SECRET BED BUSINESS
DURING 10 years in the business, Nick Jones has seen quite a few changes as hotels have stepped up their efforts in the mattress wars. Now it’s all about to change again as Sofitel rolls out the latest generation its very popular MyBed.
Everybody’s about to go through a retraining process because it’s all completely new bedding for the hotel. So we’re at a stage where we have to relearn everything we’ve been doing,’’ says Jones, executive housekeeper at the Sofitel Wentworth Sydney.
But it won’t mean more time spent making beds— a process that takes five to seven minutes— since the new MyBed involves just one sheet, a doona and cover.
What takes the time, says Jones, is fluffing the mattress topper. ‘‘ It’s a matter of getting the air back into the pockets so when the guests sink into it they get that beautiful soft feeling.’’
It’s the same for the four plump pillows. The process is a delicate one, he says, involving a gentle push on the sides and edges. ‘‘ Once the air gets between the feather and down they look sensational.’’
So no karate tactics. For those looking for bed-making tips, Jones advises gentle handling of foam pillows as well, otherwise the filler breaks and lumps form. Not that the hotel deals in anything as vulgar as foam. Jones concedes Sofitel staff are handling the Rolls-Royce of the bedding business. ‘‘ I don’t want to brag but . . .’’
He estimates, after some thought, he has probably made up 1500 beds in his career. Not that he has counted. ‘‘ I wish I had,’’ he says with a laugh.
Even with the new bed, good, old-fashioned hospital corners are still important to make sure restless guests don’t wake to find their sheet in a heap. It’s good to know that some things don’t change.
Libby McDonald has been in the bedmaking business for more than 20 years. She says it takes 10 to 15 minutes to make the Westin Sydney’s Heavenly Bed. With 416 rooms, that’s a lot of time spent smoothing sheets and knocking pillows into shape.
At the Westin, the pillows are big enough to put up a fight, but executive housekeeper McDonald won’t hear a word against them: ‘‘ They’re fabulous’’ is her not-to-be-arguedwith verdict.
To get the pillows back into shape, you simply fold them in half and pop them into the pillow slip, she says. Perhaps easier said than done. ‘‘ Once you’ve been doing it for a while you get the knack of it,’’ she tells me. Barry Oliver
Soft touch: Westin’s executive housekeeper Libby McDonald