Why Your Guests Stumble Around in the Middle of the Night

And How to Fix it




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July 9, 2014
Getting up for water at 5:00?!

I am a big fan of special touches in vacation rentals.

They make guests feel cared for. Knowing that owners have gone out of their way to make a holiday stay extra special makes people A LOT more likely to leave a glowing review.

You know, like a Turkish towel in an ordinary bathroom, a plate of saffron yellow plums flashed with crimson on the kitchen counter, a folded note under a pillow with the words, ‘Sleep Deeply.’

But what if that special touch actually prevented your guests from getting up in the middle of the night (or the wee hours of the morning), to stumble around in the dark, perhaps stubbing their toe or banging their shin in the process? What if it meant not having them mutter to themselves and feel annoyed by having to get up while half awake?

All for a mere glass of water.

Enter the glorious water carafe!

Bedside water carafe

The glorious water carafe. Photo courtesy of Pixel Tree.

In an ideal vacation rental world, every bedroom has a handsome water carafe placed on the bedside table.

Guests feel grateful, relieved somehow when they see the cool look of clear, fresh water; and it’s reassuring to know it’s near.

The fact that they won’t have to worry about getting a drink in the middle of the night – or in the midst of a novel while lounging in bed – makes it all the easier to relax and kick back.

It’s one less thing to worry about.

Think of it this way. We need a few things to survive: food, sleep, shelter, and water.

We can go a few (warm) months without shelter, a few weeks without food, ten days without sleep, but only one hundred hours without water.

So it’s automatic. Whenever we enter a new environment, we immediately scan for a water source. It’s a primal thing.

Water is always on the radar.

Hotels know this too, which is why they get us with those oh-so-convenient plastic water bottles with the outrageous price tags. We’ve all resorted to drinking them because we didn’t think ahead and bring our own.

And you, as a vacation rental owner DO NOT want to follow the same lame tactics. Instead, give your guests plenty of fresh, clean, beautiful water in their bedrooms and they will thank you for it. No more stumbling into the kitchen in the middle of the night.

There are two types of carafes – one has an upside down glass on the top, used as a lid and the other does not. Both types work splendidly.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Simple Carafes

The simple carafe, without the glass-as-lid on top, is preferred by some because the drinker is not confined to a small water glass. A large drinking glass can be placed alongside, benefiting those who sip throughout the night or happen to be extra thirsty (common when people have cocktails before going to bed ;) ).

Secondly, some people don’t want a drinking glass used as a bottle cap on a carafe. They complain that it drips water onto the surface of a table when turned upside down after use.

Carafe by Libbey

The Libbey Carafe’s super clean design is sure to please guests. The sealed top stops dust and other contaminants from entering the bottle. It can also be used for storing water in the refrigerator. $12.50 on Amazon.

Carafes with Cups Covering the Top

These are my personal favorites. First of all, I love the look of them, so elegant and finished. And I like that dirt, dust and (yikes!) critters can’t fall into the water.

Bedside Carafe with Glass from Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel’s Bedside Carafe with Glass has a modernist appeal. $24.95.

Bliss Home's Round Carafe

Bliss Home’s Round Carafe almost reminds me of something I used in chemistry experiments. It has a charming bulbous base with a cup that covers the top of the carafe to keep dust out. $25.

CB2's Cora Carafe

CB2’s Cora Carafe has a two-piece hand-blown glass cylinder which stacks its own cup. Makes a cool wine carafe, too. $10.95.

Junction 18's H20 Carafe

The clever styled script of the H2O Carafe by Junction 18 makes this carafe and glass unique. £15.84 on Amazon.


I am partial to placing a carafe on a beautiful metal or mirrored tray. The hard, shiny surface alleviates the worry of water spilling on sensitive wood surfaces and making marks; furthermore, it just looks 5-stars elegant. Especially if you place a vase of flowers beside it.

Jordan Carlyle's Water Carafe on a Silver Tray

Placing the water carafe on a chic silver tray, such as this one found in a room by designer Jordan Carlyle, is both elegant and practical.

One final piece of advice. Make sure your carafe is free of hard water marks. I have found that guests won’t want to drink the water if the bottle has film or water spots, no matter how pure and innocent the water. I hold mine up to the light before each fill to make sure it’s crystal clear.

Question: Do you provide bedside water carafes in your vacation rental? If so, what brands have stood the test of time? You can leave your comment below.

  • rentmoreweeks

    Good article Mercedes,
    I always stage my bedroom photos with bottles of mineral water too. Good quality glass bottles in green or blue photograph well (with the bedside table lamp on too). We provide the same brand bottles of water on the first night of arrival, after that guests can use a carafe. It’s little touches like this that set owners apart. The photos help with conversions and the bottles on arrival help with customer satisfaction.
    Once again, nice article and top research on the various carafes, thanks.

    • Wow! I love the way you set up your bedroom here – the shelf above the beds with simple adornments and bedside table in between is lovely. Providing water for guests puts you in the 1% of a vacation rentals. I have stayed in over 30 holiday rentals in the last 10 years and I have never encountered either bottles or carafe. Lots of stumbling around in the night. ;)

      Thanks for commenting and showing the community your great bedside setup! I posted it on the One Chic Retreat Facebook page too. Gorgeous!

      • rentmoreweeks

        Thanks Mercedes,
        I’m always striving for that top 1% and a small bottle of water per guest doesn’t break the bank (most guests don’t even open the bottles, so they can be used next time too).

    • Love this. Think I’ll look into getting water like that. Looks rich.

  • I too worry about water dribbles and marks on our nightstands. What size of tray would you recommend for under this H2O carafe and with its glass next to it– 2 1/4″W x 7 1/2″H – found at Amazon:
    (Found it at Nordstoms too, but for twice the price!)

    • Hi Donna, First of all, I love the carafe you found on Amazon! I almost bought it but then decided to use some shopping restraint. ;) As for size of tray: I would say find something that fits the carafe, the glass and then extra space for another glass in case guests want to put two glasses on it. Ebay is great for old trays, btw.

      • We ended up having a tray specially made to harmonize with our color scheme for our Sea Ranch Vacation Rental – Abalone for our water carafes. We purchased them from Etsy.

        • Do you have any close-ups of your trays?

          • Sorry I missed this comment- No actual close ups in photo staging…yet!
            Opps— responded in the message side of disqus- didn’t realize I was double posting photos.

          • This room is so serene, Donna and hey, with the water carafes, you give them all the more reason to stay in bed on vacation. Thanks for sharing!

          • another angle and a little closer. I found the artist on Etsy- she made them to order. I shared our color scheme with her and the fact that we were oceanfront. I wanted some detail in them that reflected the waves or abalone shell for which we are named.

  • Maesywerngoch

    I thought I added a comment yesterday, did you not receive it? just wondered what I have done wrong. thanks

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  • We provide our guests with infused water with lemon, cranberry, mint, rosemary or what’s in season in the fridge. I never thought of leaving water by the nightstand. Great idea! I always have water by my bedside and my guests should too! Plus you can get carafe’s with your business name/logo etched or maybe it would be fun to etch a special message on them!

    • Wow, love the idea of infused water. What kind of container do you keep it in? Also, if you come across a carafe with the option of an etched monogram or wording, let us know. That is such a great idea!

      • I use a water infuser from Bed, Bath & Beyond. I like this one because it’s easy to clean and light weight – as the glass ones can get heavy or break.

        This is the water carafe that I personally have from Williams Sonoma but I’m sure there are others that can be monogrammed, plus this one is $40!

  • Alanna: TheDistinguishedGuest

    Such a wonderful idea Mercedes! I love the idea of providing a carafe and placing a tray on the side table as well to help “save” the furniture. Thanks for another great idea!

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  • How do you keep the water from tasting old? After water has been out a day unsealed it starts tasting stale. How do you avoid this?

    • Cottage Mom, I recommend leaving it for guests upon arrival and then most likely guests will replace the water as they use it. I do agree it will go stale if left for several days but most guests will refill on their own. Cheers!

      • Okay, Just making sure there wasn’t a secret I was missing out on. :)




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