13 Hostess Gift Ideas For When Baked Goods and Wine Won't Cut It

According to my mother (and probably your mother, too), guests should never arrive empty-handed. In terms of events focused around food—dinners, brunches, teas—it's an easy enough rule to follow, even in a rush: a box of freshly baked goods is the ticket to party-wide popularity. But what about extended stays at a good friend or relative's home? When people are providing 24-hour kitchen access, laundry facilities, heat and hot water for free, extra-flaky croissants just don't seem like enough. (Unless you want to wake up early every morning and make them for everyone's breakfast, in which case: godspeed—and you're invited to my place anytime. You'll have to sleep on the couch though.)

No, enjoying the comforts of another person's house, country cottage or beachfront property, requires a little more thought, a little more effort. You need to give something that feels useful, yet luxurious; that suits their tastes but still reflects yours. Something, well, like any one of the 13 gifts in the slideshow below—click through to get inspired now. (Or, if you doing some hosting yourself this summer, use this story to drop a subtle hint—that awesome mini soap set on slide 11 isn't going to buy itself.)

A Turkish towel does all the same things as terry cloth beach blanket but looks about a million times chic-er in the process—and it doubles as a sarong!