We chatted with Steven Salhany, partner at The Mansfield Robe Company, to get his professional tips for selecting the best robes for your spa and clients. Here's what he had to say:
What materials are popular in the latest robes?
Standard spa robe materials can really be divided into three categories—lightweight, medium weight, and heavier weight. Each category has its own pros and cons. Popular lightweight fabrics include waffle weave and diamond weave fabrics, and these fabrics are very popular in the southern U.S. and Caribbean for obvious reasons. We use a 65 percent cotton/35 percent polyester blend which has several benefits, such as quicker dry time, softer hand feel, and minimized shrinkage. Medium weight robes are often your lined robes, such as the microfiber terry lined robe. Heavier weight fabrics include terry and terry velour.
When recommending a specific robe to a prospective customer, key questions that we will ask are: Do you have an in-house laundry or to your use an outside launderer? Will your clients/guests be putting the robe on when wet? Will the client/guest be nude when wearing the robe and will they be lounging around in front of other spa goers? Each of these questions has very important implications as to what is the right robe for this particular spa.
What materials do you discourage spas from using in robes?
As a professional bathrobe supplier, we strongly discourage spa and hotel decision makers from buying robes that are polyester based and have polyester next to your skin. The attraction to polyester is natural because this fabric is teddy bear soft, cozy, and is quite inexpensive. While good for home use, this fabric is not good in a commercial environment. Polyester does not absorb moisture or release a person’s body heat. So if someone puts this robe on when wet, it provides a terrible experience. Also, if the client’s body temperature rises even a degree, they will become overheated. If polyester is dried on a high heat setting (high heat kills bacteria from one guest to the next), the fabric will become harsh and can actually melt.
What qualities make Mansfield's products stand out?
At Mansfield, all of our seams are double stitched and pockets and belt loops are reinforced, providing the durability needed in a commercial environment. We do have a special fabric that is cozy, medium weight, absorbent and breathable as well as quick drying. You cannot currently find this fabric anywhere else. It is our best seller.
What are spa directors looking for when they come to you for new robes and slippers?
A bathrobe is there to enhance the guest experience. There is nothing like putting on a cozy enveloping soft bathrobe during a client's spa visit. Most spa directors are looking for a robe that will be super cozy and comfortable, a robe that will dry quickly, a robe that will fit the majority of people properly, and a robe that will absorb moisture and breathe a person’s body heat. Durability is a must.
What best practices do you share with spas about cleaning and storing robes?
It is always recommended to follow the washing instruction on the label of the robe. These instructions will always state not to use chlorine bleach as it is very damaging to fabricsPeople need to remember that a bathrobe is no different from the clothes you wash at home. Sure the seams are reinforced but the fabric must still be handled with care. We have all put a robe on in a hotel only to find it has a very rough hand feel. If you want your robes to last as long as possible, we strongly recommend removing the robe from the dryer before it is bone dry and is still slightly damp. This will avoid scorching the cotton and allow it to fluff up. Putting it on a hanger then will eliminate any wrinkling of the fabric. This is a sure way to have your robes last much longer.
What do robes add to the spa experience?
A robe has special powers. It has the ability to put guests' minds at ease and take them away from their daily stresses. A comfortable cozy robe that fits properly is an essential part in enhancing the guest experience.
Now that you know how to pick a new robe, check out our tips on maintaining them here: "A Step in the Right Direction."