Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Charm Camp Recap

Written by Patti on July 20th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

What makes fabulous future hostesses? Practice, practice, practice.

The Ritz-Carlton South Beach is fostering this idea with their Charm Camp for Girls. In June, 13 young ladies attended this day of fun and education. There were workshops on make-up, writing thank you notes, nutrition & menu planning and to top it off, there was a session with the Miami Heat Cheerleaders!

Great hostesses aren’t born, they learn these skills through those around them. Be it their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers or family friends. Instilling the gracious arts is imperative if we want to see the next generation succeed. These 13 girls are on the right course. Let’s take a look at their day as photographed by Melanie Nayer.

First up – learning the importance of writing thank you notes. Hopefully every parent teaches their children the value of appreciation through writing. It is a skill that will take them much farther than they could imagine. I’m always tickled when someone calls me to thank me for writing them a thank you note. Let’s not allow this art to falter.

Another lesson was making others feel comfortable. The Ritz-Carlton employees carry “credo” cards with them at all times to remind them of these three important thoughts:

  • Extend a warm welcome
  • Use the person’s name
  • Bid a fond farewell

Shouldn’t we all live by this credo? Wouldn’t the world be a better place? I truly believe that The Ritz-Carlton hotels hire employees that inherently put others at ease, instead of trying to teach these steps. Everyone I encounter when I visit is the epitome of charm.

An extension of this lesson was one of positivity. A positive, polite attitude makes you a magnet to everyone you meet. That would seem to be common sense, wouldn’t it? The best hostesses know this lesson well. So what if the souffle falls or the pork roast didn’t cook in the middle? Smile and have a Plan B. No one will remember what food you served, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Of course, I was thrilled to see the girls spend a portion of their day with Chef Connell learning about nutrition and menu planning. These are the cornerstones of a great dinner party and the key to a healthy life.

After spending the morning making healthy pizzas and learning the finer points of make-up and etiquette, girls need to get up and move around. And these 13 young ladies did just that with a dance class headed by the Miami Heat Cheerleaders, who taught the girls some fun dance routines.

Young ladies turn into young hostesses. If you give them the basics, the rest will fall into place.

The camp is limited to 15 and is offered on a limited basis. For Ritz-Carlton Charm Camp reservations or more information, please contact Mylene Santana at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach at 786-276-4008 or

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to John Mayer – Daughters


5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Patti – will you start a Charm Camp for adult ladies? Puh-lease! I could always use a refresher course.

  2. Patti says:

    Elizabeth! Lets talk about this tomorrow night. You might be onto something! xoox, P

  3. Patti says:

    Dearest Arlynn, You are the most courteous person I know. ooxo, P

  4. Jenniifer says:

    What a marvelous idea! While I try to teach my girls much of these things, sometimes an outside source can make a bigger impact.

    I agree that an adult course would be quite lovely.


  5. Patti says:

    Jennifer – I think we might be on to something here! Why can’t you live closer? xoxo, P