A Guide to Hotel Design Pt 5: the Bed

    The most important part of the hotel is of course the bedroom. Designers may talk of theatre, and creating a wow factor, but the whole purpose of an hotel is to provide a bed for the night for the traveller, whether they be tourist, business person or just passing through. However stunning the hotel interiors may be a good night’s sleep has to be delivered and this needs a good bedroom environment.

    A guest needs to feel ‘wow’ as they lie on the bed. This should have nothing to do with the delights of their companion, nor programmes on the room television, nor the style and decor. No, the ‘wow’ must come from the bed itself. I am a cynical traveller. Many years as a designer but more still as a design reviewer of hotels has left me with low expectations of most hotel bedrooms. The definitions I place here represent my views after over 30 years in our industry.

    Over the last twenty years, there has been a revival by the large groups of interest in the bed. Sparked by Barry Sternlicht when head of Starwood Hotels, a feature was made of the ‘W’ bed. Claims surfaced of over 30,000 beds a year being bought (it still features in the ‘W’ shop catalogue) and marked the first serious revision of bed provision by a hotel group for many years. Starwood’s were quickly followed by Wyndham who launched the ‘Heavenly Bed’, by Marriotts with plusher mattresses, mattress toppers, finer linen sheets and more pillows in 2005. Since then the bed has remained a focus for the brands and the sleep experience has been enhanced by Pillow menu’s offering a variety of pillow types:- large and small, thick and thin, soft and hard, anti- microbial, feather, hypoallergenic and other choices . Some hotels offer hot water bottles or even (yuck!) human bed warmers (the mind boggles).

    Choice of bed in an hotel is usually limited to single or double, although a guest might be able to push for a different mattress topper if they insist. Mattress toppers are of different material -synthetic material being common, natural fleece being less so. Natural materials allow the body to ‘breathe,’, whilst artificial fibres (such as plastic mattress protectors) can make for uncomfortable overheating or sweat retention. For a full specification for the bed, click on the link below. Whilst a sprung divan, allied to a pocket spring mattress can offer the most comfortable sleep experience, there are as many different solutions as there are hoteliers.