Sure, it’s about location – but for many guests, the deal is sealed by what they feel when they slip between the sheets and head off to sleep.
It’s such a big deal that hoteliers pay just as much attention to bed linen – and towels – as they do to other crucial services and amenities offered.
What’s the secret to that coveted aaah feeling? Three key factors, and a common-sense approach to practicality versus frill.
1. Laundering and life expectancy
Bed linens – and towels – are usually washed daily. It doesn’t take a textile designer or fabric technician to know that colored sheets are not widely used by hotels. Bleach will fade the richness of the color. White stays white, and higher amounts of bleaching or cleaning agents can do battle with any stains.
This approach pertains to fancy fringes and lace. These delicate additions won’t stand up to repeated washings – especially in the commercial laundry machines used by the hotels or their service vendors.
It’s why most hotels stick with what can handle constant laundering. Fortunately, there’s alignment with guest preferences here. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey and found that consumers prefer white bed sheets. The reason? Sleepers want “the clean effect that is reflected by the white sheets and pillows,” says the NSF. Its survey-takers said the color white aids better sleep.
It’s been reported that Westin Hotels & Resorts invested approximately $50 million to test every mattress on the market. This included research into bed linens. The hotelier determined that all-white bed linens were the way to go because of the psychological “halo effect” caused by the color. White is pure and clean, and they discovered that the guests felt rooms had been completely redone design-wise when the only change was to remove colored bed linens.
2. Counting sleep
Bed linen thread count determines that necessary combination of softness and substance sought out by both hoteliers and their guests. A count above 600 moves fabric into the higher end of quality. These weaves are made possible by compressed air technology.
It produces uniform smoothness and luster – and that’s important for an organization that requires hundreds or even thousands of identical bed linens. Luxury-class hotels seek out bed linens with thread counts of 800 to 1,000.
3. Weaving satisfaction
Cotton remains the king, in terms of fiber. From there, it’s a matter of preference and design complement. The battle between regular cotton and Egyptian cotton rages on.
There’s a difference because the two types come from different plants. Egyptian cotton plants produce longer fibers, known as staples. These staples create longer and more uninterrupted fiber to create yarn and threads. Fewer splices create a stronger thread, which makes for a softer and more lustrous finish.
Finer yarn also means it’s possible to create higher thread counts, which creates a tauter weave. This material can stand up longer to the repeated launderings that befall the life of a hotel bed sheet. Egyptian cotton is said to be more porous so it can soak up more moisture than regular cotton, offering the opportunity for a deeper and more comfortable rest.
Percale cotton weaves are woven from both carded and combed yarns. Carding creates fuzziness, while combing creates smoother and more aligned fibers. The combination, when used in high thread count fabrics, presents a soft silk-like feel against the skin. The result is the sensation of silk but the strength of cotton – and a matte finish that gives off that crisp-yet-soft feeling. Percale generally has a lighter, cooler feel.
A change in weave construction can put more threads on the top surface of a fabric. The result is a softer, shinier expression that says, “satin.” Hoteliers will choose this weave when they’re going for a softer approach to the aesthetics to bed décor.
Beachwood Custom brings over a century of combined experience to the art of opening a hotel. Design, purchasing, manufacturing, and installation are all part of our client service. You can reach us on our contact page to learn how we can help realize your décor goals.