Lights Out for These Hotel Mattress Myths

September 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Ah, the hotel bed. Sometimes it’s a real crap shoot as to whether you find a comfortable bed like you’ve got at home, or something that should be outlawed by the Geneva Convention. If you don’t sleep well while you’re traveling, it may not just be that you’re away from home. It may be that your bed is, well, terrible. Or at least, not very comfortable.

While hotels advertise that their beds will give you “sweet dreams” and dispel any idea of counting sheep, not all guests would support those claims.

According to published reports in a USA Today article, two recent surveys say guests aren’t buying the idea of amazing beds.

The article asserts that hotel beds are at best, just plain old average.

Eighty-one percent of travelers say the “single-most important feature” in a hotel room is the bed, according to a hotel guest survey by MattressAdvisor.com. With plenty of guests complaining about poor sleep, not enough sleep, and restless sleep, what’s a weary traveler to do?

First, be picky about where you stay. Choose wisely.

Interestingly, all major US hotel chains source their mattresses from four companies, according to the article. Serta, Simmons, and Sealy scored just 74 out of a possible 100 on Consumer Reports. The unrated Jamison/Solstice is the fourth company.

In other words, the highly touted Marriott Bed is manufactured by the same people who supply mattresses to Motel 6.

Simply said, most beds are not a “nightmare” but they’re also not “dreamy.” They are, plain and simple, “unremarkable”.

The highest-rated property for mattresses is the Holiday Inn Report Panama City Beach. Fabulous beach, great beds.

Don't fall for the hotel mattress hype. Photo of a hotel bed with pillows and some art on the wall.Consider the wakeful—and woeful—tale of Jay Marose, writer/publicist and recent guest of a Los Angeles chain hotel.

The feather bed was so worn, it was like sleeping on a bed of nails,” he said in the USA Today article. “There was no duvet cover. There were four flat sheets in a bedding origami that had nothing to do with comfort, just picture taking. I left early.”

The USA Today reporter, Christopher Elliott, added his own details of nightmarish stays.

I feel his pain. I’m on the road 365 days a year, so I sleep – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, I don’t sleep – on a lot of beds. I’ve stayed at two of the top-rated sleep hotels, the West Baden Springs Hotel in West Baden, Indiana (No. 2), and the Hotel Emma in San Antonio (No. 8), and I slept well in both of them.

But I’ve also stayed in some really nice places – you know, the kind that charge a mandatory $30-a-night ‘resort fee’ on top of their exorbitant room rate – and felt as if I was sleeping on a stone slab.

So let’s bust these hotel bed myths.

Fact: Not all hotel beds are super-premium. Therefore, people do not necessarily sleep better in them.

Fact: The hype about hotel beds is simply a marketing concept. So, no need to purchase one for your very own. You can get one that’s just as good from the regular mattress store.

Fact: Hotel mattresses are fairly generic and average. They are not proprietary and specially made for the hotel. Remember, there are only four sources of mattresses for all hotels.

So, what’s a weary traveler to do?

Learn how to spot a poor mattress. You probably already know what makes up a poor mattress, but maybe didn’t realize it. Does it sag? Can you sit on the edge comfortably?

Harrison Doan, director of analytics at Saatva, a mattress company, told USA Today:

“Checking these things can give you an idea of the mattress quality as well as the quality of sleep you can expect from it,” he said. “Is the stitching clean and consistent? Is the padding on the top of the mattress thick enough to make a difference or just a thin layer thrown on to look nice?”

You can also improve your sleep by making a few room adjustments. The first thing Paul Bromen, publisher of Uponamattress.com suggests is chilling. No, not you. Your room. Turning down the air conditioner a few degrees.

Next, he says bring your own pillow (although we don’t recommend it if you’re flying and only taking a carry-on bag). And be sure to bring a little masking tape to cover up any LEDs scattered around your room.

Bottom line: Don’t believe the hype about a hotel’s mattresses. Unless they tell you they have a memory foam mattress or some exotic mattress handmade by scientists and artisans, don’t fall for it. A hotel mattress is a hotel mattress. Stay at a hotel for the overall experience, not the mattress.

What has been your experience with hotel mattresses and sleeping experiences? Where did you get your best night’s sleep on the road? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Olichel (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

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