When it comes to creating the ideal hotel experience, bed linens are a make or break moment. Whether guests are checking in for business or pleasure, a luxurious sleep is a primary highlight of the experience. If a guest finds the sheets scratchy, hot, or not up to snuff, the hotel is going to hear about it.
Creating the ideal hotel bedding experience is no easy feat, however. Between thread count, weave and green certifications, it can often be confusing for hoteliers to determine the best hotel sheeting option. Further complicating the task is the mislabelling that is all too common in the textile industry.
Using over 100 years of hotel linen experience, our LT experts have created the ultimate hotel linen buyers guide for hotels of all sizes and budgets, so you can feel confident that guests will awake well-rested, and eager to return time after time.
1. Which Thread Count should I choose for my hotel?
How important is thread count for hotel linen? When it comes to sheeting, thread count is often considered the be-all-end-all metric of quality. However, thread count is merely one of several critical factors to consider when selecting hotel linen.
What does thread count really mean? Thread count is the number of vertical and horizontal threads woven together per square inch of fabric. While higher thread count typically increases luxury, thread count can also be misleading, as it doesn’t take into account the quality of the actual cotton – only the amount of it. As well, very high thread count can often be falsely inflated. Linens boasting a thread count above 500 often contain yarns of thread twisted together rather than woven, hindering the feel and quality rather than improving it.
As a general guide, thread count above 250 is considered luxurious. For luxury hotels, the ideal thread count is between 250-300, with anything above 300 considered ultra luxury. However, it is essential to consider the quality of the fabric as well as the thread count. Even 200-thread count linen can be incredibly comfortable when constructed with high quality fabric.
2. Which Fabric is Ideal for Hotel Bed Linens?
Choosing the right fabric for your hotel sheets is as critical as thread count. The most popular choices for hotels are typically 100% long-staple cotton or a poly-cotton blend, with each containing its own advantages.
Cotton is a popular sheeting option for hotels of all sizes and budgets due to its comfort, breathability, and durability- an ideal balance of comfort and value for hotel guests. Mercerized cotton is an increasingly popular choice favoured by a range of boutique and high-end hotels, as it gives the fabric a lustrous appearance. Mercerisation is a treatment that increases the fabric’s strength as well as its resistance to mildew, and makes it easier to dye, meaning sheets are noticeably brighter for longer. Mercerised cotton also resists shrinking making it ideal for hotels where sheets undergo a more rigorous washing process.
A combination of cotton and polyester, polycotton blends are growing in popularity for hotel bed linens. More budget friendly than 100% cotton, these blends are exceptionally durable and impressively versatile. Polycotton sheets are less susceptible to wrinkles, static and shrinkage from washing compared to 100% cotton sheets, while still maintaining a soft feel.
Cotton quality is critical when selecting hotel bedding. The quality of cotton is related to the cotton’s growing conditions such as weather, soil, climate in its country of origin. Egypt has come to represent the epitome of quality cotton and, in turn, luxury bedding. However, the reality is that many linens labelled Egyptian cotton are not actually from Egypt, but get their name from their high quality long-staple cotton composition typically associated with Egyptian cotton.
What is long-staple cotton? Every cotton “boll” (the white puffball on the plant) contains individual cotton fibres, or staples. Staple length has a big impact on the quality, strength, and softness of the cotton. As staple length increases, so does cotton’s soft, silky feel, producing a smoother surface with fewer exposed fibre ends. For this reason, long staple cotton is preferred for quality products like sheets.
3. Which Weave should I choose for my Hotel?
A sheet’s weave, meaning the technique used to weave the yarns together, is another important element to consider when selecting the ideal bedding for your hotel. The type of weave you select will result in a specific hand feel, aesthetic and durability. The two most common hotel bedding weaves are percale and sateen. Both are popular and suitable choices for hotel sheeting.
The percale weave is created by using a one-under-one-over technique, resulting in a fabric that is lighter and more airy than sateen woven fabric. The threads in a percale weave are tightly woven, creating a strong fabric with a cool, crisp feel and matte finish. Percale is a popular choice for hotels of any size or budget, as it provides a superb combination of quality and durability.
The sateen weave is created by weaving yarns in a three-over-one-under technique that results in a smoother fabric with a lustrous, satin-like look and luxurious aesthetic. Sateen sheets offer slightly more weight than percale and drape closer to the body, creating a lushness ideally suited to luxury hotels.
4. Which Green Certifications should I Consider?
There are numerous international standards and eco-labels for textiles, which can be confusing when purchasing linen, especially since only a handful of these certifications assess both the final product and the manufacturing process as a whole.
Oeko-Tex is the world’s leading certification for textiles including bed linens. Oeko-Tex is a global certification system that tests textiles throughout the entire processing chain. The label certifies that every component of the product, from the fabric to the thread and accessories, has been rigorously tested against a list of up to 350 toxic chemicals. In contrast, other certifications are often misleading as to whether an entire product or just a single component is certified.
Why is Oeko-Tex Certification important for your hotel? Toxins on textiles can be harmful to health through breathing and skin contact. Skin is permeable, so harmful chemicals used in the processing of textiles like bed sheets can be easily absorbed into the body. These chemicals are especially harmful for children, and individuals with sensitive skin or allergies. By selecting bed linens that are Oeko-Tex certified, you can guarantee your guests a toxic-free, allergen-free, healthy sleep.
5. Beware of Mislabeling
The textile industry is infamous for misleading labelling, especially in the absence of textile certifications. A label stating “100% Cotton” or “Egyptian Cotton” describes the material, but as we now know, there is a wide range of cotton qualities. It’s becoming common for companies to mix cotton fibre types and origins, resulting in lower quality linens than advertised.
At LT, we are diligent about ensuring that all of our bed linens are traced from the source and undergo rigorous Oeko-Tex certification to ensure you are purchasing only the highest quality materials for your guests to enjoy.
Creating a memorable sleep experience means selecting the ideal linens for your guests. Whether you opt for a cotton or cotton-blend, a crisp percale or silky sateen, the key is to make an informed decision and to avoid falling prey to mislabeling.
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