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Five-star mattress

In 1999, the Westin Hotels&Resorts hotel company conducted a survey to find out that, according to the majority of travellers surveyed, the most important service a hotel can offer is "a good night's sleep". This study has been taken so seriously that it led to an investment of over $50 million in the design of the avant-garde Heavenly Bed, later introduced in 52,000 units, in over 39,000 rooms.

Starwood's then Senior Director and Brand Manager, Vincent Ong, said Westin's stated intent was to enable guests to leave the hotel feeling better than when they arrived - and in fact, no panoramic location, spa, Michelin-star restaurant or friendly service will ever be able to match a night of deep, refreshing sleep.

"The team spent more than a year creating the perfect bed and began their search by filling one of the hotel's ballrooms with 50 beds from 35 leading high-end hotel chains around the world," said Mr. Ong. After months of testing hundreds of mattresses, pillows and duvets, the Heavenly Bed was born: 250-thread pure cotton white sheets, a customizable mattress with a pillow cover, and soft pillows with half feathers and half sponge, lined in white cotton after an antimicrobial treatment, to offer one of the best sleep experiences still available on the hotel industry.

Mattress define the quality of a hotel's room

In 2014, a Gallup survey found that more than half of high-end hotel guests would willingly pay more for a better bed. Among other things, the overwhelming majority of respondents considered it the hallmark of a hotel room's excellence, far more important than the speed of Internet access or the courtesy of its staff.
Westin has thus been the forerunner of a trend that can now be considered standard practice and that many of the most important hotel brands have followed later on.

W Hotels, for example, developed the Do-Not-Disturb Bed, launched on the market as "your ticket to daily escapes" and described by some guests as "the closest thing to a cloud" and "more homely than home". In detail, it is a 30 cm high mattress with patented technology, consisting of helical springs that reduce the impact of movements, white 300-thread silk sheets and cushions in down or hypoallergenic materials.

Since 2006, Rydges Hotel & Resorts, in collaboration with A.H. Beard, the leading Australian mattress manufacturing company for over a century, has equipped many of the rooms of its Dream Bed structures, an avant-garde mattress in high quality latex with zones of different bearing capacities.

In 2013 the Four Seasons introduced a Simmons Bedding mattress with an innovative heat absorption centre, to keep those who sleep there always cool, and three different mattress covers to customize the degree of rigidity (although more than half of the guests showed a preference for a medium level). At the same time, the Corinthia Hotel in London advertised its "queen" mattresses, which actually had the same manufacturer of the Queen’s bed, the British company Hypnos. In addition to Hypnos mattresses made of British lamb wool, blackout curtains and a wide choice of pillows, the company developed the Sumptuous Sleep Retreat package, a 2 hour sleep ritual at the hotel spa, accompanied by valerian tea or hot milk with pumpkin seed biscuits.
Another very fruitful collaboration has been between Sealy, a Texas mattress manufacturer over 130 years old, and the Emporium Hotel. The hotel company has furnished in many of its bedrooms a Sealy Posturepedic Dynasty bed, with a very close spring system, great for the back and able to withstand even the most extreme activities.
"The fact is, people do things on hotel room beds that they wouldn't do in their own homes," confirmed Antony Raiteri, National Commercial Accounts Manager at Sealy. Since the level of resistance required by hotel mattresses is actually higher than elsewhere, Sealy products have also been used by InterContinental Hotels, Marriott, Hyatt, Stella Group, Mirvac, Crowne Casino in Melbourne, Starwood and Four Points by Sheraton.

You only have one chance to make a good first impression and the bed is what gives you the chance to make it.

Why sleep in an hotel is better

Although many of the components of these fairy tale beds are on sale, sometimes on the hotels websites themselves or on Amazon, it does not seem so easy to replicate the hotel experience.

First, manufacturers generally tend not to produce each individual bed component separately as it is found in the rooms. For example, the Heavenly Bed mattress supplied in Westin rooms includes a removable cover with zip closure, while what consumers can buy has the pillowcase sewn permanently. In short, they could sell the mattress but not the sheets, or mattresses with qualities just different from those of hotels.

Secondly, to mark a significant difference there is then the treatment to which the individual components are subjected: the washing that hotel sheets undergo is much more intense than that of a typical household washing machine. This also applies to the huge ironing machines able to spread the fabrics by filing every possible fold.

After all, at least for business, it is a good thing that the experience of a king-size five-star suite remains confined within the walls of the hotel. According to Ratieri,

We're in the sleep sales business. If we fail, we are in trouble.

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