It’s news that should be making worldwide headlines: You can now stop trying to squish your favourite pillow into your suitcase. Pillow menus are now a fixture at most business and upmarket hotels, offering you the chance to lay your head on something soft (or medium) that’s just right for you. But the extensive number of options can be overwhelming; especially when the cushions are bestowed with creative names. This is what you need to know about the most common pillows presented to you.
The Usual Suspects
Remember pulling feathers out of your pillowcase as a kid? Don’t try that at a hotel. Modern feather pillows are made from teeny, curly feathers and are incredibly fluffy so suit those who don’t need a lot of support. Feathers can retain heat so if you tend to wake up warm, these pillows might exacerbate it. They’re often made in combination with down.
Pillows made with European white goose down are the gold standard when it comes to luxe places to pop your head – you’ll practically melt into it. Made from birds’ undercoats, they’re super soft and can be fluffed into your desired shape. It yields easily so while it’s great for cuddling, it doesn’t offer strong neck or back support.
Wake up regularly with the sniffles? Then a hypoallergenic pillow is key. It’s made from synthetic materials, such as polyester or latex, which are less likely to trigger allergies and are good for asthma sufferers, too. An anti-allergy pillow is slightly different – the material has been treated to deter dust mites.
Made from the husks of buckwheat seeds (yep, the pseudo-grain you’ve been eating instead of rice) these pillows mould well, which means they offer strong support. Plus, they’re eco-friendly. The only catch is the husks tend to rustle when moved so light sleepers might be bothered. Microbead pillows are the synthetic alternative, sans sound.
These extra-long pillows are good for cuddling if you’re sleeping alone and for pregnant women who need extra support for their hips and lower back.
When a product is developed by NASA researchers, you know it’s going to be good. Memory foam pillows are especially recommended if you sleep on your back as they mould perfectly to your body shape.
Similar to memory foam but made from rubber-tree sap and somewhat airier, latex pillows are hypoallergenic and good for side sleepers because their firmness supports the spine consistently all the way along.
These breathable babies don’t offer substantial support on their own but when paired with another pillow, they give just the little bit extra you might be after.
The Conrad Centennial Singapore has an extensive pillow menu.
Operating on a stripped-back skincare routine while you’re away? At The Montcalm hotel in London, you can rest your face on the cotton-covered anti-aging pillow, infused with vitamin E to nourish your skin as you catch some shut-eye.
Take your meditation playlist a step further by plugging an mp3 player into your pillow. These pillows at The Benjamin in New York have tiny speakers within the hypoallergenic filling so you can sleep with soothing sounds surrounding you. Sleep is serious business at this hotel, evident in their other unique offerings (such as the Cloud 10 pillow filled with millions of air beads to keep your head cool and a pillow filled with warm or cold water to help relieve head or neck pain). There’s also a sleep consultant on hand.
A very firm traditional pillow – used for more than 2000 years in Japan – filled with Tatami fibres that offer improved ventilation is on offer at Conrad Centennial Singapore hotel. Across the suite of Conrad Hotels & Resorts around the world, there are a staggering 75 pillow options – the Conrad Cairo offers a Tiba pillow, a traditional Egyptian cushion made from layers of carded cotton.
In the air
You can take your pick of pillows while you’re flying now, too. Qantas First Class suites come prepped with a Sheridan Ultimate Comfort Pillow but customers can switch this for a memory foam or feather and down option.
Top image: The Benjamin hotel New York