This is a pretty much a repost from last year.
With the May long weekend just behind us, cottages have been opened up and families are starting to make their summer plans. Over the long weekend, we spent a couple nights at a cottage in a beach town not far from home.
While the cottage was cute and the location was fantastic, there were three main things that could have been improved upon:
- All the beds were creaky and squeaky with saggy mattresses. The double was actually a super single and there was only room for one. It squeaked every time I rolled over. The twin was a cool looking old fashioned metal bed, but it also had metal springs. They squeaked every time my son rolled over. The queen pullout sofa was from the early 80s, the mattress was super thin and sagged in the middle (think: Seinfeld episode).
- The windows had no coverings. Or very little. The front of the cottage faced East and we were treated with the morning sun at 5am. I didn’t want to be awake at 5am. We found some thumbtacks and hung up some sheets, but it wasn’t ideal.
- Lastly, the bed linens. They were old, tired and musty. If storing linens, make sure they are in a dry location and add some cedar balls or chips to keep them fresh and moth free.
Sleep is such an important part of every day life and it can make or break a vacation – especially with little ones.
So, with that said…
Do you have a vacation home? Do you rent it out? Or maybe you like to have your holiday in a rented cabin or cottage. We used to own a vacation cottage on a nearby island and since selling it, we frequently rent a cottage/cabin/townhouse when we travel. Although hotels are great for the pool, room service and air conditioning, the space that you usually get with a cabin usually can’t be beat!
From our experience renting out our own place and from staying at someone else’s, we found some key areas that should always be well taken care of.
Great bathroom towels – it may be cost efficient to take your old towels to the cottage but not everyone wants to exfoliate when they towel off. Winners, Homesense, and Ikea all have a great selection of towels at reasonable prices.
Soft sheets – the same thing I said for towels goes for sheets. Rough and tough sheets don’t make for sweet dreams.
Beds – please don’t put the old futon from the basement and the crappy mattress that has been around since you can’t remember when into your cottage or cabin. Guests will continue to come back if they have had a great sleep and lumpy squeaky mattresses are not what dreams are made of.
Curtains – think about which direction your windows face. If a bedroom faces the East, then consider putting blinds and curtains in this room so that the rising sun doesn’t wake up your guests at 5am.
Toiletries – just like a hotel, it is nice if there are little bottles of shampoo and soap for your guests to use. Consider a bowl in the bathroom filled with samples or just large sized shampoo and liquid soap in the shower. Sometimes, it is the little things that guests will remember.
Coffee/Tea – for coffee drinkers, like my husband and I, we appreciate a good coffee machine and some coffee/sugar/cream in case we don’t have time to pick up supplies before we arrive. It doesn’t have to be the best or a big supply, but a starter pack is always a good idea.
Fans and Flashlights/Nightlight – these are not must haves, but they sure are nice to have. The cabin we just stayed in could have used a fan in the bedroom to cool it down as it was the hottest room in the place. A flashlight/nightlight is always helpful to find your way around in the night should you need a quick trip to the bathroom or to help the kids.
First Aid – a small basket with bandaids, wraps, tweezers and polysporin is so helpful as many families don’t travel with first aid supplies.
Clear instructions and helpful notes – let your guests know the rules of your cottage and/or the complex where they will be staying. Do they need to clean before leaving? Where is the electrical panel? Where does the garbage and recycling go? Dog friendly? The more info, the better the experience for both them and you.
Cleaning – if you would like your guests to clean, then please make it easy for them to do so. Easy to find brooms, cloths and a vacuum will help them to clean any spills and messes and leave the property in good condition.
Tourist info – we love when owners leave maps and brochures of the area suggesting things to do. If there are some hiking trails, a great park or a restaurant they must eat at, let your guests know – they will appreciate it.
I watched Sarah’s rental cottage recently and was amazed by the location and how she transformed the outdated property. Your cottage should be a reflection of you and your family, so just make it a place that you like to visit and where guests would like to stay.
Whether you are an cottage owner or renter this summer, I hope this list helps you have a great holiday experience. Let me know in the comments if there are any things that make your stay in a vacation property even better.