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  • Writer's pictureChristine Hardenberger

Navigating Hotel Stays with Allergies

When we plan a trip for our own food allergy family and those of others, the allergen focus is typically on the dining portion of the trip. For some of our clients, that focus goes beyond the dining room and into the hotel room. Depending on the individual and their condition, those with food allergies may not only be unable to eat specific items. They may also experience contact and respiratory effects of allergens, which may then be compounded by asthma. These effects can strike anywhere – even your hotel room, if the room has the unseen remnants of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the family who stayed there prior.

When you’re on vacation, your hotel room is viewed as the safe haven. In most cases, it is, as housekeeping services in large hotels and resorts strive to ensure a good cleaning between the check-out of one guest and the check-in of the next. The good cleaning, however, may be limited to the bathroom, vacuuming, changing towels and sheets, swapping used toiletries for fresh ones, and a basic dusting. A deep cleaning is often something that is not conducted on a daily or weekly basis by most, if any, properties.

If you’re in the group affected by contact and respiratory allergens and want to ensure as safe a space as possible in which to sleep and relax, you are not out of luck by any means. There are options available to you if you know what to ask.

When booking, tell your travel agent about the severity and sensitivity of the allergies involved, and discuss whether or not you need an enhanced room cleaning or a true hypoallergenic room.

At many properties – such as Universal Orlando Resort’s hotels and all domestic Disney destinations, including Disneyland and Walt Disney World – they can do enhanced room cleanings at no additional cost for guests with allergies and/or asthma. The cleaning itself goes by different names depending on the property, but generally include deep cleanings of draperies, other linens, and carpeting, as well as changing pillows from standard to hypoallergenic and changing of the air conditioner filters. Many properties also have fragrance-free soaps upon request. Have your travel agent confirm the exact services available at each property you’re considering.

At Universal Orlando Resorts, it is also important to note that these are pet friendly hotels. If pet allergens are a concern, ask your travel agent to a request a room that has never had a pet stay at the time of booking. This, as well as the enhanced cleaning services, need to be requested well in advance. In most cases, our clients have found the enhanced cleanings have provided safe and comfortable stays.

In the event your needs require something further, there are several properties and even a cruise line with hypoallergenic rooms. The company leading this movement in the hospitality industry is PURE, which works with a variety of chains to set up rooms designated as “hypoallergenic”. PURE’s cleaning process for these rooms highlights removal of 99% of pollutants and includes an air purification system, hypoallergenic mattress and pillows, and specialized cleaning of carpets, upholstery and room surfaces.

While PURE rooms can be found in several locations across the country, including the greater Orlando theme park area, you can also find PURE staterooms at sea on Crystal Cruise’s Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.

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