Quick quiz: What’s the most important piece of furniture in your home? If the criterion is the amount of time you spend on it, then the answer can only be your bed. Assuming an average eight hours of sleep each night, that amounts to one-third of your life spent on that piece of furniture.
And what’s your bed without its mattress? Mattress shopping a lo tico – it’s a colchón in Spanish – doesn’t entail concerns as exotic as you might expect. What are known as the three S’s in the North American industry (Simmons, Seely and Serta) are sold in Costa Rica, but other options are available here, too, either imported or domestically made. First, get out the ruler.
“Before buying a mattress, verify the dimensions of your bed, measuring it in centimeters,” advises Libia Pacheco, sales chief for Proursa, which manufactures the Colchones Ensueño brand here.
“King,” “queen,” “full” and “single” mean slightly different things to different businesses in Costa Rica, with larger beds frequently grouped under the catchall term cama matrimonial (marriage bed).
Pacheco’s advice also goes for purchasing sheets, blankets, spreads and comforters for your bed, most of which are imported from a variety of countries, each with slightly different standards.
Guarantee usually corresponds with quality, providing you an idea of the minimum lifespan of the mattress. But most experts agree that a good-quality mattress should probably be changed every seven to 10 years for hygienic reasons, even if the guarantee is longer.
Costa Rica’s warm, humid climate isn’t as deteriorating to mattresses as one might think.
Cotton absorbs humidity, mold and perspiration, explains Adrián Moreno of home furnishings store La Artística, but these days the synthetic, anti-allergenic materials used in production of most mattresses and allowing the construction to “breathe” make that not a problem.
“Turning a mattress once or twice a month allows it to breathe more easily,” advises Viviana Rojas of mattress-system importer Confort Suizo.
You essentially have a choice between coils (resortes) or foam (espuma) when talking about the mattress innards, the latter being the only option if you’re looking for an orthopedic mattress.
“What are your tastes? Do you want a firm, or less firm mattress? What are the weight and age of the user?” asks Alvaro Jirón of longtime Costa Rican mattress manufacturer Colchones Jirón.
A top-of-the line mattress is a waste of money for a baby just out of the crib. “Neither the baby nor the mattress will feel the difference,” Jirón says.
A heavyset user may defeat the effect of an orthopedic mattress, although reinforcements can be added if ordering a custom made product here, Jirón advises.
Visit several outlets and try out the mattress. If you’re a couple who will be using the mattress together, you both need to go shopping, Pacheco suggests.
“Don’t be shy,” she says. Outlets listed below deliver mattresses within the San José metropolitan area – some charge a nominal fee – and use the services of a delivery service for other locations around Costa Rica:
Colchones Jirón (www.jiron.com, 217-1000, San Sebastián; and Av. 2, Av. 10, Barrio La California, San Pedro, Zapote, Desamparados and Pavas), in business since 1928, is arguably the name most identified with mattresses in Costa Rica. Jirón manufactures mattresses in its factory in the southern San José district of San Sebastián, and sells them via a network of eight outlet stores (called Dormicentros, or “sleep centers”) in the metropolitan area, as well as through 500 distributors around the country. Products range from Jirón’s semi-orthopedic mattress ($100) to its Platinum extra-firm ($2,000), with many standard and à la carte designs falling in between. The company also offers repair service, whether or not the product is still covered under warranty.
Confort Suizo (www.confortsuizo.com, 289-8089, Guachipelín de Escazú) imports top-of-the-line, Swiss-manufactured mattress systems, with polyurethane-filled mattresses designed structurally to align with an accompanying base. (Since Confort Suizo sells an entire system, it recommends not buying the mattress separately.) The wooden base with flexible beech wood slats allows it to adapt to the user’s form, providing maximum comfort, as well as ample ventilation under the mattress. Suizo’s 20 models start with the most basic system, a coil mattress and frame, for about $280, and run to the luxury $10,000 Montreux-Visco system with electric base.
La Artística (www.laartistica.net, Av. 2, Ca. 7/9, 223-5544; Pavas Hwy., 296-2590; across from Hipermás, Curridabat, 272-8787), the Costa Rican home-furnishings store in operation since the 1930s, brought the high-end Simmons name, a brand found in Sheraton and Westin hotels around the world, to Costa Rica. The foam-filled Simmons products are world renowned for what the company describes as “the elimination of transfer of motion,” allowing the movement of one partner to not disturb the sleep of the other. La Artística’s line ranges from the basic Indufoam Deluxe mattress, a Salvadoranmade brand also carried here, to the top-of the-line Simmons Beautyrest. All carry a guarantee of five to 15 years.
Proursa (www.proursa.com, across from AyA, Ipis de Guadalupe, 285-0505; 50 m east of Plaza del Sol, Curridabat, 234-6640) manufactures mattresses under its brand name, Colchones Ensueño, at its factory in the northern suburb of Guadalupe, with sales at that location or in its showroom in the eastern suburb of Curridabat. Its polyurethane foam mattresses encompass every firmness imaginable, and range in price from $75-300. Proursa can send a representative to your home to take measurements and offer product suggestions. The company also distributes a complete line of bedding accessories, including pillows, sheets, blankets, comforters, mats and cushions.