Almost every US hotel I've stayed in so far uses two sheets as a layer between the blanket and your body, instead of using a proper duvet cover (example of what I'm talking about) like most people do at home. What's the reason behind this? Is it possible to ask the hotel to change it for the duration of my stay?

It's unpleasant because the two sheets are eventually untangled from the blanket and your body touches the unwashed blanket surface.

  • 13
    Your profile says you live in the Czech Republic? Is that what determines your experience of what "most people do at home"? My experience is that people in the US mostly use the sheet system at home, so the hotel is just giving them what they're used to (since most guests are domestic visitors). I think Americans visiting Europe tend to think the "blanket cover, no sheets" system is weird. Just a cultural difference. – Nate Eldredge Aug 10 at 17:47
  • 7
    I too live in the US and find it bizarre. Ive never met anyone personally who uses this system at home. My guess is that it's faster for the housekeepers to change two sheets than try to wrestle a blanket cover or comforter cover on/off daily per room. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Aug 10 at 18:08
  • 2
    It took me a while to figure out what you mean by blanket cover — I guess like a duvet cover, but for a blanket instead of a duvet? The top sheet is usually tucked under the mattress, whereas the blankets or comforters are not, and perhaps because I grew up with that system, tangling has never been an issue for me. It's nice to feel tucked in but not weighed down. Besides, wouldn't you encounter the same problem when you have multiple blankets, or does every blanket have its own cover? Or do Europeans just use fewer layers, given the climate in most places has relatively fewer extremes? – choster Aug 10 at 18:10
  • 4
    I live in Canada. At home we used a duvet (with a duvet cover) and two sheets. The sheets are easier to wash; the duvet cover only needs to be washed occasionally as a result of the second sheet. – Jim MacKenzie Aug 10 at 19:04
  • 2
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but - two sheets between the blanket and your body? The usual American system, as in the question I linked above, has two sheets between the bed and the blanket, but you're meant to sleep between the two, so that there is only one sheet between your body and the blanket. This is what I find most Americans doing at home, and likewise in most American hotels. Is there really an extra sheet at your hotel, or are you perhaps doing it wrong? – Nate Eldredge Aug 10 at 19:59
up vote 22 down vote accepted

I think it's just a cultural difference. The "two sheet" system is commonly used in homes in the US. So US hotels use the same system because it's familiar to most of their guests. (The US is a big country with lots of domestic travel, and most hotel guests would be Americans rather than travelers from abroad.)

(As a clarification, the most common system involves a sheet on the bed, and then one more sheet between the person and the blanket. You've found a bed that has one more sheet over the top, so it's really a "three sheet" system - the third one is not so common in people's homes. You could certainly remove the top one if you don't like it there, since it won't be relevant when you're sleeping under the covers.)

instead of using a proper duvet cover like most people do at home

That's not what most Americans do at home, in my experience (I am one). Even if there is a duvet with a cover, they will usually still have a sheet between the person and the duvet. And many people don't use duvets at all, preferring wool or synthetic blankets or a quilt.

What's the reason behind this?

As I said, I think it's mostly just the way things are. But it has a few benefits that I can see:

  • Duvet covers can be awkward to get on and off; it's easier to just change sheets which are not attached to the blanket or duvet.

  • A duvet cover is twice as much cloth to wash compared to a sheet.

  • A sheet usually extends over the edge of the bed, whereas the blanket usually just reaches the edge. This makes it less likely that you'll come completely uncovered, especially if there are two people in the bed. It's also easier to tuck the sheet under yourself to avoid drafts.

  • With a separate sheet, if you get too warm, you have the option to put the blanket aside and just sleep under a sheet.

Is it possible to ask the hotel to change it for the duration of my stay?

Of course you can ask, but my guess is that most American hotels will not have duvet covers on hand, so they wouldn't be able to accommodate such a request. You may also have a hard time getting them to understand what you mean, since the concept of sleeping directly under a duvet cover may be pretty foreign to them.

It's unpleasant because the two sheets are eventually untangled from the blanket

Well, I don't think everyone has that problem. Maybe you move around more than average when you sleep.

  • 2
    This is not just a US cultural thing. I have experienced it in many western countries – Peter M Aug 10 at 22:21
  • 3
    Wow, I would've never thought people actually do this. Although it makes sense if it's your own blanket rather than a greasy hotel blanket touched by a thousand people before. – JonathanReez Aug 10 at 22:23
  • 1
    @JonathanReez if this makes you feel dirty then I suggest you don't use a UV light in your hotel rooms - or stay in hotel rooms at all :D – Peter M Aug 10 at 22:26
  • 2
    @choster, so when you climb into bed, do you lay perfectly still like a mummy all night? Without fail, every time I've slept on a bed with a top sheet, the sheet ends up pushed to the side or on the floor. I tend to get hot easily and move around a lot. When I was a child, I used to wake up turned around, with my head where my feet were. – user128216 Aug 10 at 22:56
  • 5
    @user128216 there's a lot of middle ground between "lays like a mummy"and "thrashes around like a crazy person." If you're too warm, use a lighter or no blanket. – Kat Aug 10 at 23:55

I am an ex-pat living in Vienna, Austria. I was shocked to find that in most European countries they do NOT sleep under a second sheet, but under a duvet with a cover...and in many cases a double/queen sized bed will have 2 twin sized duvets on the bed...one for each person. I found this really strange since I was a newlywed and sleeping with my own blanket meant that when I wanted to get closer to my husband there was always that open area between us where the duvets separated (we have since fixed this...there are duvets and covers large enough for double/queen sized beds...king sized beds don't seem to be offered anywhere here, nor is there bedding available for a king). You will not find the flat sheet offered here with bedding sets (normally the set includes a fitted sheet and 2 pillow cases for a queen sized set). In staying in hotels here you have a little better felling of cleanliness in the bed, because all the bedding (sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers) are fresh and clean as opposed to the re-used blanket and bedspreads that are normally found on the hotel beds stateside. It's a culture thing and one that you just get used to (lol kinda)...I still miss my top sheet, but not a deal breaker for living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

  • 3
    I don't see how this answers the question. – Pont Aug 11 at 10:36
  • 1
    king sized beds don't seem to be offered anywhere here we have beds at usually 70, 90, 120, 140, 160 and 180 cm. The latter is almost equivalent to a California King Size bed, but slightly narrower than a typical King Size (which is 193 cm). You may find 200 cm beds, but bedding can be more difficult to get. – WoJ Aug 11 at 11:56
  • @WoJ a lot more difficult! – jcaron Aug 11 at 13:43
  • 1
    @jcaron: I just had a look and they are quite common after all: amazon, BUT, cdiscount, gifi, la compagnie du blanc, ... – WoJ Aug 11 at 15:27

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.