Why I bring my own sheets to hotels (and why you should too)

I’m not a “staycation” kinda gal.

At the tender age of thirty (flirty and thriving), I have yet to experience a weekend at home that beats even one night in a three-star-or-above hotel somewhere you risk paying roaming fees. And what’s not to love? Hotels do everything for you - they turn down your bed, replace your towels, replenish your shampoo, and even deliver your meals. If you’re lucky, they even stock your minifridge with all the adult beverages you could possibly want, next to $6 bottles of water. The beds are cushy and soft, and you can fall asleep watching the Real Housewives without fretting about your electric bill. There is nothing about staying home that’s better than staying in a hotel.

Well, there is one thing.

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See, hotel beds may be cushy and soft, but the sheets consistently leave something to be desired. Even as I write this from the esteemed Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, Philippines, I’m perplexed how such a palatial paradise could let me down in the bedding department.

Don’t get me wrong - the Marco Polo is the pinnacle of luxury. Between the endless amenities (to the tune of spas, limo services, fitness centers, pools, I could go on), the aptly-named Premier rooms featuring rain showers and modern marble accents, and the 5-star service that rivals hotels twice and three times as expensive, I’ve never felt more at home than 7,300 miles from home.

But Marco - may I call you Marco? Mr. Polo perhaps? - there is one reason I used to look forward to going home after my stay with you: my sheets. Your sheets are fine, ok? They’re a soft, cool percale-poly blend. They hold up just fine as I toss and turn between them each night. They’re crisp and clean, and the pillowcases always make my hair look shiny the next morning. But they’re not my sheets.

My sheets, you see, are 100% French linen. They’re sourced directly from Normandy, France, and as I lie between them I swear I can hear the gentle rolling of waves and feel the comforting kiss of sand and sky. I never have to worry about the hotel’s A/C getting wonky because my sheets react to my body temperature in real-time, keeping me warm when I’m chilly and cool when I’m overheating.

Now that I think of it, why is it that hotels never have linen sheets? Is it a liability thing? Sure, linen costs more than polyester, but you easily make up that cleaning costs alone. What’s more expensive - replacing one set of linen sheets every once in a while, or cleaning up literal puddles of sweat from heavy poly sheets every single night? And if we’re going to get technical about it, the ROI from return customers alone is worth the investment. Can you imagine if a longtime Holiday Inn-er became a believer after a single linen-laden night at a Marco Polo? That’s, like, 6500₱ a few times a year. Math is not my strong suit, but I know that’s gotta be a huge win for Mr. Polo over here.

Ever since I started bringing my own set of linen sheets on vacation, I sleep like a comatose baby. Not only does it maintain my optimal sleeping body temperature, it reminds me of my own bed at home. Even if the mattress is too soft or too hard, linen is the Goldilocks equalizer that instantly puts me to sleep. Or maybe that’s the complimentary pinot grigio…nah, it’s the sheets.

There’s no shame in incorporating the comforts of home into your R&R. Sure, you may need to sacrifice some space in your carryon, but let’s be honest: after one night enjoying the opulence of your hotel combined with the luxury of linen, you’re not going to need much more than a set of pajamas, which you’ll shamelessly wear to each morning’s continental breakfast. Hey, whatever tickles your fancy sheets.

Preparing for your own seaside escape? Stock up on the essentials here.