Secrets of the Hotels: Why Hotel Beds Are So Comfortable

Feb 3, 2020 11:15 AM ET


There’s something about hotel beds that makes us want to jump straight into them the minute we step through the hotel room door. Admit it: they’re unbelievably comfortable! The inner child might want to jump around on them, but, thankfully, we resist. As the end of the day edges nearer, our thoughts turn to that bed and we just can’t wait to climb into it. Carpe diem and all that jazz goes out the window!

Just how do the hotels do it? How do they manage to make us feel this way? If you’ve ever you’ve wondered, you’re in luck because you’re just about to find out. Here’s why hotel beds are so tremendously comfortable:

Hotels do a whole heap of research

Hotels don’t just look at a mattress and think ‘That looks nice. We’ll buy one of those for our hotel!’. No, not by a long shot.

They can spend more than a year studying mattresses and trying to establish what works for them and what doesn’t. The hotel chain Westin Resorts & Hotels has made a real name for itself in this regard. In the 1990s, they conducted a massive survey of travellers to find out what matters to them most when they stay at a hotel. The answer? A good night’s sleep.

Not only did they do this, they bought 50 hotel beds from 35 different chains and boutique retailers and placed them in one giant hotel ballroom. The market researchers then tested them all out by snoozing in everyone before deciding which one was the best. From there, they developed the hotel’s very own bed, a bed which the chain considers the ‘perfect bed’.

Hotels buy special beds

A hotel’s reputation can live or die by how comfortable their guests’ stay at the establishment is, so they won’t take any chances or cut corners with your bed. In fact, hotels must follow specific rules and regulations regarding beds, which means they have beds made for them in a special way, so they’re not the same as ‘normal’ beds.

Since the quality of the guests’ stay is so crucial to a hotel’s reputation, they’ll also have a long, hard think about the mattresses they use. Some, such as the Travelodge, will source their mattresses from a particular brand or supplier. The Travelodge like to source their mattresses from Sleepeezee, who have a Royal Warrant, which means the brand has supplied bedware to the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales. It’s a tough act to follow!

Hotels use hybrid mattresses

Variety is the spice of life, but when it comes to the mattresses on hotel beds, it’s the spice of comfort as well! Often, hotels go for a hybrid bed that contains memory foam and/or latex for that extra comfort. Some will ramp up the comfort factor even more by adding a mattress topper so that you can really sink into the mattress. The topper could be feather or memory foam, but either way you know it’s going to be comfortable, and it helps to protect the mattress itself and preserve it for longer.

Hotels use quilts, not duvets

Depending on the hotel, you’ll sleep under a quilt instead of a duvet. A quilt is a big, thick blanket, designed to keep you warm, of course. One of the big secrets is that the quilt is often too big for the bed itself, which gives you plenty to wrap yourself up in and keep warm, and it makes the bed appear cosier and more stylish. Likewise, the quilt will be too big for the duvet cover and the hotel will stuff it into the cover to give the bedding a plush, fluffy, filled appearance. Maybe that’s why you feel like jumping into bed the moment you step into your room!

Hotels pay careful attention to the sheets

When you climb into your hotel bed, you can be sure the hotel hasn’t just paid careful attention to the mattress and duvet or quilt; they’ll have taken the quality of the sheets into account as well to provide you with every ounce of comfort possible. Cotton, especially Egyptian cotton, is a popular material for hotel bed sheets. Often, hotels will opt for a thread count of around 300, which is why the sheets are light and breathable but oh so crisp at the same time.

Then there is the way the hotels lay the sheets when they make the beds. They don’t make beds in a standard way, but instead use the ‘hospital corner’. This involves laying a bottom sheet and tucking some of the sheet in but folding the rest over the top of each corner and then tucking it back in. You then lay a top sheet and tuck it in at the bottom and sides. Very tidy.

Hotel beds use a variety of pillows

Just like hotels mix things up with the mattresses, they use a variety of pillows, too. They’ll check you don’t have an allergy and if you don’t, it’s reasonable to expect to find two to four down pillows. The hotel will then add some Euro sham pillows into the mix so that you can prop yourself up while reading or watching TV.

Down pillows are soft, cuddly and stuffed with goose feathers — which retain heat better — or duck ones. Some may blend feather and down, in which case the pillow will contain feathers from the back, wings and chest of the bird. You can mould down pillows around the shape of your head a little easier, which adds to the cosiness of them.

The ‘halo effect’ of all white

Believe it or not, hotels play a slight psychological trick on us, although it’s a question of clever design and not one of any negative intent or wilful deception. It seems that colour has an impact on how we actually perceive the bed and the room.

The travel website Secret Escapes tells us that during their research, our friends from earlier, Westin Hotels & Resorts, found that an all-white setup created a halo effect. Secret Escapes also informs readers that some hotel managers have reported that despite only replacing colourful bedding with plain, simple white, guests think the hotel has completely renovated the suite.

It’s no coincidence that hotel beds are so damned comfortable. The owners have put a lot of thought and effort into their beds to give us the utmost comfort and value for money possible when we book a room with them. The result is partially what makes, for some of us, the hotel stay is as much a highlight of our travel experiences as visiting the destination itself!

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