The average person spends about 26 years asleep in a lifetime, which makes deciding which mattress to buy a pretty important decision, even before you factor in how much the average one costs (a lot). Make the wrong choice, and who knows how many years of rest you’ll convert to the dark, sleepless side. Add to this the seemingly endless swirl of options, from gel filled to pocket sprung, and the many mattress woes out there (lumps! Sagging! Night sweats!), and it’s enough to have you tossing and turning even before you set your head on the pillow.
So, we asked 11 of the U.K.’s top hoteliers — all experts in making sure guests get a perfect night’s sleep — to recommend their favourite mattresses. Each one has been tried and tested in some of the best hotels around the country, with options for every budget and every kind of sleeper.
Vispring got the most mentions from the hoteliers we spoke to, which is unsurprising given its credentials. Founded in 1901, it’s “a trusted mattress brand known for being the favoured mattress of royals and jet-setters,” says Beata Najman, the assistant executive housekeeper at the Dorchester. Each mattress is handmade in Devon and “created to order using natural, hypoallergenic materials such as cashmere, mohair, wool, silk, bamboo, horsehair, and even the rare and protected vicuña fleece.” The brand is also the pioneer of pocket springs: These aren’t linked to one another, like those of traditionally sprung mattresses, and move independently with you to provide better support. Vispring still uses the same method it developed in 1901, crafting the springs from vanadium steel and securing them in individual calico pockets.
“I have always bought Vispring mattresses personally and have used them in every hotel I have created since 1994,” says Robin Hutson, the CEO of Lime Wood and the Pig, calling them “luxurious” and “durable for hotel use.” Parvez Unmar, the general manager of London’s Roseate House, credits the hotel’s “average comfort score of 9 out of 10” to Vispring’s firm-tension mattresses, which are used in every room. For those without a five-star-hotel budget, the most reasonably priced Vispring is the entry-level Elite mattress, which comes with 1,254 of those unique pocket springs and a 30-year guarantee. Caring for a Vispring mattress is pretty easy: Our hoteliers strongly advise against vacuuming, which can “dislodge the fillings”; use a soft brush to get rid of dust, and “invest in a good-quality washable mattress protector” instead.
Best (Less Expensive)
Premier Inn orders its bespoke mattresses from Hypnos, and they’ve been tried and tested by literally millions of guests. “At my hotel alone, we welcomed almost half a million guests last year,” says Premier Inn’s Gatwick hotel manager, Parik Zala. The Hypnos mattress Premier Inn uses is meant to be a strong middle-of-the-line option, firm yet soft, with 1,000 pocket springs and a built-in wool-filled pillow topper (so no flipping). In short, it offers many of the same things as Vispring, albeit in a less premium way, but is several hundred pounds cheaper — a good option if you’re enamored of the former but can’t face the price.
This brand is also a big hit with IHG Hotels. “One of our preferred suppliers is Hypnos, which have been tried and tested for many years in our Holiday Inn and Hotel Indigo chains,” says Claire Chapoulet, the head of upscale brands for the company. As well as being made in the U.K. from natural (recyclable!), hypoallergenic materials like cotton, wool, and cashmere, the mattress is well priced and “just a great quality product.” Chapoulet highlights Hypnos’s “clever pressure-mapping technology,” which gives “dreamy” support to those who like a firm bed with a luxury feel but also “caters to those who prefer a softer mattress.”
Best Gel Mattress
When choosing mattresses for the Kensington, general manager Francesco Sardelli says the two most important things were for them to be “sustainable” and to “offer never-get-out-of-bed comfort.” This Kaymed does both. The gel mattresses are “12 times more breathable than regular memory foam” thanks to “gel cells that create air pockets, which help air circulate freely, regulating your body temperature even as you sleep.”
Don’t be confused by the mention of gel. Generally, the best mattresses are made with pocket springs (though 100 percent memory-foam mattresses have their own die-hard supporters), as backed up by every recommended mattress on this list having at least 1,000 pocket springs. The Kaymed is no exception, coming in with 1,600. The gel refers to the top layer of the mattress; most mattress-makers now choose to add an extra layer on top of their springs, usually consisting of wool, memory foam, or gel. These “single-sided” mattresses shouldn’t be flipped, as you’ll put your comfy, temperature-regulating gel or wool on the wrong side.
Best for Warm Sleepers
This local-to-Belfast mattress company has “exacting standards,” says Rajesh Rana, the director of Andras Hotels. The group uses Balmoral in the Crowne Plaza Belfast. The secret to this well-priced mattress’s success is the “combination of firmness and soft layers,” which give a “luxury feel while still providing essential support.” Along with 1,200 pocket springs, the mattress has a “breathable cotton filling” and a “supersoft comfort-foam topper.” Rajesh shared some of the reviews from guests: “As always, the bed was exceptionally comfy,” said one, while another asked, “Where can I buy one?” The best thing about this mattress, however, is the price — under £400 — making this a slightly cheaper option than the majority of the U.K.’s “bed in a box” mattresses, which surprisingly didn’t get a mention from any of our hoteliers (every mattress on this list is delivered unrolled).
Ellen Porrman, the Shangri La’s assistant director of rooms, says Simmons Beautyrest mattresses are used in all the rooms at the London hotel. The mattresses chosen from the range all have “firm yet cushioning technology to provide support for a wide variety of sleepers,” she says. David Bowd, the CEO of Salt Hotels, also uses Simmons. “We tried literally hundreds before settling on the Simmons pillow top,” he says. Special fibers in the mattress make it a great choice for those who get too hot in the night, as they “keep the bed cool, so our guests sleep better.” It’s also ideal for those with partners who toss and turn. “Advanced motion control allows for very little transfer of motion between two people,” Bowd says.
Best Firm Tension
“I’ve worked in the industry for 23 years, and one of the fundamentals is getting your hotel mattresses right,” says Michael Clitheroe, the general manager of the Balmer Lawn Hotel in the New Forest. He tends to go for Mattison’s Natural Comfort or Monarch range, which are good compromises between being luxurious and affordable at around the £500 mark. For those who want more support, both offer slightly more springs than some of the other options on this list, and both are fully hypoallergenic. The Natural Comfort is made entirely from cotton, wool, and silk, compared with the Monarch’s polycotton blend, but has slightly fewer springs (1,400) compared with the Monarch’s 1,500.
As well as being great “even in the lower budgets,” this mattress has little details like anti-bed-bug treatment and “sewn-in reminders of when each mattress should be rotated and/or flipped,” says Clitheroe. They are guaranteed for five years. “But quite honestly, they do last a lot longer.”
Will Ashworth, CEO of the Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall swears by Mattisons too, having used them for the past 20 years. “We always go for a 2,000-pocket-spring model [Mattison’s most premium], which gives a medium-firm feel,” he says. He also lauds the mattresses’ longevity, “especially if you have them side stitched to give extra support.” The two layers of springs (1,000 on each layer) give a “very even support.” A note: This is the only double-sided mattress on this list, so it can be flipped if even a hint of sag is something which seriously concerns you.
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