took us a while but we finally caught on (duh): even if your house isn’t the next best thing to the Ritz, people will think it’s pretty swell if you have nice linens.
Yep, that’s what I said. Nice linens.
As in big fluffy white towels…
…and high-thread-count sheets.
I can’t emphasize this point enough.
Yes, our house is always super clean, thanks to our tireless crew, and attractively decorated, thanks to random moments of inspiration on our part, but needless to say Ian Schrager has never crossed our threshold.
And yet, even if something goes completely haywire—the electricity shuts off, the phone decides to take a week-long break—we get consistently positive feedback from our guests.
Admittedly we try to anticipate their every need, right down to cocktail shakers, muffin tins and first aid kits.
But even so, soft goods seem to be the tipping point.
Case in point: an upcoming guest from New York, after booking our house via email, scared us half to death with his endless list of demands in the weeks leading up to his stay.
“Ron” (not his real name, but I make it a policy to protect the guilty whenever possible) called me on a daily basis to ask me if our house included:
- a gym
- a cappuccino maker
- a lap pool
- remote-controlled retractable windows
- an infinity pool
- an Aga stove (feel free to look it up, but here’s a photo of one if you’re in a hurry)
When I replied, apologetically at first and then slightly less so as the weeks wore on, “unfortunately we don’t” to all these queries, he seemed enormously miffed, as if we’d somehow misrepresented our property.
I kept referring him back to our webpage, but it didn’t seem to matter.
Within 24 hours he’d simply call back with yet another bizarro question: are there any houses within 500 yards of your property line?
“Yes,” I replied, “our house is in a quiet residential neighborhood.” Then I steered him back to the webpage for a quick reality check. But he just seemed miffed all over again.
We called Jane and warned her about this guy. We were sweating bullets for her—and for us.
“This guy has a serious case of delusion. Don’t take any lip from him,” I advised her.
“Don’t worry!” she said brightly, obviously not the least concerned (I told you Jane’s a tough cookie).
But we steeled ourselves for trouble anyway.
And yet the day of Ron’s arrival came and went with no irate phone calls from him or desperate pleas for mercy from Jane.
“Maybe they had a shoot-out and they’re both dead,” I remarked to Michael that night.
“Otherwise surely we would have heard something.”
Unable to contain myself my curiosity any longer, I called Jane the next morning.
“Okay, what’s the story?”
“About Ron. Has he been difficult?”
She laughed. “Well, he was a tad peevish when we drove up to your house and there was no pool.”
“He said you advertised a lap pool.”
“Jane…” I began.
“Calm down,” she laughed. “I know you didn’t tell him any such thing. But wait, it gets worse. He walked through the house like Martha Stewart on steroids, pointing out every tiny imperfection. I kept expecting him to pull out a pair of white gloves and spot-check for dust.”
“But the strangest part is, he called this morning and said how much he adores the house.”
“Yeah. He couldn’t stop raving about the crisp sheets and the big fluffy towels. The guy’s a pussycat.”
I rest my case.
If good-quality linens can win over “Ron,” they can win over anyone.