The Japanese spirit of omotenashi (hospitality) is intrinsic to Lexus; it’s evident in the flawless customer service offered by its dealerships, and in the meticulous attention to detail, personalised touches, or thoughtful extras found in its cars, that elevate an experience from ordinary to extraordinary. These principles can be applied to any festive gathering taking place over the next few weeks, so Lexus has put together some expert tips on how omotenashi can provide a visitor with a perfect stay.
Japanese hospitality is respected worldwide, as Tim Theofanou, Senior Director of Guest Experience at Nobu five-star Japanese hotels explains: “It is the Japanese spirit of service. Omotenashi seeks to strike a balance between being attentive but not intrusive, and anticipation is the key. We tailor our interactions to each individual at that time, on that particular day.”
In practice, this could be as simple as providing oshibori – hot towels – to welcome weary travellers, or noting whether a guest is left-handed, and placing their cutlery accordingly. “Sometimes, omotenashi is so thoughtful and so good that you don’t notice it – until it isn’t there,” says Theofanou. “Always think, what would you want if you were in your guests’ shoes? Only by being present, honouring the moment, honouring your guests, and honouring kokoro – the connection of heart, soul and spirit – can we achieve omotenashi.”
Twelve Lexus tips on how to host the perfect Christmas gathering:
- When your guests arrive, ensure there is ample parking, and take their bags straight up to their room. Allow them to freshen up in peace while you prepare their favourite drink as a welcome.
- Ensure your visitors have enough room to unpack their clothes. Fresh towels and toiletries are essential, but also consider what else they might need, such as a hairdryer, face coverings, hand sanitiser, slippers and a first aid kit (with paracetamol and indigestion tablets) too.
- In the bathroom, clear a space for their essential toiletries and ensure there is room to hang their towel, and a clean glass for their toothbrush. For older guests and those with mobility issues, it would be helpful to provide a non-slip mat.
- Do your guests prefer cool temperatures, or can they only sleep in a warm bedroom? Ask in advance and be inspired by the multi-zone Climate Concierge found in the Lexus LC coupe, to ensure each guest enjoys the temperature that suits them best. At night, a hot water bottle in bed is a considerate touch.
- Does your visitor love the Queen’s speech, or is there going to be a festive special of their favourite TV series? Check the listings and ask for their preferences in advance to ensure they don’t miss out; or record/stream the programme if you’re out and about.
- When it comes to food, no detail is too small. Do they prefer still or sparkling water? Do they always ask for seasoning? (If so, place it close to them on the table.) If a guest is left-handed, arrange their place-setting accordingly. Preparing menus is always thoughtful, especially if you’re hosting guests with dietary requirements which need to be catered for.
- A nice touch is to provide hand warmers, hip flasks and home-made snacks for the traditional Christmas walk
- Have a ‘no phone’ ban for the dinner table so everyone can respect the chef and their cooking. While Christmas is traditionally a time for feasting, if someone prefers small portions, respect that, but tell them there’s plenty for seconds.
- Are your guests early birds or a night owls? If the former, leave some breakfast items handy in case they wake before you; if the latter, ensure they know how to work the shower/television/heating before you retire to bed.
- At the end of their visit, send your guests off with refreshments and a little heartfelt gift – such as homemade biscuits or a scented car diffuser. The kids could even give the car a Christmas clean. Copy the Lexus car launch tradition by providing bottles of water for the journey.
- If guests have an electric car, offer to charge it before their departure. If they need to top up with petrol or diesel, share details of the nearest fuel station.
- Before your visitors leave, check the weather conditions. If it’s going to be freezing, unless they’re driving a Lexus, which will defrost its windscreen and windows automatically, you could offer to de-ice the car for them.