Between the sheets
EST anyone think a bed’s a mere bed in the world of hospitality, there’s what amounts to mattress wars afoot in five-star hotel land. Perish the property that doesn’t appreciate the importance of puffy-fluffy beds that look like layer cakes with their cloud-soft mattress toppers, high thread-count cotton sheets (Egyptian, please) and duvets filled with squishy-soft feathers, preferably hand-plucked by pixies from the breasts of just-born ducklings and goslings.
Then there are the de rigueur pillow menus, with customised styles that read like factory-fresh cars with their eco-friendly features, neck-support chambers and ‘‘ 800 fill power’’.
Hypoallergenic, stomach-soft, snore-relief, overfilled firm (firm but not hard), super-sized cuddler, the cradling maternity model, memory foam contour (developed by NASA for astronauts) and a pillow filled with buckwheat hulls, cypress chips or even water . . . where will pillow options and the attendant bedding hype all end?
Well, it started for the Westin Hotels group in 1999 when it launched its ‘‘ 10-layer’’ Heavenly Bed, ‘‘ an icon that [has] inspired countless imitators [and] jump-started the hotel retail phenomenon’’. Westin reports that in the past decade more than 75 million guests have ‘‘ tucked themselves into Heavenly Beds at Westin hotels around the world, including US presidents, Hollywood royalty and professional athletes’’.
There are about 97,000 Heavenly Beds in about 65,000 Westin guestrooms worldwide. Apparently more than 30,000 beds, 32,000 sheets and 100,000 pillows have been sold to guests and it’s this try-beforeyou-buy extension of the hotel experience that must have given conventional mattress retailers the shakes.
Of course, competitors have followed Westin’s charge and other branded hotel bedding kits include the Marriott Revive, Sheraton Sweet Sleeper and Sofitel MyBed. It has to be admitted that after a weekend of happy sequestration at the Sofitel Queenstown, in New Zealand’s South Island,
acquired the Sofitel MyBed: not the actual bed but the mattress topper, duvet and pillows. In winter it’s divine, like sleeping in a bowl of warm whipped cream, but it’s too hot for the Sydney summer, when it’s more like being squashed in a waffle iron, so off it all goes, looking like a defeated souffle, to the top of the wardrobe.
has been out of her cot for so many long years she can remember when duvet was a foreign word. mother spoke regularly of ‘‘ doovers’’ when she couldn’t find the word she was searching for, be it a small kitchen appliance or powder puff. It therefore took Little a while to work out a duvet was a feather-filled bedcover and not a missing doover at the bottom of mother’s capacious handbag.
Westin’s merchandising success has been so farreaching that items are not just tailored to grown-up guests. There are Heavenly Cribs for wee babes and, as the ultimate in indulgence, the Heavenly Dog Bed, billed as a ‘‘ soft, relaxing place for one lucky dog;