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Bath towels are one of the hardest working items in your hotel.

As well as keeping your guests dry and clean, towels add to the look and feel of a bathroom and can even be expected to wipe up spills and muddy floors.

It is important that your towels make a good impression considering that when your guests enter their room, the towel is often the first thing they touch and then the last before they leave.

When purchasing towels for your hotel it is important to note that there is a major difference between retail and commercial towelling. Retail towels are not designed to withstand the rigors of hotel use and commercial laundering conditions.

Here are a few tips for finding quality towels and knowing how the gsm of a towel can play a crucial part in the selection process.


For softness and luxury, ensure the towel is 100% cotton. Cotton fibres naturally attract water and can hold almost 25 times its weight in liquid.
Most towels are made of cotton, but the look and feel of towels largely depends on the type of cotton used.

Towels designed and priced for everyday use are typically made of standard cotton. The basic quality of most towels on offer are made from carded cotton and usually of a 16/1; ring-spun construction.  

Pure Egyptian cotton towels are more expensive and usually provide the best feeling of quality as it is softer more luxurious than most other cotton. Egyptian cotton is a long staple cotton. The fibres are longer and produce threads that are finer and able to be woven tightly together in 2-ply yarns that make for soft, strong and resilient towels,  allowing each towel to have more moisture absorbing loops per inch.

The ultra-soft, super-fluffy bath towels found in high-end spas and hotels are typically Egyptian cotton. Whilst initially more expensive, these qualities can save money in the long term.

Combed Cotton

‘Combing’ is a production technique which removes the shorter threads so that the towel will maintain its shape and structure and help prevent pilling – ideal for the hotel market where towels are used only briefly then laundered.


The number and the length of loops is also an important factor in choosing the right towel.

The absorbency is dependent upon the material from which it is made, and the number and length of the loops across its surface. The denser the loops, the more absorbent the towel will be. Towels with longer loops will most likely be heavier (and have a higher gsm). The more loops per square inch, the more absorbent the towel will be.


The standard measurement for weight and quality of fabrics is grams per square meter, usually abbreviated as gsm.

All towels have a gsm material weight, which refers to the density of the material used to make that particular towel. Lower gsm towels are lighter and thinner. A high gsm number means a heavier towel which will absorb more moisture. 800 gsm is often cited as ‘hotel quality’ where a luxurious feel is implied, but gsm of around 500 is commonly used in motels and similar establishments.

Low gsm (300-400) towels are light and thin whilst high gsm (450-600) towels are thicker and heavier. A towel that weighs less than 400 gsm is likely to be thin. If you are purchasing a hand towel then it is advisable for the gsm to be at least 400. For Bath Towels, a higher gsm of 500 will provide a soft and absorbent towel. Typically, the higher the gsm, the better performance you will have from the towel.


Some manufacturers sell towels advertised as "made with" Egyptian, when in fact the fabric may have other materials in its makeup. Sometimes, towels actually have synthetics in them to give a shinier look and this restricts absorbency.

When shopping for your towels, be sure that the towels are in fact 100% cotton.

John Batman Group supplies a wide range of 100% cotton towels including Face Washers, Hand Towels, Bath Mats, Bath Towels and Bath Sheets. Our standard Commercial Towels are 500gsm, the Egyptian Cotton Towels are 600gsm and the Plush Luxury Towels are 800gsm.