Is it better to buy a terry bathrobe or waffle bathrobe for a hotel?

Firstly, I would like to emphasise that this discussion about bathrobes is just one viewpoint of many regarding this subject and the purpose of this article is to help hotel owners weigh different aspects in the process of choosing bathrobes for a hotel. Every hotel has its own vision and needs, which dictate the types of bathrobes that are the most suitable for the establishment in a specific situation. 

The majority of hotels and spas (hereinafter hotels) use terry bathrobes but there are many who use waffle bathrobes as well. We estimate that 80% of hotels use terry bathrobes and 20% use waffle bathrobes. Making an educated choice between the two is not as easy as it seems at first glance. 

A waffle bathrobe is made of 100% cotton fabric that has a so-called waffle texture; it usually weighs 200–220 g/m2. The measurements of the sides of a waffle square also vary and range between 0.5–1.0 cm. A waffle bathrobe shrinks a lot when it is washed as the final waffle texture is revealed only after 3–5 washing cycles. A waffle bathrobe may shrink 15–20% in the wash and it is therefore very important to make note of a waffle bathrobe’s measurements. Waffle bathrobes that have shrunk and become too little are a common sight in hotels because the hotel did not think of the shrinkage when they bought the bathrobes. This information should come from the supplier, naturally, but suppliers often sell what they received from a plant and it is revealed only later during use that a product is too small. We think that a bathrobe should reach at least 15 cm below the knee in length. We have seen how adult bathrobes do not even reach to the knees in many hotels, and this kind of bathrobe is very uncomfortable for clients since they cannot move around freely in the hotel and the bathrobe is not very warm either. A client’s comfort is, however, the most important in a hotel and such a simple thing should not affect the general impression of a client’s visit in a negative manner. 

A terry bathrobe is generally made of 100% cotton fabric that weighs 400 g/m2. A terry bathrobe shrinks up to 10% in the wash and it is therefore clear that planning the measurements of the product is somewhat simpler. But even in the case of terry bathrobes some hotels have bathrobes that are too short and uncomfortable for the clients. 

The price always seems the most important factor in purchasing something, but other factors are much more important than the initial purchase price during a product’s life cycle. A waffle bathrobe is slightly cheaper than a terry bathrobe (10–20% according to our estimate) because a waffle bathrobe weighs less, and less material is used to produce it. 

Bathrobes are an attractive souvenir and when we talk of bathrobe prices we need to consider the subject of hotel guests stealing hotel supplies, or, putting it more mildly, hotel guests taking hotel supplies with them when they leave. The more attractive a bathrobe is in terms of price and appearance, the more likely it is that a hotel guest will want it as a souvenir. Thus, if a hotel uses expensive bathrobes, the number of thefts in the hotel will increase. Terry towels are the most common items to be taken away from hotels by guests, and the argument of theft is therefore even more important in case of terry towels. If you order terry towels and bathrobes that have the logo of the hotel on them, then a stolen product at least works as a small advertisement for the hotel, reminding the guest of the hotel where they got the product. But still, we have heard of many hotels’ experiences that using beautiful and colourful terry towels in a hotel or spa significantly increased the amount of lost terry towels. 

When speaking of comfort, then terry bathrobes are undoubtedly softer and can absorb larger quantities of water. People do not buy waffle bathrobes to use at home—they buy terry bathrobes to feel as comfortable as possible. 

The main argument for buying a waffle bathrobe for a hotel is the price of washing resulting from the different weight of the bathrobes. The following example is based on a calculation where the price of washing is 0.55 EUR/kg:

* Waffle bathrobe XL – weighs approx. 0.8 kg – price of washing 0.44 EUR/per wash

* Terry bathrobe XL – weighs approx. 1.3 kg – price of washing 0.72 EUR/per wash

This simple calculation shows that washing a terry bathrobe once costs 0.28 euros more than washing a waffle bathrobe. If we presume that a bathrobe is washed 70 times a year, for instance, and the service life of a bathrobe is three years, one must pay 59 euros more for washing a terry bathrobe in comparison to a waffle bathrobe in those three years. This sum is, however, several times larger than the initial price of the bathrobe, and therefore constitutes a more important factor when compared to the initial price of the bathrobe. 

A third argument can also be listed—the appearance of a bathrobe—but as tastes differ, it does not play such an important part. In general, according to the feedback provided to us, terry bathrobes are considered more beautiful since they look more fluffy and luxurious. Waffle bathrobes look more modest. There is no arguing over taste. 

Thus, hotels must make a difficult choice in buying bathrobes: whether to purchase a terry bathrobe that is more comfortable and beautiful, or a waffle bathrobe that is cheaper and helps to cut down on washing costs. 

We would like to underline once more that hotels and spas should consider the measurements of bathrobes very thoroughly before making a purchase since many hotels have made the mistake of buying bathrobes that are too small, as they did not think of the fabric shrinkage. Unfortunately, many suppliers do not proceed from the so-called European sizing standards and their bathrobes correspond to the XL size used in India. As people are not as tall in India, then the Indian Xl size is a European M or L at best. It is also easy to choose the wrong size because less material has been used to make smaller bathrobes (Indian “XLs”) and they are therefore cheaper—and as the price quotation for such bathrobes unmistakably features a lower price hotels often buy bathrobes that get too small after several washes. We recommend that you buy bathrobes directly from suppliers who have extensive experience in bathrobe sales and who can guarantee that the size of a bathrobe will still be suitable after a year’s use.


Additional information about bathrobes: Bathrobes