The subject of hotel beds came up in a Twitter conversation the other day. Jeanne of Heels First Travel tweeted that her bed was so hard she was considering using the pull out sofa. I commiserated – empathized – and totally understood because I experienced the same thing a few weeks ago.
Beds do vary across the hotel spectrum from the incredibly comfortable to the cement-like piece of furniture masquerading as a bed at my hotel in Cancun. The resort was an Iberostar Premium property located on Playa del Carmen. Iberostar is a Spanish owned chain of ‘luxury’ resorts dotted around the Mediterranean, Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Reviews of Iberostar resorts tend to run on the positive side so I was surprised to find myself trying to fall asleep on a mattress that felt more like the box spring alone. In all fairness, management did offer a mattress topper to try to alleviate the discomfort but it was a mediocre fix for an untenable situation. For a hotel group who bills this hotel as having ‘tastefully equipped’ rooms, this bed was just rock hard even with the topper.
So just which hotel chains offer the traveler a great night’s sleep? Hotel chains have increasingly looked at beds, or more accurately, plush luxurious beds as a means for differentiating themselves from their competition. Most often these beds are better (more comfortable) than those we generally sleep on at home. Let’s take a look at a few bed offerings out there.
In 1999 Starwood introduced its Heavenly Bed® at Westin Hotels. According to their website “guests are treated to ten layers of pure comfort that add up to one exceptional sleep experience. Beginning with our Heavenly Mattress, we layer on sumptuous linens, followed by five pillows that range from fluffy to firm. No bed is complete without a cozy blanket. Our assortment of Westin duvets and duvet inserts are crafted with premium fills so you can sink into Heavenly layers at the end of the day. Tuck into luxury night after night. Deep, restorative sleep starts with Westin.” And I believe they are right. Westin beds are delightfully comfortable! In 2003, Starwood followed its own success by launching the Sweet Sleeper at its Sheraton chain, and most recently, the Four Comfort Bed at its Four Points by Sheraton hotels. The W Hotel Bed tends to garner a lot of raves as well, but Lucky of One Mile at a Time ended up a little disappointed with his purchase of one. (Review)
Radisson began replacing 90,000 mattresses with the Sleep Number bed, which allows couples to adjust the firmness of each side of their mattress separately using a remote control. The Select Comfort, or Sleep Number Bed, reflects Radisson’s tagline, “Stay your own way.” I’ve slept on several Radisson beds and, personally, do not find them special or any more comfortable than a ‘regular’ bed.
Holiday Inn has entered the comfy bed contest The Beautyrest, Classic “Capital Peak” Plush mattress. The chain also gives the guest a choice of pillows – firm or soft. And, in the UK, Holiday Inn employed ‘Human Bed Warmers’ to help ensure that guests would get a good night’s sleep. Targeted for Manchester and London about two years ago, I have a feeling that idea never quite caught on!
I’ve always found the Hilton chain to have comfortable beds and bedding. Recently, the Hilton organization completed its own premium bed program by featuring The Cloud Nine Bed by Serta at their middle tier, business travel oriented Hampton Inn and Suites.
There is just nothing better than crawling into a comfy bed with crisp linens at the end of a long day of business or sightseeing. I believe it is definitely in the hotel’s best interest to provide its guests with as restful stay as possible and bed comfort plays a large role there. However, when all is said and done, for the weary traveler, sometimes the best bed is simply your own bed…
So what about you? Is bed comfort important when you choose your hotel? Which hotel chain’s bed do you prefer?
Note: Most hotel chains have online stores where beds and bedding can be purchased.