|By Maryellen Fillo, The Hartford Courant,
Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 9, 2008 - For Lori Richardson, staying at the new Nylo hotel in Warwick, R.I., is nothing to sneeze at -- literally.
An allergy and asthma sufferer who lives outside of Boston, she was braced for a sniffley night away when she accompanied her husband on a business trip that included a stay at this newest hotel, on the banks of the Pawtuxet River, just outside Providence. And while the mid-priced accommodations were sleek and sophisticated, it was what she couldn't see that made the stay so pleasant -- a medical-grade air purifier and contaminant-free heating and cooling system that made breathing, and sleeping, a pleasure.
Welcome to an amenity that is becoming more common in hotels, most recently at the Rhode Island Nylo.
Called Pure rooms, the specially equipped rooms incorporate a seven-step process designed to kill 98 percent to 100 percent of indoor allergens and bacteria. That, along with hypoallergenic linens and a shield applied to surfaces to make them dust-, bacteria- and virus-resistant, results in a room that is comfortably pristine.
At Nylo, 38 of its 163 loft-style guest rooms are Pure rooms.
"The air in these rooms have one-tenth of the pollutants that the air outside the rooms do, said Brian Brault, CEO for Pure Solutions, the New York-based company responsible for the components of the allergy-free floor of rooms all on the hotel's fourth floor. "When you walk into a Pure room you notice the difference immediately," he said. "The air is crisp and clean, like you are on top of the mountain."
Well, maybe not quite like being on top of the mountain, but this guest could tell the difference in the hotel, the first the Atlanta-based Nylo has opened in the Northeast. While I don't have any major respiratory problems, the air in the Pure rooms did seem fresher and the bedding on the hotel's signature NYTE king-size bed, less irritating. No dust-collecting wall-to-wall carpeting on the floor (instead treated concrete with area coverings) and a minimalist design when it came to the decor made me feel like somehow I was giving my breathing apparatus a vacation as well.
"Nylo is doing something that differentiates them from the pack," said American Hotel & Lodging Association president and CEO Joe McInerney. Noting that the hotel chain is one that is setting a new bar when it comes to affordable, hip lodging, McInerney said the addition of the allergy-free floor is just one other amenity the chain is tapping into to set itself apart.
"They promote a lifestyle with their overall concept, loft-style New York City feeling rooms for the younger generation," said McInerney. "Nylo is sort of a second phase of the "W" chain," he continued, referring to the popular boutique-style chain of hotels. "I have all kinds of allergies and have a lot of trouble sleeping in hotels. If there were one available when I travel, it is where I would stay."
And people like McInerney and Richardson are an emerging group of consumers who are not only looking for the environmentally friendly rooms, but consider them a godsend when it comes to a comfortable night away from home.
"I'm not a complainer but staying in a hotel is always problematic because you are in a room used by so many other people," explained the 43-year-old Richardson. "I've had attacks because of lingering perfume smells, dander, pollen from flowers, and even smoke because someone decided to ignore the "smoke-free," designation," she said. "To be able to stay in a truly allergy-free room is a blessing."
According to the hotel association, one in four travelers suffer from respiratory problems with more than 40 hotels across the country now offering Pure rooms. Places like the Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center in Georgia not only offers 99.9 percent allergy-free accommodations, but also 99.9 percent allergenic free meeting facilities. At the Millenium Broadway Hotel in New York, the fitness center is certified "pure allergy friendly."
"People are willing to pay a little more for the comfort and the clean air," said McInerney. "It's a good marketing tool that is not a flash in the pan."
The cost of comfort is pretty affordable at Nylo. Standard rooms start at $109 while the Pure rooms start at $119.
Allergy-free rooms aside, the hotel, designed to look like the former Pontiac Mills factory building that was at the site, is already making a positive and popular statement. Its urban loft design features guest rooms with high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and huge common areas that include a library, a restaurant overlooking the river, a business center, fitness center, original artwork and ultramodern bar with entertainment. Pod chairs, tables embedded with shells and sea coral, a game room with a custom pool table and all the technological perks that consumers expect are also featured at the place.
"Travelers are right demanding that lodgings be more than merely functional," said Nylo president Michael Mueller about the hotel's efforts to meet consumers' health needs.
Nylo CEO John Russell notes that Nylo has the highest percentage of Pure rooms in its hotels also located in Plano, Texas, with a third scheduled to open in Broomfield, Colo. "Allergy-friendly accommodations are our most popular ones," he said. "The first to sell out on any given night."
--For reservations, go to nylohotels.com, or call 1.866.391.NYLO.
To see more of The Hartford Courant, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.courant.com/.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Hartford Courant, Conn.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email email@example.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.