Tips for Staying at a Hotel When you Have Skin Allergies

If you've got skin allergies (a.k.a. allergic contact dermatitis a.k.a. eczema), you know the importance of a controlled environment. Most of us can make changes throughout our home and daily lifestyle... but what happens when we have to leave our nicely controlled environment?

Hotel stays can be stressful for those of us with skin allergies. I've done it a few times, though, and it no longer stresses me out :-)

Most recently, I stayed at the Hilton in MIlwaukee, Wisconsin. My lovely husband gave me the gift of going away on a stress-free weekend where it was all about me. SO AWESOME. SO SWEET. I'd been overly stressed and really just needed to completely relax. He knows how important it is for me and my immune system to hit the "reset" button. He originally suggested the Hyatt in MIlwaukee because I'd stayed there before and they had THE MOST amazing allergy-friendly rooms. Seriously, I've never been able to breathe easier and I've raved about it to everybody ever since.

Unfortunately, when I went to book a room at the Hyatt... they informed me those rooms are no longer available. They've stopped doing them completely. 

I WAS SO BUMMED. 

After a minute I thought, hey, I can make it work at another hotel, right

TIP #1: Plan ahead. Get the email of the manager and don't feel guilty about asking questions. Be kind, but thorough! Your health is worth it, I promise.

Not wanting to deal with the commute to downtown Chicago (which I do all the time for work), I decided to stick with Milwaukee. Being a graphic designer, I love art and architecture definitely counts as art. When I saw this particular Hilton in Milwaukee (there are two), I fell in love.

I mean, check it out:

GORGEOUS.

It's an old building bursting with charm. It kinda looks like a mini castle, actually:

And just look at those beautiful copper pieces on top of the banisters:

Badass.

There's an updated area where you can hang out and order dinner and drinks:

But anyways, back to allergies!

TIP #2: Ask for the bedding to be removed before you get there.

You don't know what's on there... you don't know what it was washed with and you don't know what was on the person's hands who made your bed. If you're crazy allergic to chemicals and they had residue from cleaning products on their hands... better safe than sorry. Because of my polyester allergy, I always bring 100% cotton bedding with me. I've stayed at various hotels and it never fails - they always have polyester in the bedding. At this point, I don't even ask anymore. One time, I stayed at The Wit in downtown Chicago (amazing hotel with a killer rooftop) and they said their sheets were 100% cotton. A guy on their staff told me he personally checked and the sheets are 100% cotton. In fact, he left me a voicemail saying just that.

How perfect that I had said email when I arrived and there wasn't a cotton sheet to be found in the hotel. The Wit knows customer service, though, and the kind lady I spoke with actually went to the store and bought cotton sheets so that I wouldn't have to cancel my stay. It was AWESOME. I really felt taken care of.

After that experience, I always bring my own. 

TIP #3 make sure to inquire about allergy friendly pillows. Many hotels offer pillows without down (which trap dust).

TIP #4: Look for in a hotel room with a fridge and know that even if there isn't one in the room, some hotels can provide one upon request. This way you can bring your own allergy friendly snacks and drinks!

TIP #5: Scope out restaurants before you get there and see what your options are. Grubhub is my favorite app for delivery, but I make sure to check Google Maps as well.

Another thing: having a fridge also means I can store delivery food for later :-) A microwave, like the one in this room, didn't hurt either!

I chose a room with an attached suite so I could really spread out, have things a little more orderly (I geek out over being organized) and it also gave me plenty of room to roll out my yoga mat and get all bendy:

The bathroom was nice and there was LOTS of counter space which I love love love. Perfect for playing around with hair and makeup.

TIP #5 is a nickel allergy tip: I kept a bandanna on the sink because they were brushed nickel. My nickel allergy is pretty severe, so I have to be as careful as possible.

I brought a bunch of my favorite products with me, of course:

This weekend was all about rest and relaxation... things that are SO important to those of us with autoimmune issues. Our bodies are already extra tired... we need to give ourselves a break on a regular basis.

So, in addition to having a DIY spa day in my room, I brought a book and cozied up in this little area:

I brought some coffee with me, enjoyed the peace and quiet and took in the beautiful ceiling:

And to top it all off, the super awesome lady I'd been emailing with (Alyssa! Hey girl!) about my hotel room and allergies surprised me with a little something special!

Chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne!

MMMMMHM. Spoiling me! It was so sweet. I loved it. This  really put a smile on my face and made my stay that much better.

What Alyssa didn't know is that I'm allergic to champagne because of sodium benzoate. I actually have a history of it being difficult to breathe when I drink champagne, so I stay away at all costs. I did bring it home for my husband, though!

Overall, my stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Milwaukee was pretty awesome. They were as accommodating as they could be without having any special allergy rooms. Staying in a carpeted room always aggravated my airborne allergies a bit... it's amazingly awful what can get built up in carpets! It definitely wasn't as easy to breathe here when compared to the discontinued allergy rooms at the Hyatt... those allergy rooms were pretty amazing.

A big thanks to Alyssa for her excellent level of service and being so very patient with my many questions! Planning a hotel stay for us allergy people can take a bit of work, so it's really nice when kind, patient people are part of the process :-)

What's your favorite allergy friendly hotel?

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