SE­CRET BED BUSI­NESS

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Australian Holidays -

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

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