Skip to content

You can stay at a hotel that uses virus-killing robots to clean its rooms

March 26, 2020
4 min read
You can stay at a hotel that uses virus-killing robots to clean its rooms
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Would you sleep more soundly knowing your hotel room was deep-cleaned as thoroughly as a hospital after the previous guests checked out?

In Texas, one hotel is implementing a high-tech solution for staying squeaky clean, no matter the situation — namely, in the form of virus-killing robots.

The Westin Houston Medical Center now boasts the title of the first and only hotel in the country to use LightStrike™ Germ-Zapping Robots™ to combat germs. The robots use UV light to zap the germs away across the property — even disinfecting products such as bath amenities and coffee, which are then stored in sealed bags for guests — explained Archit Sanghvi, the vice president of operations for Pearl Hospitality, the hotel’s owner and operator. This adds another layer to the cleansing process.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

All public areas and guest rooms are also sanitized using Ecolab's TB Disinfectant Cleaner, a hospital-grade disinfectant, and hotel staff has removed all nonessential items such as magazines and decorative pillows. The hotel currently has employed two of the germ-killing robots on the property to clean its 273 rooms.

The robots clean every guest room between stays, as well as common spaces such as the lobby, restaurant, café, bar and meeting room daily.

These enhanced disinfectant protocols have been used in over 500 hospitals around the world, as well as the Mayo Clinic.

"Guests have expressed gratitude for the extra layer of comfort and protection we offer with the germ-killing robots," Sanghvi told TPG.

While we're not medical professionals and can't say for sure how thorough the germ-cleaning robots really are, there's no doubt it's an innovative approach, and would certainly help us sleep better while on the road.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: Complete guide to traveling during the coronavirus outbreak

Two scientists at the nearby Houston Medical Center developed the germ-zapping robot, so they didn't have far to travel for their new gig at the Westin, Sanghvi said. The hotel is on the medical center property, and is only about an eight-minute walk to the entrance of the facility.

Image courtesy of Google Maps
Image courtesy of Google Maps

For a limited time, medical professionals can get a special cash rate, with nights starting around $155. The rate includes breakfast and lunch for one guest either in-house or to take away, as well as Wi-Fi. Rates for Bonvoy members start at $175 per night, but do not include breakfast or lunch. Award nights start at 30,000 Bonvoy points per night.

While Westin doesn't have any immediate plans to roll out the robots to other properties, their appearance is clearly part of a larger trend to make hotel rooms cleaner and safer for travelers.

Two hotels in Copenhagen, for example, now feature self-cleaning rooms. Each one is treated with an invisible, odorless cleaning solution called ACT CleanCoat that actively eliminates microbes such as E. coli, viruses, mold spores and allergens. That technology has also been used aboard all nine Lindblad Expeditions vessels.

Still, you don't have to stay at one of these specific properties to have a very hygienic stay and enjoy some additional peace of mind. Instead, just be diligent about washing your hands; wiping clean any potentially contaminated surfaces; and keeping these precautions in mind.

Featured image by Mark Humphries

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees