First Night In A New Property

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Arks's picture
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Tonight I’m spending the first night at one of the new vacation rental apartments I've been building on for over a year, enjoying this wonderful establishment’s free Wi-Fi. Have to spend some time here to see what all I forgot to provide for future guests (the first real guest is scheduled to arrive in town in 10 days). I have the deadbolts set because too many carpenters and other tradesmen know the door combinations to enter this place! I’ll soon delete their entry code, but they still have a few minor jobs to do to finish up first. Love the remotely-programmable door keypads. They work perfectly.

So far so good. Like any traveler, I packed my suitcase with all I need, arrived here and entered my door code, laid out a clean wash cloth in the bathroom and placed my toothbrush, razor, and hair brush on it, just like I do any time I travel (except in Europe, where wash cloths are generally rare or unheard of).

I brought a bottle of champagne I made a couple of years ago (a hobby from back when I had time for hobbies), to celebrate the milestone, and can attest that it’s still good! I’d forgotten that the apartments need microwaves, so I bought those today and enjoyed a nice frozen dinner for supper. I’ll leave it to others to do the real cooking here!

I can attest now that the old stairs to the lower level bedroom, and the heated floor in the bathroom, feel just fine to the bare feet!

Now I’m just waiting on Game of Thrones to start on HBO, and awaiting a nice night’s sleep. This place is VERY quiet for the heart of a big town of 7,000!

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Arks's picture
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Tonight I'm spending the first night in "the other" apartment at my new guesthouse. Just got it ready a couple of days ago, but was waiting on the Comphy sheets to arrive before giving it a a test. Out of all my planning and preparing, I somehow forgot to order sheets! The other apartment has hosted several people already, but they had to sleep on "Walmart's best".

I bought the Comphy pillowcases months ago because they were on sale, but forgot to ever get sheets.

The sheets finally came in today so I'm giving this apartment its first trial tonight. So far everything is perfect. I could happily live here!

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We learnt a very important lesson about WB sheets, they don't last. They aren't sewn well. JCP, T and LE do better. We have some JCP that are finally starting to need replacement after 4 years.

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Surge protectors are great and if you have a land line, they make a phone line surge protector - that is what I have for my dsl line and a lot of my peripherals.

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Congrats, Arks!  Nothing like having something happen that could happen to a guest to get you thinking...

Surge protectors on your TVs.  We had several TVs go when the tree behind our house was hit by lightning,along with our landline phone.

Best of luck!

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Arks's picture
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Another problem are those GFCI receptacles we're required to have now in wet locations like kitchens and bathrooms. Lots of times they're wired up so if one on the circuit is tripped, the whole circuit goes off. All you have to do is push the little reset button on the receptacle, but most people just assume the receptacle is faulty and go calling for help.

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Things to notice...

I remember the lady who said there is not enough light to apply make up in the restroom, then another guest wanted a lesser bulb so they weren't blinded when they went in at night. So always 6 of one half dozen of another.

You can please all the people all the time. Smiling But when they call or comment now you can understand where they are coming from., some times out of left field.

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Madeleine's picture
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We have the older 'twirly bulbs' in the light fixtures. I've had guests ring the bell at 10 PM to tell me they must have tripped a breaker because they have no lights and could I go fix that. Me? In the basement in the dark? Not happening. Nothing is easily located in the basement. It requires crawling underneath pipes to get to the panels.

So, what do I do? I ask if I can try to turn the lights on. Yeah, those twirly bulbs take a few seconds to light up. But they do work if you give them a second.

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Madeleine wrote:

We have the older 'twirly bulbs' in the light fixtures. I've had guests ring the bell at 10 PM to tell me they must have tripped a breaker because they have no lights and could I go fix that. Me? In the basement in the dark? Not happening. Nothing is easily located in the basement. It requires crawling underneath pipes to get to the panels.

So, what do I do? I ask if I can try to turn the lights on. Yeah, those twirly bulbs take a few seconds to light up. But they do work if you give them a second.

I just mentioned this today, as we had all of them blow at once in the upstairs hallway, which required ladders, and testing, these old houses were not built to be green. LOL!

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

We have the older 'twirly bulbs' in the light fixtures. I've had guests ring the bell at 10 PM to tell me they must have tripped a breaker because they have no lights and could I go fix that. Me? In the basement in the dark? Not happening. Nothing is easily located in the basement. It requires crawling underneath pipes to get to the panels.

So, what do I do? I ask if I can try to turn the lights on. Yeah, those twirly bulbs take a few seconds to light up. But they do work if you give them a second.

I just mentioned this today, as we had all of them blow at once in the upstairs hallway, which required ladders, and testing, these old houses were not built to be green. LOL!

We had one humming last night. Strangest thing. Turned on the light. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Turned off the light. No hmmmmmmmmmm. Switched the bulb with a different light fixture. No problem. Weird. Harmonic convergence.

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it is really the BEST way to know how it is to stay in your rooms.  being a guest in your own place with only what you've brought with you.

it sounds great!  i'm so happy for you.

hardest thing for me was to test how the wifi strength would be if there were loads of other computers running in all the rooms, hot water and water pressure with loads of other folks taking showers at the same time, and sound proofing.  i had a chambermaid going to rooms next door and above closing doors and flushing toilets, running water. discovered that in one bathroom below another you could hear most everything from the bathroom above.  

ps  i could totally test the tub experience for you.  wink

 

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Arkie,  I too am happy for you as you get this project ready to launch.  Hope you have as much fun as the proprietor as you have putting it together!

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Thanks for the to-do lists! I have most of that covered from years of notes, if I can just find them!

I remember well the day they left the bag of ice to melt in JB's bathroom and drip into the hallway below. She did not seem to appreciate that they thoughtfully left the ice in the bag.

I'm doing one more test night in the same apartment tonight. In a week or so I'll have another apartment ready for testing!

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Arkansawyer wrote:

Thanks for the to-do lists! I have most of that covered from years of notes, if I can just find them!

I remember well the day they left the bag of ice to melt in JB's bathroom and drip into the hallway below. She did not seem to appreciate that they thoughtfully left the ice in the bag.

I'm doing one more test night in the same apartment tonight. In a week or so I'll have another apartment ready for testing!

The term is "evidence" crying

Have a good night in the new digs.

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Where will they?

Place drinks. They will move coasters to set them on wood surfaces. Or they will use room books/print outs that bleed all over.

Put Ice. They will place a large bag of ice on the marble tile floor, next to the tub, next to the sink, and let it melt all the way down and drip through the ceiling to a room below. Do you have ice buckets, yes.

Get their hot water for the shower. They will tell us at check out they had absolutely no hot water the entire weekend. We will not accept this, since this room is next to the hot water tank, and no one else said a word. We go turn on the sink, HOT WATER. "Did you try the sink? Was it hot?" Oh yeah THAT was hot, but not the shower. Walk over to shower turn it on, steam immediately pours into the space...

Kettle. They will BOIL the water then place it in a paper cup and scald themselves. You will be to blame.

Luggage. It will always go on the sofa or chair, never on the luggage rack. They will scrape up and CHIP your walls and woodwork bringing it in, and bringing it out. If it has wheels, they will thump thump thump all the way to the room on the stairs.

WIFI. You have wifi inside, outside, but they will insist they need it in the parking lot and treat you like a cad for not having it there for them. 

Entertain. Any and every surface, as one innkeeper said "You just never anticipate butt stains on a chair"

...I will leave the rest. That is enough for one day. This is when people say we are soooo negative. When we are only sharing real life experiences, these happened here, right here. Not there, not yet... Bless ya'll.  cool All you can do is do what you do, people are people. 

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Trash. They will stand right next to the trash can holding a dripping tea bag and ask, 'Where should I put this?' Oh honey...

I hope you have a little 'helpful hints' sheet that you leave on the counter. We did a weekly rental at the beach and they had all the info we could need - where to put the trash bags, where to find new trash bags, where to put the dirty linen, where to find the vacuum, what to leave (sugar packs, non dairy creamer) and what to take away (everything we brought in).

I know we all shake out heads when people do clueless things but not everyone lives the same way we do and some people just don't know about some stuff. Like me trying to open sealed windows in Savannah. How would I know all the windows were sealed and I was only supposed to use the A/C? To me, if it's hot inside and cool outside, you open a window!

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Madeleine wrote:

 Like me trying to open sealed windows in Savannah. How would I know all the windows were sealed and I was only supposed to use the A/C? To me, if it's hot inside and cool outside, you open a window!

ditto what copperhead said.

break the antique glass to open the window and then leave the storm window closed...yeah add that to my list.

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One of my top ones happend rececently - 2 women managed to move a 2 ton (you get me 2TON) half tester bed (its fricking huge took 3 men to assemble it) over by 5 inches to get at the plug sockets - there are 8 other plug sockets in clear locations- was a right job moving it back I can tell you!

PLus we will have people who pull out the large king size bed to get at the plugs for the bedside lamps - when there are 3 on the desk!

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have surge strips everywhere - both sides of the beds in all rooms, plus next to a dresser in other rooms, multi-plug with USB ports next to one dresser in one room, near a window in another, and at the head of the bed by a nightstand in the third - and I still find lamps unplugged.

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I can kind of get why people might move beds to get to outlets -- they want to have their electronic device (cell phone, whatever) on the bedside stand next to their head. It's a comfort thing -- it's their alarm clock, it's a flashlight, it's there for emergencies, etc...  and they don't want to have to stumble across the room to get it. They want to sit in the bed with their laptop, surfing the internet. They have a CPAP machine that they need to plug in. And so on.

I would say that accessible outlets within a few feet of the bed are at least as important, if not more important, as accessible outlets anywhere else in the room.  (But note, if you're going to provide a desk, there need to be accessible outlets there too for sure -- I stayed an old "grand hotel" that was lacking in this regard....)

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Madeleine's picture
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In my situation, the outlets are on both sides of the bed, so easily visible. The one behind the bed is for the 'support' stuff like alarm clocks and lamps. So, they had no lights because they unplugged everything behind the bed instead of using the 'guest' outlets.

It is a project getting outlets where guests need them. It's something we're looking at before we get really busy again. VERY obvious outlets near the dressers and the beds.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

 Like me trying to open sealed windows in Savannah. How would I know all the windows were sealed and I was only supposed to use the A/C? To me, if it's hot inside and cool outside, you open a window!

ditto what copperhead said.

break the antique glass to open the window and then leave the storm window closed...yeah add that to my list.

We had that last week. Same crowd that disassembled the A/C winterizing. Open the inside window, forget the storm. Altho, that was only one room. Most of our windows are new and don't have storms.

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Madeleine wrote:

Trash. They will stand right next to the trash can holding a dripping tea bag and ask, 'Where should I put this?' Oh honey...

I hope you have a little 'helpful hints' sheet that you leave on the counter. We did a weekly rental at the beach and they had all the info we could need - where to put the trash bags, where to find new trash bags, where to put the dirty linen, where to find the vacuum, what to leave (sugar packs, non dairy creamer) and what to take away (everything we brought in).

I know we all shake out heads when people do clueless things but not everyone lives the same way we do and some people just don't know about some stuff. Like me trying to open sealed windows in Savannah. How would I know all the windows were sealed and I was only supposed to use the A/C? To me, if it's hot inside and cool outside, you open a window!

Or in the state park cabins a big sign "DO NOT MAKE ROAST MARSHALLOWS IN THE FIREPLACE!"

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" in the state park cabins a big sign "DO NOT MAKE ROAST MARSHALLOWS IN THE FIREPLACE!"

Well why NOT?  Isn't that what a fireplace is for? devil

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To me, if it's hot inside and cool outside, you open a window!

 

Bless your heart!  Welcome to the south!

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Things to think about. Act if if you are coming in from the rain, or thinking of going out in the rain. Where will towels go when you have maximum occupancy? Where will they set up the ironing board? Plug in the laptop, phone, MP3 player? Where will they leave muddy shoes? wet umbrella? What if they want an extra blanket, cover, pillow? Bath mat for shower? sink? etc

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And ask yourself why would they move the bed to unplug anything when there are plainly visible outlets if they needed one? (That goes along with 'where would they plug in?')

We have boot trays in the rooms in the winter. Removed in the summer when it is less salt and grit and just sand that comes in.

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Good for you!

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How exciting!!!! When ever we get a chance to add a room or cabin it is always down to the last hour to get it ready for guests. You have 10 days left. How cool is that!!! Now you can relax and take a breath.

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I just took a look at  your website. I realize you aren't asking for feedback on it...but I thought I would give you just a bit. You have come such a long way.

Did you realize the font styles are different on the home page text?  Did you copy and paste some of it from WORD?  I only  use Notepad to copy and paste in text so it has no coding with it. You may want to redo as it does look a bit strange...at least on my screenwink

You might also want to check to see that your header images are all the exact same size. They seem to bounce the screen up and down when changing and that usually means different sizes. Be sure they are all consistent.

Why don't you put your reservation box into the sidebar widget at the top rather than making text wrap around it. It will make for a better looking page.

The bottom widget area seems to go on and on. Suggest you have it only show the titles rather than a summary of the post.

Where is your contact info at the bottom widget area? Also you should have a footer navigation menu. Some of the info you have in the footer really belongs in your pages.

The PAII logo can be in the widget footer as well. Will make for a cleaner sleeker home page.

For your FAQ page, did you realize there is a FAQ shortcode that can be used so you don't have to scroll down the page?? Really neat..you just click on the + sign to open and the info shows.

See this page 

Ok... I will stopsmiley

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Congratulations Arks! That is really something, well done. Glad you are able to enjoy the space first. yes

and well done on the snafu as well, you knew it couldn't go too smoothly. Smiling

The other thing if you were on your own you really notice much more than with people yakking and laughing. Especially being the proprietor and all, you are noticing every detail. 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

The other thing if you were on your own you really notice much more than with people yakking and laughing. Especially being the proprietor and all, you are noticing every detail. 

Yes, noticing and taking notes! But I'll also be bringing the family and friends in soon to stay there and give more input, and do some real cooking to test the kitchens!

Later this week we meet to decide where to hang the wall art. I only have one painting hung so far, so the blank walls are kind of depressing! I'm not too far from being able to get some photos for the website, finally!

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Exciting for you...now it is real! Well maybe not till you get the first payment Smiling Enjoy!

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You should always do this will a new room - makes sure you havn't missed anything.

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

You should always do this will a new room - makes sure you havn't missed anything.

You got THAT right! Here's what I discovered this morning...a good lesson.

The apartment I stayed in is on 3 levels, with the "front" door entered from a porch on the top level. It has a keypad for keyless entry.

The bedroom is on the bottom level and it has a door that opens to the outside, under the porch mentioned above. I've set this door to always be locked when it's closed, like a hotel door. To get back into the apartment you go up to the living room door and enter your code.

So this morning I got ready, got a cup of coffee and my iPhone, and headed out the bedroom door and up onto the porch to enjoy the morning and check my e-mail. Had a pleasant time.

When I went to re-enter the apartment, I entered my door code, the door unlocked, I turned the handle, pushed, and THUD! I instantly knew what I'd done. Last night when I went to bed I set the deadbolt on the living room door because so many people (construction workers) have a door code at present so they can do some finishing work over the next week. I didn't want one of them dropping by in the night to show the place to a cousin or something.

So I was locked out. My car keys were locked inside the apartment, and the deadbolt key is kept at my home, since it's only for use in emergencies if a guest locks themself in and can't unlock the door for some reason.

Luckily I did have my phone so I called my sister to come pick me up, drive me to the house to get the deadbolt key, and drive me back to the apartment.

Very good lesson learned. I think I can solve it by putting a sign inside the bedroom door, over the doorknob so you have to lift the sign to turn the knob, with the sign saying...

 "IMPORTANT: Make sure the deadbolt is unlocked on the living room door before you exit through this door, or you'll be locked out when this door closes behind you. Use your 4-digit door code upstairs to re-enter the apartment after exiting through this door."

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What a wonderful mishappening! Yes, it was irritating but better you than a guest and as you know now- it WILL happen.

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Woohoo!! Happy you could be the first guest.

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Lifting up my glass in a toast to your hard work.  Congratulations! 

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Drawing a hot bath right now in the Sanijet tub. Poured in a packet of "bath grains" for whatever that's worth. At least there's a TV in the bathroom so this bath won't be a total waste of time (I only have a shower at home, haven't had a tub bath in 30 years).

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Congratulations.  I hope you can report tomorrow that you had a wonderfully relaxing night

 

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