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We might have removed some of the comforts and ‘personal touches’ in rooms, but guests will scrutinise the essentials, Sue Bromley finds.

As arriving hotel guests inspect and then relax in their sanitised rooms much of the work completed by housekeeping teams will be invisible. What we can be sure of, though, is that our visitors will be paying more attention than ever to the items they have most personal contact with – the bed and bath linen. They’ll appreciate that ‘brand new’ look and feel of the best bedding and towels without realising that the linen may well have been through several scrupulous laundering cycles to ensure a COVID-free environment. The linen is new to them and that’s what counts. At the same time, hotels, and some guests, are determined not to lose sight of what was the big drive before the virus came along – sustainability. Many are concerned that the current super-hygienic garbage disposal is leading to less recycling.

Energy efficient SmartKnit towels from BC Softwear are knitted to stop snags developing

SmartKnit towels from BC Softwear offer a solution for hotels seeking to enhance their social responsibility campaigns while reducing energy costs. A brand-new collection of energy efficient towels has been developed, with a unique knitted construction that makes them snag free and long lasting.

The SmartKnit towels dry much faster than traditional ones and keep their fresh new feel because they are knitted not woven. This means the towel simply doesn’t snag or pull like a traditional towel, so they keep looking new for longer. They are available in 450 and 550gsm weights, in white and pebble slate grey, from hand towels through to bath sheets. Trade prices start at £2.37 for a white hand towel.

The most discerning guests are becoming used to the fact that some ‘little treasures’ are currently missing from their rooms unless they specifically request them. These people know all the best quality labels, and that’s why linen produced by Rivolta Carmignani is found in 5-star luxury hotels and resorts across the world.

Spa towels from Rivolta ensure super-soft hand touch

Rivolta has specialised in fine linens for more than 150 years and still operates from historic headquarters in Macherio, just a short distance from Milan.

The company boasts an integrated approach and its manufacturing plant includes departments covering design, warping, weaving, bleaching, finishing, cutting, hemming, embroidery and quality control, packaging and logistics.

The result is that Rivolta’s highly experienced staff fully share in a mission that starts with selection of the most prestigious yarns and is completed with a finished Made-in- Italy product. The company pays the highest attention to the materials used, exclusively selecting long-fibre cottons of the highest quality, sourced both in Egypt and in the Americas.

Where rare craft skills combine with ecological imperatives: Rivolta’s fine linens are found in some of the world’s top establishments

The finishing process ensures a super-soft hand touch much appreciated by guests of top hotels and spas as they enjoy the intimate pleasure of a welcoming bed and carefully crafted linens.

Rivolta’s product line includes bed linens in various qualities, ranging from percale 200 thread count up to sateen 600 thread count; bath linens in natural terry material in different weights; spa items and table linens. The magic mix of modern trends in terms of materials, weaving, finishing and housekeeping best practices alongside ancient and rare craft skills with the latest generation of weaving machines means that they can offer what appears to be an unlimited number of customised products for clients.

Rivolta Carmignani has also fully embraced green initiatives and is a member of the BCI (Better Cotton Initiative), a global no-profit organisation representing the largest cotton sustainability programme worldwide with the aim of making global cotton production better for people producing it, and better for the environment where it grows. They are also accredited for OEKO-TEX STeP, covering sustainability of textile production process and eco-friendly production.

If there is any justice, the move towards sustainable textiles will once again take centre stage, and leading global textile company, Vision Support Services, has launched a new brand in keeping with this. Called ecopure, the range offers everything required to produce a complete and ecofriendly guest room from duvets to pillows, to flat bed linen, towels, bathrobes and slippers. Vision say the response from customers has delighted them. The eco-conscious guest will be travelling again, whether that’s for a staycation or visit further afield.

Vision Support Services’s new ecopure range includes everything required to produce a complete and eco-friendly guest room

Research published reveals that 60 per cent of travellers who are loyal to a hotel brand say the brand’s corporate responsibility is a key factor in their loyalty. Global hospitality brands are playing their part. IHG launched voco, an upscale lifestyle hotel brand in 2018, built on sustainability, while IHG’s Green Engage system is an innovative environmental sustainability system that gives its hotels the means to measure and manage their impact on the environment. Accor’s Planet 21 programme, aims to provide a positive hospitality experience, while Marriott International’s Serve 360 CSR strategy aligns responsible business activities with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Vision have social responsibility and sustainability at the heart of their own business. Their sourcing team have set out to find the most innovative and ecological textiles possible. Through testing materials and designing various prototypes, a unique collection of products has been created to form ecopure. As knowledge and technology evolve to produce products with a more effective and cleaner footprint, these advanced products will be added to the brand.

the ecopure range, the products are identified under four essential categories making it easy to identify the strengths of each. Recycling initiatives include turning bottles into recycled polyester and reducing waste ending up in landfill and ocean. Filled products are sourced from GRS certified mills. The drive for an organic future is marked by producing linen made from 100 per cent cotton and meeting GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). The next theme is ‘natural’ through bypassing often harsh chemical processes applied to textiles, saving on water and energy, as well as being a kinder to the planet. Finally the focus is on being energy efficient by offering lightweight and super absorbent products resulting in easy care, quick laundering and large savings on water and energy.

When it comes to bed linen, Richard Haworth, a leading supplier of bed, bath and table linen, knows every guest wants to sleep in a bed that not only looks as good as it did when the linen was brand new, but also feels as good. The move to higher thread count cotton products continues, with many hotels seeking out 100 per cent cotton to create a more luxurious feel that guests crave. The 300-thread count Como range is made from 100 per cent cotton sateen and feels exquisitely smooth and silky against the skin for a perfect night’s sleep.

Marketing manager David Stockton says: “For pure cotton elegance, the 400-thread count Hampton range elevates the plain white bed linen to another level for crisp, contemporary chic. This is ideal for establishments who wish to go the extra mile and offer a more sumptuous sleep experience. For laundries who want to offer a high quality 200 thread count bed linen range, but with the addition of man-made fibres which provides extra strength and durability, the cotton rich Kensington range is proving to be extremely popular as it allows laundries to save time and money laundering.”

The Madison towel range from Richard Haworth in chocolate brown

Richard Haworth are seeing a similar trend towards higher quality with towels and bathrobes. Previously the majority of establishments provided, at best, 500gsm towels, today they find that many are now opting for 600gsm. Stockton sees this as a wise investment; the product holds its own – in terms of fluffiness, shape and absorbency – wash after wash and the guest feels nurtured by a hotel that has chosen to provide them with an excellent product in the bathroom.

The 600 gsm Madison towel range from Richard Haworth is a 100% 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 650 gsm Mayfair range is made from 100 per cent combed cotton and features a unique narrow ribbed header and is their plushest towel yet.

The Fine Bedding Company has developed a revolutionary new bedding collection to provide guests and hoteliers with peace of mind as the hospitality sector begins its long awaited return to normality. It’s been found that Coronavirus can live on textile surfaces for up to two days, and sleeping on a pillow previously use by an infected individual could increase the risk transmission, so The Fine Bedding Company have partnered with Swiss textile innovator HeiQ. The latest collection, including pillows, pillow protectors and mattress protectors, uses their ground-breaking Viroblock technology which has been tested effective against SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. HeiQ Viroblock uses vesicle technology to target and rapidly destruct viruses including coronavirus, with silver technology to inhibit the replication of deactivated viruses and bacteria.

The anti-viral application has been tested 99.99 per cent effective within 30 minutes of contact with the SARS-COV-2 virus, alongside other common viruses, bacteria and yeasts in as little as five minutes. The entire collection has been tested to remain durable and effective for at least 15 washes at 40°C and has been certified as safe and sustainable, with all Viroblock ingredients being cosmetic grade, bio-based, OEKOTEX certified and recycled.

Star Linen now offer the trailblazing Aurora towel

Star Linen have an excellent range of bed linen, including the immaculate 400-thread count cotton fitted Kensington sheets which feel beautifully soft againstthe skin, but their bath linen is particularly attracting attention right now. Orion, the highest quality luxury cotton towelling range has been protected by Bioshield, a revolutionary new technology that eliminates the growth of harmful organisms to provide a safer, cleaner towel for guests. Bioshield protects against microorganisms and is an effective defence against odours, bacteria and mould. Towels stay fresher longer, a reassurance for guests who wish to avoid housekeeping services during their stay.

And for guests seeking answers on ‘eco issues’ Star Linen now offer the trailblazing Aurora towel. They take excess production cotton and restore the fibre back to its original state, then produce a towel with the look, feel and strength of an everyday product, with no pesticides, fertilisers, additional land use or water waste.

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