Accom is tapping into guests’ love of all things natural and experiential right now, and that trend extends to the heart of any stay – the hotel bed.
Bedding in 2019 should evoke feelings of personal attention through individual touches, combined with deep natural hues, materials and textures which embrace the raw and real.
Going au naturel does not mean dialling down the level of comfort guests have come to expect from the most modest of accommodation beds, though. It should resemble a mossy cushion, not a straw nest…
Yes, colour and individuality are in, but those vibrant hues and quirky accoutrements must work with warm, earthy neutrals such as oatmeal and stonewashed linen covers, combining with accessories in textures of jute, canvas, wool and hemp to bring the outside into the boudoir.
As Fohlio.com says: “Tasteful, non-boring earthy palettes are an oxymoron, but also a very current trend.”
Crumpled, stonewashed linens are top of the boutique accom bedding list right now, offering the softest and most naturally-breathable covers through warm summer evenings – with the ability to also keeping guests snug during winter.While white triple-sheeting is still the go-to for almost all quality accommodation properties, cushions, throws and coverlets in pastel pops are being replaced with intense colours with a health and wellness hook – think verdant greens combined with berries and eggshell blues.
The link between health and colour is becoming increasingly prevalent in bedroom styling: The Angad Arts Hotel in St Louis, for example, offers guests a choice of rooms themed in four different colours to channel and enhance their mood on check in.
Comfort is always a prerequisite for quality accommodation beds, and mattress toppers and overlays help create a cloud-like haven of relaxation, providing pressure-point relief, improved blood flow, support and softness.
Whether made from foam, feather, microfibre or polyester, toppers provide an extra layer of comfort while extending the life of a mattress by protecting it from wear and tear.
Toppers can regulate bed temperature, promote airflow and provide hypoallergenic, anti-microbial and dust mite-resistant padding.
A pillow can make or break an overnight stay. For an inanimate comfort object, it inspires Fatal Attraction-style love or loathing.
As one industry insider puts it: “Pillows are the single most overlooked, yet most important element to creating a comfortable and welcoming experience. The humble pillow connects with your guests at a deep and visceral level.”
So, if you don’t want your bunny boiled or your reputation savaged by irate guests, you’d better get your pillows right.
Because synthetic options should be replaced every 18 to 24 months and down or feather ones between 24 to 36 months, pillows represent a significant expense for accommodation businesses. The Wyndham group, for example, bought more than a million pillows last year.
As a starting point, commercial-grade pillows must hold their shape and stay plump over numerous uses feel soft but provide enough support, and never feel compressed or lumpy.
The optimal density depends on a guest’s sleep position. Stomach sleepers need a soft pillow to cushion their heads at a comfortable angle, back sleepers need one with medium support to hold the head and neck at a neutral position without bending the spine, and side sleepers need the firmest support to keep the spine in natural alignment.
Pillow menus are increasingly found among all tiers of accommodation, from luxury to budget, because of the value society places on a good night’s sleep.
But for those looking to stock a general one-size-fits-all solution, medium to firm and standard-sized works for those with no specific position when sleeping, so is probably the best option. It is, though, vital to have hypo-allergenic and anti-allergy pillows onsite if you usually employ goose and feather down options.
There are numerous ways to stuff a pillow, but here’s a quick guide to the most common used in accommodation:
Feather and down – Feather pillows are soft and fluffy but can retain heat, which can be an issue for hot sleepers (but is appealing to chilly ones) and are often made in combination with down. Pillows made with white goose down are the gold standard when it comes to luxury. Made from birds’ undercoats, they’re super soft and can be fluffed into a desired shape. They yield easily but don’t offer strong neck or back support. These are at the most expensive end of the commercial pillow market.
Hypoallergenic and anti-allergy – Made from synthetic materials such as polyester or latex, or natural fibres such as wool, these are less likely to trigger allergies and are good for asthma sufferers. Hypoallergenic fill is anti-bacterial and naturally dust mite resistant. An anti-allergy pillow is slightly different – the material has been treated to deter dust mites. These include ‘down alternative’ pillows, which aim to mimic the comfort and feel of the real thing minus the allergens and price tag.
Buckwheat – Made from the husks of buckwheat seeds, these offer strong support and are increasing in popularity because they’re eco-friendly. The only catch is the husks tend to rustle when moved, so light sleepers might be disturbed. Microbead pillows are the quieter synthetic alternative.
Memory foam – These are ideal for back sleepers, providing ultimate support through their ability to contour to neck and head. Beware, though – they are an acquired taste.
Most hotels keep a stock of different pillows to cater to the varied wants of their guests, but Singapore’s top establishments make an art of it. At the Conrad Centennial Singapore, for example, there are 16 different types to choose from – including porcelain, jade, wood and bronze.