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Why Are Hotel Pillows So Comfortable?

A happy woman lying on the hotel bed.

Hotel pillows are often more comfortable than the pillows people have on their beds at home because they are replaced more often, use more expensive and longer lasting materials, and they support the head in different places than the pillows that people have at home.

When you stay at a hotel, one of the most important things about the stay is the quality of sleep that you will get. While factors such as ambient noise and room cleanliness go a long way in determining how well you’ll sleep, the most important factor is probably the quality of the bed. For this reason, hotels have spent a lot of time and money figuring out the best type of bed, linens, and pillows to provide to their customers.

When it comes to pillows, in particular, hotels have spent a lot of time figuring out how to get the best pillows possible on their beds. For many customers, that means that they want to have the same pillows in their homes. Even if you buy the exact same brand of pillows, however, odds are good that your bed at home won’t feel exactly the same as the hotel bed. This is because there are several factors that go into how comfortable the pillows are in hotel beds.

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Hotel Pillows Use High Quality Materials

A happy couple having a pillow fight on the hotel.

Many people assume that all hotels are looking to cut costs any way that they can, so they’re often surprised to learn that hotels invest a lot of money into their pillows. This isn’t just because they want customers to be happy; they’re also thinking about their long term cost costs.

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Cheap pillows are often made from cheap synthetic materials that tend to break down quickly. This results in pillows “going flat”; the stuffing is simply unable to retain it’s shape for a long time and it collapses in on itself.  The result is a pillow that feels flat, hard, and lumpy. The stuffing inside of it has compressed into small, hard balls. When this happens, the stuffing cannot be “refluffed”, it will simply compress again when any weight is placed on it.

A happy couple having a pillow fight outdoor.

High quality, natural materials will be able to retain their shape for a much longer period of time. Materials such as cotton and feathers have been created by nature to retain their shape. A feather has to stay firm even when a bird is flying through a storm, adan cotton has to retain its shape in order to protect the seeds living inside of it.  

These materials may be more expensive up front, but using them means that the pillows will last longer. Furthermore, the pillows can be refluffed several times before the stuffing inside becomes completely flat. Natural materials such as feathers do not bond together easily, so they will not form into the hard masses that synthetic materials tend to form.

More expensive pillows are also constructed out of several layers. Rather than simply creating a fabric bag and stuffing it, good pillows are comprised of multiple layers of material. This means that each layer will compress in a different way, essentially protecting the layers below it and allowing the pillow to retain its firmness while still being soft.

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Hotel Pillows are Adjusted and Replaced More Often

A housekeeper changing pillows on the hotel.

Even though the materials used are of really good quality, odds are that hotel pillows are replaced more often than your pillows at home. The reason for this is sanitation.  While hotel pillows have to be washed regularly, they’re also apt to be tossed as soon as one becomes stained or ripped. By comparison, many home pillows are usually quickly repaired or just stuffed into a pillowcase when they become slightly damaged.

This makes sense for a hotel. A single stained pillow could be discovered and photographed by a guest, ruining the hotel’s reputation. In a private home, however, it’s pretty rare that people will even look at their pillows without a pillow case on them.  

As a result, hotel pillows are replaced every few months instead of the once every few years that most home pillows are replaced. New pillows means working with all new materials; guests are usually using pillows that are at the peak of their material life. These pillows are also adjusted and re-fluffed every time housekeeping comes in.

Hotel Pillows Support the Head Differently

A man sleeping soundly on a hotel.

Not only are the materials better quality and newer than the materials you have at your home, but they’re also configured differently. Remember those extra layers? Not only do they work to extend the life of the pillow, but they will also work to support your head in a different way than your pillows at home.

Depending on how you sleep, you may find that this new configuration is better for you than the one you have at home. At the very least, the simple fact that parts of your head and neck that didn’t have support before have support in a hotel room will help to make you more comfortable. The height of the pillow and way they are shaped have a lot to do with guest comfort.

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That means that if you already have high quality pillows on your bed and you’re replacing them fairly often, but you still find hotel pillows to be more comfortable, it may make sense to ask the front desk about the brand name and type of pillows on the bed.

Fortunately, all of these factors mean that it is possible to get the same level of comfort that you experienced in a hotel bed without spending a fortune on new bedding. By taking care of your pillows, you can ensure that you will have restful night for years to come.