white and green hospitality tray

Hospitality Trays 101

Phyllis Lifestyle 13 Comments

It is often the simplest of gestures that let people know you care. Hospitality trays might sound elevated and fancy, but the truth is, they could not be any easier to put together! Create this special experience for your guests just one time, and you’ll never turn back after seeing how surprised and delighted they are.

Having one of these trays set out for overnight guests stems from the genuine concern for your guest’s comfort, and is the ultimate nod to Southern hospitality. Plus, it gives off a “bed-and-breakfast” feel in such a fun way!

Hospitality trays have three basic components (other than the tray itself). All you need is a pot of tea or coffee, a small snack or two, and serveware. Flowers are wonderful touch as well, but if you are in a pinch, the tray will still come together beautifully without them.

Remember, we are keeping the food simple! If you happen to have the time to make homemade treats for your tray, that is wonderful. But fresh fruit or scones or cookies from the bakery will do just fine.

I have included a couple of images from Southern Lady magazine for ideas and inspiration! If you create a hospitality tray of your own, I would love to see it! You can post on Facebook and tag The Ribbon in My Journal.

Comments 13

  1. I used to have boss that traveled a lot with his wife. He had 3 large show dogs and he needed someone to stay at his house (mansion) with his dogs. So since I had a lot of experience with dogs they asked me. They were from Canada and she drank a lot of tea. When she heard I did too she would always leave out her teapot, cozy and a very nice assortment of teas. Also in the bedroom, she had a table with Victoria magazines and assorted treats. I used to say it was just like staying in a five star hotel only better! Because there were the 3 dogs to play with! I had the best fun there! He also had a porch that was screened in all the way around it. I would have tea out there in the summer with a magazine. I think the best time of all was fall really. I could sit out there and see deer just on the other side of the pond while I ate my breakfast or had tea and treats! Those were the days.

  2. Wonderful ideas! Special hand towels & wash cloths too! Also another idea could be a small package of note cards for them to take home.

  3. As a gift for my sister who presents her guests with the five-star treatment, I had lovely cards made up for placement in guest bedrooms and powder rooms. The signature cards have a beautiful photo that becomes a personal keepsake.

  4. Mother and Grandmother always did something special for guests – snacks, toiletry basket, magazines and/or books, etc. One of my dearest friends who is a Southern Lady at heart, taught me to lightly sprinkle fragrant bath powder between chrisp sheets.

    Mother and I always loved to find personal porcelain, china or silver tea or coffee pots and miniature cream and sugar sets. Such fun to find a lovely pot at an estate sale, a cream & sugar in a shabby chic shop and the cup & saucer to match at a wonderful antique show. Arranging finds such as these on a lovely tray placed by or on the guest bed brings both hostess and guests pleasure.

    {Replacements – love it!!
    Susan, keep you eyes open! I have found lovely pots and other tea accoutrements in national discount stores and local thrift shops.
    Happy searching!!}

  5. Since I usually have both male and female relatives staying with us ,very often with small children, I usually use pretty baskets instead of trays and fill them with little extras, such as rubber duckies,crayons and colouring books, tiny snacks, and small puzzles for the wee ones and some pretty lotions, Victoria magazine and newspapers as well…..a little something to suit everyone! Instead of cut flowers, I put out a flowering plant with a cute watering can beside it.
    I do indeed love that beautiful tray and have something similar set up in my sitting room at all times for myself and friends if they should come by for a visit.

  6. I always have a tray with tea pot and cup sitting on the bed in my guest room. One afternoon my nephew/plumber came to work on the guest bathroom. He asked, are you having company? To which I replied, no. So what’s with the tray? I just smiled and suggested he return for an over night stay; he would be so pleasantly surprised “with the tray”.
    Such a simple thing indeed.

  7. Such a thoughtful thing to do for guests Phyllis. The silver teapot in your photo is gorgeous. I have been looking for such a teapot but can’t seem to find one. If anyone has any ideas I’d be very grateful. Thank you from NJ.

    1. Miss Susan, Hi from North Carolina! Just saw your email to Phyllis but it appears you are making inquiry of all her fans about any potential sources for tea pots. Here is an idea or two: check antiques stores in your area, and perhaps listings like Craig’s list, etc. Perhaps an estate sale would yield something. And, then….there’s always Replacements Limited, my favorite spot here in NC. If you are not familiar with them, check out their website. I have never been disappointed with the inventory available there. Good luck!

  8. When we a guest or guests, I will leave a little gift in the room for them. Have it beatifully wrapped and they find it a welcome treat.

  9. Such a lovely and welcoming gesture! It’s nice to settle into one’s room with a bit of refreshment before having to unpack.

    I also love when hosts set out a basket of toiletries for guests, especially if it’s a local product or a fancy brand I have always wanted to try. I discovered a lotion scented with Blue Ridge wildflowers that smelled like Spring this way.

  10. This is such a gracious touch for your guests. {surprise yourself with one of these sometimes too!} It doesn’t take much time, but leaves a lasting impression and really gives your guests the feeling that you care about them so much. Always the most beautiful, gracious ideas in Southern Lady, thank you!

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