This week, we’re changing things up on Miss Manners. We have interior designer Mark Howorth from Callender Howorth here to give his tips on hosting overnight guests. Mark is constantly entertaining friends and family in his London home or in the South of France. A man of many talents, the images above are his work. Here is his advice for a welcoming guests into your home with grace:

First things first – always have something cold and refreshing to drink as soon as guests descend. Ice cold rosé with ice in the summer and a plate of yummy crudités. Very important to catch up with all the important gossip first! Cook in advance. Bake a cake just before arrival. The smell is delicious and also very comforting. I always make sure that the fridge is fully stocked with lots of exciting foods. I will also have made something like a Coronation chicken that can be eaten with salad at a moment’s notice. Have a great selection of fruits and cheeses on hand. Always prepare and know if one of your guests is vegetarian or has any food allergies – be prepared!

Once the guests are ready – show them to their rooms. I place some interesting books by the bed and some Evian and fancy chocolates to spoil the guests and make the room feel like a really lovely boutique hotel. Lots of flowers and scented candles add a comforting touch. Allow the candles to burn for a while so the room smells refreshing. Lavender is a comforting and relaxing fragrance for a bedroom.

Leave a welcome basket in their rooms with top-end shampoos, bath gels, soaps and moisturizers. Very importantly, give your guests fluffy and good quality towels – don’t skimp on this. Allow at least 3 bath towels for each guest. Have good quality hangers in the wardrobes and make sure that there is an ironing board, iron and hairdryer on hand as this is always requested. An area for makeup, a good mirror and lighting allows guests to get dressed and ready in their rooms.

To keep your guests entertained, get local maps and brochures with ideas of what to do. I usually plan the first evening and allow for a good walk, an apéro somewhere charming and then a good dinner with maybe a jazz club afterwards. But the bottom line is to always defer to your guests. See what they want to do. Yes, have lots of ideas, but the best host always listens to what his guests wants and adapts to suit. Also make known any plans that you have so that they know what your plans are and never forget that guests always need their own space too – so this allows them to plan their own adventures.”

Thank you, Mark! What is on your must-do list when having guests?