How to choose the right linen for your superyacht
by Daisy Bridgewater
Choosing linen for your yacht is much more complicated than deciding it for the home. It needs to be more durable, more personalised and must tick multiple boxes so make sure you get it right with our superyacht linen buying guide.
Linen on board needs to work hard. At the top end of the superyacht charter market, bed linen is changed daily, so it needs to withstand the rigours of the laundry without compromising on style, comfort or durability. It must also be ordered in large quantities – experts recommend three to five sets of bed linen per cabin – and might be monogrammed with the yacht’s logo or custom-coloured to fit a particular colour scheme. Bed and table linen often must be made to measure to work with the custom-designed furniture on board. And it needs to be easy to replace: rare is the superyacht that has not lost the odd deck towel in the wind.
How to choose bed linen for yachts
1. Linen or cotton?
While freshly laundered linen sheets are considered by many to be the last word in bedtime luxury, high-quality Egyptian cotton is generally best suited to life on a superyacht because it is cool on the skin and relatively easy to care for. “The more pure a fabric is, the more comfortable it will be to sleep in and the easier it is to handle,” says Caroline Koc, owner of luxury linen specialist Haremlique. “We use 100 per cent Egyptian cotton, which allows the sheet to breathe, leaving you with a serene and fresh feeling.”
Linen has a soft, sumptuous texture and while its looser weave allows good air circulation, it creases readily and requires more care than cotton. “Linen also takes up more space in terms of storage,” Koc adds.
2. Percale or sateen?
There are two main cotton-fabric constructions for bed linen. Percale cotton is woven from the same number of vertical and horizontal threads, resulting in a flat, even interlacing. Sateen cotton has more horizontal threads than vertical, giving it a lustre or sheen. Percale sheets allow the most airflow, whereas sateen sheets, though smoother to the touch, are less porous and generally warmer.
3. The finished item
Be sure to buy bed and table linen that has been finished in Italy. Once an Egyptian yarn has been woven, the raw cotton fabric is exported to be washed, bleached and mercerised and the Italians are the undisputed world leaders at that.
4. Confused about thread count?
It’s hardly surprising. A high thread-count is not necessarily a byword for luxury linen, as a large number of threads per square inch can make a fabric dense and unsupple if the threads themselves are not gossamer thin. This is fine if you are looking for a formal tablecloth – not so good if you want a sheet to sleep under. Alexandra Swindells, international sales manager of Elite Yacht Linen, recommends a thread count of 600 for an owner cabin, upwards of 300 for charter and 200 for crew.
5. What about ply?
In terms of bed linen, ply refers to the number of strands wrapped together to make a single thread. Single-ply fabrics, as a rule, are lighter and sheerer than double-ply.
6. Is bespoke a byword for the best?
In a word, yes. “Naval architects working on superyachts are bringing their clients’ dreams to life,” says Gemma Weir-Williams, creative director of bespoke linen and tableware suppliers Gillian Weir. “Very little is standard size, so everything from the table linen to the bed sheets must be bespoke.”
Sabrina Monteleone, owner of yacht outfitter Sabrina Monte-Carlo, agrees: “Owners expect the unique. They often wish for linen to be customised with special embroidery, with their initials, or the boat’s logo, for example. The colour details of the bed and bath linen should also match the cabin’s colour scheme and may need to be ordered in a bespoke colour.”
How to choose table linen for yachts
7. How much will I need?
Depending on the occasion, a yacht will require at least three styles of table linen: a breakfast set, which will usually comprise of place mats and napkins; a set for daytime alfresco dining; and a formal dinner set. “I would always recommend white, with touches of colour through embroidery,” says Koc. A thick cotton fabric with a high thread count will give a feeling of sumptuousness, although more rustic-looking pure linen can work beautifully for informal dining. Again, bespoke is the watchword here.
8. How do I tell real quality?
“What stands a quality linen apart is when you go from machine embroidered to hand embroidered, says Jason Hales of Jonathan Fawcett. “Each and every stitch is done by hand in the latter, something a machine could never replicate. For discerning clients, hand embroidery is where you see a huge difference.”
How to choose towels for yachts
9. This is the easy bit, right?
It is, although again there are still some points to remember. Yacht cabins will need at least three sizes of towel (shower, hair and hand) plus facecloths and bath mats, all of which may be detailed to match the cabin’s colour scheme. “We recommend soft, white cotton towels mainly for practical reasons,” advises Andrea Salvador, from Venetian linen specialist Jesurum. “But I prefer linen for the face towels, which is very elegant.” And think in quantities; up to five sets per cabin will be required.
10. What about swimming towels?
“Avoid brightly coloured deck towels,” warns Swindells. “Colours will fade, even in UV-protected fabrics, after prolonged exposure to the sun.” Look for towelling that has had special treatment against sun and salt water and which will be easy to replace when the inevitable happens.