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Does Thread Count Really Make a Difference?

A good night’s sleep is worth its weight in gold, and respectable hotels know it. In addition to a myriad of facilities, services, and amenities on offer, there’s that all-important quality of sleep when the end of one’s day comes. Top properties spend a great deal of time and money procuring comfortable mattresses, sheets and pillows. This is where a real debate begins: how many threads-per-square-inch are enough in your sheets and just how many pillows does one really need?

Some hotels promote 300-thread-count sheets, others 450, some push to 600 and upward, but how many truly ensure a superior sleep? Then there’s the ubiquitous pillow: soft ones, firm, hard, long, round, maternity, down-filled, hypoallergenic, and throw-pillows. Which ones should you use and what for?

“Linen is such an important part of the hotel experience, but this, like many things, can become distorted,” explains David Lees, Managing Director at Ariyasom Villa in Bangkok. “There’s something very comforting about sliding into a bed with new quality sheets – it’s a simple pleasure.” “We use 100% cotton duvets and sheets with a thread count of 350-plus. Sometimes I think it would be nice to up this then I remember we use an outside laundry service and they are not overly gentle with the sheets! What’s important is to cull the old ones on a regular basis.”

It’s More than just Thread Count

HI-Ali-MohammedAli Mohammed, Camp Manager at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, says they started with 180-thread-count sheets, then went up to 200, and are now using 300. But like Lees, he says there’s far more to consider than just thread-count with respect to sheet quality and comfort. “What really ensures a good night sleep is not only thread-count, but a few different factors like detergent used for washing the bed sheets: are they chemical free or not?” “The material of the bed sheets: are they one-hundred-perfect cotton or cotton with satin, silk, or polyester blend?” “The washing procedures of the sheets: do you mix them with other materials or do you wash the bed sheets separately?” “Storage conditions: do you ensure good air ventilation, or it is very dry, damp, or without good air flow in the storage facility?” “Adhering to the above procedures keeps our sheets at a high quality and ensures a very good night sleep.”

What About Pillows?

Mohammed says pillows and selection are also a very important sleep aspect at his property, “We provide a wide range of pillows such as feather, polyester, memory foam, bulk wheat, stone, soft, hard, and even pregnancy pillows.” “They are very subjective, but as long as the pillow is not too soft and your neck is not resting fully straight, it should provide a great night sleep.”

Ariyasom’s Lees says their setup includes four pillows on a standard king-size mattress and works well. “Only occasionally do we get a request for something softer and we keep a few soft pillows for those guests.” What pillows are made of is a more important factor than quantity he says, “I am not in favor of feather pillows here in Asia.” “Despite steaming and thorough cleaning, the high humidity and heat seem to affect them and they tend to smell.” “Smell is an important aspect of the pillows and it’s essential that your pillows smell clean and fresh everyday. Besides cleaning the pillows on a regular basis we also apply a little pillow scent when we do turndown service.”

Getting the Balance Right

“In the end I believe it’s very important to get the basics rigorously correct,” Lees explains. “I’m not in favor of going over the top. I’m not sure my guests want to mess about with such a wide variety of choices after they’ve just arrived on a 13-hour flight from San Francisco. They want to get checked-in and settled. They trust us to get the basics right and ensure our offerings are clean, comfortable and luxurious.”.