March is Bed Month and, more than ever, the importance of a good night’s sleep is being stressed by doctors and health professionals. We could learn some lessons from hotels, whose unique selling point is a good night’s sleep. Endless amounts are spent on getting the right bed and mattress, crisp linens, fluffy duvets, the right pillows and providing enhancements for sleep.
When the Dean Hotel opened during the recession on Harcourt Street, Dublin's clubbing zone, they knew that bedrooms had to be special to tempt people to stay. They bought the best Irish-made mattresses, the King Koil Seventh Heaven, for the bespoke bed-frames and teamed them with soft linens and fluffy pillows.
Power showers, Marshall sound systems and a selection of vinyl records, Nespresso machines, fully stocked mini-Smeg fridges and lots of Irish snacks completed the treats.
"People often comment about the beds," says Brian Davern, general manager of the Dean. "They ask where to buy them and also the lamps, toiletries, pillows, turntables, records; people love our rooms."
At Ashford Castle in Co
, which was lavishly refurbished in 2015 by new owner Red Carnation Hotel Collection, the company’s president
spared no expense in transforming the bedrooms. She kept many of the original bespoke four-poster beds and Victorian hand-carved mahogany frames. New mattresses were custom-made for Ashford by Respa, a bed manufacturing company in business for over 60 years in
, Co Meath. Ashford’s embroidered bedlinens are made by Exclusive Linens in the UK and are 300-thread count.
Westin Hotels felt so strongly about the importance of a good bed that it designed its own, the Heavenly Bed. After months of testing hundreds of mattresses, sheets, pillows, and at one stage getting staff to sleep in a ballroom on a variety of beds, the Heavenly Bed was developed. It is so successful that Westin has sold thousands to customers worldwide.
At Castlewood House in Dingle, Co Kerry, awarded the best hotel for romance this year by Tripadvisor, it is Irish all the way for owners Helen and Brian Heaton. The 12 rooms have King Koil beds and this year the couple have replaced all the mattress toppers with even thicker and more luxurious ones from Lissadell Liddell. Expect to pay from €100-€300 for mattress toppers, depending on filling.
“We always order our Egyptian cotton sheets from Murrays in Charleville, and our towels and bathrobes from Lissadell,” says Helen. Murray’s Textiles of Charleville has been supplying the Irish hospitality industry with linens from around the world for over 100 years.
At Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, marketing manager Ruth McCarthy says: “We are definitely aware of the importance and value of a good night’s sleep. We buy our beds from Respa and we hire the linen from Kings Laundry which is also an Irish company. We use 300-thread count linen, and duvets rather than blankets. We chose feather over microfibre.”
Inchydoney supplies Elemis Quiet Mind Pillow Spray and an Elemis Quiet Mind Temple Balm among the toiletries in bedrooms. Guests also benefit from the fresh sea air at Inchydoney.
Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa believes in the saying that "sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together", so it tries to ensure all guests receive the best night's sleep possible during their stay.
Beds are custom-made, with Sealy mattresses that are 200cm x 200cm in size, bigger than usual. Bed toppers are custom-made by German company Hanse, as are the 300-thread count linens.
A “good night’s sleep” turndown service is available on request and this includes a lavender pillow mist along with creamy lip balm. The pillow menu offers a wide range of pillows from foam to feather to down feather.
When Frank and Mary Slattery, proprietors of Carrig Country House in Killorglin, Co Kerry, were travelling in Kerala, India some years ago, they found the perfect bed for their presidential suite.
Their host in Kerala, Bibi Baskin, took them to an extraordinary furniture warehouse in Fort Kochi where they found a beautifully carved four-poster Maharaja's bed. Several months later the bed turned up in Kerry. "It cost as much to ship the bed as we paid for it," says Frank, "but well worth it."
They were able to get a King Koil six-foot mattress to fit it exactly and designed the canopy drapes in an Indian style. It must be the only hotel in Ireland with a Maharaja’s bed and “everyone who sleeps in it loves it”, says Frank.
The ultimate sleep experience has not yet come to Ireland but the 9sq m all-white cabins in the YotelAir airport hotels are all about luxury sleep comfort. The newest to open is airside in Terminal 2E at Paris CDG airport. The Serta Signature gel mattresses are specially made and convert from a sofa to a bed at the touch of a button.
Just as well as the rooms have no chairs as the bed is your relaxation zone. Linens are luxury cotton with big, plump microfibre pillows and duvets; mood lighting creates the atmosphere to enjoy the smart TV. The rooms are very quiet and dark to allow for a good sleep. Rates are from €75 for four hours and €115 for overnight. Visit yotel.com.
Hotelier Francis Brennan of the Park Hotel in Kenmare is an expert in quality bedding, with his own range of bedlinens that has been a runaway success for Dunnes since launching last year.
“I could not believe how quickly the linens sold out,” he says. “Two months’ supply was gone in 10 days.”
The 300-thread count set of sheets for a king size costs from €200.
Brennan will have two new ranges for spring, a plain white with pin tucks and a grey-bordered range. King-size pillows will also be joining the range – apparently they are hard to get and will be made by Northern Feather in Westport.