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With Christmas just around the corner – a time when hotels are looking to provide the very best possible experience for their guests – we invited suppliers to tell us about their latest offerings to housekeeping departments, where quality and comfort go hand-in-hand to ensure the perfect stay. Jack Fowler reports.
First out of the blocks is Vision Support Services who says it has noted a distinct increase from the large hotel brands through to the independent hotels in requests for zip and link duvets. These, of course, are not a new concept but a clear growing trend in the industry with the ability to be used individually as single duvets, or zipped and linked together to create a double or even super king size.
Highly valuable for hotel owners, zip and link duvets are space saving as well as offering greater affordability, reducing the need to stock a range of duvets in different sizes. Consequently hotels can offer much more versatility across its rooms.
“Vision’s Arlington duvet features a unique microfibre filling, giving the nearest feel to natural filling and ensuring a lofty look on the beds; all whilst being machine washable and suitable for those suffering with allergies,” says the company’s marketing and PR executive, Anna Gillespie.
She continued: “The Vision Fermoy duvet is another zip and link product that is crafted from 100 per cent spiral conjugate hollow fibre filling, meaning it is soft, lightweight, and the bouncy filling springs back when touched to give it that freshly plumped appearance, each and every time.”
Vision has recently been awarded supplier nomination for voco Hotels by IHG, a new lifestyle hotel brand, whose whole ethos focuses on sustainability.
According to Star Linen UK, the truly indulgent part of a guest’s experience is relaxing in a beautiful hot bath then stepping out wrapped in a towel that envelops them in soft, smooth luxury. “Frequently, we are being told by hotels that they want to ensure that their guests are getting a luxurious experience from all elements of the room – not just from the bed,” says Star Linen’s managing director, Stephen Broadhurst.
“We understand that as well as ensuring that the guests have soft sumptuous towels, it is also important that the towels are durable and wash well in order to retain their softness after every process.”
So what towel weight is best?
The company says, anything from 400-550gsm would be considered a medium weight towel, which is only slightly less absorbent than the heavier weight towel but perfect for those with a budget who still want to provide a soft towel with a light handle.
But for anyone looking for a more luxurious towel, 550gsm plus is Star Linen’s recommendation. These towels feel and look thicker and heavier and will have superior absorbency. As well as the weight it is also important to ensure that the towels have a long deep pile as this gives them their soft feel.
“At Star Linen UK we want to help you create the perfect bath time every time and our Orion and Aurora ranges are our top pick for hotels as they have a wonderfully soft and deep pile that is absorbent as well as being long-lasting. Both have a double stitch around the hem to reduce fraying and to help the towel last longer,” concludes Broadhurst.
When asked about his take on market trends in the UK hotel sector, Richard Haworth’s, managing director, Raj Ruia, commented: “Recent figures show the UK hotel industry has had another strong summer period, the pound continues to be weak and has resulted in stay at home holidays proving to be more popular with the British public as costs to travel abroad increase. This increased demand is also matched by the demand of guests as hotels offer more and more features and facilities so that they enjoy their stay and leave positive feedback on countless social media platforms and feedback sites. This also applies to the hotel room, where once thin and slightly off white towels or uncomfortable bed linen were too often the norm, now standards have been raised and guests require a much more luxurious and comfortable experience.
“The move to higher thread count cotton products continues with many hotels seeking out 100 per cent cotton in order to create a more luxurious feel that guests crave. The 200-thread count Blenheim range provides hotels with a luxury soft bed linen that consumers now expect. The 400- thread count Hampton range is also proving popular for hotels who want to go the extra mile and offer a more sumptuous sleep experience.”
Richard Haworth says it is seeing a similar trend towards higher quality with towels and bathrobes. Whereas previously, the majority of establishments provided, at best, 500gsm towels, today we find that many are now opting for 600gsm.
The 600gsm Madison towel range from Richard Haworth is 100 per cent ring spun cotton produced with fine yarns and features an attractive honeycomb weave header. The luxurious deep pile ensures the towel stays soft and absorbent wash after wash. Madison is available in a variety of colours including pebble, slate, chocolate, ivory, black and, of course, classic white. For those establishments that require the ultimate in luxury, the 650gsm Mayfair range is made from 100 per cent combed cotton and features a unique narrow ribbed header and is the company’s plushest towel yet.
BC Softwear recently announced the launch of ‘Pure Spa Linen’ a brand-new collection of luxury Spa Linen. Managing director, Barbara Cooke, says, “This collection has been created with some of our most exclusive clients in mind. The cotton linen is very stylish with a sensation of exceptional luxury and softness, designed to give your clients a feeling of total pampering during their luxury spa treatment. After all, we believe that a five-star treatment begins with the touch of the bathrobe and the smooth feel of the spa linen on your skin before the professional treatment even commences.” Designed in collaboration with Peigin Crowley, leading spa consultant, Ireland, the Pure Spa Linen collection includes linen specially sized for a treatment couch including pillows, duvets, sheets and towels.
Cooke concludes: “For beds with an integrated face hole, and indeed for certain treatments, we have a unique material from our ‘SupremeSoft’ range in two parts. Part one: a small ‘header’ towel, which avoids creases on your skin as you lay face down for a massage, at the same time as allowing extra hygiene, since the material is designed to fit down the face hole, thus protecting the insides of the hole. Part two: a complete jumbo sheet with or without a face hole, in the same ‘SupremeSoft’ material.”
As suppliers of soft furnishings, bed linen and towelling to the hotel industry for over 70 years, Mitre Connect says they make it their business to keep on top of interior design trends. Here they talk about some of the developments that are currently shaping design choices for the hotel bedroom.
“Our recent industry research revealed that 75 per cent of hoteliers believe that environmental initiatives are now expected by guests,” says Mitre Linen’s soft furnishings manager, Rachel Price. Their Mitre Connects research was conducted with 142 hoteliers in March 2019.
“In response to this demand we have launched our new Eco range which features bed linen, towelling products, pillows and duvets, made from ethically produced recycled and natural products. The high quality, affordably priced range allows hotels to make wellinformed, environmentally sound choices when it comes to sourcing these products.”
Price continues: “Classic grey and cool neutrals continue to be popular and warm beige is getting hotter. The way ahead was signalled at the end of 2018 by colour specialists at Dulux who announced the 2019 Colour of the Year as the warm amber shade of Spiced Honey. “Layered shades of warm neutrals are a great choice for hotel bedrooms, creating an atmosphere of welcome and comfort. However, beige and honey tones need a little contrast to bring them to life and the addition of crisp white bed linen and towelling will bring clarity to a neutral scheme.
“A co-ordinated effect can be achieved with our Elegance range of 100 per cent cotton bed linen which has embroidered stitching, adding a sophisticated touch to the borders of pillowcases and duvet covers. Continue the subtle theme into the bathroom with co-ordinating Ambassador range of 100 per cent cotton Turkish-style bathrobes, towels and bath mats. We always have the popular classic taupe embroidered products in stock or we can have Elegance and Ambassador products embroidered to match to the pantone colour of your choice.” The company says their range of soft furnishings includes a wide selection to suit every budget. From cashmere blankets to polar fleece throws – there’s a way to bring softness and comfort to every hotel guest.
Finally, in this review we spoke to Sherry Textiles about what they have to offer. “Choosing the right bed linen for your guests is important for creating the perfect look and ensuring a great night’s sleep,” commented company sales executive, Alan Saunders. “Our range of bed linen has been designed to add a stylish finish to any bedroom. Whether you’re looking for a touch of luxury or working to a tight budget, you’ll find a range of options to suit your needs.”
The company says their Texas range is a tailored half-inch stripe that adds a touch of elegance to any bed. Available in duvet covers and pillowcases, this classic design is made from 200-thread count cotton rich percale. Said to be easy to care for and soft to the touch, Texas is described as the perfect choice for any hotel setting. And why not add a touch of opulence to your bathrooms with the inclusion of Windsor – their range of 500gsm towels? Windsor features an attractive rope header bar adding a contemporary finish to any bathroom.
The Sherry Textiles range is extensive and can be viewed in their brand new showroom in Burnley. Spread over 2,400 square feet.