Traveling around the holidays is unavoidable for people across the US. Some travelers are lucky (or unlucky?) enough to stay with relatives, but others don’t have that option or prefer to stay in a hotel.
The problem with hotels is that you never know what you’re walking into. Several chains don’t clean their rooms properly let alone have allergen controls in place. This can mean a less than enjoyable experience for people like me who suffer from allergies. So what are our options? Are we doomed to the basement couch this holiday season? Based on our research, the answer is no.
Under the Microscope – Hypoallergenic Hotels in the U.S.
Over the past several years, there has been a growing trend in the hotel industry regarding optional “allergy-friendly” rooms and accommodations. Some hotel chains are improving air quality systems and cleaning processes to remove harmful allergens. We wanted to find out which hotel chains are truly pioneering this trend, so we analyzed data from 155 hotels across 35 of the most popular U.S. travel destinations to come up with a list of the highest rated hotel chains for allergy-sufferers.
For the purposes of our research, we were primarily concerned with 4 major types of airborne allergens:
- Dust Mites
- Pet Dander
Clearly there are many other things that can trigger your allergies or asthma, but we wanted to give the most accurate comparison scores possible based on the data that was available, and if a hotel controls these allergens successfully, you can bet other particulates and impurities will also be eliminated in the process.
We’ve written about some of the specific ways hotels can improve indoor air quality before, but here’s a brief recap of the most effective methods:
- Dust mite proof bedding
- Proper air filtration/purification
- Cleaned and well-maintained heating and air conditioning units
- Ventilated bathrooms with mold-free shower curtains and bath mats
- No wall-to-wall carpet
- Minimal cloth and upholstery in the décor
- Entire room cleaned regularly and rigorously
When making your reservations, be sure to ask about allergy-friendly accommodations, and follow up with several questions about the hotel’s specific process. In addition to controlling airborne allergens, some hotels even offer hypoallergenic bath products and antimicrobial air treatment.
What We Discovered
Hyatt hotels received the highest average rating based on our data. They offer hypoallergenic rooms in most cities and do their best to keep all travelers comfortable. Hyatt scored particularly well for people with pet and pollen allergies. The other top 5 international hotel chains from our research include:
- Residence inn
- Four Seasons
You can see the breakdown of each hotel chain including aggregate scores for specific allergens on The Allergic Traveler’s Companion Guide Infographic that we’ve just released. Our hope is that it will help you make comfortable travel arrangements for yourself and your family.
You can’t depend on your hotel to do all the work— always bring your own medications, pillows, and food—but these hotels are moving in the right direction. Allergy-sufferers have to travel just like everyone else, and I’m grateful these chains are doing their part to make sure I won’t have to worry when I check-in.
Have you noticed any hotels taking extra precautions for those with allergies? Any particularly good or bad experiences? Please let me know in the comments.