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Hello Dystopia! Luxury Hotels Are Now Selling Clean Air

Hello Dystopia! Luxury Hotels Are Now Selling Clean Air
Jackie Reddy

Hotel amenities used to be all about fancy toiletries, free coffee and complimentary Wi-Fi. But at some luxury hotels in South Asia and East Asia–where global pollution levels are noted to be at their highest–properties are now offering clean, fresh and filtered air as the ultimate in-room commodity.

Forget fancy rain showers or the complimentary mini-bar. And free Wi-Fi? Passé indeed. When it comes to in-room amenities, high-end hotels in Asia and India know exactly what their customers want: clean, fresh air.

China and India: Home to Some of the World’s Most Polluted Cities

As OZY explains, large cities in India and China are often identified as some of the most polluted metropolises on the planet. Looking at the results of a recent study undertaken by Greenpeace and AirVisual – which measured pollution in 3,000 cities around the globe–the outlet reports that seven out of the ten most polluted cities are located in India.

As for China, it has 22 of the world’s most polluted cities within its borders.

Writing of the results last spring, The Guardian noted that 64% of these urban centers, “…exceed the World Health Organization’s annual exposure guideline for PM2.5 fine particulate matter–tiny airborne particles, about a 40th of the width of a human hair, that are linked to a wide range of health problems.”

In south Asia, it observed that 99% of cities exceeded this threshold, as did 89% of East Asian urban centers.

What Does Bad Air Have to Do With Fancy Hotel Rooms?

So what does bad air have to do with fancy hotel rooms? Given the obvious scarcity of fresh air in some of these cities, properties within the region are seeing the dearth of this resource as a kind of opportunity to up-sell their costumers a luxury product.

Keeping within this frame of reference, OZY notes that some Chinese hotels have, in fact, been offering pure, filtered air to their customers since 2016. Back then, the China World Hotel in Beijing debuted purifiers in all of its units. In 2017, the city’s Fairmont Hotel partnered with Sweden-based company Blueair to offer filters in each of its rooms.

The following year, the Cordis Hongqiao in Shanghai introduced a double-filtration system on its premises, with in-room monitors that show pollution readings that are within WHO guidelines.

At the H’Elite Hotel in Guangzhou, air filters come as a standard amenity in all rooms.

The story is very much the same in India. The Oberoi, one of New Delhi’s most venerable hotels, debuted air purifiers after a 2018 renovation. The city’s Taj Hotel also now features a purification system and over in Delhi, both the Leela and Jaypee hotels have taken similar measures to offer clean air to their guests.

At the ITC Group, a major Indian hotel chain, clean air is a top priority. All rooms and suites at the ITC Maurya have had filtration systems since 2018 and it also plans on introducing purifiers at a second New Delhi property as well as within its hotels at Gurugram, Agra and Jaipur.

In terms of global hotel chains operating in the two nations, those properties within The Hilton Group enable guests to choose a Pure Room, all of which have an air purifier. The outlet notes that–unlike those offered in say, The Cordis Hongqiao–the filters offered in Hilton properties are more geared toward removing airborne bacteria and viruses rather than pollution.

Air Filtration Has Improved Guest Ratings

Another key point to remember is that these rooms appear to be aimed at wealthier, luxury travelers.

As the outlet observes, rooms at the Cordis Hongqiao are about $250 a night and for a night in a Hilton Pure Room, guests can expect to pay around 7% more than a standard room. As OZY notes, “…the Indian and Chinese chains are making it a point to ensure they don’t distinguish among guests: All rooms have the air filtration technology.”

But speaking from a hotelier’s perspective, this kind of investment appears to be worth it. As Emil Leung, the managing director of the Cordis Hongqiao explained, “The guest ratings have improved since [the new filtration system was installed]. Guests with any respiratory problems and any kind of allergies also find it very comfortable here.”

[Featured Image: ASaber91/Wikimedia]

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. fotographer

    December 19, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    The picture you are using is that of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai. .. not New Delhi..
    (located near the gate way of India and the focus of the brutal attack

  2. JackE

    December 22, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    This is nothing new. Hyatt used to offer this at a few locations. I never ponied up the extra charge, but I believe it was for enhanced air filtering and hypoallergenic toiletries, etc.

  3. htb

    December 23, 2019 at 12:02 am

    At check-in: “ Would you like to upgrade to one of our Pure rooms? It’s only 7% more and you will be less likely to suffer asthma attacks or other respiratory problems.”
    Does anyone else see a problem with this idea?

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