Monday, April 10, 2006

Bringing Hotel Luxury Home

Jennifer Candotti's husband recently gave her a gift: a quiet night away from him and their baby in a nearby hotel. "It was such a great night," she said. "I was by myself. I was so, so comfortable."

The next morning, she reflected on what made her feel so cozy - the featherbed mattress pad, the down comforter, the feather and down pillow, the 300-thread-count sheets and even the bed skirt, because it matched so nicely. Ultimately, her stay produced sensations associated with royalty.

"I just didn't want it to end," she said. It didn't have to.

Candotti went back to her home in Brookeville, Md., and did something thousands of hotel guests now do every day: She logged on to the hotel's website and went shopping. She ordered, for $1,500, just about everything her body touched. By the end of the week she had the goods, which she used to turn her guest room into a hotel at home.

The days of hotel guests stealing Ritz-Carlton towels are gone. Now they just buy the room, or even the lobby - the shower curtains, the lamps, the carpet, the chairs, the chaises, the desks, the beds, the bedding, the soap, the dishes, the flatware and pricey artwork on the wall. The hotels sell all this in an effort to tap into the dreams of the American consumer, who has already been rapidly trading up to other high-end products, such as $60 bottles of vodka, $200 designer jeans and pricey chocolate.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cleaning, storing winter bedding

The Coin Laundry Association and offers tips on storing winter bedding:

-Read care labels. Laundering can save money over dry cleaning but certain fabrics, such as satin, can't be washed. Make sure you follow the directions on the label.

-Some wool blankets can be washed and dried. Use cold water on a gentle cycle and fluff dry. Add some towels to help absorb moisture and cut down on drying time.

-Wash and dry flannel sheets separately because of the lint factor. Be sure not to over-dry. Over-drying can cause wrinkles to set and colors to fade.

-- When drying your bedding, use a fabric-softening sheet as opposed to a liquid softener. Fabrics, such as down, have a tendency to absorb the liquid unevenly.

-Wash colored bedding in a mild detergent. Whites should be followed up with an oxygenated bleach. Avoid chlorine bleaches, which leave a residue that is hard to clean and can cause discoloration over time.

-Be kind to your bedding. Wash and dry in large-capacity machines. Most household washers can hold 10 to 12 pounds of laundry. This is not large enough for a queen-size comforter. Commercial-grade washers, found at most coin laundries, can handle as much as 75 pounds of wash.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hotels Donate Linens to Homeless Shelter

The Road Home Shelter is getting thousands of sheets and towels to help the homeless feel a little more comfortable at the shelter. The donation is a team effort from several companies.

In a room at Orem's Hampton Inn and Suites, bags and bags of sheets, pillow cases and towels are stacked and waiting to be laundered. Five different hotels donated the linens and then staff at the Hampton Inn and Suites agreed to launder and fold it. Tina Phillips, Exec. Housekeeping, Hampton Inn and Suites Orem: "They are doing their full eight hours of work during the day, then they punch out at 4:30 and stay until 8:00 or 9:00 at night to launder the linens, wash, fold and bag them up."

The donation is a team effort. The University Inn, two Hilton Hotels and Crystal Inns donated the linens. Proctor and Gamble Professional sponsors the program called "Linens from Lodging", and along with its distributor, Hyko, donated the Tide, Downy and Clorox to clean them.

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