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Sweet Dreams on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket

Written by Susan Hutchins
4.8/5 - (5 votes)

By its very definition, “vacation” means a time for rest, relaxation, and recreation. But it’s hard to rest and relax on an uncomfortable bed. Also, in a recent survey, over 80% of vacationers indicated that it was “very important” to see pictures of all the bedrooms on a listing. So make sure your bedrooms not only ARE comfortable, but also LOOK comfortable and attractive. Pictures of well-made, luxurious beds can make all the difference!

With a few simple steps and you can create a restful, relaxing, peaceful, and beautiful place for your guests to slumber.

The Mattress – Although pillow top mattresses are extremely comfortable, they tend to wear out faster than non-pillow top. Additionally, they cannot be flipped to extend the life of the mattress. Go for a non-pillow top, and if it seems too firm, then add a memory foam topper to the mattress. These are a great investment and can be bought for under $100.

The Box Spring – Let’s face it — box springs are not attractive, so be sure to cover your beds’ box springs with a bed skirt or even with a simple box spring cover. This small investment will help to give your beds a finished look.

Sheets – There is nothing nice about getting into a bed that has sheets that are scratchy, pilling, ripping, or really thin. If you provide linens, buy sheets that have a minimum of a 300-thread count and are 100% cotton. Egyptian cotton and Pima or Supima cotton (Supima is 100% American grown Pima cotton) are good choices. Percale is also an acceptable choice. They are a cotton/polyester blend and thus are resistant to wrinkling, but they tend to be thinner than the 100% cotton sheets. The cotton/polyester sheets will dry quickly, which may be important to you when you have guests arriving and departing on the same day. The downside is they wear out more quickly than cotton and will have to be replaced more frequently.

Be sure to check the condition of your sheets at the beginning and end of each rental season and replace them if necessary.chilmark-marthas-vineyard-vacation-rental-b

Pillows – Where your guests rest their heads is very important. A pillow that resembles a pancake and is stained is probably the last place a guest will want to place their head. Each “sleeper” should have two pillows on the bed; hence a twin should have two, and a full and queen should have 4 pillows. A king bed should be supplied with 2 king pillows and two standard ones. A down or down alternative pillow with a medium firmness is an excellent choice. Don’t forget to cover your pillows with pillow protectors. This will keep them from staining and extend their life. It’s always a good idea to put one or two extra pillows (with pillowcases) of varying firmness in each bedroom’s closet.

With the sheets and pillows in place, it is time to “dress the bed.”

Blankets, Quilts, Coverlets, Bedspreads – Layer each bed with a blanket, quilt, coverlet, or bedspread. These should be made of a material that is comfortable and feels good on the skin. A scratchy wool or pilling synthetic blanket is not comfortable. Choose a cotton or cotton/polyester blend. Think hot summer nights.

Comforters – Finally, since nights can get chilly on the Cape and Islands, make sure to layer each bed with a comforter. The comforter can be down or a down alternative. Comforters come in a variety of colors and patterns, or go with a simple white one and dress it up with a duvet cover. Duvet covers are great because they can be easily removed and washed after each guest’s departure.

The comforter can be folded at the end of the bed and can be used as needed by your guests. If you prefer, you can swap the placement of the comforter and blanket/quilt. Have the comforter cover the entire bed and fold the blanket/quilt /bedspread or coverlet at the foot of the bed.mashpee-cape-cod-vacation-rental

Bed sizes – One more thing to consider is the bed configuration. A king or queen bed is far more appealing to vacationing couples than a double. If none of your bedrooms is large enough to accommodate a queen or king, consider converting two twin beds to a king size by purchasing a king converter piece (Bed, Bath & Beyond sells them for around $15). See our blog post “Vacation Rental “Silent Killer”: Small Beds.”

“Comfortable, attractive, soft, and cozy” should be how your guests describe the beds in your vacation rental home. So be sure to invest in quality bedding for your guests. They will most certainly notice and appreciate it, and, in turn, they will likely book with you again.

Do you have any other ideas about providing comfortable sleeping arrangements for your guests?

About the author

Susan Hutchins

Susan H. - I am a recent addition to the WeNeedaVacation team, joining them in early 2012. I write website and blog content as well as promote through social media. Having grown up spending summers on Nantucket, I have a strong connection to Cape Cod and the Islands. I now live in New Hampshire with my husband, two children, and golden retriever puppy, and we are frequent visitors to the Cape. I love running local road races, the Brewster in Bloom 5K being a favorite. My family enjoys biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, hiking in Nickerson State Park, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches (usually a dog friendly one!). Email Susan


  • These are great suggestions. Sadly I opted for pillow top beds in our VR. Now that our personal pillow top bed is about done in after years of use I really see the value of not doing that ever again…either at home or in our VR. An expensive lesson learned.

      • Donna-Thank you for sharing your experience with pillowtop mattresses. It might be helpful to homeowners who may be considering the purchase of a new mattress for their vacation rental or primary home. As far as “reviving” a pillowtop mattress, here are a few suggestions that may be worth trying:
        -Simply rotate the mattress.
        -Try vacuuming the pillowtop.
        -Another technique that seems a bit outlandish, but believed by some to work, is to take a clean broom and beat the entire top of the mattress and when finished roll from top to bottom a few times.
        -Finally, if the above options aren’t successful, try adding a foam topper to the mattress. We did this with a pillowtop mattress, and it worked quite well for us.
        Good luck, and please let us know if you had any success with bringing new life to your pillowtop mattress.