Which price level bed linen to buy for a hotel?

This blog post is not meant to criticise anyone; it simply brings a new viewpoint to the attention of hotel managements in view of purchasing bed linen and helps to consider the various aspects of bed linen. Price too often plays a crucial role in purchasing new bed linen (as well as terry towels and bathrobes) for a hotel, other parameters are not even considered. Bed linen is generally also assessed on the basis of appearance but the dominant factor usually is the price—the cheaper the better, unfortunately.

Many hospitality providers in Estonia use textiles that the developed Western countries only use in cheap hotels and hospitals. The bed linen that is in the lower price range is undoubtedly practical and lasts long but does not offer particularly comfortable conditions or pleasing sights to the hotel clients. Estonian hotels use cheaper bed linen because they charge less than the hotels in developed Western countries, and this forces Estonian hotels to think of cutting expenses, which is why they are somewhat compelled to buy the cheapest bed linen.

Satin bedlinene with 3 cm stripe

Bed linen is, however, a very important aspect of a hotel visit for a guest. Let’s be honest—clients come to a hotel to sleep and thus a comfortable bed is very important. Most of the time spent in a hotel is spent in bed and if a guest feels uncomfortable there, it has a negative influence on the entire visiting experience. If hotel guests sleep well through the night they wake up happy and other minor details do not bother them as much. If the bed is uncomfortable, other minor details will become more irritating as well (noise, temperature, strange place, etc.) and all those things start to impact the experience in a negative manner. In conclusion, it is extremely important to enable a hotel guest to sleep high quality sleep in a very comfortable bed since everything else depends on this experience.

What are the factors to consider in purchasing bed linen, in addition to the price? This is a list of points we consider important:

* Comfort of the bed linen—if we leave aside all the technical details, then comfort, i.e., how a client feels sleeping between the sheets, is the most important thing in connection to bed linen. Bed linen must be nice and soft, “breathe” well, it cannot make a person sweat and it cannot feel uncomfortable to the skin.

* Appearance of bed linen—beautiful and distinctive bed linen makes you feel that it is great to sleep in that bed already when looking at it from afar.

* Material of bed linen—Estonian companies mostly use bed linen with a 50% polyester/50% cotton content that has been selected mostly pursuant to the needs of the hotel and laundry service (easy to wash and iron, less shrinkage, etc.). If we think of the hotel guest’s comfort, 100% cotton bed linen would be better because cotton “breathes” better and feels better to the skin.

* Measurements of bed linen—bed linen cannot be too small, for example, the blanket should not poke out of the duvet cover, the bed sheet has to cover the entire bed and reach below the mattress properly so it would not wrinkle, etc. In addition to the visual aspect, the correct measurements are also important in view of comfort.

* Test question—when you buy bed linen for your hotel always ask this test question: “Would I use this bed linen at home?” If the answer is NO, there is no reason to believe that the hotel guests would really love that bed linen either.

Standard white hotel bed linen

Hotels are tempted to make decisions only on the basis of price when they buy new bed linen, because purchasing bed linen sets for the entire hotel is a big investment and it is easy to cut expenses in the extreme (if we think in absolutes) by choosing cheap bed linen. If we, on the other hand, view the service life of bed linen, then we see that the expenses made on bed linen are not only made up of the purchase price; other expenses are much more important. The most important expense in connection to bed linen is the cost of washing, laundry service. Let’s do a calculation and use a duvet cover with the following parameters as an example:

* Price of duvet cover (common white)—8.00 EUR/pc

* The duvet cover must be washed, let us say, for about 70 times a year; a duvet cover weighs 1 kg/pc on average; full laundry service costs 0.50 EUR/kg; bed linen lasts for three years. The cost of washing in the three years is 70 x 3 x 1 x 0.5 = 105 EUR

* The expenses made during the duvet cover’s entire service life are 8 (purchase price) + 105 (washing) = 113 EUR

* The price of the duvet cover, 8.00 EUR/pc makes up 7% of the expenses made in relation to the cover during its entire service life!!!

* Washing the duvet cover makes up 93% of the expenses made in relation to the cover during its entire service life.

Looking at these numbers it becomes clear that the purchase price of a duvet cover is not that important. So, if a hotel allows itself the luxury of purchasing more expensive bed linen, it has little influence on the expenses made on the bed linen throughout its service life. Let’s play with numbers some more and presume that a hotel buys a duvet cover that is twice as expensive as the previous one, i.e., 16 EUR/pc. The expenses made on the duvet cover during the entire service life are worth 121 EUR and the purchase price of the duvet cover is still only 13% of it, relatively little in comparison to laundry costs.


The conclusion is simple: buying more expensive bed linen increases the expenses made on the bed linen during its service life only by very little. However, having more expensive high quality bed linen can significantly raise the quality level of the hotel and improve guest experience.

The parameters of high-quality bed linen are, for instance:

* Density of the weave and yarn size—e.g., thread count TC260 or TC300 and yarn size 40 or 60 are very widespread in developed Western countries. Bed linen that has a finer yarn and higher thread count is soft and more comfortable.

* Patterned bed linen—various patterns (stripes, squares, floral patterns, etc.) can be woven into the fabric of bed linen and it provides a hotel the opportunity to stand out and offer something special to guests. Hotellitarbed OÜ selections include over 200 patterned bed linen fabrics.

Satin bed linen with 3 cm stripe


The thoughts presented above also apply to other hotel textiles, e.g., terry towels, bath rugs, bathrobes, etc. The cheapest items are not necessarily the best for the hotel, and only a small additional investment can help to improve the hotel guest experience.

When we talk of the prices of bed linen sets 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 bed linen set 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 bed linen, 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 or bed linen sets that have the hotel logo 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.


Additional information on bed linen: Bed linen