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.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

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.

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

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
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

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

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

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases