Don't just blame the season if you notice more people around you sneezing, sniffling and scratching. The National Institutes of Health reports that allergies of all kinds are on the rise in the United States, likely due to factors such as global warming and an increase in pollutants in the air. While science comes up with new medicines to help the afflicted, hotels all over the country are rolling out a variety of initiatives designed to keep guests breathing easier.
• At the 62-room boutique XV Beacon Hotel in Boston, new hypo-allergenic guest rooms are prepared an hour in advance of check-in using the ViraTech UV-400 system to kill bacteria in the air. The property offers meeting space for conferences of up to 25 people and receptions for up to 75.
• The 140-room Hotel Triton in San Francisco provides its housekeeping staff with cleaning products such as H20 Orange Two that eradicate allergens in guest rooms while also being gentle on the environment. The hotel, steps away from the Moscone Center, offers 500 square feet of its own meeting space that includes an open-air deck.
• The 858-room Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport offers special "enviro-rooms" created by Environmental Technology Solutions, with features such as allergen-defeating hardwood floors and wooden blinds, anti-microbial agents permanently applied to door knobs and bathroom hardware, and charcoal-filtered shower heads. Among the hotel's 37,000 square feet of meeting space is a grand ballroom that holds up to 400 people.
• Hyatt Hotels Corp. last month officially rolled out its Respire by Hyatt program in 125 properties across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, creating allergen-free room environments in partnership with Pure Solutions N.A., the pioneering air-purification company that administers the Pure Rooms process at many hotels around the country.