Manufacturers can say all they like about the attributes of their mattresses, but there's one test that matters most. And your intrepid reporter took on the tough job of lying down. Here's what my husband and I found:
Palmpring: I can't help it. I am a sucker for organic, green substances and an Asian aesthetic, so the coir and latex foam of Palmpring appealed. The coir "spring" layer is ingenious and deliciously firm and even. Topped with the organic latex, the mattress feels both sturdy beneath (you actually can feel the firm under-layer) and plush. I liked the firm base with the soft give of the latex layer. The latex foam pillow was a nice touch. Plus, the coir really does smell good. For feel and price, this was my top pick.
Palmpring, 3006 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 351-1301. Palmpring products are also available at Environmental Furniture in Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and New York City. Prices range from $2,200 to $2,900. http://www.Palmpring.com
Optimum by Sealy Posturepedic: No question, this mattress has a different feel. You sink gently into the mattress, as opposed to lying on top of it, which takes some getting used to. The way the substance molds to the contours of your body is cool and kind of weird, but ultimately not my cup of tea. I was not on the mattress long enough to experience its cooling properties. I found myself craving the Optimum as a daybed, or a place to read, write or work on my laptop — and then topple over and nap. I guess I learned that when it comes to mattresses, I am more of a traditionalist. Definitely worth trying, though. Nice support. Feels like the bed of the future.
Sealy Posturepedic Optimum is now available at retailers nationwide, including Ashley's Furniture and Sit 'n Sleep in Culver City. Queen prices range from $1,299 to $2,999. http://www.sealy.com
Palais Royale: If I were a partner at Goldman Sachs, a studio executive or willing to spend more money on a mattress than a car, I would buy this bed. I really felt like a princess. It is both firm and deliciously pillowy and soft. Maybe our ancestors knew all the secrets. Endless layers of cotton and wool (and some latex and cashmere and bio-foam) add up to a pretty glorious cloud of a mattress. And the mattress itself is a thing of beauty, with hand-stitching, monogrammed handles, organic cotton outer covering and hand-crafted tufting that pops up in thread florets. The Veuve Cliquot of mattresses. Worth lying on just to know what's possible. Or it might ruin you for life.
The Palais Royale queen is $26,000, the king is $33,000. It is sold exclusively at Bloomingdale's. http://www.kluftmattress.com