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The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - With ed­i­tor Robyn Wil­lis robyn.wil­lis@news.com.au

The key to be­ing a heav­enly host

I’ve re­cently had the plea­sure of tak­ing a proper hol­i­day.

You know the sort. The hol­i­day where you stay at nice ho­tels and ac­tiv­i­ties such as house­keep­ing are done while you’re out see­ing the sights.

Where the big­gest de­ci­sion to make is whether it’s a good idea to have a cho­co­late crois­sant for break­fast again or what is the ear­li­est time you can get away with hav­ing pre-din­ner drinks.

And it’s got me think­ing about the true na­ture of that much mis­un­der­stood qual­ity in host­ing guests — hos­pi­tal­ity.

While some might be swayed by mar­ble foy­ers, uni­formed bell­boys and well-stocked mini bars, for me a ho­tel doesn’t need to ex­ude five-star lux­ury to get my vote.

Whether my bed for the night is in a three-, four- or five-star ho­tel, my favourite places to stay tend to have the same thing in com­mon — they make you feel wel­come.

It’s as sim­ple as of­fer­ing a smile as they (hope­fully) take your bags and ap­plaud­ing (in my case dis­mal) at­tempts to speak a for­eign lan­guage.

Even some­thing like putting a smi­ley face in your morn­ing cof­fee art is enough to make you feel more at home.

A friendly concierge that takes plea­sure in giv­ing di­rec­tions or rec­om­mend­ing some­where for din­ner is a bonus too, es­pe­cially for peo­ple new to the city.

It’s worth keep­ing in mind when host­ing guests at home.

Mak­ing a guest feel truly wel­come means putting our­selves out and an­tic­i­pat­ing what might cause con­fu­sion or even anx­i­ety to a vis­i­tor.

And while ev­ery­one likes a lit­tle lux­ury, of­fer­ing a chair at the din­ner ta­ble to share what you have with guests is al­ways prefer­able to the cold for­mal­ity that some­times passes for ser­vice. A smile costs noth­ing, af­ter all.

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