Drake’s most shocking purchase wasn’t a collection of Hermès Birkin bags for his future wife. It wasn’t even a customized necklace with 42 diamonds from proposals he never made. It was a bed with a $700,000 price tag.
The rapper’s purchase was from Hästens, the Swedish legacy bedding company that’s firmly at the top of the if-you-know-you-know echelon of luxury sleep. Their entry-level king-size Excel bed starts at just over $16,000. Hästens beds are not only chosen by royalty (King Gustaf VI Adolf appointed the brand as an official bed of the Swedish monarchy in 1952), but they are where many an A-list celebrity rests their heads for industry-mandated beauty sleep.
Learning about Hästens typically comes through brushes with higher tax brackets, but in recent years, the brand has been carving its place within pop culture. Darren Star’s gloriously frothy Netflix series Emily in Paris has an entire plot dedicated to the show’s titular peppy American working to make an Instagram grid-worthy Hästens immersive experience come to fruition. Post Malone raps about the Grand Vividus — the brand’s most luxurious and expensive model, which starts at $656,990 — the way his peers flex about driving six-figure sportscars. (“Oh, Vividus bed where I’m layin’ my head,” he raps on “Wasting Angels.”) Oscar-winning actors, global pop stars, and more major players I can’t name without violating a NDA pay Hästens their top dollar to get a restful night’s sleep.
But the question remains: Why? What makes a bed equivalent to a home’s down payment worth the cost? There’s the oft-quoted fact that people spend one-third of their lives sleeping. Podcasts like Chasing Sleep dedicate hours to speaking with sleep experts and everyday people about the relationship between sleep and one’s quality of life. Oura rings report how much deep sleep was achieved, down to the exact percentile. The Sleepytime Tea bear is the unofficial face of achieving optimal REM sleep. Body-hacking billionaire Bryan Johnson has an obsession with achieving perfect sleep that can only be described as fanatical. A doctor-recommended good night’s sleep is a multibillion-dollar market. Simply put, the better you sleep, the healthier you are, the longer you live. Hästens’ spot in the luxury sector can’t be denied, but the brand’s entire ethos remains focused on the importance of restful sleep — no matter how extravagant or out of reach their products are.
For starters, a Hästens bed includes a handmade mattress, bedframe, and a system of technical engineering and construction that features springs, sturdy pine from brutal forests of northern Sweden, and, arguably its most unique and peculiar component, horsehair. The latter harkens back to the company’s genesis as a saddlemaking company. Back in 1852, Hästens founder, Pehr Adolf Janson, used horsehair in his designs to ensure a more comfortable ride; when the company pivoted to making beds, the horsehair remained a key element. Hästens humanely sources the horsehair from tails, which are then twisted into tight, rope-like braids until the coarse hairs transform into springy coils. So why horsehair? A Hästens rep explains that because horses have evolved to dry quickly in the elements, the hair’s moisture-wicking and anti-fungal qualities continue within the bed. (The brand also noted that while they are always open to alternatives, they haven’t found a synthetic that matches the natural thing.)
In a recent tour of her eclectic London townhouse with Architectural Digest, model Adwoa Aboah tells the camera about the highlight of her bedroom. “One of the bougiest things I bought for this house was a Hästens mattress,” she says. “But it was well worth the great expense.”
Aboah’s point of view speaks to how Hästens considers their wares: as investments meant to improve one’s life. I’m told that the beds are passed down within families; they’re treated like heirloom pieces the way one might suspect of jewelry or art. Owners even hide their photos and important documents under the bed because it’s fireproof. “I was told someone comes in and massages it,” notes Aboah, and she’s not wrong. Along with a whopping 25-year guarantee, a Hästens bed includes an annual promise that someone will fluff up the bed to its optimal state and then flip it over, to ensure longevity.
In Köping, a little over an hour train ride outside Stockholm, at the Hästens factory, there’s a portrait of the workers posed like promotional material for a new season of The Kardashians; some of them have worked here their entire lives, with their children following suit. In lieu of harsh clangs and other noises one might expect to hear in a busy factory, all that can be heard is a soft buzz and the shuffling of workers from station to station. It’s weird to call a factory zen or relaxing, but at Hästens, it seems like being stressed out at work is as off-brand as it gets.
Hästens’ legacy is about prioritizing restfulness. They’re not innovating for innovation’s sake. (I’m not joking; CEO Jan Ryde’s forthcoming book When Business Is Love goes deep on this.) The only machinery in use is to move the beds from point A to point B. The brand has barely deviated from their signature blue check pattern, save for the creation of the Grand Vividus.
Beyond being Drake’s bed of choice, the Grand Vividus has garnered a reputation as the most meticulously crafted, ostentatious, and coveted bed in the world. It’s made with stingray leather! There’s a special team of craftsmen dedicated to its creation! (Since the Grand Vividus launched in 2020, there’s been a months-long waiting list. Those who wished to get the bed by, say, Christmas had to have placed their orders in early June.)
There are, of course, more entry-level ways into the Hästens world; one can start with a down pillow or duvet, which range from a few hundred dollars to over $5,000, respectively. There are down sleeping booties that blanket feet in cloudlike warmth. There’s even a hotel two hours outside of Lisbon, in Coimbra, Portugal, that will let a person larp as a well-rested Hästens owner. Of course, to Hästens, it’s not just a hotel: It’s a Sleep Spa. Each of the 15 rooms has a special-edition Hästens mattress and amenities for a total mind-body rejuvination. The Sleep Spa offers a pillow menu — think of the classic room service menu, but in lieu of Caesar salads and fries, there’s a breakdown of every type of Hästens pillow that can be summoned to the room at a moment’s notice. (I opt to surround myself with Hästens pillows varying in firmness until I lay securely supine like a pharaoh.)
For what it’s worth, sleeping on a Hästens bed does feel different. I didn’t overheat or wake throughout the evening; there’s a striking feeling of weightlessness that left me feeling both enveloped and supported. It was as though I was in a commercial, in which laying my head down was all I needed in order to immediately fall into a dreamless sleep until morning. I own one Hästens pillow, which is robust yet soft and never needs to be flipped over for the cooler side. I understand why it’s been a longtime celebrity favorite. I’d order a Hästens bed right now if I could afford it, but with my income, I have no choice but to make the most of tossing and turning and the dreaded interrupted sleep.
After visiting both the Sleep Spa and the Hästens factory, I find myself in the Hästens section at Harrods, the London department store (which is a living anthropological study of wealth on its own), gravitating toward the blue check. Once the sales associate realizes I know as much about the beds that she does, she says what most people reading this article are probably thinking. “You could buy this bed,” she laughs. “Or, you could buy a house!”