Luxury hotel experiences - Fluffed, shaken or stirred…?

| Updated on: May 11, 2011










The A-luxury horsehair top mattress on a Swedish frame bed is wrapped in exotic linen, an inviting bath is drawn up with fragrant salts and the aroma of gourmet chocolate fills the room. Luxury hotels are leaving no pillow unturned when it comes to wooing the weary traveller

English novelist and poet Charlotte Bronte once said “A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow”. The quote often comes to mind nowadays when we are invited to review a new luxury hotel property. The big brands in the business are taking the experience of indulgence to a new high and they have been using the head rest to get to their guests' hearts.

Our last few experiences have been truly flattering; especially those that are created for guests at twilight. A dining menu for those hors d'oeuvres you can nibble on as you soak in the bathtub. A spa menu with some signature treatments you can book the next day. A beverage menu with a delectable cognac list. And the pillow menu! Yes, you read that right, a printed menu with an exhaustive list of pillows you can choose from.

The hospitality industry is always bursting with fresh and creative ideas to give that extra helping of luxury, which when added can take the experience up a few notches. And it needn't always be a complimentary airport transfer in a stretch limousine or the choicest bottle of champagne on-the-house. It can be something as simple as offering a choice of pillows!

This latest addition to the thoughtful conveniences that luxury hotels churn out to pamper their guests with, is the recipe for a perfect good night's sleep. And what better way than to give them a whole platter of exclusive pillows to choose from!

A modest choice

Slim, fluffy, soft, firm, contoured, straight… every individual has a special pillow that lulls them to sleep. Most hotels have a simple menu on offer. It targets guests who are the ‘inseparable-from-my-pillow' kinds and helps them choose the exact one that they have at home. This fits in perfectly with the hotel's aim to break the ostentatious façade and ‘impersonal' character which sometimes gets tagged to its image. With a pillow choice, they are truly promoting a ‘home away from home' experience.

Some popular options include duck or goose down pillows that are super soft; comfortable, hard pillows for those who prefer firm support; contoured ones for cradling your head and neck in alignment with your spine (especially for those with orthopaedic conditions) and slim pillows for those who like it slender. A mandatory option on all pillow menus is non-allergic pillows with hypoallergenic properties, which is ideal for those who can't handle strong smells, dust, mould or other allergens.

For the tired guest

The guests for most luxury properties are corporate honchos on meetings, businessmen striking deals, globetrotting ambassadors and statesmen, in short those with hectic schedules. While they don't get to enjoy the services of the hotel during the day, it's small gestures like these that help score brownie points with them. Hence some super luxury properties usually offer a special range of pillows that not only target the neck, back and spine for relief while sleeping but are also filled with exotic materials for that bit of added comfort. Some examples for the tired, jet-lagged traveller include the exclusive neck pillow to support the part that supports the Head of State (literally) and relieves stress and stiffness. The other option is a life-size body pillow for full body comfort.

Exclusive options

Then of course is the move to ultimate indulgence which the best in the industry are experts at. The materials get plusher, the fillings get exotic and the options become mind boggling. While, cotton, wool, down and feather are common natural materials when it comes to pillow fillings, special materials like horse-hair coming straight out of the tail or mane of horses, spelt or particular wheat husks, buckwheat and flax seeds are exceptional others. There are also aromatherapy pillows with jasmine and lavender being the most sought after fragrance choices, anti-snores ones with specific contours and even ones for those who are hooked on to nicotine!

Exotic options, as we flip through

Glancing through pillow menus of some luxury properties, here are some interesting ones that caught our eye:

Smoker Pillow “Imprima” – This pillow from The Leela Palace Kempinski’s menu, is creatively designed for smokers and offers sleep therapy. It is created with an anti-smell treatment and is both fire resistant and hypoallergenic and is filled with silicone coated fibre balls.

Meditation pillow: An eye-catching component of Taj Coromandel’s pillow menu is the Meditation pillow. The pillow is made with a special blend of aromatic Himalayan herbal plants used by Buddhist practioners for centuries and is said to support purification, mental awareness and relaxation.

NASA Pillow: Offered by Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, the pillow is made from a technology breakthrough material developed for NASA astronauts experiencing high G-force during space travel. The pillow uses natural body heat to activate the adjustment of the foam to the body shape whereby this pressure is then absorbed by memory foam. Memory foam helps people who suffer back and neck pain, and also reduces the risk of developing pressure sores.

Published on August 17, 2011

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