The quality of a hotel’s bath and table linens is a remarkably accurate indicator of the hotel’s class and price level. The thicker the towels, the more expensive the accommodations.
## Bath Linen
The intended purpose of a bath towel is to absorb water, but a towel is often used by the guest as a rag to wipe up spills or as a shine cloth for shoes. Considering the abuse that hotel towels receive, it really is a wonder that, according to one major linen manufacturer, the average hotel uses only 12 towels for one hotel room per year.
This figure represents loss from normal wear and tear, permanent staining, and theft. In this section we will also examine cloth bath mats and shower curtains.
## Fabric Materials and Construction
The standard hotel bath linen is a white terry cloth towel that is a blend of cotton/polyester fibers. Terry cloth towels are woven on a loom. The fibers running lengthwise in the towel (the ground warp) are usually a blend of two parts polyester and one part cotton. Polyester in the warp gives the towel its strength and helps to minimize shrinkage. Pile warp is the yarn running lengthwise in the towel that makes the terry loops on both sides of the towel’s surface. These fibers should be 100 percent cotton for absorbency. The filling, or weft, is the yarn that runs
horizontally across the towel. The filling should be 100 percent cotton. The selvage is the side edge of a towel or other woven fabric. It is a flat surface with no pile warp.
Towels, like sheets, can be sold as either firsts or seconds. Seconds are usually caused by a thick filling thread, a dropped warp or filling thread, or an uneven hem or border. These types of defects in no way impair the absorbency or durability of a towel. Therefore, many hotels willingly use towel seconds.
Bath mats are made in the same way as a terry towel, but the material is much heavier. The best type of shower curtain for a commercial operation is a curtain made of 260 denier nylon. This type of curtain is better than any plastic curtain because it is easier to maintain, it resists mildew, it does not become stiff or brittle over time, it does not show soap stains as readily, and it is available in a multitude of colors.
The best protection against soap stains and mildew is to use a vinyl liner with a curtain. Do not use clear vinyl liners because these will show soap stains. Use a white or pastel-colored vinyl. The vinyl should be a minimum 6-gauge thickness. Plastic snap hooks are better than other types of plastic hooks or metal hooks.
## Bath Linen Par Levels
A reasonable bath linen par level for a hotel with its own laundry is 3 1/2 . If the laundry must be sent off the premises, the par level should be increased to 4 1/2 .