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My personal experience with mattresses can be summed up in one word: fine.

In my adult life, I’ve slept on a traditional innerspring mattress I bought at a big-box store and an all-foam mattress from one of the brands that dominates the bed-in-a-box corner of the market. They were both fine — nothing special, definitely not great but not terrible.

That was until I started registering the same dull ache in my back every morning when I rolled out of bed — something that only got worse.

So when the opportunity came along to review a top-of-the-line gel mattress with every conceivable bell and whistle, the timing couldn’t have been better. And the big takeaway after over a month on the Intellibed Matrix Grand is that my personal experience with mattresses is no longer fine — it’s phenomenal.

Intellibed is a purveyor of premium therapeutic mattresses that are designed to deliver complete back support, spinal alignment, and pressure point relief.

The company’s Gel Matrix was originally used in healthcare settings, relieving pressure points and bed sores to accelerate healing for people in hospital burn units.

Today, Intellibed uses the same medical-grade technology in its mattresses for better, more restorative sleep.

The company’s mattresses are made in Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Florida, and Oklahoma. The brand currently offers options in the Signature and Limited collections, all of which feature layers of Gel Matrix, among other materials.

I received the Matrix Grand mattress from Intellibed’s Signature collection, which is the brand’s premium offering.

There’s a lot going on here. The Matrix Grand is made of seven layers measuring 17 inches in height, and that doesn’t include the quilted, contoured cover. Here’s a breakdown of the layers:

  • Layer one is a titanium-infused polymer material intended to resist compression and relieve pressure.
  • Layer two is Talalay latex, a naturally breathable and resilient material that’s supportive without the “sinking in” sensation common to memory foam.
  • Layer three is the first Gel Matrix layer — 1.25 inches of Intellibed’s elastic gel grid — which is both flexible and durable for even body weight distribution and pressure point relief.
  • Layer four is CertiPUR-US certified memory foam added for comfort.
  • Layer five is the second layer of Gel Matrix, measuring 2.5 inches.
  • Layer six is a porous, open-cell material for shock absorption, structural rigidity, and air flow.
  • Layer seven consists of steel coils strategically positioned in what Intellibed calls “comfort zones” to support hips, backs, and shoulders.

This is a mattress that truly feels therapeutic the second you lie down. It’s not just a square piece of foam — real thought went into all seven of the layers hidden beneath that dramatic cover.

I really get the sense that all seven layers are doing their jobs, whether that’s delivering stable support, limiting motion transfer, promoting airflow, or just being really comfortable.

The star, of course, is Intellibed’s Gel Matrix. The non-toxic, hypoallergenic material is made with food-grade mineral oil safe enough, the company says, to use for baby’s pacifiers. That means there isn’t off-gassing or unpleasant chemical odors, something I noticed with the old foam bed-in-a-box mattresses.

The Gel Matrix is also temperature neutral — not unbearably hot like memory foam can be, but also not particularly cool to the touch. Really, it’s just right. I haven’t woken up in the night to kick off the duvet since it arrived.

Intellibed describes its Gel Matrix as both soft and firm, which seems contradictory until you actually feel it. The mattress really does strike a balance of firm support with a soft, almost cushy feel. There’s just enough give to feel indulgent when you lie down, but there’s enough firmness beneath to make you feel truly supported.

Here’s where my review goes a little south, but not because there were any issues with delivery or setup. The Matrix Grand is a big mattress to begin with. (Remember that 17-inch depth?) The California king is, well, huge. The bed is a whopping 255 pounds, so it makes sense that delivery is going to be a bit of a headache.

Intellibed uses local shipping companies to deliver mattresses, frames, and bases, and I was contacted a few days ahead of time to schedule the delivery window.

Typically, the company charges a $199 delivery fee in the contiguous United States, with delivery within 14 days of shipping. That sounds pricey when you consider all the mattress companies that offer free shipping. But it starts to make sense when you consider the logistics of moving around a mattress of this size and heft.

Obviously, it doesn’t come rolled and compressed in a box, nor is it left on your doorstep. Instead, the mattress arrives via a big truck in a gigantic box. My white-glove delivery included setup in my second-story bedroom and removal of all packing materials.

It wasn’t easy, but I blame that entirely on my narrow staircase and abysmal access. Both delivery men, and a painter who happened to show up at the perfect time, wrestled the mattress up the staircase, over the railing, down the hall into the bedroom, and onto my bed frame and old box spring.

It was comically high — enough that my 7-year-old needed a running start to leap aboard. Intellibed quickly sent out a low-profile box spring, which knocked off 6 inches or so and works perfectly.

After the delivery team left, I immediately flopped onto the mattress for a first feel. Initial impressions were really good, thanks to that impressive firm/soft thing, and while there was a distinct “new car” smell, it was mild and noticeable only when I really tried to get a whiff.

The scent was gone completely after I got a fitted sheet in place, which presented another hurdle. My very favorite organic crinkled percale fitted sheet didn’t even come close to fitting. Luckily, I had a generously sized linen fitted sheet that was big enough

Fair warning: You’ll probably be shopping for new sheets with a mattress like this.

Intellibed offers a 90-night sleep trial, and the company asks that you allow 30 nights before initiating a return or exchange.

There can be an adjustment period for some people, but it’s not something I experienced. I woke up feeling fabulous after the first night on the Matrix Grand, and that’s continued over the last 5 weeks or so.

Still, in the event that customers are unhappy with their mattress, returns are possible, with a few caveats. Most notably, you must buy and use a mattress protector on your Intellibed during the trial period. If you buy your mattress through the company website, this is automatically added to your cart at no charge.

If you don’t use a mattress protector, the mattress isn’t considered eligible for return. The company claims this is in accordance with government regulations that require personal items, such as mattresses, to be protected if they are to be returned.

The mattress must also be returned without any stains, rips, tears, or odors, which is fair. I was told the company sells returned mattresses at a deep discount, but I couldn’t find used mattresses for sale on the website.

To begin a return, Intellibed asks that you contact customer service for a case number. The company will send out packing materials, along with a request to have a local company arrange the pickup, but the shipping company will handle the actual packaging.

Once Intellibed has received the mattress, it passes inspection, and it’s found to be in “like-new” condition, they’ll start the refund process.

Exchanges are also offered. While customers are on the hook for upgrade fees and shipping costs for the new mattress, Intellibed will cover the cost of shipping the returned mattress back. Exchanges are considered final sale and don’t include a 90-night trial.

Note that the same return rules apply for an exchanged mattress: It must be in like-new condition, with no damage or odors.

Keep in mind that, if you’ve ordered your mattress through an authorized retailer, you’ll have to check the return and exchange policy of that retailer. It may be different from Intellibed’s policies.

Intellibed offers a generous 20-year warranty, which is a testament to the quality and durability of its mattresses.

The warranty only applies to the original purchaser and proof of purchase is required, along with a mattress that’s free of stains, rips, tears, and odors. An adequate slat platform or base is also required.

However, the Intellibed website also notes that original tags must be intact and attached to the bed to begin a warranty claim.

I removed those tags the first time I made up the bed, because they were long and visible through the fitted sheet. Apparently, I’ve inadvertently voided the warranty in doing so, so let’s hope I don’t have any issues down the road.

The Intellibed Matrix Grand is available in multiple sizes, from twin XL all the way up to split king. It’s expensive in all sizes, with the twin XL priced around $6,500.

The California king I received is listed on the Intellibed site for $8,999, and that price excludes tax and shipping fees, which pushed the total to just under $9,772 after I put everything in the cart.

Quick note: I’m a notorious bargain hunter, and I ran a quick search for promo codes after putting everything in the cart. I found one that knocked $1,500 off the total, so there are deals to be had.

Clearly, this price point puts the Matrix Grand in the luxury mattress category. It’s thousands more than what I paid for my previous all-foam bed-in-a-box. But the difference in quality, aesthetics, and even delivery can’t be ignored.

Over the last 5 weeks, I’ve been asking myself if the benefits I’ve experienced with the Intellibed are worth close to $10,000. Honestly? I think so.

The Matrix Grand is incredibly comfortable and supportive in any sleeping position, but I think just about any mattress feels pretty good when you’re only testing it out for a few minutes.

For me, the real test is in how I feel in the mornings. I flip-flop between my sides and stomach all night long, and it’s normal for me to wake up with pronounced aches in my low back and obliques — something I used to blame equally on weight lifting, my preferred stomach sleeping position, and my old mattress.

It was bad enough that my screaming back would often wake me in the night and early morning, and I’d have to gingerly move onto my side. It was so bad, actually, that I couldn’t really shake it off in the mornings without some light stretching. Even then, I was stiff until mid-morning.

Turns out, the mattress was largely to blame. While the Intellibed hasn’t completely resolved aches and pains first thing in the morning, I don’t wake up in bracing pain at night anymore (even when I’m sleeping on my stomach), and I don’t have to stretch out the second I roll out of bed. What’s more, there’s no lingering pain as I go about my day.

Between the dramatically reduced back pain I’m experiencing, the cooler sleep, and the deep sense that the quality of my sleep itself has improved, I find that the Matrix Grand really is impressive.

That’s not to say there aren’t drawbacks. It’s a beast of a mattress — even lifting the sides to tuck in a fitted sheet is a workout.

Intellibed advises rotating the mattress 180 degrees every month for the first 6 months, and then once every 6 months after that. That would be a lot easier if this thing had handles.

There’s also the challenge of finding fitted sheets deep enough to fit the mattress.

And then there’s the big hurdle: the price tag. The price puts the Matrix Grand out of reach for a lot of people. Still, Intellibed’s limited collection has some mattresses for half the price. There are fewer layers, but you’ll enjoy many of the same benefits.

If your budget allows, however, I’d absolutely suggest going for the Matrix Grand.

It’s hard to put a price on better sleep and less pain, and sometimes, you really do get what you pay for.

If I’m lucky, I’ll spend the next 20 years sleeping on the Matrix Grand, enjoying blissful, restorative sleep every night along the way.


Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.