The Hotel Towels Buying Guide

It’s hard to beat the feeling of stepping out of a long soak in the bath or a refreshing rinse under the shower and straight into a warm, soft, and cosy towel. If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel that tries to do everything with a touch of luxury then you’ll no doubt have experienced a high-quality hotel towel that you’ll want to have for your personal use at home.

So, whether you’re buying for a hotel or your home, it’s a good idea to find out what the towel is going to feel like to use before you put down the hard cash. When you’re buying online you can’t physically touch the towel, but there are plenty of ways to ensure you’re only buying the best. Read on for some tips on how to choose quality hotel towels.

How do I identify a good quality towel?

You don’t want to end up with a towel that feels rough on skin, but how do you make sure that the quality is of the towel is top-notch and that it’s going to be soft? To be safe, it’s best to go for 100% cotton towels as these are both soft and absorbent and they tend to only get softer and fluffier with age. They’re also the best if you have soft skin as it won’t feel too harsh. A 100% combed cotton towel is a good bet, as combed cotton has the shorter fibres removed to keep the towel strong and prevent future pilling (to find out more about how cotton is combed, read our article on the topic).

Synthetic materials, such as polyester, are cheaper but aren’t as soft or absorbent. These types are generally used for tea towels or cleaning purposes. If you want a towel that feels comfortable on the skin then it’s best to stay away from these, as hotel guets won't apprecaite it. However, if budget is an issue then towels with a cotton and polyester blend (also known as ‘polycotton’) are a safe bet as these combine the best of both materials.

Finally, you'll also want the towel to be twin stitched, as this gives the towel extra hold and a strong hem.

If you’re touching a towel in a physical shop then be aware that manufacturers often put finishes on their towels so that they feel softer upon the first touch, but then this coating comes off in the first wash. It’s much better to look at the label to see what material it’s made from.

What are some common towel technical terms?

There are a few technical terms that you can find on labels or product webpages.

  • Twist: This is referring to how much the loop’s yarn is twisted. If the towel has a high twist then it is more durable, but a low or zero-twist gives a wider surface area to create a plusher and more absorbent feel.
  • Combed cotton: This means that the cotton has been brushed to remove short fibres and straighten remaining fibres, which makes the fabric softer and increases durability. Our L650 650 GSM towel is an exampled of a combed cotton towel.
  • Ring spun cotton: The long and short cotton fibres are tightly twisted together, making for a stronger and smoother material.
  • Turkish cotton: This is cotton that has been grown in Turkey’s Aegean region, so you can generally assume it’s a premium quality towel. It’s made up of narrow fibres with long staples, giving it fantastic absorbency, softness and a nice shine. For more on the benefits of Turkish cotton towels, read our article on the topic.
  • Egyptian cotton: The most popular type when it comes to luxury, although Turkish cotton is a close alternative. Each fibre has a long staple to give the towel an incredibly soft touch and an equally incredible shine.

The weight of a towel matters.

Towel weight is measured in GSM, which stands for grams per square metre. Generally, you can assume that the thickness and absorbency of the towel will rise to be proportionate with their GSM weight as there will be more or longer loops in the material. For example, 300-400 GSM towels are usually considered lightweight, with 400-600 GSM as medium weight and 600GSM and above are classed as heavyweight.

Take some time to think about how often the towel will be used, especially in hotels where towels may not be changed if a guest is only staying a couple of days. Lightweight towels will dry quicker but won’t feel as thick, whereas the opposite applies to heavyweight towels.

For more on GSM, read our 'what is GSM?' article.

Visual appeal

While the comfort of the towel is the most important aspect, it should also look good enough that you want to wrap it around yourself in the first place. Check that the edges of the towel have close and secure stitching, which prevents fraying and gives you peace of mind that quality craftsmanship has gone into its manufacture.

In terms of colour, white is the most popular choice as its neutral base will go with just about any bathroom design. But if you must go for coloured towels, check that the manufacturer uses good quality dyes with good colour fastness to ensure that it doesn’t lose all its bold colour after a few washes.

Caring for your towels

Here are a few tips on how to care for your new luxury hotel towels. For more in-depth information, please see our laundry advice guide.

  • All our cotton towels can be washed up to 60°.
  • Make sure to wash all towels with detergent before use, as this prevents thread pulling.
  • Wash white towels together and coloured towels separately.
  • Try to wash towels on their own, as washing towels with clothes that have zips can cause snags. If this does happen, make sure to cut them off with scissors before they get worse.
  • Shake our towels before you put them in the washing machine as this will allow the detergent to sink in.
  • Use fabric conditioner sparingly and avoid using it in the first few washes of a new towel, as these lubricate the fibres and reduce absorbency.
  • You can use a tumble dryer to dry towels, but don’t over-dry them as it can lead to a dull, grey appearance.

Whether you’re looking for thick and plush white bath towels or quick-drying durable towels for regular use, we stock a variety of hotel towels here at Vision Linens. This includes bath towels, hand towels, bath sheets and face cloths. Just head on over to our bathroom section to view our full range.