After a grueling long-haul flight across oceans and continents suffering hours of dry cabin air, nothing is more welcoming than the sight of your hotel room, preferably with pristine, plump, fluffed up duvet and pillows, and the prospect of a nice hot shower.
If you have booked one of the 38 hypo-allergenic rooms, or Pure Rooms, at the Grand Hyatt Seoul, you will be hit by the clean, crisp scent of tea tree oil as soon as you open the door to your room.
In fact, the purifying scent is the first sign you will notice that you have entered a very special room ― a room that has been rid of 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses.
Grand Hyatt Seoul’s Pure Room with a river view. (Grand Hyatt Seoul)
The barely audible humming of the air filter located discreetly behind the television is part of the seven-step process that eliminates allergens and irritants from all surfaces, fabrics and airflows.
The unique process developed by Pure Solution starts with a thorough disinfection of air-handling units and the installation of a removable tea tree oil cartridge to maintain the sanitized state, and ends with encasing the mattress and pillows with hypo-allergenic mattress protector and pillow covers.
A crucial step in the system is the air purifier that is listed as a Class II medical device by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Our air purifier was developed with the U.S. military grant in preparation for germ warfare. The three-step filtering system found in this air purifier will kill 98-100 percent of all bacteria and viruses and eliminate air-borne particles measuring 0.3 microns and larger,” said Choi Yong-seog, vice president of Pure Solutions Korea. The Pure Rooms are maintained and re-certified every six months.
With worsening environmental pollution and a rise in the number of people suffering from asthma and various allergies ― it is estimated that one-sixth of the population in Korean suffer from the conditions ― the idea of a completely sanitized, bacteria- and virus-free room is comforting yet disturbing: Once you step out of the ideal “pure” environment, your body is vulnerable to assault by pollutants, allergens and what else have you.
On an optimistic note, however, a deep, restful sleep in a hypo-allergenic room free from irritants that can keep you up at night may be the best way to prepare yourself for the next day ― a day that is, in all likelihood, filled with toxic pollutants and harmful bacteria and viruses, on top of all the routine stresses of navigating around a new city.
By Kim Hoo-ran (firstname.lastname@example.org