Updated: Jul 22
Must have Holiday Let Items
Regardless of whether you’re staying in a high-end luxury holiday let like Seaborne House or a smaller chalet, there are certain things that guests always love finding.
14 Holiday let things that we love finding:
We’ve put together a list of things that help make a stay at a holiday home even better.
1. Sharp knives:
I like to cook when I'm on holiday, and so I need sharp knives, and decent size ones too. This combined with enough chopping boards means I can enjoy cooking supper for my family without worrying about washing up midway through the cook.
Knives do get blunt over time, especially if you are skinning fish or chopping lots of vegetables. So it's important to have a knife sharpener in the drawer somewhere so that you can make sure that your cooking knife has got a really fine edge before you start chopping the leeks for Sunday lunch
2. Clean kitchen utensils - especially wooden bowls and boards
I once rented a holiday cottage and found green mould in a salad bowl in a cupboard. Obviously, nobody had used that for weeks, if not months! The cleaners had not bothered to go through the cupboards and do a start of the season or an end of the season check on any of the contents. That really annoys me as it's something that should be done at least twice a year if not more often.
If you're going to supply items in the kitchen for your guests, you should at least make sure they're ready to use, and with wooden items, there's always the danger that somebody has not washed or dried them up properly because you can't put them in the dishwasher. So either supply and keep your wooden items clean or just don't supply them at all.
3. High level of cleanliness in the holiday cottage.
While we are on the subject of cleanliness, high traffic locations like kitchen drawers, fridge freezers and other surfaces should be kept clean and tidy.
I hate finding other people's food bits in kitchen drawers. What is it about this? Why is it so difficult for cleaners to have a quick wipe through the drawers when they're cleaning the kitchen? I don't want someone else's cake crumbs in the drawer when I'm looking for a whisk to beat an egg with!
Fridge and freezer drawers:
I equally hate finding bits of food left in the bottom of a freezer drawer. Even worse in a fridge drawer or on the shelf! Wiping out the fridge should be one of the very first things that cleaners do in a holiday cottage kitchen - and not cleaning a freezer (although it's a little bit more difficult when frozen), is equally as lazy.
I don't want to see that somebody else brought peas with them on holiday. That's one of the benchmarks/hallmarks of a clean kitchen in my book
Surfaces like doors and light switches:
One of the things I look out for is dirty finger marks. With COVID we have all been made very aware of hygiene, and wiping other people's finger marks off things like light switches, door surfaces, worktops and fridge fronts is an absolute basic necessity for any clean holiday cottage.
4. Antique or interesting furniture
After we leave the huge topic of cleanliness, another thing I really can't stand in a holiday cottage is pine furniture. Why does pine always succumb to turning orange after a while? Once again, we've got all of Granny's hand-me-downs in the holiday cottage.
There's nothing wrong with wooden furniture. In fact, I'm quite partial to a bit of fairly dark antique furniture myself. But it must be balanced, and there's nothing less classy than a pine bed, a pine bedside table, a pine wardrobe, and a pine dressing table in a bedroom. I've even stayed in places where all that has been present and in addition, there's been pine panelling on the walls!
5. Matching crockery
I know that for a lot of people their holiday cottage is a second home and so they have dumped all of their surplus china, glassware and cutlery there. But actually, when I go on holiday I want to have a” better than home” experience.
And that means that all the china I use should be matching and not chipped. I don't really want to see your granny's china/crockery even though it might have sentimental value to you.
So I ensure that whilst our china may be relatively cheap, it's clean, matches and doesn't have any chips in it. I regularly throw out at least 10% of the crockery each year to ensure our high standards are maintained.
6. Absorbable cotton tea towels
I love cotton tea towels and I need enough of them to last me the full week without having to do lots of washing when I'm on holiday. It’s important that they’re high quality and clean so that you can dry something up without worrying about greasy smears or tea towel fibers.
I would personally recommend cotton tea towels. They're about £2.50 each. Why is it that holiday cottages can't afford a decent couple of tea towels for their guests?
7. Matching white cotton bedlinen
Another thing I hate is mismatched bed linens. It's the same principle as crockery. I don't really want to use your family's cast-off linens.
If a holiday let cannot be bothered to supply simple white cotton bed linen and towels, then I would consider booking a different holiday cottage next year. It’s little touches like matching white cotton bedlinen that gives guests the laidback luxury they’ve been looking for.
8. Good appliances in the kitchen
As you can see most of my ‘bêtes noires’ pertain to the kitchen. One of the things I enjoy doing most on holiday is cooking for my family and having everyone around the same table.
We are a large family - I've got four sons and two grandsons, and I'm a trained cook :) it was a long time ago. When I'm on holiday I love trying out new ingredients and I appreciate being told about great food venues and suppliers when I'm visiting a new place, so this is what we try to do with our holiday cottages.
I find it relaxing to buy new and interesting ingredients that I wouldn't necessarily budget for during the week at home, but I like to splash out on them when I'm on holiday. Some of the features of a well-provisioned holiday cottage are things like a proper Gas BBQ, a decent blender, a great food processor (like a Magimix) in which I can whip up something quickly using these lovely new fresh ingredients.
9. A tumble dryer
How many of us go on holiday, take kids and then have to spend the entire week hanging up wet washing all over the radiators in the kitchen or sitting room? Surely, especially by the beach, but even in the countryside, isn’t it a good idea to fit a tumble dryer into a holiday cottage?
Over a week, you're going to need to do some washing and the last thing you want to do is have wet washing hanging around you and not be able to get it dry. Otherwise, you have to actually pack twice as much as you really need to take with you.
10. Comfortable, firm beds
Lumpy beds are the very last thing I cannot stand finding in a holiday cottage. Spending a week in someone else’s uncomfortable bed and ending up with backache is not my idea of fun.
11. Dog-friendly facilities
I dislike places that don't let me bring my dogs on holiday. My dogs are part of my family and although they drive me nuts just like my boys do, sometimes, I really don't want to leave them behind.
I love walking them on the beach. I love taking them for walks in the countryside. And so houses that make provision for my four-legged friends are win-win every day in my book
What is it about not installing dishwashers? The very least I want to do on holiday is put my feet up after supper and let the dishwasher take the strain.
13. Airy rooms
I once stayed in a cottage (in fact it was the same cottage in which I’d found the green mould in the wooden salad bowl) and in the sitting room, you could not open any of the sitting room windows.
It wasn't that we needed to cool the place down or even warm the place up. But it was just the fact that it was also slightly damp in the sitting room, and smelled mouldy. My hayfever kicked off and I had a week of sneezing in this house, which was no holiday, believe you me.
14. Woodburners and all their accoutrements
There’s nothing better after you’ve spent a wild, wet afternoon on the beach to come back to a warm wood burner and crumpets or toast in front of the telly.
It's the perfect place to relax with your family after a long day of exploring the Pembrokeshire coast.
I probably sound like a real fusspot. But I think that it’s worthwhile pointing out that when people are parting with their hard-earned money, they just don't want to settle for second best.
How Seaborne House provides laidback luxury holiday accommodation
That’s why I put all my bad holiday cottage experiences to good use when setting up Seaborne House. I complain regularly to my cleaners if I find they are missing out on things I notice (they are very good at checklists now!). And I regularly update my inventory, furniture and appliances every year - normally at the same time I’m supervising the bi-annual deep clean.
Hopefully my guests notice the efforts I put into making their holidays a relaxing time. But even if they are too busy enjoying themselves, I am relaxed knowing my guests are happy. I am for “laid-back luxury” in a “better than home” setting. Hopefully you’ll agree we’ve achieved that.