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Hotels Add “Purified Air” to Amenity List in COVID-19 Pandemic

Hotels Add “Purified Air” to Amenity List in COVID-19 Pandemic
Joe Cortez

Should better air quality be considered a hotel feature in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? Many properties are advertising just that as part of their guest experience, ranging from HEPA air filtration to plasma “air cleaning” systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hotels to change many of their service practices. Could it also be forcing them to reconsider their core product? The New York Times reports hotels are now adding a new amenity for all travelers: scrubbed air.

Air Purifiers Range From HEPA Filters to Plasma Systems

While the major hotels have instituted some form of sanitation and sterilization standard to respond to the novel Coronavirus outbreak, others have gone through full overhauls of air systems. In particular, the Hotel Paso del Norte, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel in El Paso, Texas, installed a Plasma Air Bipolar Ionization system.

“The system purifies the air within the hotel, neutralizing all indoor air contaminants,” a popup reads on the website. “Hotel Paso del Norte is one of the first hotels in the country and first in El Paso to invest in this groundbreaking system.”

The Plasma Air uses charged ions to improve air quality. The technology claims to kill the virus that causes COVID-19, while making it easier to remove other particles and contaminants from the air. Does the “bipolar ionization” actually make the air cleaner?

A statement published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) suggests that, like some of the conflicting information on aircraft, there’s no definitive data to prove it is more effective than other air filtration systems. The organization itself does not have a position on the technology.

“Relative to many other air cleaning or disinfection technologies, needlepoint bi-polar ionization has a less-documented track record in regards to cleaning/disinfecting large and fast volumes of moving air within heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems,” a statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes on the ASHRAE website. “This is not to imply that the technology doesn’t work as advertised, only that in the absence of an established body of evidence reflecting proven efficacy under as-used conditions, the technology is still considered by many to be an ‘emerging technology’.”

However, the trade group does offer some advice to hotels on managing air filtration. On their website. ASHRAE notes that HEPA filters “are more efficient” than other mechanical filters, but can cause an increased pressure drop. Employees working in these mechanical areas are tasked to use personal protective equipment when working on HVAC systems, and make sure the system can handle an upgrade to HEPA filtration.

Similar Air Quality Problems Trouble Airlines

Questions about air quality are also troubling airlines, as the air carriers work to encourage travelers. While the industry says HEPA filters aboard aircraft make the environment cleaner than an office, other studies suggest that COVID-19 transmission is potentially possible aboard a flight.

View Comments (3)


  1. PES1

    December 18, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Actually, the Bipolar Ionisation products offered by AtmosAir ( have proven extremely effective at deactivating coronaviruses, including Covid-19 and are installed in over 10,000 facilities, hospitals, MNC’s, hotels, and cruise ships worldwide. While not yet approved for use in aircraft, AtmosAir has passed all required certifictions for hotel, office, full building, hospital, cruise ship, and residential applications from UL, ASHRAE, etc.

    Bipolar ionisation is the only proven technology that continually saturates the indoor air with powerful ions that deactivate viruses and other pathogens. Bipolar ionization is an ACTIVE technology – very different than UV-C technology that relies upon the pathogen alden particles to be sucked back into the aircon system, then passed over UVC lamps to deactivate. Research has proven that this recirculation of the particles actually does not occur. They remain floating within the space at our breathing level, where they are inhalable created viral overload and transmission.

    AtmosAir’s bipolar ionisation with it’s patented technology is tested both in the laboratory and real world and proven to deactivate 99.92+% of the coronavirus in less than 30 minutes, then continuously disinfect the space and surfaces within that space.

    It’s a valuable tool for the tourism industry to deploy to restore the traveling public’s confidence in the safety of their environment.

    Here’s the link to their website:

  2. cmd320

    December 18, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    This isn’t anything new. A few brands have offered hypoallergenic rooms with purified air, etc. for years now.

  3. MRM

    January 14, 2021 at 5:49 am

    Once these filtration systems take to the skies, the oxygen fees will make luggage fees seem trite. But unlike luggage – you can’t downsize your oxygen intake – so everyone’s going to be stuck with it. Hopefully, they charge larger and/or rounder people even higher rates since their usage will be higher – if I have to sit beside gasping/panting for oxygen for multiple hours, I would expect for them to foot more of their own breathing bill.

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