|Villa Leopolda on the French Riviera.|
1. Arrive on time, to the dot. Don't show up early, and don't show up a day late. Your visit has been orchestrated, planned, vetted and reassembled, any change will throw everything off. Your guest suite has been chosen to accord with your arrival so that the tilt of the sunlight is ever just so when you enter its splendor and refinement. Be on time.
2. Bring no pets unless arranged in advance. And certainly, don't bring a "new" friend unannounced. Any change to the number of guests has ripple effects throughout the whole household, even if it's a pet.
3. Arrive with a knowledge of the area you are visiting and be willing to suggest some activities that you would like to do. Yes, your hosts should have planned some events, dinners, gathering or such, but an informed guest is always welcomed.
4. Sure, bring a gift; a bottle of wine and flowers is nice for an overnight stay; longer than that requires more. If you're there for a week, I suggest a case of wine, luxury monogrammed hand towels, or lavender-filled strawberry sachets. Gifts must be the best quality available within your budget, and push the budget.
5. If there is staff at the home, be kind to them. Don't make lots of special requests of them and don't ask too many questions of them. Yes, it's fine to ask the housekeeper to steam your dress or to press a shirt, and it's fine to ask for additional towels, but be aware that they already have a full day's duties, so be respectful. At the end of your stay, tip the staff $20 to $50 for each night of your stay. If you're staying at Villa Leopolda, tip $100.00 a night. Remember, you're tipping the staff to protect your secrets after you leave. (Everyone talks otherwise.)
6. During your stay, be on time throughout the day--for meals, for outings, for drinks by the pool, for everything. You may come late for breakfast, but not too late, no more than 30 minutes if it's buffet (as is often the case). Your hosts may be late, but you should not be.
7. Although you may be encouraged to ask for "anything you want", keep it within reason--don't ask for three poached eggs at lunch when salmon and a salad is being offered instead. Dietary restrictions and concerns should be announced at the acceptance of the invitation, not after arrival. Specifying "blue agave tequila" or "fleur de sel salt" is unnecessary and redundent as well.
8. Don't come inside from the pool, dripping water, and stand on the Carl Andre metal sculpture. Be mindful of your surroundings. Treat your host's home better than you treat your own.
9. Leave no evidence of any conjugal activity for the housekeeper to find. No prophylactic protection, no undergarments pushed to the bottom of the sheets, no evidence whatsoever--it's already harrowing enough for them. The same goes for medications--put them away.
10. Take your hosts to dinner at a great restaurant in town--it may be the only time you get to leave the compound. I am amazed at how often guests and hosts never leave "Paradise". That is also why I recommend that guests come prepared with knowledge of the area so that they can plan a day away. And take a day away from your hosts. I've even had guests tell me, "We can't get away."
11. Send a Thank You note when you return home, on fine stationery. Write of one or two particular moments your especially enjoyed--it's a sure way to engender a return engagement.
|French Lavender Strawberry Sachets from Mae Downs & Co., Philadelphia|
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!