June 20, 2024

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The 9 Best Luxury Bath Towels of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Of all the things that separate a luxury hotel from standard accommodations — including location, service, and a stark difference in nightly rate — nothing is more important than the small details. The pleasing scent in the lobby; the complimentary morning coffee; the expertly folded, rolled, and stacked towels — these easy-to-overlook features play a critical role in elevating the entire experience. They’re also the reason you dread check-out, the moment you’re forced to leave behind this perfectly curated oasis. 

Luckily, though, there are several ways to bring that five-star feel into your own home. One of the easiest (and most practical) is the aforementioned luxury bath towel. A soft, fluffy, and extra-absorbent towel is the key to adding a bit of elegance to your daily life, transforming your everyday shower routine into something more sumptuous and special. It’s also significantly less expensive than a night at a deluxe hotel. 

To help turn your bathroom into one that mirrors a Four Seasons, One&Only, or Aman hotel, we rigorously tested 16 different bath towels with a series of hands-on tests and inspections, rating them on absorbency, texture, dry time, durability, quality, and overall value. (Read more about the complete testing process below.) Scroll on to see which ones made the list.

Pottery Barn Hydrocotton Organic Quick-Dry Bath Towel

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Pottery Barn


To be named the best overall bath towel, the winning style had to excel in multiple areas and tests — and the Pottery Barn Hydrocotton Organic Quick-Dry Towel did just that. Right away, we noticed its softness and thicker texture, and, given these qualities, we were slightly skeptical of the “quick-dry” descriptor. During the drying test, however, it far surpassed our expectations. Even with its fluffier material, the towel dried completely in 60 minutes, a true feat for a style this dense. While exploring how the Pottery Barn towel would perform with everyday use, including washing and stain exposure, we found there was little it couldn’t handle. Following multiple cycles in the wash, as well as an abrasion test, it maintained its “like new” texture; even the stains we purposefully introduced — mascara and foundation — disappeared once properly treated. 

This secret to its multifaceted success can be attributed to both the material and the construction. Made with long staple Turkish cotton, the towel combines softness with durability; the longer the staple length, the silkier and less likely to pill it will be. Turkish cotton is also known to get softer with each wash, so we expect this towel will maintain its status as a much-loved favorite for many months (and years) to come. 

The Details: 28 x 55 inches | 100 percent organic Turkish cotton

Crane & Canopy Plush Towel Essentials Bundle

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Crane & Canopy


If there’s anything more luxurious than a fluffy towel, it’s a bundle of fluffy towels. The Crane & Canopy Plush Towel Essentials Bundle — which comes with two wash clothes, two hand towels, and two bath towels — immediately stood out due to its cotton construction and supremely soft texture. We did find that the diamond dobby trim is a touch rougher, but it also helps give the towel its elevated look.  Following a wash cycle, the towel remained plush, although it did lose some of its original smoothness as most towels do; still, it showed no signs of wear, fraying, or damage. The plushness of the fabric didn’t affect the dry time at all; in fact, it only took 30 minutes for the towel to dry about 50 percent during our testing period, and it was nearly 100 percent dry after an hour. You can also add a monogram to the hand towels in a variety of fonts and colors for luxurious personalization, though you can’t monogram the bath towel.

The Details: 30 x 56 inches | 100 percent long staple cotton

Pottery Barn Terry Waffle Towel

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Pottery Barn


Lightweight towels aren’t as synonymous with luxury as plush ones, but the Pottery Barn Terry Waffle Towel manages to combine the best of both worlds. It’s also highly functional. The lighter waffle weave is still quite absorbent, and it didn’t look any worse for wear about a wash cycle (although the texture seemed to lose a bit of softness). The towel also passed our stain and durability tests with flying colors; it did, however, have a less-than-impressive performance when drying. After an entire hour, it was still damp. Slower dry-time aside, the towel’s most defining feature is the loop that you can hang on a bathroom hook; it’s a small, oft-overlooked design detail but one that’s incredibly useful and appreciated. 

The Details: 28 x 55 inches | 100 percent cotton

Frontgate Egyptian Cotton Bath Towels

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Frontgate


Any towel that’s marketed as “plush” should always deliver in the coziness and quality departments. According to our tests, the Frontgate Egyptian Cotton Bath Towel succeeds in both areas. Not only does the cotton towel feel good — it’s substantial and heavy — but it also retains its softness after going through the wash. One of the most unexpected findings was the fact that, even though the fabric is a luxurious 800 GSM (learn more about GSM below) and fairly absorbent, the towel dries just as fast as some of the thinner towels we tested. It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, coming in at $50 per bath towel, but you’ll have it for years to come — maybe even longer if you choose one of the colorways that won’t stain as easily, like the pewter or midnight blue.

The Details: 30 x 58 inches | Egyptian cotton

Brooklinen Ultralight Bath Towels

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Brooklinen


Some bath towels are designed to feel like a warm hug right out of the shower, while others are manufactured for more on-the-go scenarios. The Brooklinen Ultralight Bath Towel definitively falls into the latter category. We noticed that the thin material doesn’t retain moisture for very long, fully drying after just two hours. We thought this was one of the thinnest, lightest bath towels we’ve ever experienced. Although it became a little rougher after washing, we found that it was still quite soft despite how thin it was, and it was relatively resistant to abrasion and breakdown for daily wear and tear. 

The Details: 30 x 58 inches | 100 percent Turkish cotton

Boll & Branch Waffle Terry Bath Towel

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Boll & Branch


With a length of 58 inches, the Boll & Branch Waffle Terry Bath Towel is technically categorized as an “oversized” bath towel, and the extra three inches feel extra luxurious. (Standard bath towels have a length of 55 inches.) The outstanding features of the towel, though, are its dual-texture design (with micro-waffle on one side and terry on the other) and a convenient hanging loop; no need to haphazardly throw it over the nearest chair or door handle. Our testing methods proved that both the terry and the waffle weave can withstand a bit of abrasion and common stains, and we think this is a great option for those who prefer a waffle towel after showering. 

The Details: 30 x 58 inches | 100 percent organic cotton

Boll & Branch Spa Bath Towel

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Boll-branch


Like other ribbed towels, the Boll & Branch Spa Bath Towel is designed with absorbency in mind. That said, the textured channels that run the length of the towel give it a firm, durable feeling and help the towel dry quickly. Those who prefer fluffy, cloud-like towels might not like the coarser material, but the medium-weight, 100 percent long staple cotton fabric appears to be highly resistant to any wear; there was no change in texture following our wash test, and stains disappeared completely after treatment. We discovered there was a slight worn mark following the abrasion test — where the fibers are tested by a scrub brush — but once we smoothed the spot with our hands, the mark was barely noticeable. 

The Details: 30 x 58 inches | 100 percent cotton

Saatva Plush Towels

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Saatva


Purchasing a towel set typically means you’re ready for a full bathroom upgrade — or you’re buying a thoughtful gift. Either way, the Saatva Plush Towel set is an excellent choice. The three-piece set comes with a bath towel, a hand towel, and a face towel, which are made of long staple cotton and designed with a decorative border. The bath towel was slightly longer than typical bath towels, which we liked for its generous surface area (there’s nothing worse than a towel that’s too short). Outside of one noticeable loose thread at the beginning of the testing process, we found no other issues with the towels. To the touch, they’re soft with tight, closely packed loops. Washing didn’t affect the texture or the color, and it dried relatively quickly despite its plushness. 

The Details: 30 x 58 inches | Long staple cotton

Threshold Quick Dry Ribbed Bath Towel Set

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Target


They say you get what you pay for, and the same can be said for the Threshold Quick Dry Ribbed Bath Towel Set from Target. You can get a two-pack for cheaper than any single towel on this list, so it’s a steal if you’re just looking for run-of-the-mill towels. Just don’t expect anything overly plush or mind-blowingly durable. The medium-weight fabric did earn our nod of approval in the quick-dry test, although it was still one of the most absorbent styles. As far as texture goes, it can only be described as average. Pre-wash, it’s soft; post-wash, the loops become flatter, and it loses its silkier feeling. We still think this is a solid option if you’re looking for affordable, everyday towels.

The Details: 30 x 54 inches | 100 percent cotton

Other Bath Towels We Liked

There were two towel sets we tested that didn’t make the final cut due to lower ratings in a couple of tests, but they still exhibited some qualities we found admirable.

Brooklinen Waffle Bath Towels: This 100 percent Turkish cotton towel received high marks for its softness and quick-drying waffle weave. If you opt for this particular style, though, you’ll need to prepare for potential warping during wash, which affects the towel’s shape.

Travel + Leisure / Dera Burreson


Martha Stewart 100 Percent Cotton Bath Towels Set: There’s no question this six-piece towel set from Martha Stewart would make a decent addition to any bathroom; it holds up well in the wash and it comes in at a decent price. It’s just not overwhelmingly impressive in regards to softness, thickness, or drying time.

Travel + Leisure / Dera Burreson


Our Testing Process

We tested 16 towels in our lab to compare them all at once, choosing our favorites that will make your home feel more like a luxe resort stay. After an initial examination of pre-wash measurements, fiber content, and any specific features or imperfections, we washed each towel twice with the same gentle detergent and dried it on medium (unless the care instructions stated otherwise). The freshly laundered towels then underwent another inspection, where we noted post-wash measurements, texture changes, and potential discoloring. 

To see how the towels would perform in real-life scenarios, we executed tests for absorbency (each towel was weighed, submerged in water, and reweighed); staining (we left mascara and foundation marks on the towels for five minutes and treated with stain removal before washing); durability (we quickly swiped a scrub brush 50 times across the fibers); and dry time (we used a moisture meter to log the moisture level following exposure to a precise amount of water). 

The first round of testing concluded in early 2024, but we will continue to long-term test the towels and record our experiences to make sure they stand the test of time. We will update this article with the latest information and insights accordingly.

Tips for Buying Luxury Bath Towels

Consider the material

Not all towels are created equal — and those made with 100 percent cotton tend to be the softest and most durable options on the market. You’ll also want to keep a lookout for the material’s staple length. Cotton comes in short, long, and extra-long fibers; the longer the staple length, the smoother the surface. Long and extra-long fibers also lead to fewer exposed ends and a decreased chance of pilling and tearing. 

When towel shopping, you’ll come across several different types of cotton, including Turkish and Egyptian. Your personal preference for overall look and feel will dictate the direction you go in, but it’s good to have a basic understanding of the characteristics they bring to the table. For instance, Egyptian cotton is known for its absorbent qualities, and Turkish cotton is an excellent option for a quick-drying towel.

Opt for a set

Most luxury hotels provide more than just a bath-size towel for guests; there’s usually a variety of sizes to choose from, including hand towels and washcloths. The reason behind this decision is two-fold. Not only does a matching set look great, especially when neatly folded and stacked, but it also helps to avoid overuse (you don’t need to use your bath towel multiple times a day to dry your hands). Additionally, purchasing a towel set is usually a cost-effective choice. Sets are often sold at a bundled price, allowing shoppers to save a bit of money when updating their household linens.

Think about if you want something quick-drying or plush

While they’re super cozy, plush towels aren’t always the quickest to dry. Thanks to their longer, denser fibers, they tend to hold onto moisture more than a towel with less densely woven fibers. If you’re fine to concede some towel thickness in exchange for a faster drying time, you’ll want to look for styles made with a microfiber material. If you plan on traveling with a towel, you’ll likely want it to be lightweight, thinner, and quick-drying.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of bath towels are most absorbent?

    Cotton is an extremely absorbent material, so most bath towels you come across will be made of some type of cotton, whether it’s Egyptian or Pima. Another way to determine absorbency is to pay attention to the towel’s weight, which is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). The higher the GSM, the thicker and heavier the towel will be. If you want your towel to be extra absorbent, aim to purchase towels with a GSM of 600 and above.

  • How often should you change your bath towel?

    The exact number of times you wash your bath towel depends on a few key factors: preference, frequency of use, personal hygiene, and how often you like to do laundry. In most cases, washing your towel every three to four uses is considered acceptable and helps eliminate any bacteria or fungi that have moved in. 

    The timeline for completely replacing your towels is a different story, and it varies significantly based on construction quality and level of care. A good rule of thumb is to invest in new towels every two to four years, but don’t wait more than five. As they age, even the best towels will lose their absorbency and softness, start to smell, or just generally show signs of wear and tear.

  • How should I care for my luxury bath towels?

    Find a temperate area in your home to store your towels — whether that’s a linen closet or in bins in the bathroom — but ideally in a warm area of your home. Avoid excessively cold or hot temperatures to best protect the longevity of your towels.

    When it comes to displaying them, the options are practically endless: think shower racks, wooden ladders, and galvanized tubs, where you can roll up or fold your towels for easy access that’s also aesthetically appealing.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Lydia Mansel is a travel writer and the founder of the packing site Just Packed. Prior to writing this article, she researched dozens of high-quality bath towels in a variety of styles, materials, and price points. She then combined this knowledge with the detailed feedback and testing results from the T+L editors and contributors who examined and assessed each towel according to a set of predetermined attributes.

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