Welcome basket for holiday lodge

Some advice would be much appreciated for our new 2 bedrm holiday lodge just completed after almost a year…

What to put in the basket? for the UK/SW England, Devon…
how to make it clear the contents, not the basket is the gift, should I use the coffee ‘sticks’ from our B&B ? or is a bottle better? And should we offer a full set of bathroom essentials too? Should I offer a full set of linen/towels or not? should I include our home made cider (brewed, + apples grown in our own orchard) it’s hugely lively and needs to be opened outside!
Many thanks in advance.

– Consider not a basket (which might confuse the guest as whether the basket itself is a gift), with something permanent. We use something like but more attractive than this:

– I wouldn’t put bathroom essentials on it. If they’re essential then I’d expect to see them in the bathroom.

– We put snacks in them. Ideally but not necessarily, the snacks are local and special for that reason.

– On the towels, I think guests need towels (in the bathroom) to dry them off after a shower/.bath, and hand towels; some would also suggest washcloths. None of this would typically be in a basket.

– In the U.S. some of us might not offer home-made cider because local laws typically restrict it, and the U.S. being a litigious society, the concern is liability or a lawsuit. These might not be concerns in the UK. However, given that your cider is ‘hugely lively’ and needs to be opened outdoors would discourage me as a Host from offering that, though it sounds like it would be a lovely gift (so I’d try to make that work if you’re OK with any potential liability).

– Putting something you’d eat or drink together with something you’d use in the bathroom seems wrong on many levels, though that might reflect a U.S. sensibility (though Frasier wouldn’t do it (though he could be snooty)).

P.S. It’s possible that I’m not entirely understanding what you’re asking.

I just made a basket for my incoming guests. I’ve been using the same ugly tray for the past 6 years

and no one has walked away with it. I suggest you buy something practical and inexpensive. Go to a yard sale and buy something that you won’t mind if someone takes it.


Tie a nice little card to the basket (the handle if it has one)- “Dear guest, we hope you enjoy this selection of goodies we have left for you. Please leave the basket itself- we refill it for the next booking.”

I’m not sure what you mean by “a full set of bathroom essentials” and “a full set of towels”.

Of course you need to provide linens and towels for your guests. And I have no idea what you consider a full set of bathroom essentials. Most hosts use large refillable containers (pump style is best) of shampoo, conditioner, bath gel. Liquid soap in a pump container at the sink, small bar soaps in addition, if you like. Some hosts provide more- spare individually wrapped toothbrushes, cotton balls, Qtips, earplugs, etc, some hosts provide less.

I only advertise that I provide liquid and bar soap, as I have a budget priced private room listing. But guests leave a lot of products behind, so if a container of shampoo, body lotion, sunscreen or shaving cream is half full, I clean the containers well, and have a basket of “help yourself if you need anything”.

If it’s less than half full, I just use it myself.

And as HostAirbnbVRBO mentioned, bathroom stuff belongs in the bathroom, not left in a basket elsewhere.

And unless you have an expensive, luxury-type listing, no need to go overboard with the extras. Not a great idea to set up unreasonable expections with guests. Makes it harder for other hosts with more modest listings for guests to come to expect those things.

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I’d like some lovely Devon cream but that’s just me :wink:

I leave breakfast foods ‘for your first morning so that you don’t have to go grocery shopping’. This includes croissants, yogurt, fruit, those individual cereal things, milk, jam or marmalade (those tiny pots), individually wrapped butter pats etc.

There is also a full bowl of coffee pods (including decaf), teabags (including herbal), creamer, sugar sachets and a low calorie equivalent.

I do.


No. If a guest develops a stomach bug or something they could blame your cider. (Not that it would be of course, but better to be safe than sorry.)

it’s better to give everything that is in its own packaging to avoid problems. This included fruits such as bananas and oranges that are in their own ‘packaging’.

I know that those seem over-cautious but you never know.


Don’t call it a welcome basket. Call it a welcome pack of treats (or whatever).

I used to call it a welcome basket (we provide dinner, beverages, snacks, groceries for breakfast). Then I had a guest call me to ask me where the “basket” was! That’s when I changed to “pack”


Thanks all for the useful tips.
I should have mentioned that it’s totally separate, self-catering and has an equipped kitchen. And the stay could be for a week or more.

I plan to leave some items in the grocery cupboard- condiments, oil, pasta, rice, cereals, tea, coffee and more. The basket is to be for a breakfast or something to eat for a late arrival - So eggs, bread, bacon, fruit etc I believe after this the guest must get to the shops…
For the bathroom I have some of the mini shampoo and body wash pots, but expect guests to have their own choices for the rest of the stay. Providing such for the house’s B&B rooms has not been a popular choice as many were unused.
Towels - just for the bathroom- not the pool, I have noted people charging for a linen/towel package - is that normal in the UK ?

Finally NOT with Airbnb- but with a large popular British-based holiday/cottages company that has local people to speak to and not robots or people with faux names, that don’t help or call back - needed help only once with Airbnb and it was too much stress for me!

Yes re the cider- we are in a cider-making part of England and I thought it was a nice touch, but I agree about the risk- more to our ceilings! It’s quite lively or fizzy.


It sounds lovely. And you live in a wonderful part of the country. :slight_smile:

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Ah, so you are not listing on Airbnb at all?

Well, I know there are vacation cottages in some areas of Europe and the east coast of the US where it has always been traditional for guests to bring their own sheets and towels. In fact, Airbnb tried to make linens and towels mandatory a few years ago and there was such a hue and cry from hosts in those areas, saying they would have to shut down their listings, that Airbnb backtracked.

But not providing linens and towels assumes that guests will all be driving themselves to the destination. Air travellers are not going to be packing sheets and towels in their luggage, so if you are okay with losing out on business from international travellers, than I guess you could require guests to bring their own.

But charging extra for linens and towels is something most of today’s travellers would find strange- it’s considered basic for rentals, and I think it’s a bad idea. Up your nightly price if you have to, but don’t nickel and dime guests by charging extra for what most travellers and tourists consider essentials.

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I expect that most of our guests will be local and arrive by car. I hoped to hear from Brit cottage owners- but I will prob provide linen and towels anyway. But at check out times will be up to me to clean, wash and dry linens and towels. Getting in housekeepers around here would be difficult- hard to find. My very part-time gardener (available only 3 hrs per wk) was hard to find and I have to pamper him to keep him! The nearest laundry is an hour’s round trip - the drive only, so that’s not an option. I now have plenty spares: sheets etc so can cope.
But appreciate all the ideas- many thanks to all especially Muddy.

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Have clean extras for laundry so you rotate sets and don’t have to do the laundry during turnover.

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I too do my own cleaning and what works best for me is stripping the beds and taking it home to wash in my laundry room. I do a whole house rental with a min. of 5 nights.

So when I arrive to clean, I come with baskets filled with clean sheets, towels, quilts, etc. I strip beds and toss dirty linens in the the empty baskets and use the sheets from clean baskets to make the beds.

I leave one bath and one hand towel per day for each guest. I do have a basket at the home with wash cloths. I no longer leave extra clean towels because it was noted that folks would use all the towels in the closet which meant too many wash loads.

One time, 6 guests staying for 5 days used 40 bath towels. That’s when I decided not to leave so many towels at the house.

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It definitely doesn’t seem a good idea to leave an unlimited amount of towels. 2 guys went through 17 bath towels in a week when my neighbors once asked me to check their place after the guests had left. I was supposed to have put out clean towels for the incoming guests, but there were none where my neighbor had told me they were stored. Found every towel in the house in a damp pile in the laundry room.

I have always provided 2 bath towels (because women with long hair often wrap one around their hair after showering) , a hand towel and a washcloth per week. (If they stay 10 days, I’d provide clean ones at 5 days)

As a homeshare host, I check with guests whether they need more before my usual change-out day, but none have ever said they needed more, and I often find, even after a week’s stay, that a guest has only used one bath towel, and often not the washcloth- still all folded up neatly on the shelf, just as I had left them.


Not just you Jaquo! :smile:

I’d love to have…some local farm fresh eggs, individually wrapped scones, Devon cream, and some tiny pots of jam!

Devon is lovely but so is every part of England I’ve visited. Can’t wait to travel there again.


@jaquo @Keugenia I have never tried Devon cream, but just reading about it makes me think I would definitely not like it. :crazy_face: For starters, just the term “clotted cream” turns my stomach, and I can’t stand the taste of heated milk. (So I would never use those milk frothers on a coffee machine). But maybe it doesn’t taste like that and I’m really missing out.

It’s more like if you whipped butter and heavy cream together and made it really really thick. Love, love, love it!

Well, I like whipping cream, so maybe I would like it.

Clotted cream is very thick cream, tastes the same, but you spread it on scones. It spreads like butter, but is pure cream. You can’t really spread normal cream, although double cream needs to be scooped out as you can’t pour it

Devon and Cornwall traditionally have varied as to which to put on first- strawberry jam - or cream.

We grew plenty strawberries last year - about 12 lbs of jam- this year I am not so sure as we had a seriously dry and sunny May and June- only now have we had some rain.
I also make lemon curd, which I have used for the B&B too. The B&B is in the house, but I do not plan to continue it.

As for linen and towels I have a large cupboard in the house- plenty spares and will only keep the necessary ones in the cottage. I usually provide per guest : 1 bath sheet,1 medium, 1 hand towel plus a face cloth.
The cottage - or Lodge we call it, took ages to build as it is brick and tiles and well insulated is on our property, in our garden, so easy to get there. And look after.

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We are in the Blackdown Hills, in a village- and yes very pretty.
Plenty come here to walk and cycle. And not far from the seaside.
Sidmouth is my favourite coastal town. And lots of history here too, as this area was a focal point for the Normandy landings in 1944. Plus in Taunton - an interesting place for the civil war in the C17th, and the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.

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