Allergy-Free Sleep

By Sandra Ramani / April 25, 2013

200334419-006When hotels wanted to improve the quality of their guests’ rest, they rolled out specially-designed mattresses, pillow menus, and other amenities aimed at helping you sleep tight. Now, some are taking it a step further by focusing on your health, too.

“More and more, we are seeing guests who suffer from aller- gies and other health issues, and we really want to accommodate those travelers who are seeking a cleaner and healthier environ- ment,” says Craig Thompson, general manager, Hotel Monaco, Portland, Oregon ( To provide a safe haven for sensitive guests, Thompson and his team turned 25 percent of their rooms into hypoallergenic ones, with down-free comforters and pillows, fragrance-free bath products, Green Seal-approved cleaning supplies, special HEPA filter vacuums, and even wheat- and gluten-free mini-bar items. Though Kimpton hotels are pet- friendly, the Monaco also guarantees these rooms will never be occupied by a furry traveler.

“At home, you have the luxury to experiment with what helps keep allergies at bay,” explains Brian Brault, CEO of PURE Solutions, a company dedicated to creating hypoallergenic home and hotel spaces. “But when you travel you are at the whim of another atmosphere, which can be challenging.” Founded almost 10 years ago, PURE has partnered with major hotel brands like Hyatt to create rooms that are free from about 99 percent of aller- gens and 98 to 100 percent of all viruses and bacteria, with below 500,000 small particles per cubic foot in the atmosphere. (To put that into perspective, most spaces have 3 to 4 million, and doctors recommend lowering that number to 1 to 1.5 million if you suffer from asthma.)

PURE does this with a seven-step process from a complete deep- cleaning of the air handling system to the application of an anti- virus static barrier to the walls and furniture and placing anti-microbial cases on mattresses and pillows—all while keeping the decor and style the same. When Organic Spa Magazine first met Brault in 2011, there were about 50 Hyatt hotels offering PURE-approved “Respire” rooms; now there are 1,972 “Respire” rooms in 119 hotels in North America providing what Tom Smith, vice president of rooms for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, calls “a simple, but empowering initiative “ for guests (

As hypoallergenic rooms like these (hopefully) become more common, one company has introduced what might well be the future of hotel design in—where else?—Las Vegas. DELOS is billed as the first “wellness real estate” company, and is dedicated to using medical science and technology to create spaces “that optimize and support the physical and emotional health and well-being of guests.” Launched in late-2012, the 42 STAY WELL rooms at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino are each outfitted with 12 wellness features, including special protectors against the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emanating from gadgets. Surfaces are even treated with a photo-catalytic coating that breaks down bacteria, viruses and harmful VOCs (


“Dust can contain allergens like mold, pollen, pet dander and microscopic dust mites, which can live in bedding and cloth-covered furniture, and thrive in warm temperatures,” says New York City-based allergist, Dr. David S. Mazza. “These allergens can cause nasal congestions, itchy skin, wheezing, sinus headaches, snoring, and disturbed sleep.” Here is what you can do. • At home, aim to eliminate dust collectors andclutter, and encase your mattresses, pillows and box springs in dust mite-impermeable covers. Wash bedding once a week in hot water, and use a HEPA-filter-equipped vacuum.

• Bring one pillow case and dust-mite cover when traveling to use at the hotel. You may also want to bring your own towels, as the scented laundry detergents used in many hotels can cause nasal and skin symptoms. Ask for a room that’s smoke-free, and has been pet-free for at least 30 days, and that, ideally, has no carpeting.

• If you have a reaction within the first few min- utes of entering a hotel room, ask for a newer or renovated one. Use a saline nasal spray regularly to wash allergens out of the nasal passages and help prevent sinus infections.


Living Allergy-Free at Home

Organic Rugs Though hardwood floors are best for preventing allergies, Coyuchi’s colorful accent rug helps add a splash of color in organic cotton; choose from a variety of textures.

Allergy-Free Cooking Chef Cybele Pascal’s new Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking ($22; Ten Speed Press) cookbook is packed with recipes for 30-minute-and-under meals like deep-dish pizza, chicken mole tacos and stir-fry—all full of flavor, but minus common allergens like gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, and shellfish.

Low or Zero VOC Paint Sherwin-Williams has created a line of home paints called “Harmony Paint” which provide better indoor air quality with odor and VOC- reducing properties. It is Zero VOC and features new technology that helps reduce VOC levels from carpets, cabinets and fabrics.

Nasal Drops Flush allergens out before they irritate with non-medicated Ocean® Saline Nasal Spray, safe for frequent use to keep nasals passages clear and moisturized.

Hypoallergenic Throws From spa-favorite Andrew Morgan’s new Residential col- lection, the dual-toned, indoor/outdoor Shutter Pleat blankets aremade with Ami-Vert, a sustainable fabric that is hypoallergenic and bacteria-, mold-, and mildew-resistant.

Sandra Ramani

Sandra Ramani

Senior Contributing Editor at Organic Spa Magazine
In addition to serving as OSM’s Senior Contributing Editor, writer/editor Sandra Ramani covers travel, wellness, and lifestyle topics for such publications as Travel + Leisure, Robb Report, Premier Traveler, AFAR, Bridal Guide, Elite Traveler, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is also the author of “Day Trips from Dallas / Fort Worth,” now in its second edition. Recent assignments have found her sleeping in the Sahara, hopping helicopters in New Zealand, and making this new friend in Bali.
Sandra Ramani

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