Ahead of the end of the 5 per cent reduced VAT rate for the hospitality…
A comfortable hotel bed can be the make, or break, of the guest experience. Sue Bromley reports on the latest designs and features.
The view from the room may be gorgeous and iconic, the shower might be an inviting ‘rainforest’ experience after hours of travelling. But when it comes down to it, the make-orbreak issues for many hotel guests are a pristine, comfortable bed and room cleanliness. These are the essentials which lead to good reviews – so creating new guests and encouraging regular travellers to return or book into sister establishments. Those setting the standards in ensuring guests enjoy a good night’s sleep keep a close watch on the trends.
For instance, Mattison Contract Beds have seen that with guest occupancy at a premium, there has been a rise in demand for sofa beds. Managing director Stephen Eccles says: “These eyecatching, multi-functional pieces of furniture provide guests with comfortable seating within the room. but also cater for additional guests when required; in turn, maximising potential revenue.” New designs this year have enabled their sofa beds to be fitted with slim profile pocket sprung mattresses, meaning there is no compromise on comfort for the user.
They’ve also had an increase in requests from hoteliers and guest house providers for more pocket sprung mattresses, rather than traditional open coil mattresses. A pocket spring mattress reduces the ‘roll together’ feeling and makes the mattress ideal for users of different weights. Pocket spring mattresses also have more luxuriant natural fillings than open coil or foam mattresses – such as cashmere, silk and bamboo – whilst providing high levels of comfort. Natural fillings are also hypo-allergenic and can help regulate temperature when sleeping, so guests have less chance of sleep disturbance from becoming too hot or too cold.
For those welcoming environmentally-conscious guests, natural fillings ensure a new mattress has been constructed with a low impact on the environment, reaffirmed by Mattison Contract Beds’ commitment to lower their carbon footprint and be a ‘zero to landfill’ company.
Star Linen has experienced a surge in requests to upgrade standard rooms to executives, with feather filled products remaining a firm favourite. Their Ascot feather and down pillows come in a twin set with a weight of 900gsm, often complemented with a Sandringham duvet featuring goose feather and down filling wrapped in a plain 230 thread count, piped cotton, box construction cover, also available in a zip and link set.
And while guests are requesting anti-allergy alternatives, the aim at Star Linen is to ensure there’s no compromise on that luxury feel. Siliconised fibres give a similar feel to feather and create a lovely loft while remaining cool with a 230 thread count cotton cover. Clarence hollowfibre toppers come in 600gsm or 1000gsm weight, available with a fitted skirt. They also have a soft touch microfibre cover and crisp white finish.
While a topper adds some protection, it remains important to fully protect your mattress. Gone are the days of rubberised feel mattress covers as technology has moved on, creating stretchy encasements providing maximum protection.
Star Linen’s Pro Max encasement from Clean Rest is waterproof on four sides, allowing for air vents at the top and end of the mattress to prevent a ‘hot bed’. The Pro Max offers the benefits you would expect including patented bed bug, allergen and dust mite defence and comes with a 10 year guarantee no rip warranty.
Star Linen’s runners and cushions are UK-manufactured, with many available on next day delivery. They include the Isabella collection featuring geometric, double sided, prints with contrasting border, while the Victoria Collection takes inspiration from earth, sea and sky with a checked pattern.
At Richard Haworth they know it’s the ‘hidden essentials’, pillows, duvets and mattress protectors, which really make the difference. Duvets come in natural and synthetic options, to suit budget and storage options. Their natural goose down duvets are ultra-soft, lightweight, retain heat well, yet avoid overheating. Haworth’s bestselling microfibre duvet features a 100 per cent cotton percale cover and microfibre filling, a synthetic equivalent to a down duvet. The Tencel duvet contains an eco-friendly combination of softer Tencel and comfy polyester fibres.
The popular Clusterfill pillows are non-allergenic, with a fine denier filling for that super soft ‘bounce back’ effect. Synthetic micro down pillows are hypoallergenic and available in standard and firm options to ensure guests have a comfortable and supportive sleep. For others, Haworth’s premium goose down and fine feathers create a stunningly comfortable pillow with superb longevity and support as long as they are plumped up frequently. Their Jersey mattress protector has three layers of sanitised polyurethane for ultimate protection against dust mites and microbes and can be washed at up to 90 degrees.
InterContinental Hotels Group clearly base much of their success on customer loyalty and recommendation. And their strategy extends to suppliers, such as Vision, who introduced a ‘Next Generation’ range including pillows, duvets and mattress protectors five years ago which was designed to create new bedding brand standards to rollout as part of IHG’s ‘Next Gen’ Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands. Parallel to this, a bedding and towel range developed by Vision was successfully implemented with the support of numerous European laundry partners.
In 2017 Vision supplied linen to the first Kimpton new-build in Amsterdam, followed last year with the launch of an upscale brand called voco. Vision was given approved supplier status for both bed linen and terry for the new voco brand. This has now been rolled out across Europe, the Middle East and Asia and African regions, with plans to take it to the Americas and Greater China over time.
Research by Mitre Linen highlighted that upon entering a room, more than half of guests said the bed and bedding was the most impactful thing they saw, and when asked to reflect on the most amazing room they had ever stayed in, nearly a third responded that the bed and bedding was the key reason they had an amazing experience.
The launch of the Mitre Linen’s Eco collection has been a resounding success as hoteliers increasingly move towards responsible sourcing. The collection is GOTS certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic cotton bedding along with duvets and pillows with fillings made from recycled plastic bottles. Also quickly gaining popularity is the new Tundra and Deco soft furnishing ranges including bed runners with classical neutral tones.
Mitre Linen’s bespoke contract soft furnishings service offers a range of fabrics to refurbish rooms in any style and to any budget, from unparalleled luxury to a cosy country retreat and everything in between.
Just how important that good night ’s sleep is to us all is demonstrated by mattress maker Sleepeezee teaming up Dr Ranj Singh, a regular on ITV’s morning show, who spent a summer handtufting mattresses at their factory before starting his medical training, and whose mother still works there today.
As a brand ambassador the doctor is not only flying the flag for handcrafted British mattresses produced by a company which ensures that no waste from the factory goes to landfill, but the health benefits. He says: “Your mattress is literally the foundation of your sleep, and a lack of support through the night can strain your muscles, reinforce a poor sleeping posture and have a big impact on your spine.”
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