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A Pillow Menu is the Ultimate Luxury Travel Hack

If you stay at a true luxury hotel, you’re going to see a lot of menus: restaurant menus, room service menus, spa menus, and more.

But there’s one menu that most people aren’t even aware exists, unless they’re true professional travelers: the pillow menu.

Pick Your Own Pillow Adventure

No, this isn’t a room service menu for late-night dining. It’s a special menu that lets you choose the exact type of pillow you’ll have in the room during your stay.

Pillow menus are becoming more common at luxury properties, as well as hotels catering to business travelers.

The Four Seasons, for example, allows travelers at many properties to choose from a pillow menu that features 10 options, ranging from Hard and Soft to Horsehair and Buckwheat.

The Four Seasons pillow menu

I recently visited the Four Seasons Maui while photographing Hawaii, and I can tell you the pillow was perfect. But even if it wasn’t, I could easily have called the concierge to take a look at the pillow menu and make another selection.

Pillows, Not People

Why the new focus on pillow customization? With the increase in inflation, labor is expensive. Many hotels have been cutting back on services that require people—eliminating turndowns (or moving to housekeeping every 3 days), reducing hours for room service, having fewer front desk staff and the like.

All these traditional elements of the luxury travel experience require people, and hiring people is currently tough and expensive.

Two Bichon Frises on a hotel bed
Savoring the pillow menu

Offering a wide variety of customizable pillows, on the other hand, gives guests a chance to tailor their stay to the own unique preferences, and to feel like those preferences are being acknowledged, without adding much additional cost to the hotel.

It’s the same reason you can expect to see more investment into things like always-on hotel apps and mobile checkin systems, rather than more gold key concierge and desk staff.

People also have more preferences and are used to a wider range of choices at home. If you’re used to sleeping on a hypoallergenic or orthopedic pillow at home, why not have one waiting at your hotel, too?

Pillows are bulky, so you’re probably not going to being your own. Thus the need for a pillow menu.

Whatever the reasons for the emergence of this fascinating travel trend, it’s something you should definitely take advantage of if you’re at a business hotel or luxury property in the near future.

I don’t think I’d personally want to sleep on a horsehair pillow. But if that’s your jam, don’t worry—the pillow menu is there for you.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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