It doesn’t matter how great the breakfast was, how convenient the location turned out to be or if you got extra chocolates at turn-down. Probably half of your time in a hotel is spent in bed and if your bed isn’t comfortable you’ll probably think your stay was terrible. Studies consistently show that travelers say a comfortable bed is the most important feature of a hotel room, even more sought after than fast Wifi.
Hotel beds and arrangements have come a long way. In Everyday Life in the 1800’s, it is said that “even travelers barely acquainted with one another slept together at roadside inns.” If there were a bunch of people, men were put in one room and women in another. Mattresses were stuffed with straw, feathers for the wealthy, and even at home there could be up to 5 children or 3 adults sharing a bed (husbands and wives usually had one to themselves). The middle spot in the bed was the most honorable one to occupy, presumably because you stayed warmer and had less of a chance of falling off.
In the early 1900’s a hotel staff member would manually shake the bed while guests lay there. Doctors felt that a shaking bed was a remedy for many health woes. Fast forward to 1958 when the Englander Mattress Company introduced an expensive mechanical vibrating mattress that shook all by itself. John Houghtaling came up with a much cheaper option that just needed the addition of a small motor about the size of a bottle of water. The contraption was called the “Magic Fingers”, and it quickly became popular among hoteliers because it could be used with existing mattresses. Guests dropped a quarter in an attached box and the small motor underneath shook the bed.
In the mid-1960’s hotel chains removed the devices (starting with Best Western) after they became the brunt of many a late-night tv joke associated with sleaze. Although today there are still reports of vibrating beds, they have disappeared from hotels altogether.
Nowadays, hotels boast about their ultra-comfortable beds. Gazillion thread sheets or poly/cotton blend, super white and crisp linens and fluffy pillows. There are even pillow menus.
Did you know just about every chain hotel lets you order a version of their guest room beds online? It can be very difficult to exactly duplicate that sumptuous bed you slept in the last time you were in a hotel though. Think about it. Hotels want you to return and rave about how luxuriously comfortable the bed is. If it is easy to duplicate then perhaps the excitement of the stay is lessened just a tiny bit.
Some hotels like Westin and Four Seasons sell a mattress with a pillow top, but the version they use in the hotels has a zip-off pillow top. Not a big difference, but a tiny reason why the bed you end up buying might not feel exactly the same. Some hotels also sell the mattress but not the pillowcases and sheets or the duvet so you have to mix and match yourself. Before beds are made up in high end hotels, the sheets often go through an ironing machine first too which helps give the material a velvety crisp feel.
See the barely noticeable folds? I’d be willing to bet that these sheets were ironed.
Hotels are pleased when you love their beds. I heard somewhere once that you spend 99% of your life either in shoes or bed so you shouldn’t skimp on either. Here’s a list of where you can buy your favorite hotel bed with an average mattress price of $1500 and total cost of $3500. That’s surprisingly reasonable, and there are usually sales too.
Here’s where you can buyHyatt’s Grand Bed and Grand Bed II.
I love that Hyatt even gives you a rundown on exactly how to make your Hyatt Grand Bed at home.
Here are some more links for buying your very own hotel bed –
While the Four Seasons doesn’t sell their beds directly, you can find similar models here. The manufacturer also provides mattresses to some St Regis, Le Meridien and The Peninsula properties.
If you want to go direct to the manufacturer, some hotels buy their mattresses from Serta, Sealy and Simmons. Here’s just a small list from Serta’s website of those that use their mattresses –
Accorhotels, Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Best Western, Cal-A-Vie Resort & Health Spa, Embassy Suites, Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, InterContinental Hotels, Holiday Inn, La Quinta, MGM, Omni Hotels.
You can also go to a webpage that Serta specifically set up to show hotel bed models, and search for the brand you want.
Still can’t decide? There are numerous websites where people discuss the many hotel bed setups and the pros and cons of different mattresses, pillows and sheets.