Bedroom tips needed!
March 13, 2008 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Last night I slept in my own bed after several days in the road and realized that the hotel beds were much more comfortable and rejuvenating than my own. How can I replicate the hotel-bed experience at home?

My mattress and/or box spring is about due to be replaced, so I'm more than willing to do that. Also looking for tips on the frame and bedding (sheets, blankets, duvet, duvet covers, and pillows... especially duvet and pillows). What should I look for, including specific brands? How often should I expect to replace the various components?

Tips from hotel professionals are especially appreciated.
posted by mikewas to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
You can buy Hampton Inn's entire bedding collection, including the mattress, here. I must say, their beds are pretty darn comfy.
posted by kimdog at 6:03 AM on March 13, 2008

Latex mattresses are the most comfortable I've ever slept on. We have one, and I would never go back. They do tend to be a bit warm in summer though, but it's a small price to pay in my opinion.

Go to a bedding store and spend serious time just lying on the mattresses, one at a time, in your normal sleeping position. If the bedding store gets funny about it, or hassles you, go somewhere else -- how else are you supposed to choose?
posted by 5MeoCMP at 6:11 AM on March 13, 2008

I've found that clean sheets always make my bed feel like a hotel bed.

I know there are obviously other specifications regarding sheets, mattresses, etc, but I think the clean, crisp sheet has a lot to do with it.

You can buy bedding supplies from Sheraton as well, though their site seems to be broken right now.
posted by ml98tu at 6:20 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I am a big fan of Westin's Heavenly Bed.
posted by amro at 6:23 AM on March 13, 2008

Seconding clean sheets. Crisp, fresh, glorious sheets.

Also, you might (this is true for me, but it might not be true for you) only spend time in hotels when you're doing other fun things. I don't travel for business, so my hotelling is for vacations, weddings, and fun travel mostly in new-and-fun places. So then your associations with hotel bedding as being refreshing and relaxing might come from the lifestyle and activities you do in hotels that you don't do at home. Like go to a great bar and drink 4 beers. Then when you come back to the hotel, you climb into bed and sleep very very well. This is called a confound in your experimental study.
posted by zpousman at 6:31 AM on March 13, 2008

Use a mattress topper — a thin foam layer over the mattress. I'm pretty sure this is why, for example, Sheraton's excellent beds feel so good: you get to "sink in" to a "wonderfully soft" bed, but actually the underlying mattress is pretty firm. Mattresses that are truly soft all the way down feel comfortable for about 5 minutes (and are bad for your back). Firm mattress + soft top layer.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:38 AM on March 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

The Marriott I'm sitting in right now has a catalog where you can buy their "custom" mattress for $1,450 for King size.... They sell all of their bedding and other stuff. Fine hotels do have better beds and linen and pillows than most people will $$ for themselves.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:43 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

What is is that you like about the hotel bed? You should try to isolate what that is and duplicate the parts in steps from the most important down. The mattress will be somewhat important, but the luxurious and freshly pressed bed clothes might be more important to you. The box spring and frame aren't going to matter too much, although I find that a lot of hotel beds have nice plush headboards. Unless you just want to do it the easy way, I would not buy a mattress or a full bedding set from one of the hotels, as you are going to end up paying a pretty significant premium for something that you should be able to duplicate on your own if you determine what it is that you like about the bed so much.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 6:57 AM on March 13, 2008

Seconding the pillow-top mattress topper. We had a horrible old squeaky clanky mattress (that has since been replaced) and we got a pillow topper for it and it vastly improved the experience. We still use it on our current mattress for that soft/firm mix.
posted by stefnet at 7:05 AM on March 13, 2008

I'm sort of trying to do the same thing and replicate this hotel room (self flickr link) sans the lights (it's the Thunderbird in Marfa Texas if anyone's interested). Nth-ing the clean sheets. I'm going to get a mattress topper, and keep clutter out of the room. Fold back the sheets in an attractive inviting way when you make the bed in the morning.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:10 AM on March 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

If you do decide to buy a mattress from a hotel, search Fatwallet first to see if you can find some coupon codes. I know that the stuff at The W can be found for 40% off sometimes.
posted by amarynth at 7:13 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

thirding the mattress topper. we have a foam eggcrate on our bed, then cover it with a quilted mattress cover.

it's heaven.
posted by wayward vagabond at 7:26 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

5Meo's advice is the best I have heard. Spend time in the store. Take off your shoes and get into the bed. Lay on it like you would if you were really going to sleep. Plan on spending enough time you can try out multiple beds. Lay there for more then 30 seconds. Really take time to see what the bed is like. That is the only way to buy a bed.

A couple of other tips. Beds are one thing you really get what you pay for. All of the major brands have "levels" of materials they put in their bed, and the directly correspond with price. The big companies also put different covers and different names on the same bed. So you can't comparison shop between stores very well. Be prepared for that. Also, make sure you get a good frame with a center support if you get a queen or a king. Most companies won't warranty the beds otherwise, and it is a good practice anyway. If you buy a good frame, it will never have to be replaced. PLEASE don't buy an old bed from a hotel. They are getting rid of them for a reason.

I used to manage a furniture store (and could care less about selling anything now btw), and I never got why people would come in and spend thousands on a living room, kitchen, and bedroom furniture, and then buy a $299 mattress. If anything, it should be the other way around. If you are going to spend money on furniture, you should have the best bed you can afford. The rest really doesn't matter.

I will leave this with a quote from my old boss. "I will always spend as much money as I can on new beds and new shoes. If you are not in one, you are in the other. And bad ones of either will make you miserable."
posted by Silvertree at 8:05 AM on March 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

I know what you mean about hotel beds, and I just went through this whole process recently. The most important thing I got from it is that you might be best off getting a basic, firm mattress, and then investing in mattress toppers. When you get one of the super-expensive new mattresses like the pillow top or the Euro top, those layers wear out pretty quickly, and then you're left with a useless $9000 mattress. Get a good basic mattress and then experiment with different add-ons- foam memory pads, egg foam pads, feather can swap them out to figure out which is right for you, and when they wear out, you're only out a hundred bucks or so and the mattress itself will still be fine.

Personally I think the W Hotel featherbed might be the best thing ever invented by man.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:28 AM on March 13, 2008

Part of the hotel experience is the lack of distraction and clutter. That may be part of your enjoyment.

As to bed comfort - most nice hotels use a very nice quality mattress pad. That will prevent you from feeling the rougher mattress ticking fabric. I'm not a fan of the foam topper because it's too hot for me. However, I have a super luxe mattress pad and it makes a difference.
posted by 26.2 at 8:31 AM on March 13, 2008

mattress shopping tips

/I have NO relation or attachment to that link or site in any way, shape or form. I just bookmarked it for my own personal use.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 9:46 AM on March 13, 2008

Whenever I sleep in a bed at a hotel or B&B and really like it, I pull back the sheet to find the mattress label and write down what it is. I have a small list of these and Sealy PosturePedic (extra firm) is the one that has recurred the most and that someday I may buy. But at least it's a good way to find out what's going on. A lot of hotel chains seem to buy mattresses from brands that are not available as retail - but I wonder if you Googled them, you might find they are rebranded mattresses made by the major suppliers. I don't know for sure.

Aside from that, two other things that make the hotel sleeping experience exceptional:

-hotels are usually really quiet due to thick walls and floors, carpeting, etc. So maybe you need a white noise machine, sound-dampening treatments for your bedroom, stuff like that.

-the curtains usually do a great job of excluding morning light. I always sleep more fitfully once the sun starts coming up, even though I don't get up til 7:30. It means that the last hour and a half of sleep is disrupted and less restful. I always notice in hotels that the light blocking curtains let me stay deeply asleep until wakeup time.
posted by Miko at 10:10 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

May I just recommend the Sleep Number bed, which is used at Radisson hotels?

I know it may sound a bit corny. But we bought one a couple years ago and it has turned out to be the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. Eliminated my morning backaches. I love this bed. I cannot say enough good things about it. I miss it when I have to sleep in hotels.
posted by Work to Live at 10:29 AM on March 13, 2008

Response by poster: Lots of great input - thanks everyone.

I'm pretty sure my mattress will need replacing (my bulk has dented it pretty badly over the years) and our current duvet situation is intolerable.

We already do a pretty good job of keeping the sheets clean & fresh and know how important that is.

As for WHY the beds in question pleased me, I have no specific idea but my subjective observations of the results. I'm pretty sure it's not the general well-being that I felt on the trip, because I had a pretty massive feeling of well-being when I nodded off last night.

Any thoughts on how often to replace mattresses, bedding, duvets, etc?
posted by mikewas at 11:49 AM on March 13, 2008

Have your sheets and pillow cases cleaned and PRESSED. The smooth, cool feeling of pressed bedclothes makes the difference.
posted by SMELLSLIKEFUN at 12:18 PM on March 13, 2008

If you're at a hotel and have an exceptional night's sleep in a great bed, just strip your own sheets and look at the label/manufacturer's mark etc. Nobody will mind, unless they think you stripped the sheet before you slept in it which means they'll have to clean the mattress, so put the fitted sheet at least mostly back on. They'll just think you're the world's worst tosser and turner.

Hotel furnishings generally, I've been told, tend to be bought specially for the hotel trade, but are aimed at providing maximum comfort (and thus minimal complaints) for the cost; they're also robust and theoretically easy to clean. The mattress manufacturer will be able to tell you which consumer mattress most closely resembles that model, whether they'll sell you just one, and if not, where a store near you that they sell to is. Although if they're that good and you've got a place to store 'em, maybe it's worth buying the minimum fifty or whatever to make some cash on ebay. :)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:05 PM on March 13, 2008

Bedding and duvets - as required - wear and tear is noticable so if it they are no loonger what they used to be they should go.

Mattresses - same thing really. Most people tend to wait too long. But think about how many hours/day you spend in bed - chances are it is the most used piece of furniture in your home so expect to replace a mattress every few years. How often will depend on quality, your weight etc.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:12 PM on March 13, 2008

Hotels also have people clean your room every day. Frequent tidying, dusting, and vacuuming cuts down on allergens that might be disrupting your breathing at night.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:25 PM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

N'thing that you get what you pay for with a bed. And since you spend 1/3 of your life in bed (if not more), that it is worth it to get an incredible bed.

We got a wonderful deal on a high quality mattress by purchasing it at a store that focuses on selling furniture instead of mattresses (Room & Board). We didn't buy the bed there, just the mattress. And it is awesome.

My in-laws who travel to Sweden quite often rave about their Hastens which is the most incredible bed, ever.
posted by jeanmari at 4:08 PM on March 13, 2008

Some relatives of mine opened a small rural hotel a few years ago, 6 rooms, 10 beds total. Mattress hunting was a nightmare until they printed business cards and a small flyer, this opened all kinds of doors.

They got to see models not available to the public, special prices, promises of free delivery, and one company even sent them a mattress to try for 10 days. They bought some extra for the family and their own home.

I am not suggesting that you misrepresent yourself in any way whatsoever, but you can print a sheet of business cards and a flyer for less than $10.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:19 PM on March 14, 2008

I'm a little surprised at the advice here - most of it is really counterproductive to a GOOD mattress, although it might work for a mediocre one. Since most modern mattresses of good quality include wool, silk, or cashmere in the materials to keep the mattress breathing and temperature regulated, putting a mattress pad [or worse, one of those horrible cheap toppers] over it is like buying a five thousand dollar piece of art and cleaning it with Windex. Why bother? You won't slow the degradation of the foam inside the top, and you will have a hot, uncomfortable piece of foam between you and the layers and layers of quality [if you choose to buy quality] materials you just slapped down three grand for.

I would suggest phoning the hotel chain and asking what brand they use. Failing that, try to think of what you liked most about the mattress - was it firm, or very soft? - Did you notice if there was a pillow top? - And applying that to your mattress shopping. I know that many hotels use Simmons, Sealy, Serta and the other big brands anyway, so what you find in a store may just be rebranded for retail use.

Tip for mattress shopping: Do not ask the salesperson to show you the best bed they have. Ask the salesperson what high-end mattresses they have in a particular comfort level - plush, firm, cushion-firm - and narrow down your choices from there. If the euro-top plush is too soft, try a tight-top plush. Etc.
posted by Nyx at 9:55 PM on April 3, 2008

I also like (natural) latex mattresses, and a (natural) wool topper helps to even your body's temperature at night by drawing some of the heat away from you.

A lot of hotels sell lines of their linen/mattresses, etc.

And some high-end linen brands have "hotel" lines that you can find at places like Bed, Bath & Beyond. I would say keep the thread count above 600 and you're good.
posted by nikksioux at 5:38 PM on April 4, 2008

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