Traveling is one of my favorite things to do and I try to take at least a few trips per year. Often times, my allergies or asthma are awful for the entire trip. And it’s nearly impossible to avoid, because it’s the hotel that causes it. Not all hotels are a problem but older and cheaper ones tend to be worse than others. I can tell almost as soon as I walk into a room if it will bother me because it will smell musty or just old and dusty.
There are now hotels that offer hypoallergenic rooms. I love the idea of this. While it’s probably impossible for a hotel to get rid of all allergens, just reducing them is fantastic. There are many ways they can do this: hypoallergenic bedding (mattress pads, pillow cases, no down comforters), an air purifier in the room, a room that’s vacuumed with a HEPA filter, or better yet, a carpet free room). Obviously, a smoke-free, pet-free room is necessary. This is a huge step for people with asthma and allergies, or other chemical/environmental sensitivities.
The Hyatt is one of the hotels that offers these hypoallergenic rooms, called Respire by Hyatt. I haven’t stayed at a Hyatt recently, but now that I know about their commitment to providing a safe environment for people like me, I will definitely stay with them more frequently. They have a six-step process to remove and reduce allergens that includes:
- Application of PURE Shield and PURE Clean to minimize presence of allergens on carpet, upholstery and other surfaces in the room.
- One-time shock treatment to minimize irritants.
- Complete disinfection of Air Handling Unit and Installation of removable tea tree oil cartridge to maintain these conditions.
- Installation of hypo-allergenic mattress & pillow encasings.
- Installation of a powerful air purifier by Healthway, listed as a Class II Medical device by the F.D.A
Other chain hotels are following suit. Marriott, Hilton, Fairmont and Sheraton are some of the ones taking steps to offer these hypoallergenic rooms, at least in some of their properties. Hyatt appears to be the only one offering hypoallergenic rooms in all their properties. The rooms are only $25-50 more per night, a small fee to be able to breathe easily and not suffer from allergies for an entire trip.
When The Allergista recently mentioned hypoallergenic hotels to me, I thought of my upcoming trip to Colorado. I will be staying at an Aloft Hotel which is a Starwood Hotels brand (along with Westin and Sheraton hotels). I emailed the hotel and explained that I had asthma and environmental allergies and asked if they offer hypoallergenic rooms, or if they can accommodate me in any way.
The general manager of the hotel emailed me back saying that they will pre-block me into a room on a pet-free floor, and ensure their Director of Housekeeping thoroughly cleans the room, under his supervision. While this won’t solve all my problems, it will help and it’s nice to see places go out of their way for customers.
When you can’t get a hypoallergenic hotel room, another thing to consider is bringing your own portable air purifier. This is not something I’ve done yet, as I tend to spend very little time in my hotel room, but my grandmother has done this to help with her environmental allergies. When my asthma was poorly-controlled, I even brought a portable nebulizer to France. This was before the new TSA regulations on liquids, but my nebulizer medication comes in single-use packages with only a small amount of liquid medication. It would be suitable even for carry-on luggage.
I also found a website that is the beginning of a great idea. They started to review hotels on allergens and air quality, but it doesn’t look like they kept up with it. It only reviews a few hotels on the East Coast and hasn’t been updated since 2009. I think it would be awesome to have a more comprehensive database of information on hotels and what they offer in terms of providing a safe environment for asthmatics. EDIT: Someone pointed this website out to me. It’s a hotel database where “an experienced, independent, Board Certified, allergy and asthma specialist analyzes and rates hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins” on the presence or absence of certain allergy and asthma triggers.
What do you do when traveling to ensure you have a safe and healthy trip? What else would you like to see hotels do to accommodate asthma or allergies?