by Kaylee Hultgren | October 01, 2007

Room at the Mandarin Oriental Miami

Clean air act:
Mandarin Oriental
Miami purifies rooms.

Obsessing over customer well-being is common practice within the hospitality industry these days, but one company has taken the trend to a whole new level. Thayer Lodging Group, an Annapolis, Md.-based real-estate investment group with 14 properties in the United States, has given hotel executive Haley Payne the title of director of wellness.

Payne’s purview is the promotion of “Pure” allergy-free hotel rooms; at least 10 percent of the company’s room inventory is now 99 percent allergen-free. “With our purifiers, the air is circulated about eight times more often than usual,” she says.

To date, more than 30 properties worldwide, in Thayer’s portfolio and beyond, now offer allergy-free rooms. That’s welcome news for attendees with allergies or vulnerable immune systems.

Payne’s position has evolved to include the creation of health-conscious menus, spa treatments and aromatherapy services during meeting breaks.

Major hotel brands have latched onto the wellness concept, implementing and publicizing their own methods of fostering rejuvenation and harmony. Among them: Westin Hotels and Resorts champions the concept of “personal renewal” at all of its properties and this summer introduced a “health-enhancing” SuperFoods menu; Wyndham Worldwide’s new spa program, “Renew Your Inner Rhythm,” includes a “wellness bar” for imbibing “elixirs, tonics and teas,” soups and smoothies; and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts has designated its spa and fitness center areas as “wellness zones.” Look for more feel-good moves from competitors soon.