How do you make guest beds? Turndown service etc

I am not a hotelier, just a host like most of us here, navigating my way through making the most out of my experience… not just in financial terms but also for the sake of doing something cool and right by my guests.

With that said, I’m noticing that thus far, each of the several cleaners I’ve had has been making the beds for guests in a different way. Some cleaners use 2 pillows, some 4, some flip over the comforter and top sheet, some don’t. Some leave a towel on the end of it, some leave a towel near the pillows. Some roll the towel and others fold it. Some fold the comforter towards the bottom of the bed and others extend it all the way to the pillows. In the past, I’ve gone as far as asking guests what level of softness they prefer for their pillows. But that is obviously not efficient and I rarely do it now that I have more volume.

I know how a bed is made depends a lot on the bed itself, what sort of sheets, bedding and towels you have, room decor etc. And yes it’s a matter of preference… I or each host can instruct their cleaners to make the beds however the host wants to. But what is the best way to make them? What do guests like the most? What is easiest and quickest? What is best looking in your opinion? Care to share any examples and photos, or videos and online instructions? Perhaps there are even bed making classes out there I and/or my cleaners can take. This is a serious question, or more like a serious chain of questions… :slight_smile: What is considered best practice for making beds for guests?

Mind you, I never got or saw another host getting a bad Airbnb review for how a bed was made (not talking about cleanliness here, just the way it’s made). I did have one guest mention in a review their sheets were not of highest thread count. But that comment was left in the private section of the review and it did not affect their rating. In any case, I firmly believe that a well-made bed can make your listing more attractive and on an intrinsic level it can create a better impression of your home in the guest’s mind which may result in a higher star review. Even if in their mind, the guest is not leaving you 5 stars because and only because of how the bed was made, it can an overall contributing factor… in my opinion.

To that point, how are most hotel beds made anyway? Do they always use 4 pillows, a comforter and a bedspread? Funny how I’ve travelled a ton and stayed at hundreds of hotels but I never really paid that much attention to these details. Because to be honest every hotel bed in a room I stayed at always looked super tight and done very professionally. But the beds in my Airbnb apartments are maybe 50 - 80% there… After I or my cleaners make them, they just don’t look as sleek as hotel beds and I am not sure exactly why. The beds themselves and my sheets are beautiful, obviously clean, and the way I and my cleaners make them is not bad or disorganized… yet I just can’t get the same look as in hotels… something is missing.

And yes I know that Airbnb properties are supposed to be different from hotels. Trust me, mine are unique… I just don’t want my guest beds to reflect my unique inability to make a bed :slight_smile: Everybody, and I mean everybody, likes a nicely made bed… it just sets the mood for having a restful night. I don’t know if everybody likes their bed made the hotel way (if there is such a standard way). But from your experience and observation/knowledge, does each hotel have a different way of making their beds? For example, beds are made one way in Hilton and another in Sheraton? And how do hotels train their cleaning staff to make beds the same way each time?

Another related question I’m curious about is do you offer your Airbnb guests the equivalent of what hotels call “turndown service”? As FYI Wikipedia’s definition of “turndown service” is turning down the bed linen of the bed in the room & preparing the bed for use, sometimes leaving an item of confectionery such as a chocolate or a mint on top of a pillow in the bed. Oh my! Well most times I’ve stayed in hotels, if I even remember requesting or being informed my rate includes turndown service, my turndown service consisted of just having a made bed with the top sheet flipped over on one side of it and no chocolates. But is there an Airbnb version of turndown service? And who (what type of guest) requests turndown service in hotels anyway? Has any of your Airbnb guests asked for turndown service or for their bed to be made a certain way?

And last but not least important, my opinion is that yes, how a bed is made can improve a guest’s experience. But for the most part, beds just have to be made. It can really be as simple as that. If the bed is not made, then you have a problem. All other cases of the bed being made one way vs another are just variations of a fine situation… with one way of making the bed being good and another way of making a bed being even better, almost like a bonus. So for now, personally, the only instruction I give my cleaners is that they need to make the bed in a way you can tell it’s been made. But what about other hosts who may have given all this a thought?

Edited to add: As I read comments I come up with a few further thoughts related to this subject. This one being that I always wondered what is the general standard for naming/marketing sheet sets in stores “the hotel collection”… what qualifies linen as high-quality hotel grade? For example, do they have to be white and over a certain thread count and of a certain type of material (cotton and not silk) to be called hotel-type bedding? As I mentioned previously, the only negative feedback I ever received regarding a bed was that my sheets were a bit thin and not hotel quality… however thick hotel quality is.

I’m only going to address this paragraph :slight_smile:

I do not offer a turndown service as I do not intrude on my guests space upstairs after they have checked in.
However, I can tell you, that on the coldest nights in winter, when I myself have reclaimed the bedroom that I offer to guests during spring, summer, and fall ( I move into my smaller bedroom downstairs for those months), I do provide a turndown service for myself!

The reason I do it is because if I don’t have guests here, I keep my house at a very cold temperature in the winter (68*). That bedroom upstairs has horrible windows, they do not keep out the cold or keep the heat in. So, I ‘turn down’ the bed upon arrival home from work, in order to let my sheets get a little warmer (I also have a space heater on a timer in there, goes on at 7pm, it’s set to 70* and then I turn it off when I climb into bed at about 830-9pm—yes, I go to bed early in the winter, because, well, it’s cold and I don’t have cable :slight_smile: )
In any case, I’m not sure if that is why ‘turndown’ service started,
I’ve found that if I just turn on the space heater, it warms the room, but unless the covers on the bed are pulled back, that bed is going to feel like an ice cube when I climb in.

Too funny…

I’m going to answer this question. It’s my understanding that the hotel management has a housekeeping book with rules and steps for getting the room ready. This probably includes pictures of a properly-made bed. Within a property, I have noticed that there is a great consistency in how the beds are made, and that is clearly important to the hotel. Each hotel chain will have different standard though.

Personally, I offer 2 pillows per guest, one soft and one cooling gel memory foam.

As a host and frequent guest at Airbnb units, I would not want anyone entering my unit to mess with my bedding (which I also find bizarre & pointless at hotels although I do like the chocolates).

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Ok, I like talking about this subject.

My personal preference is to give a lot of options, and the guest can choose what they want to use and what gets thrown into a chair. But also my focus is on offering a luxury experience, and also feeling like you are at home and can lounge around and be comfortable. Since I love lying on the bed and watching Netflix on my iPad while propped up in pillows and fluffy blankets, that’s what I provide for my guests.

The layers on my bed:

  1. sheet
  2. soft cotton blanket, fairly lightweight (screenshot below). The fancy top part of the sheet is folded over the top of the blanket so they are sandwiched together. I have found that most guests use these two together and don’t separate them.
  3. Heavy weight comforter, almost never used but it’s the pretty, decorative part. Guests usually push it down over the footboard or bench. But it’s high summer here, in the winter this might get more use.
  4. folded fuzzy blanket at the foot of the bed. It’s still a king sized blanket, but it can be used to snuggle either on the bed or in a chair or something. The only I know who ever used this was my mom when she visited, because it was soft and warm but not heavy.
  5. pillows, 2 for each guest plus some decorative extras. Guests usually put the extras on a chair or in the closet.

I did buy some colorful bedding and towels, but with experience I now know why hotels stick with white. You can bleach it when needed. I’ve had at least 5 guests this year with acne, nosebleeds or other bloodspots and I’m so grateful that the stains came out with a little care.

I will reiterate my love for JC Penny here - notice that they have a 3-day sale with 50% off bedding and bath right now. Unfortunately, it’s not coordinated with the items themselves being on sale, so it’s 50% off their kinda high full price. They have this same sale about once a month, so I wait for it and watch the sale prices and hit when the stars align. The blanket below I think I got for $27 / queen about six months ago. It’s a great blanket.


@brook2adks interesting… thanks for sharing! The video is funny but I don’t get what they did with the pillows :slight_smile:

@Artemis thanks for sharing the info about your process and what you use. The blanket is beautiful. $27 is a good deal… Bedding is such a hit and miss with regards to pricing. I agree with you about all white sheets, great point.

@Artemis, I love light weight cotton woven blankets like these. I got mine from Kohl’s, their Sonoma brand, and they started out bigger than this JC Penney one (90" X 95"). After washing and drying a dozen or more times, they have shrunk quite a bit. Have yours shrunk? How do you launder them? If they have shrunk, are they still big enough that you can tuck both sides under the mattress?

I try to make my guest bed into a big, comfy, inviting oasis of soft and plush that’s also pretty to look at. I actually bought 2 bedding sets to create the look I wanted.

The first bedding set is a soft, muted gray abstract floral on white with a comforter. The second set is a solid yellow coverlet set. I have sheets and cotton blankets in both white and gray that I can mix and match.

To make the bed: fitted sheet, top sheet and cotton blanket go on first, all the while pulling and smoothing to get that super crisp look. Tuck the top sheet and blanket under the mattress at the bottom. Spread floral comforter on bed, again with the pulling and smoothing. Fold comforter top back and smooth. Fold cotton blanket back so the folded part is on top of the folded back comforter, but a few inches back. Fold the top sheet back and on top of the blanket, again with a few inches of blanket showing, all to get a pretty contrast.

In the beginning, at this point I would tuck the sheet and blanket under the mattress along the sides from the bottom about 3/4 of the way up. Now, my sheets and blanket have shrunk from so many washings, and my new Nest bed is deeper than the mattress I started with. This makes it so there is not enough fabric to tuck under the mattess anymore, so that part doesn’t get done.

On another note, I used to fold back the blanket and top sheet and tuck those under the mattress tightly, before putting the comforter on. But people kept not getting between the sheets and instead sleeping on top of the blanket and covering up with the comforter.

To finish off, I layer the floral shamed pillows, then the solid yellow pillows and then the pillows in cases, and lay the solid yellow coverlet at the bottom of the bed for a contrasting band.

I know, it’s a lot of bedding and a lot of pillows, but I get a lot of ooohs and ahhhs when people walk into the guest room, so I hope it’s worth it!

I try to get pick the best quality sheets I can find on super sale or clearance at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. I think I’ve got one 600 thread count set and the other 2 sets didn’t even say, so who knows. So far, no one has complained, and they all seem to be holding up well.

I don’t do a turndown service mainly because I don’t think guests want me in their room after check in.

As I guest I choose a peer-to-peer house share, be it Air or VRBO or anywhere, so that I can have the exact opposite of a hotel experience.

@Artemis, @Chloe – the way you describe your bed-making is lovely, but doesn’t it create a lot of laundry? Washing blankets, comforters, decorative pillows, etc, after each guest leaves sounds like a lot of work, no?

We have new laundry machines so they do pretty big loads. Most of the pillows and stuff are covers, so that’s actually very small. I do one load of sheets and one load of towels / blankets.

Edited to add: I have a 3 day minimum, but most of my guests have stayed more like 5-6 days. That makes a huge difference.

@Artemis Lynn, I suppose big machines make the job easier, and the fact that you have guests staying several days make sense. I found that the more stuff I offer the more it can get stained or otherwise damaged, so I try to be somewhat Spartan. I’m sure your TLC is appreciated by your guests…wishing you success!!

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