How the right towels can improve your life and home in an instant

Towels? Never a dry topic… and they’ll improve your life and home in an instant

A night at one of London’s most recently opened five-star hotels costs from £1,400. This may be beyond most people’s budgets. 

But it is possible to recreate one element of this cosseted experience for a lot less — a tenth of the sum, in fact.

Thick and fluffy towels are the vital accessory of a prestige hotel bathroom, and acquiring a set for your home will add ease and comfort to your daily routine. 

The Soho House group even sells the towels used in its hotels. A bundle of four (two bath and two hand towels) costs £110 (

Spa style: Super-soft towels will add a touch of luxury to your home as well as ease and comfort to your daily routine.

Christy, the British towelling company, says that the desire to make a bathroom even more relaxing while glamorous began during the pandemic.

Lucy Ackroyd, the firm’s head of design, says customers continue to want towels with ‘hotel-like fluffiness and quality’ to enhance the feeling of escape. 

If you have never focused much on the piece of cloth you use to dry yourself, you may think that a towel is just a towel.

But this item, invented in the 17th century in the city of Bursa in northern Turkey, is now at the centre of complex manufacturing processes.

Bathrooms began to be installed in homes from the mid-19th century following advances in plumbing that allowed hot water to be pumped into houses.

When Queen Victoria discovered and endorsed the towel in 1851, they became a status symbol among the upper classes.

Subsequently, a hierarchy has evolved in towels, which are graded by their weight — in the same way that sheets are compared by their thread count. GSM — grammes per square metre — is the key towel metric, showing weight by square metres.

Thinner towels have a GSM below 400. Higher quality towels, more likely to stand the test of time while feeling more plush and cushiony (two of the towel sector’s favourite words) have a GSM of 450-plus. Irritatingly, this crucial information rarely appears on labelling.

High and dry: Anthropologie’s Devon collection (£14-£38)

But businesses that supply the hospitality trade recognise the importance to their customers and specify the details on their websites, as do a few of the companies that cater for domestic customers.

Scooms, the online retailer, sells a bath cloth with 1,000 GSM. This comes as part of a £102.60 bundle also containing two bath and two hand towels with 702 GSM ( 

Levels of absorbency and drying times are another obsession. Turkish cotton is said to be faster drying, while Egyptian is claimed to be more absorbent as its threads are longer.

Marks & Spencer is sufficiently confident about its 690 GSM offer to call it the Autograph Hotel Ultimate Retreat Towel. This line costs from £6 to £23.50 for a bath sheet (

Like similar ranges, these towels come not only in white, but also in charcoal grey, duck egg blue, navy, soft pink and taupe.

In a hotel, only white may be acceptable since it can be bleached and also conveys cleanliness and purity. But in homes, people want to match the overall colour scheme of their interiors.

They are also often looking to envelop themselves in the kind of bathrobes provided by five-star hotels.

A few will splash out on the £350 Unito bathrobe from the Italian deluxe households linens group Frette. 

But the £45 robe from Soak&Sleep is a more modestly priced addition to the bathroom with a five-star vibe.

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