I am a sleepaholic. It's actually one of my favorite activities. There is something about getting into a great bed with starched, crisp, cool sheets and a delicious down comforter that makes my endorphins flow. I'm also somewhat obsessive about how my bed has to be made. The sheets have to be perfectly smoothed, tucked in tautly and must come up as high as my ears when I crawl under the covers. I've been known to re-make hotel beds when they do not meet these exacting standards. I know . . . a little bit crazy.
We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping. More time than in a desk chair, on a sofa, or in a car. We demand a high level of comfort from all of these furnishings, and my clients will pay dearly for a certain luxury feel. Not until recently, however, did the marketplace respond to make that level of luxury available in beds. Luxury linens -- yes. Mattresses -- no. Now that the luxury mattress market has evolved, what would you be willing to pay to make sleep a luxury?
When it comes to mattresses, there are three basic types: innerspring, foam, and air. The foam and air mattress manufacturers have flooded the airwaves to convince you that their mattresses are luxe. But they're not even close. Innerspring mattresses have cornered that market.
What makes an innerspring mattress worth spending what you'd spend on, say, a car depends on several components: the springs or coils, the filling, the outer fabric covering and the craftsmanship. The more coils, the better. The placement and dynamics of the coils make a difference too. Some of the most expensive mattresses even have two layers of coils. The filling and the outer fabric covering seem to be the most variable among the luxury brands. And the craftsmanship puts luxury mattress brands in a league with Rolls Royce -- all hand crafted -- from the tying of the springs to the stitching of the covering. For some of the luxury mattress makers, the training required to craft a retail mattress is years.
Cutaway of Savoir Mattress courtesy of savoirbeds.com
I've looked at four luxury mattress brands: Hastens and Duxiana from Sweden and Savoir and Vi-Spring from Great Britain. All tout longevity: Hastens has been in business the longest, since 1852, and Duxiana the shortest--a mere 87 years. Some make beds for royalty; others five-star hotels. For a queen size mattress, you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,500 to $90,000. (And then there's the box spring!) All can be customized: soft, medium or firm or a combination to suit two persons' preferences. Lumbar support is also available. Bespoke is obviously a word spoken here.
When it comes to the filling, that's where you'll find differences. All except for Duxiana contain natural materials. In contrast, Duxiana has a cotton-covered latex top pad. Latex gives this brand a slight disadvantage because it can retain heat and have an initial unpleasant odor. Hastens and Savoir are filled with blends of cotton, lambswool and horsehair. Vi-Spring and the higher-priced Hastens models also contain cashmere and silk. There's where you might be splitting hairs. For the ticking, most brands use 100% cotton while Vi-Spring also adds wool.
Hastens Vividus Mattress courtesy of hastens.com
When buying a luxury mattress, it's important to investigate the warranty and replacement parts. Some brands come with replaceable top pads. It's best to replace these pads every 7 or so years to maximize the life of the mattress. But securing the replacement pads can be a hassle. Consumers have had issues with some of the manufacturers' customer service.
I've actually laid upon all the beds except the Vi-Spring. For those initial 5-minute test drives, all I can say is that the mattresses felt great, but I'm not sure I could detect the subtleties among the brands. This may involve more extensive research. Just what a sleepaholic loves.