I recently returned from a conference where I was fortunate enough to stay at the MOST amazing lodge in Park City, Utah. The conference was held at the Stein Eriksen Lodge and it...was...fabulous.
It was certainly the fanciest hotel I had ever stayed in and to top things off I somehow hit the conference jackpot and was one of the few attendees that was upgraded to a suite during my stay (complete with a kitchen, dining area, living room, TWO fireplaces, a deck and hot tub...what?!). I couldn't help but research what this would cost me if I were actually paying it and my jaw almost hit the floor when I saw it would be about $1,500/night.
Needless to say, I was quickly inspired by the amount of attention and detail that was put into everything I experienced. And while there is a VERY large price gap between the nightly price for our rental and this five star hotel (oh, only about $1,300!), I found a few (affordable) areas of inspiration that vacation rental homeowners could apply to help ensure our guests receive a five star experience.
1. FUR BLANKET. Oh my goodness, this fur blanket was everything to me after a cold day on the mountains! It was so thick, cozy and the perfect accessory to an evening fire. While we don't typically spend a lot on blankets for our rental, I realized that it would be worth investing in a high quality blanket 'statement' blanket that would get our guests as excited as this one did for me :-).
2. FIREPLACE. I had two fireplaces in my suite that could be turned on with just a flick of the light switch (if it was any more difficult than that, I would have never bothered). This was another perk as I really looked forward to at the end of each day. (Side note: our rental's fireplace didn't work for years. We finally got this fixed and wired it to turn on with a light switch and it is already paying for itself with the glowing reviews we have received! Wish we would have done THAT sooner.)
This one obviously isn't an option for every rental, but if you have a non-working fireplace like we did, strongly consider getting it fixed. Your guests will love it. Also, if it is gas and you can convert to automatically turn on with a light switch, even better!
3. AHH...THAT SMELL. Everything smelled amazing at this lodge...both in my room and every conference room, restaurant and restroom on the property I visited. Smells have a strong connection to memory and can influence people's moods. Establish a strong first impression (and a lasting one) with an amazing scent as your guest walks through the door. We use GLADE Plug-ins Scented Oil in our vacation rental and they are amazing. We even get comments in our reviews on how great the home smells. Sometimes it's the littlest thing that leaves the greatest impression!
In short, I was absolutely blown away by this incredible lodge, but I've also stayed at places that are a fraction of the cost and my stay was equally enjoyable. Ultimately, it can come down to the little, unexpected surprises that make for an unforgettable experience.
What have you found that adds to a five star experience without the five star price tag?
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