About a bed so famous it has its own birthday celebrations
Having just traveled through Malaysia and Indonesia staying at a variety of hotels and resorts, I’ve returned home with a bed bug. Not the creepy crawly variety but the nagging variety – do hotel owners actually test their beds themselves?
The reason I ask this is that I encountered some of the hardest, most uninviting beds imaginable. Some were so hard I’ve actually come back with a damaged nerve in my arm from where I slept (or tried to) on my side – my partner insisted I was snoring and so sleeping on my back was apparently not an option. I’m sure he was delusional from lack of sleep.
Whether on holiday or traveling for business a good night’s sleep is essential especially as the act of traveling already turns sleeping practices on their head. After a long journey to your destination, the first thing you do is throw yourself onto the bed. Try that in Malaysia and you’ll be going home on a stretcher.
Have you ever had a hotel stay where you woke up to a new and beautiful location, but were in too much pain to appreciate it? If you have, you are not alone. A good hotel bed can be crucial to enjoying your stay when you are away from home. It sets the tone for the rest of you trip and can actually make the difference between you being more physically able to go out and do activities or even perform better in your work capacity.
Fortunately some hotel chains have woken up to the importance of sleep to the travel fatigued and their beds have become as famous as the hotels themselves. In the competitive world of five-star accommodation, hotels are introducing premium mattresses, cloud-soft underlays and squishy doonas, pillows of all shapes and textures, and sleep inducements such as aromatherapy-based toiletries, herbal teas and an often baffling pillow menu.
The King Bed
It was with great relief that I checked into the Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali anticipating a peaceful night’s sleep in their infamous Heavenly Bed (pictured above). And there it was in the foyer, a bed so sumptuous I could have stripped off and gone to sleep right then and there if only good taste hadn’t prevailed. The bed was on display as part of the brand’s five-month Heavenly Celebration heralding the fact tat the bed had turned ten years old. The brand will also recognize the hard-working room attendants who’ve kept the luxurious 10-layer beds beautiful over the years, and will also offer meeting-planner incentives around the Heavenly theme.
Westin Hotels turned the travel industry on its head and sparked a hotel bedding revolution with the 1999 launch of the Heavenly Bed: an icon that inspired countless imitators ignited the hotel-bed wars and jump-started the hotel retail phenomenon. In the decade since, more than 75 million guests have tucked themselves into Heavenly Beds at Westin hotels around the world including U.S. Presidents, Hollywood royalty and professional athletes and more than 30,000 beds and 100,000 pillows have been sold. The sumptuous, 10-layer Heavenly Bed has grown from cult favorite to well-loved classic, and Westin has expanded Heavenly into a full-lifestyle brand, with similarly luxurious offerings for the bath, the baby, and even the dog. Today, Westin announces a five-month global celebration of this momentous anniversary, and unveils plans for new additions to the growing Westin “Heavenly” family.
Billed as an ‘oasis for the weary traveler,’ the Heavenly Bed features a bright white duvet, a down blanket, five feather-and-down pillows, three 230-thread-count sheets (one sheet is laid over the blanket, a practice known as triple sheeting), and a custom-designed Simmons mattress with 900 individual coils. No princess could possibly feel a pea under this lot. The mattress topper is like marshmallow yet supportive and the snowy bed linen is talc soft. Within one year of introducing the Heavenly Bed, Westin had increased its occupancy rates and had begun the first retail bedding operation of any hotel chain, selling the Heavenly Bed on its Web site.
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua took the bed celebrations seriously hosting all white party which General Manager, Mr. Bipan Kapur, took time to acknowledge the efforts of the hard working Room Attendants who have made up the beds over the past couple of years. He then invited key Associate to cut a special cake that was designed as a miniature replica of a Heavenly Bed.
Other events to celebrate the Heavenly Bed included bed-making competitions in the Resort’s pool area, bedtime stories for Westin Kids in the Heavenly Bed corner displayed in the Resort lobby and a rejuvenating spa sampler to promote restful slumber. There is also the Heavenly Bed Escape – GoGo Package “Girls Only Go Out” featuring a reviving slumber party with midnight snacks and Martinis as well as a BBQ dinner by the beach with a private Chef. The Special Westin Heavenly Wedding Package is the highlight of the 10th anniversary celebrations whereby a lucky couple will be eligible to receive their very own Heavenly Bed to start their new life together courtesy of the Resort.
Following to bed
Not to be caught napping, Starwood then followed its own success by launching the Sweet Sleeper at its Sheraton chain, with their specially developed Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed mattress, with barrel shaped high tensile springs individually housed in strong non-woven, synthetic material pockets. These are separately 'Ultra Sonically' sealed and joined together by a unique production process. This allows each spring to move independently of its neighbor and ensures the maximum comfort and support for 'Sweet Sleepers' residing in the beds. The bed linen includes crisp white 100% combed cotton 200 thread count percale duvet cover and sheets, sumptuous white goose feather and down pillows, and a coloured throw to tone with the room decor.
Still with Starwood came the Four Comfort Bed at its Four Points by Sheraton hotels; a multi-layered, cozy cocoon designed to pamper guests. In addition to the stylish, plump and plaid duvet available in a rich palette of colours to match each hotel's decor, the bed features a plush mattress and a welcoming quartet of pillows for relaxing that includes two feather/down sleeping pillows and two oversized lounging pillows. Additional bed components include a bed skirt, mattress pad, plush blanket, and a decorative pillow featuring the brand's signature compass logo.
Radisson introduced the Sleep Number bed, which lets couples adjust the firmness of each side of their mattress separately using a remote control.
Marriott fashioned its Revive bed; a downy confection complete with 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, seven feathery pillows, a white duvet and a colourful bed scarf.
The Hyatt's Grand Bed is a 13-inch-thick, pillow-top Sealy Posturepedic with 250-thread-count triple sheeting and a down duvet in place of the old bedspread.
The Sofitel MyBed has a patented extra-thick high-density box spring, goose down and feather mattress topper, sheets of 230-thread count, pure cotton or blend plus Paris duvets of goose feather and down; two seasonal weights. Stitching format ensures a consistent plumpness.
Once the bed wars were in full swing, a host of new programs to personalize beds began. W Hotels introduced a twilight service where housekeepers deliver a lavender-filled pillow insert, an eye pillow, and lavender essential oil to guests' rooms each evening around nine o'clock. Crowne Plaza implemented the Sleep Advantage program that stocks rooms with curtain clips (to block out light), earplugs, and sleep CD's that play soothing music.
If I hear of a hotel chain offering someone to actually tuck you up and read you a bedtime story, I’ll let you know.