Tall Motel Beds–Form Over Function

http://offroadersblog.com/ Here’s a picture of the bed in the Comfort Inn where we stayed last week in Marion, NC. There’s a trend in motels now to make the beds tall–maybe to save the backs of the housekeepers, who have to make dozens of beds every day. However, I’m paying to sleep there, and even though I’m tall (5’8″), I cannot get in and out of the bed (and I need to do that 2-3 times a night). Sitting on the bed (like to put on socks) is NOT an option. I pulled the desk close to the bed for perspective. The desk is 29″ tall–the bed is a couple of inches taller–so imagine trying to sit on the desk, then swing your legs up to lie down on it. I asked for a stool and all the inn could offer was a booster seat (it’s on the floor by the bed). Also note the pillow–dollar bills are 6″, so the pillow must be 8″ or more–they look great at the head of the bed but are impossible to sleep on. I bring my pillows when I travel by car (not an option on flights).


Here’s a quote from a site that popped up when I Googled standard bed height: “The average bed height today is about 25 inches. At this height, your feet can reach the floor when you’re seated on the edge of the mattress.”

This bed is at least 31″.

One other really weird thing–there are no towel racks. Not one. The linens are stored on shelves below the bathroom counter, and there’s no place to hang them when they’re damp. We prefer not to get the room cleaned every day and to re-use the towels, so we’ve been draping them on chairs.

At breakfast Saturday there was a couple with their two children, a boy 5 and a girl 2-1/2. I asked the couple if the kids could get up on the bed. The father answered, “No, I have to lift them up every time. They get down by sliding off. Our daughter sleeps between inflated cushions that keep her from falling off, but we were concerned about our son rolling off the bed in his sleep, so we put pillows on the floor on his side.”


The above was written 6-13-15; since then I’ve corresponded with Choice Hotels, the company that manages Comfort Inns. Their response was boiler-plate CYA, and they obviously will not deal with the tall beds. In response, I sent them this link: https://adata.org/factsheet/accessible-lodging

Note particularly:

To improve accessibility of places of lodging, best practices include:

  • Ensure beds are of an accessible height (recommended bed height is between 20 to 23 inches from the floor to top of the mattress).

For my next out-of-town stay, I’m booked at the Hampton Inn in Brevard, NC, which also has tall beds. I don’t really need a handicap room, but that’s what I’ve booked, because it has regular height beds. Thus, if others follow my solution, there will be a dearth of handicap rooms.

As for pillows in motel rooms, again it’s the motel’s choice to put huge pillows on the beds–they look so nice, those fluffy pillows on those tall beds, but are impossible to sleep on. I wish the president of Choice Hotels had to sleep on one of those pillows.

That’s a “before” photo of a pillow in a motel in Nashville, meaning before I operated on it and removed the excess cellulite:

That’s the stuffing I removed (after carefully opening a seam on the pillow). Then I had something I could sleep on:

I of course replaced the stuffing before we left, and repaired the seam…the good night’s sleep was worth the trouble.

Ah, well, I’ve accomplished nothing other than to get these issues off my chest. Now I go back to work, and will sleep this evening in my 25″ tall bed on my 50-year-old feather pillows. Lovely.

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