How Are Hotel Pillows So Comfortable: All Secrets Solved

Have you ever asked yourself why the hotel pillows are so soft, fresh, and comfortable? Of course, a part of the impression is your mind, perceiving something new as a better thing. But a lot of 5-star hotels actually have some secrets when choosing the pillows and, quite importantly, covers for them.

We’ll see what’s beneath that royal feeling of comfort at 5-star hotels. We’ll see the different types of pillows, alternatives, allergy drawbacks, and more. What matters in pillow choice? How to keep it fresh and crisp? When it’s time to retire one?

Keep in mind, please, that this is a general guide, not inspired by one particular hotel, so please, consider it accordingly. Ready for pillow talk? (Literally.)

What Kind of Pillows Do Hotels Use? Major Criteria of Choice

There’s no separate official class of pillows called “hotel pillows”. People responsible for the choice check and test them to make sure they choose a model worth their hotel. There are some unwritten rules that they use when choosing their pillows.


No person is the same. Some like really firm pillows even if their neck hurts the next day, while others are obsessed with the softness and the melting feeling of lying on the softest pillows. Some like sleeping on their backs for health reasons, while others hit the pillow with their face so hard it disappears there, sleeping on their tummy. Side-sleepers have their own preferences, one of them being preventing neck and shoulder pains, and consequently, headache.

Every 5-star hotel should provide anything their visitors need, so there are usually several pillows on the bed so the person can choose whatever their body likes.


Usually, there are only two pillow sizes, so this section is quite boring. However, these sizes suit most people, and if they need an adjustment, they can ask for it or take another non-standard pillow used for décor.

Anyways, the sizes are:

  • Standard – 20”x26”;
  • King – 20”x36”.

As to the covers, their sizes are a bit different:

  • Standard – 20”x30”;
  • King – 20”x40”.

Material Quality

5-star hotels implement detailed evaluations of the pillows they’re choosing. The quality is tested for unnatural allergens and proper construction. It should be not too firm and not too soft, it has to look new and fresh even after multiple cleanings. The material should be durable so the investment is justified. However, it shouldn’t be toxic and have too many chemicals in its composition since a lot of people are becoming eco-conscious now and, again, allergic.

The stuffing also means a lot. Poor-quality stuffing or the lack of it will make even the best-looking pillow flatten after several nights. And there are not a lot of people who like flat pillows, even those sleeping face-down.


We’re clear with the covers’ size, but let’s talk about the quality. The material has to be of high-quality and natural. Cotton, especially Egyptian, is a frequent choice. Some hotels opt for more luxurious options and choose silk as the main material. There are hypoallergenic variants, helping make the skin smooth.

A lot of people suffer from allergies, irritations, and itching on their skin after long flights, and waking up after the first night at the hotel with smoother, even-toned skin will leave a much better impression of the hotel at all.

man is resting in bed

What Are Hotel Pillows Made of?

All people are different, their spines, necks, and heads need different support. So mostly, hotels try to find something universal, convenient for anyone. There are several great options for hotel pillow stuffing:

Duck or Goose Down

Still, a popular option for most hotels because the material is exclusive. It’s soft, gives the feeling of luxury and royalty, and is a great addition to a lot of 5-star designs. However, in the vegan age, some hotels switch to the option where no living thing or their byproducts were used for anything.

Besides, down causes allergy in a lot of people, so it’s crucial to have alternatives on the “menu”.

Down and Feather Mix

For more density and less danger of allergy, some hotels use feather and downmix for their pillows. It’s usually a 50/50 ratio, but you can find different blends that regulate the firmness. The look is still very impressive, and so if the feel.

Down Alternative

The most popular type in most hotels is the alternative to down. Causing absolutely no allergies, pillows with down alternative stuffing give none of the maintenance and health issues yet the same pleasant 5-star feeling. This type is the most modern, following the trend of using no animal products in the manufacture.

Additional Pillows

With more materials for pillows emerging in the latest decades, hotels have no choice but to add them to the “menu”. They perform very well, some are more squishy than soft, bouncing, others are remembering your position and help the spine, neck, and head adjust. These innovations include:

  • Polyester pillows (also called microfiber pillows; the squishy ones, but always soft to medium-soft);
  • Hollowfiber mix (firmer than pure polyester, also providing the squish);
  • Memory foam pillows (with different height for back, side, and tummy sleepers);
  • Decorative pillows (those who like high dense pillows sometimes use these as the main ones).

All of these are usually hypoallergenic. If the customer suffers from an allergy, different pillows should be presented for their choice. While the down and feather ones are classic luxury, more and more people nowadays are getting itchy and sneezy using them.

Looking into the linen closet, the visitors should find a lot of alternatives there for a classic down pillow.

two split beds in room

Pillows Used in 5-Star Hotels: Peeking Beneath the Veneer

Here are some of the interesting secrets regarding 5-star hotel pillows:

  • A lot of hotels have such a thing called “pillow menu”. You can choose a pillow from a wide variety to make sure it feels like heaven (depending on how you define the “heavenly” feeling);
  • Don’t be annoyed with the pillow tag. It has a lot of useful information on it, such as its composition that will help you sleep well and not wake up with congestion due to an allergy. The tag history goes back to the 1800s when some pillows were stuffed with old hospital sheets contagious with tuberculosis and/or smallpox;
  • Pillows should be changed every 18-36 months. The down/feather ones last for 24-36 months if maintained and cleaned properly. New synthetic alternatives have an even shorter lifespan – 18-24 months. Most people don’t change their home pillows for ages, and this is partially why hotel pillows are so good in comparison.
  • Pillow protectors play a huge role in keeping the pillows fresh, crisp, and dust/mite free. They extend the life of a pillow, holding its shape for longer, not allowing any humidity or dust to contaminate it. The protectors have to be timely cleaned and renewed.
  • The “hot-dog” method of fitting a pillow into the case helps hotels change so many rooms so quickly. A lot of people, after learning about it, start changing their cases much often. Folding a pillow in half and putting it into the case will make it fit in there like a hand in a perfect glove as it unfolds. No annoying empty corners and wrinkly textiles.

In combination with the quality of materials, overall maintenance, hypoallergenic elements, and great choice, the pillow experience at a hotel is something unreal. Coming back home, a lot of people start rejuvenating their pillows as well.

It’s quite easy to do with a down or down/feather pillow. Just wash it to kill the mites and freshen up the exterior, put on a protector and fluff it well. Talking about polyester and memory foam pillows, there’s nothing to worry about as they don’t lose shape for a long time (thus the squish). Other pillows may need to be replaced with fresh ones since a lot of alternative materials sag beyond rejuvenation.

A Summary of Hotel Pillows Significance

As you can see, a lot of factors are added to your personal impression from the hotel and vacation/business trip as a whole. Hotel management that cares about their customers will try to choose a universal type of pillow that will be suitable for most people.

Usually, down, down/feather, down alternative, microfiber, or memory foam pillows perform this function very well. They all give a different feeling. Down and polyester are soft, down/feather and polyester/hollowfiber mixes provide more firmness great for back-sleepers. The foam takes shape under the pressure from the head and neck of the person, allowing the most natural position that won’t result in neck pain the next day.

Covers also play a huge role in the overall experience. Fresh, soft, silky covers won’t make a mess out of the customer’s jetlagged dehydrated face and hair after the flight. The right cover will smooth the skin and prevent irritation that is an often guest for a lot of people during vacations. The proper smell (classic lavender, for example) also contributes, calming the sleeper down and helping them drift away after an eventful day.

And finally, anyone can use some hotel hacks to make their home pillows as heavenly good. Choosing proper quality and price, maintaining them right, using protectors, and replacing every 36 months will contribute a lot to the experience.

Smart Home Desk