Selecting spectacular superyacht towels
Last updated: 21/12/2016
Unlike selecting towels and linens for your own home, choosing luxurious towels for a superyacht can be a much longer and more intensive process than first thought, needing the long and lengthy input of many parties to align them with the yacht’s interior design.
With this in mind, Yachting Pages looks into the considerations required when selecting spectacular superyacht towels for the yacht's interior and exterior.
A buyer’s guide to selecting quality superyacht towels
It is first useful for any responsible stew or stewardess to have a brief knowledge of towel terminology to understand the process of ordering and caring for superyacht towels - especially when ordering online or over the phone.GSM: Grams per square metre: Similarly to the fabric thread count of other superyacht linens, which indicates the number of threads in one square metre of fabric, GSM refers to the weight of the fabric per square metre in grams: The higher the thread count or GSM the heavier the weight therefore, resulting in a thicker and more absorbent towel.
GSM can therefore be a great indicator of the perceived quality of the towel when shopping from a distance, via email or telephone. For example, a low GSM of 300 to 400 is a light, thin towel, whereas a high GSM of 450 to 650 gives a thicker, heavier towel.Ply
The ply of a fabric refers to the amount of yarns that are wrapped together into a single thread. A two-ply towel will therefore be made of a fabric where two strands of yarn have been woven together, resulting in a stronger and thicker thread for more durable towels.
As described, zero twist (or NX twist) means there is no twist in the yarn of the towel, resulting in a softer and fluffier feel.
With towel fabrics, the longer and denser the loops the more absorbent the towel. A towel with thicker, tightly packed loops will therefore be of a higher quality than one where you can see the base or background. For longevity, towels should be double stitched on all edges for extra reinforcement.Cotton
Pure cotton fibres naturally attract water and can hold almost 25 times their weight in liquid, making them highly absorbent. Combed cotton options remove the shorter fibres, making towels stronger and softer, and reducing shedding, while Egyptian cotton creates longer fibre loops giving even more strength, softness and absorbency per inch.
Other popular towel fabrics include terry, linen, bamboo and velour.
Selecting superyacht towels
Yacht cabins will need at least three sizes of towel – a shower or bath towel, a hair towel and hand towel, plus washcloths, bathrobes and bathmats, which will likely all coordinate with the yacht’s décor.
Ruth Douglas of Heirlooms Ltd explained, “In most cases, we work alongside the interior design and/or crew to help them to assess the different towel fabrics, styles and colour schemes, ensuring they are in-keeping with the interior style. We discuss the practicalities of laundering the fabrics and styles, and the facilities and ease of maintenance on board.
“Once manufactured, all items are labelled with their berth location, including towel sets and laundry bags. Records of orders should be kept, so even when crew change, the new stew can replenish the stock.”
Ann West from Cabin Shop explained, “Just as with superyacht bed linens, when starting the process of choosing interior and/or exterior towels for a superyacht, it’s first important to know and understand the yacht’s laundry facilities and capacity well.
“Large towels obviously take up a lot of space in the washing machine, and thick and heavy towels will take a long time to dry. Therefore if your laundry room and machines are small, the size of the towels is the first element to consider. Personally, I think a good-sized shower towel is sufficient for many yachts, rather than a very large bath sheet - especially for charter yachts or those without bath tubs."
Brightly coloured deck towels are a great way to add personality to the superyacht exterior (and interior), although many may have heard them to be best avoided as colours often fade quickly when left out in the sun - even when manufactured in UV-protected fabrics.
In fact, this is the case with towels of all colours. It is however possible to purchase towels with specialist treatments to protect against sun rays and salt water, should they stick around long enough – every long-serving crewmember will be able to recall a time when a towel has blown off the deck!
Ann said, “It’s deck towels that are usually the largest and harder to launder, so if the laundry facilities are small, it’s especially important here to choose a towel that’s not very thick and fluffy, as there will only be room to wash a few at a time and they will take a very long time to dry.” Which brings us to caring for superyacht towels on board.
Caring for luxury towels on board a superyacht
Like every luxury linen on board, towels often carry their own unique washing instructions for optimum durability and maintenance. If you plan to take care of your towels on board, your linen supplier should be able to guide you through the washing and drying process for each of your chosen towels to ensure they are always at their best, and prolong their life.
To keep superyacht towels looking their best for longer, know that:
- Each towel should always be washed before its first use
- Washing a towel on too high a temperature can cause shrinkage
- Fabric conditioners should be used sparingly, as they can coat the fibres and reduce the absorbency of the towel
- Bleaches and harsh cleaning chemicals will result in rough and discoloured towels
- Towels should not be dry cleaned, but can be outsourced
- Stray fabric loops can be cut with a pair of scissors to tidy up the towels, as it will not cause the fabric to unravel
- Tumble drying on a low to medium heat results in softer and fluffier towels
- Towels should not be ironed as it can negatively affect the pile
- Many facial cleansers and skin treatments can often contain benzoyl peroxide, which can damage towels and fabrics if the skin is not rinsed properly first
As the superyacht laundry is often congested, and accidents do happen, it’s always recommended that you have more than enough supply to meet on-board demand. Depending on the size and processes on board, up to five sets of towels will be required per cabin.