HI EXPRESS BEEFS UP BEDDING

The bedding wars continue. Two more chains — Holiday Inn Express and BridgeStreet Worldwide — introduced new bedding packages to their systems.

Holiday Inn Express has the bigger task as it rolls out its Simply Smart bedding collection at more than 1,400 locations in North America. Launched last month, the program will cost property owners more than $53 million to implement.

The chain says the “essence” of the initiative is triple sheeting comprised of a decorative top sheet and a medium-weight duvet blanket sandwiched between 200 thread-count sheets. The beds will also feature four pillows in two comfort levels: soft and firm.

The bedding program is the third in a series of recent brand enhancements at the chain. In 2003, the brand launched the Express Start breakfast bar, followed a year later with the Simply Smart shower upgrade featuring premium towels, new bath products and an improved showerhead.

Corporate housing giant BridgeStreet has branded its program the SleepEasy bedding package. The bedding, which has already been implemented in the apartments the firm operates in more than 90 markets, is more upscale than the Holiday Inn Express offering. It includes a signature feather bed; hypoallergenic 250 thread-count sheets; thermal cotton blanket; plush duvet and six queen-sized pillows.

BridgeStreet President Lee Curtis says the bedding is in all company-operated apartments, not just in premium units, as in some corporate housing.

BridgeStreet donated its obsolete bedding and more than $100,000 in housewares to Rebuilding Together, a volunteer group that preserves and revitalizes housing.

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