Your guide to shopping
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- Published: 09 November 2016 09 November 2016
In most rentals, hosts are expected to provide towels, a service that is very appreciated by travellers as it makes packing light that much easier. However, choosing the right towel can be daunting, especially when faced with a wide range. How can you recognize a quality towel in the bathroom? Which towel should you choose? Which size, material, weight, fibre and finish? All of these are aspects to consider when shopping for the perfect soft, fluffy and absorbent towel to delight your guests after every shower.
It’s important to know that towels come in various sizes based on their models. Many hosts have asked about which sizes are best and for rentals I recommend to provide two towels per person:
- Bath towel 27”-30” by 52”-58” (or 70 x 140 cm in Europe). For even more comfort, a bath sheet 35”-40” by 60”-70” (100 x 150 cm in Europe), will envelop the body even more.
- A 20” by 40” (50 x 150 cm) towel, ideal for wiping your face or drying your hair.
Even though washcloths are falling out of fashion these days (in Europe), I still recommend having one available. Depending on the manufacturers, they generally measure 13” by 13” (15 x 20 cm in Europe). Also consider providing hand towels, which are 16”-18” by 28”-30” (30 x 30 cm in Europe). If your rental is located on/near the beach and/or has a swimming pool, you may consider providing beach towels, in this case, select models of 35”-40” by 60”-70” (75 x 150 cm or 90 x 160 cm).
The weight (GSM)
The weight or grammage GSM refers to the weight of the towel in gram per square meter; it results in g / m2. The higher the number is, the higher the towel’s absorbency. The quality of a towel is highly dependent on its weight which should be a minimum of 450 g / m2. Towels between 600 and 700 g / m2 will be extra thick and soft and of a higher quality.
Most towels are pure cotton, but you can also choose from bamboo viscose, linen, soy and microfiber towels. For your rental accommodation, cotton and bamboo are the best options. Why? Cotton is a natural sponge and a material which is known for its absorbency. In addition, it is flexible and resistant to repeated washing. Bamboo has the advantage of being resistant, soft and actually more absorbent than cotton, but has the disadvantage of taking longer to dry.
The type of fibres
A towel’s quality also depends on the natural fibres used to make it; they are what give a towel its softness. To be precise, the longer the fibres, the softer the material will be. The more they are flattened, the lower the quality of the towel. Traditional cotton is recommended for your rental, but you can also choose Egyptian cotton (its 4 cm long fibres make it the softest cotton in the world), cotton velvet (also soft but less absorbent), organic cotton (ideal for babies and people with allergies), honeycomb towels (less absorbent but certainly save space and are fast drying), carded or combed cotton (for its softness) or stretch-proof loop cotton (resistant - does not fray).
The finishing touches
Towels often have a decorative border. What do we mean by that? Well, the decorative border is an embroidered, this is the decorative embroidered, stencilled or lace band bordering the towel. These can definitely make your towels more fun and give them some personality, however, the disadvantage is that during high temperature washes they tend to shrink. So, for your rental, it’s best to use simple models. Saying that, you can still bring a personal touch to the whole affair. For example you can print a logo, initials or a simple design onto the towels like we saw in our DIY article on Painting Household Textiles.
Good to know or remember
• Remember to wash new towels to remove any residue dyes and chemicals.
• Drying the towels in a dryer will make them fluffier than if they were dried on a clothesline.
• Using too much softener may alter the fibres’ absorbency.
• Choose towels that are complimentary in colour to those used in your bathroom. Coloured towels have the distinct advantage of making it easier for guests to distinguish which one they’re using. On the other hand, it is true that coloured towels can lose their intensity over time. White towels can be bleached, although this will also wear them out faster.