Hotel Havens for Allergies and Asthma

in Managing Allergies, Travel & Dining
Published: February 5, 2014

Fairmont Vancouver Airport: gluten-free afternoon tea.

At The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, a full wing of 26 rooms and suites is dedicated as hypoallergenic and pet-free. For air purity, rigorous filters are installed, but the entire hotel boasts a built-in vacuum system that significantly improves air flow and filtration. Deep cleaning is done with Ecolab Green Seal certified products, linens are washed at 300 degrees to eliminate the need for chlorine and all lotion and hair-care treatments are scent- and dye-free. But the hotel is also evolving to accommodate individualized needs.

“There can be sensitivities with air quality, feather, dander, latex, chemicals or food, and each one requires different amenities,” notes Ken Flores, general manager at the luxury airport location. “We have our ‘base’ hypoallergenic rooms, but from there we add on whatever the guests require. Different cleaners can be used, room service can accommodate or if a HEPA filter is requested, we can provide that at no cost.”

In fact, this hotel is one of the few that doesn’t charge an additional nightly fee for hypoallergenic rooms (which start at $279). And while an airport locale may not seem like a destination, the management will quickly point out their award-winning cuisine, tripled-glazed soundproof rooms, on-site spa, fitness center, ‘touching the airport’ proximity, and ease of the Skytrain, which whisks guests to beautiful downtown Vancouver in 20 traffic-free minutes.

Fairmont’s Millennium Park in Chicago has the reliability of PURE Solutions seven-step air process.

A sister Fairmont hotel, The Chicago Millennium Park, rivals the Vancouver location in allergy care, but the management took a different purification route with their hypoallergenic rooms (from $209/night), outsourcing to the rapidly growing global company, PURE Solutions.

“We sell an ‘experience’ that is turnkey for hotels and offers consistency to allergic customers,” says Brian Brault, CEO of PURE Solutions. His company employs a patented seven-step process to purify rooms, from floor to ceiling.

When a hotel signs on with PURE, it typically converts 5 to 10 percent of the rooms, preferably in a block, wing or entire floor. All hard and soft surfaces in each room are deep-cleaned and disinfected, and the room is sealed for a high ozone shock treatment to ensure sanitization. Technicians then apply the company’s proprietary static barrier to the walls, carpet, furniture and drapes, which reportedly eliminates microorganisms.

Mattresses and pillows are sealed in micro-fiber encasements with reinforced seams – which fend off any lingering dust mites.

To keep the air clean, PURE installs a medical-grade, four-stage ULPA air filtration system (ranked above HEPA filtering), which is designed to kill 98 to 100 percent of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Finally, all air handling systems are thoroughly cleaned and a tea tree oil insert (which can be easily removed upon request) is added as a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent. PURE returns every six months to perform testing, and every two years they repeat this initial purification process.

“We don’t want to have to rely on the hotel staff to maintain, so we take an aggressive approach,” says Brault. He does admit that there is margin for error when working with hotel staff: an anti-dust mite pillow casing could go missing in the laundry or a staff member could turn off the air filter. But even if the room door is left open, allowing outside elements to temporarily visit, Brault reassures that the room will correct itself in 20 to 30 minutes of the door closing.

PURE currently limits their services to cleaning, covering, and ongoing purification, but most hotels that employ Brault’s service tend to go the extra mile with fragrance-free toiletries and additional allergy-friendly amenities.

Grand Hyatt Kauai offers splendor and business facilities with purified air.

Travelers can quickly search for PURE certified accommodations at, which is nearing 300 hotels worldwide. The Hyatt brand of hotels is the largest PURE client, with about 120 hotels in their program, including the popular resort and spa the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Colorado and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii. Meantime, the Hyatt Dulles hotel near Washington, D.C. extends PURE’s hypoallergenic services from rooms to business meeting spaces through its new “Meet and Sleep” program.

Next: Crystal Cruises

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