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December 31, 2008

Wyndham Wants You to "Be Well"

Wyndham Garden Hotel
The Wyndham Garden Hotel,
the only hotel in Manhattan
with PURE rooms.

Photo: Wyndham Hotels

by Julia Bainbridge

Wyndham Hotels has rolled out its ClearAir initiative, offering allergy-friendly guest rooms in eight of its hotels. By the end of 2009, 10 percent of all Wyndham rooms will be converted by PURE, making Wyndham the first national hotel chain to mandate allergy-friendly rooms systemwide.

This is no small deal. A number of Daily Traveler contributors and their friends have severe allergies, making their travel experiences less than glorious. Who wants chest tightness when seeing Gaudi's wacky Barcelona funhouse for the first time?

PURE's hypoallergenic bedding and pillows are mold-, spore-, dust- and dust mite-proof, and the rooms' surfaces are cleaned with a solution that nearly eliminates the growth of bacteria. Each room also has an air purification system--recognized as a Class II medical device by the FDA--that filters the air continuously. All of this means PURE rooms reduce particulates that can trigger allergies by 98 percent. (And the tea tree oil in the air filters smells yummy.) 

For an educated take on these seemingly magical rooms, the Daily Traveler turned to old pal Allergic Girl, a.k.a. Sloane Miller.

"Allergies are so individual: You can put someone in a vacuumed room and she'll sneeze from something and put that same person in the streets of Delhi and she's fine," she said. "I live in New York. I'm from New York originally--I was born and raised in this soot. I get allergic when I go to the country."

"Going anywhere that's new might trigger a reaction; it's different air, different smog, different things are blooming. The question is: How long are you going to react?"

Miller, who is like the litmus test for all things allergic, recently checked out a PURE room at the Sheraton Tarrytown, locking herself in the joint for 12 hours. Lo and behold, she didn't wake up with chest tightness, which was "a big, happy difference." She did wake up with some discomfort, though.

"My issue with them is compliance," she said. "How often are they checking?" In the Sheraton's case, there were lapses in compliance of pillow and mattress encasements. Still, though, Miller was asthma-free during her stay, so she thinks most of the PURE program was in place. 

"I like the idea, but I think they've got some work to do."

At Wyndham, we're told rooms are re-certified every 90 days. Readers, have any of you stayed in a Wyndham PURE room? What were your experiences?

Further reading:
* Check here for Allergic Girl's take on PURE rooms
* Find a PURE room at your next travel destination
* The American Lung Association's advice on home control of allergies
* Allergic Girl's Spa-Goer Tips on the DT
* Miller's blog, Please Don't Pass the Nuts
* Responsible Traveler: Making a difference


Funny, I stayed at Wyndham Seawatch Timeshare in Myrtle Beach in October and it was full of mold. It told me an hour to clean the coffee maker. Wonder why they have different standards

Only eight Wyndham hotels offer the rooms right now, but all will be required to convert 10 percent of their room inventory (or a minimum of 25 rooms) into allergy-friendly environments by the end of 2009. So look out for changes to come soon in Myrtle Beach.

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