When you check into a hotel, you naturally want a clean room. But if you want a science-fiction-scary clean room, look to Hyatt. The hotel chain recently introduced its Respire rooms, which are sterilized, sanitized, antisepticized, and deodorized to the extreme. They're so clean you're unlikely to find so much as dust mite feces under the decorative pillow shams.
"We basically kill all living organisms in the room," said Brian Brault, chief executive officer of Pure Solutions, the company behind the purified rooms. Presumably he was referring to mold, fungi, bacteria, and viruses -- not hotel guests.
Other individual hotels have used the Pure Solutions technology, but Hyatt will be the first chain to offer the rooms at all of its properties in North America, including the Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and Andaz brands. The project, which was formally announced to the media this week, will require a significant investment.
"It costs $2400 for a two-year program to convert a room and for ongoing maintenance," said Tom Smith, vice president of rooms for Hyatt's North American operations. "We expect to charge a premium of between $20 and $30 a night for a Respire room. When you book on Hyatt.com, it will be one of the room choices."
Pure Solutions' patented cleaning process begins with the air-handling system. Technicians deep-clean and disinfect the air system's mechanical parts and install tea tree oil cartridges to keep out mold. A high-ozone shock treatment kills all living organisms (and their odors). Finally, hard surfaces are disinfected and soft surfaces are sanitized.
But how do they maintain that decontaminated environment from one guest stay to another and another?
"A bacteriostatic barrier is applied to everything in the room to prevent contaminants from attaching themselves to anything," Brault explained. (If only Sigourney Weaver had had this technology in Alien.) "We install a medical-grade air purifier that filters out 99.97% of all particulates that are .3 microns or larger. A human hair is around 200 microns. The system filters out 98% to 100% of viruses and bacteria. Then we encase the mattresses and pillows to protect against dust mites." The rooms are maintained and re-certified every six months.
Hyatt expects to have 2,000 hypo-allergenic Respire rooms available across its 125 full-service North American properties by the end of 2010.
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.