As any travel writer will tell you, sleeping around – no, not in that way! – doesn’t always lead to a restful night, particularly as we tend to ricochet from one place to the next. How I’ve yearned for my familiar pillow while trying to wrestle a block of ‘cotton-wood’ into shape knowing that in the morning, it’ll be resolutely firm and I’ll be bent out of shape. It gives bed and board a whole new meaning. So it’s little wonder that hotels and resorts are finally waking-up and shifting their focus to providing travellers with a good night’s sleep.
The Pillow “Whisperer”
It takes an inquiring mind and a certain amount of dedication to analyze 2,000 pillows but 11 years ago, that didn’t stop Peter Whitford, Founder/CEO of Parker & Morgan, a USA-based, globally-tentacled provider of “sleep and wellness experiences” in his drive to find the secret of a good night’s sleep. What he discovered was that not much reflected the packaging claims.
“In the world of sleep and wellness, the humble little pillow had been left behind,” said Whitford who spent his executive retail career staying in a myriad of hotel rooms. “We researched consumers asking them how they slept, whether they were allergy sufferers or had neck, back or shoulder pain and their responses led us to appoint in-store pillow consultants in our Pasadena store and provide hotels with a concierge service,” said Peter.
On The Menu
Guests contacting hotels pre-arrival to check on the quality of bed linen and the pillow selection is gaining traction so what constitutes the perfect pillow menu? “It should be simple and effective with a touch of luxury and personal indulgence,” said Peter who recommends the following to their luxury hotel clients.
- Microfibre soft queen and king sizes
- Body pillow in 50/50 down and feather and 100% microfibre
- Buckwheat standard
- Latex soft queen and king
- Memory foam high, a low profile contour shape
- White goose down 90/10 down to white feather
- Bamboo low and high profile
- Pregnancy small and large in microfibre
Good Night’s Sleep : Wanted, Dead or Alive!
Are you a stomach sleeper? Then consider soft pillows. Back and side sleepers generally opt for medium quality, firm is the traditional choice of side sleepers while Parker & Morgan’s ‘Belgravia’, a lofty combination of pure white goose down and white goose feather is the stairway to a heavenly night’s sleep. According to Whitford, pillows have a life-span (he refers to them being ‘dead’ or ‘alive’) and enthuses that Australia is leading the way printing expiry dates on them.
My lust for luxe has led me to Banyan Tree Phuket www.banyantree.com where a miniaturized pillow selection is housed in a bronze Thai silk box at the end of the bed. Offering non-allergenic fibre ball, medium soft or double curved foam pillows and a float-away feather/down blend, you just order up! Another memorable night’s sleep was in Vietnam at the Hotel Royal Hoi An www.hotelroyalhoian.com. While our room was redolent with Hoi An’s traditionally lavish decor, crisp white bedding and super-soft pillows provided blissful rest for a road-weary writer.
Qualia on Hamilton Island www.qualia.com.au combines sublime pillows with sleep-inducing seascapes, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang on Penang Island www.shangri-la.com/Penang and COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali www.comohotels.com/comoshambhalaestate both carefully curate their pillow options. The uber-cool Andaz www.westhollywood.andaz.hyatt.com in West Hollywood has kicked its former party ways in favour of slumbering in luxury while any Six Senses resort www.sixsenses.com has a – well – sixth sense about that sort of thing…..
Turn Down, Tune Out
Whether at home or away, creating the best sleeping environment is vital and we ask Peter Whitford for some tips. “It’s essential to create a ‘digital sunset’ for things electronic. Banish them from the bedroom or put them in a box where the light they emit can’t disturb your rest and establish a regular bed time.” Sound advice from someone who’s turned nightmares into sweet dreams!
Parker & Morgan is a global brand with products available in Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia and the United States. Read more at www.parkerandmorgan.com