There’s been a machinery revolution in recent times, with a focus on energy costs, sustainability…
The plushest bed and bath linen is a huge lure: it’s about style and touch – but don’t forget that sustainability has a part to play
What a summer that was! Now we look forward to what is a very noticeable change in our ‘guest list’ as those who most appreciate pampering and luxurious touches start to arrive. Often seasoned travellers, they are also responsible for increased secondary spending on guest services, optional extras, upgrades and dining choices.
We need their return visits and recommendations to others, particularly following the pandemic – and this starts with the one thing guests crave: immaculate bedding and the fluffiest towels to wrap themselves in. We’re going to take a look at luxury-feel linen, particularly items which come with environment-friendly credentials. For instance, BC SoftWear has seen a sharp increase in demand for linens, robes and towels with that little bit extra. “Thread count, durability and sumptuous softness, as well as five-star quality bespoke options, are all still vital, but increasingly sustainability is also key,” says Barbara Cooke, CEO and founder BC SoftWear.
“Bespoke robes are growing ever more popular too, as they are such a powerful driver of secondary spend. This year we have created new bespoke robes for Gleneagles Townhouse in Edinburgh, and Twenty Two in London. For Fairmont Windsor Park, we supplied our Opulence towels with embroidery, a grey Hamptons style robe as well as a beige robe for the spa.” Their SmartSoft range of eco-friendly towels, and SupremeSoft robes and towels, use 70 per cent less energy during the wash process compared with a traditional towel, 10 per cent less water and cut drying time by nearly a third. Snag-free SmartKnit towels are made using knitted technology rather than traditional weave, which dramatically increases their longevity.
BC SoftWear in-room slippers have had a sustainable makeover. The completely biodegradable coir-soled slipper is made from all natural fibres, is plastic-free and biodegradable. The latest slipper has a sole made from TPR, a rubber like material, more hardwearing than EVA-based slippers. “It’s sustainable in a different, high-end way, as they’re good enough quality for guests to take home and use for months afterwards. We supply these slippers in abundance to five-star hotel community,” says Cooke.
Meryl Fabrics offers an eco-friendly cotton-like feel bedding range which washes at lower temperatures and at the end of a lifecycle can be recycled and made into a new fabric. A unique twist and weave method creates a textured fibre for sheets and duvet covers, restricting absorption of dirt and stopping stains and odours from forming. The linen can be washed at 40°C using a standard cleaning agent. A waterless dying process brings a colour fastness which in closed and open laundry circuit tests have shown an item can be washed 300 times without greying or misshaping, compared with around 90 times for cotton sheets.
Meryl Fabrics bedding range gives permanent protection as it is made with silver ion, recognised for antimicrobial properties, and HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 technology. Tests under ISO 20743 show that 99.9981 per cent of viruses and bacteria are removed in a standard wash. Everything is made within Europe with production processes meeting recognised environmental, safety and workplace standards The range’s environmental credentials include being made using a waterless and solvent-free process saving up to 3,000 litres of water for each 600m of fabric made, compared with traditional manufacturing methods.
They also do not shed microfibres as a hydrogen bonding system is used during manufacture which seals microfibres to the yarn so they become an integral part of the fabric. Peter Broom, innovations director at Meryl Fabrics says: “Our bedding range is a green alternative for all uses. Throughout its lifecycle the bedding is easier to clean and care for and at the end can be re-made as a perfect example of the circular economy without the need to sacrifice comfort, durability and practicality to be sustainable.”
It is a level above our standard bath mats, which is why you’ll find it in the bathrooms of our five-star plus hotel partners. It’s weighty, plush, and has a high density, making this tufted bath rug super-soft and superabsorbent.
Star Linen UK offers a wide range of luxurious bed and bath linen. A favourite of hoteliers looking to add an extra touch of luxury to bedrooms is the best-selling T400 100 per cent cotton Kensington range which is crafted to feel divine on guests’ skin and help ensure a fantastic night’s sleep. The fitted sheet is elasticated on all sides to ensure stability and with a depth of 35cm they are designed to fit with ease over the deepest, most luxurious mattresses. The elegant pillowcase features a classic single stitch border to complete a beautifully made bed. To ensure that the guest’s luxurious experience continues into the bathroom it’s important to consider the weight and finish of your towels.
Star Linen’s Orion range is woven from the highest quality cotton. The 665gsm towels feel sumptuously soft and their deep pile ensures they are very absorbent and will last longer than many other towels.
All guests love to sink their toes into a fabulous bath mat and for the ultimate in five-star luxury in bath linen, Fraser Donaldson, Vision Linen’s group hospitality sales and marketing director, recommends their VV2000 luxury bath rug. Donaldson explains: “It is a level above our standard bath mats, which is why you’ll find it in the bathrooms of our five-star plus hotel partners. It’s weighty, plush, and has a high density, making this tufted bath rug super-soft and super-absorbent. This is thanks to the 100 per cent cotton 2000gsm makeup of the mat, which guests will simply want to sink their feet into. Its plain, white design will complement any style of bathroom, while it’s easy to care for and is machine washable at 60°C.”
Vision’s VV650 Turkish towels are the perfect match to transform a bathroom into a spa-style sanctuary. Made from 650gsm, 100 per cent pure Turkish cotton, they feature a high pick ratio to provide a high-quality finish. Displaying a unique ribbed header bar, this plush collection of towels, with excellent absorbency, is sure to impress. If you’re seeking the choice where luxury meets sustainability, Vision’s ecopure E300 energy efficient robe is a lightweight, plain, 300gsm robe made from 55 per cent cotton and 45 per cent polyester velour outer combination. The weight allows for an easy care and quick laundering process, making it more energy efficient. A 100 per cent cotton terry inner gives a soft feel next to the skin.
Raj Ruia, director of Richard Haworth, is not surprisingly a big fan of their Como Sateen bed linens, which feel exquisitely smooth and silky against the skin and can be found in some of the best hotels across the country, from The Goring to Glenagles. He says: “Made from supremely high-quality 100 per cent cotton Sateen, Como meets the expectations of both guests and housekeepers since it is an easy-care option, compared to plain weave 100 per cent cotton percales.
With a 300-thread count, the fabric is a classic modern style, which can be paired with any colour scheme and pattern and is guaranteed to evoke that ideal ‘hotel bed’ experience that is the benchmark for many guests. “But it shouldn’t just stop with the bed sheets,” he insists. “Our newest bathrobe, Laguna, can enhance guest stays when they’re lounging and relaxing during the day.” Launched earlier in 2022, Laguna is a 420gsm cotton white bathrobe from Richard Haworth which has a gorgeous velour outer and a highly absorbent terry inner. Ruia adds: “Finished with chic grey piping along the collar, this is the robe of choice for guests who enjoy feeling stylish, even when they’re winding down.”
Richard Haworth bath linen ranges include plush 650gsm cotton Mayfair towels loved by guests for their heavy weight and narrow ribbed header detailing. Continuously rated 5/5 on Feefo, and chosen by many high-end London hotels, Mayfair is deluxe and durable, retaining that ‘brand new’ feel even after the rigours of laundering. It’s not only luxury that Richard Haworth’s linen ranges promote; sustainability is also at the fore of its offerings. Through their work with the Better Cotton Initiative, earlier this year Richard Haworth confirmed it has purchased over a million units of Better Cotton in under three years. That’s the equivalent of over a million kilogrammes of responsibly farmed cotton. “Many of our products feature BCI cotton, which promotes better standards in cotton farming around the world,” explains Ruia. But more local interests are also looked after as Richard Haworth products are manufactured in the UK.