When it comes to hotels, smart technology just keeps getting smarter. As if digital room keys and concierge robots aren’t edgy enough, we keep hearing news of rooms that can anticipate your needs and rooms that can drive you to the airport (yes, really). And now, thanks to Copenhagen’s newly opened Hotel Ottilia, you can stay in a hotel room that cleans itself.
Housed in the former Carlsberg brewing buildings, Hotel Ottilia partnered with ACT.Global (a Denmark-based sustainable sanitation company) to bring self-disinfecting technology into its rooms and suites. The product in question, CleanCoat, is essentially an antibacterial spray on steroids. According to ACT.Global, their Teflon-like coating breaks down harmful microbes—”like bacteria, viruses, airborne mold spores, and chemical compounds mold spores” (yum)—plus purifies and deodorizes the air for up to a year. (It’s sort of like covering an entire room in Saran Wrap, only way less awkward.) Its main ingredient is titanium dioxide, a naturally occurring oxide used in sunscreen and as a food additive; the spray is said to be undetectable (no scent, nothing visible) and is activated by sunlight.
Aside from eliminating odors and allergens, the CleanCoat technology can ease the burden on hotel cleaning staff, Bloomberg reports. Housekeeping won’t be asked to work with bleach and disinfectants; they can avoid breathing in those fumes and save time by focusing on tasks like vacuuming and dusting, leaving the micro-cleaning up to the spray. Speedier room cleanings also benefit guests, of course, as does the lack of irritating chemicals. (No official word on if CleanCoat murders all bed bugs, but we have our fingers crossed.)
Making every germaphobe’s dream come true does come at a price—about $2,500 per room, to be precise. “The technology is expensive,” Karim Nielsen, chief executive officer of Brøchner Hotels (Ottilia’s parent company), told Bloomberg, “but we’ve reduced the labor load by 50 percent. It’s giving our staff a much easier day and reducing our water consumption.”
A hotel room practically immune to germs and odors sounds pretty perfect, right? But as with most products that seem a little too good to be true, polarizing opinions are sure to arise. We love a good debate here at Traveler, so our editors decided to sound off on the whole “self-cleaning hotel rooms” issue. Here’s what they had to say:
Bring on the disinfectants
“I am very excited about the prospect of self-cleaning hotel rooms. For starters, the chemicals in a lot of cleaners can cause serious reactions (my allergies get triggered all the time in hotels), and the disinfectant the Ottilia’s using doesn’t do that. It spares the staff from the fumes and chemicals, too. It makes cleaning time faster (could this boost early check-ins and late check-outs?) and adds an additional layer of attention to the cleanliness of your air and surroundings. I can’t see any downside!” —Corina Quinn, senior editor
Get me out of the Matrix
“Though I appreciate clever innovation, I’m not ready to get into a self-driving car and ride on over to a self-cleaning hotel room just yet. Do I really need to be a guinea pig, embracing this omnipresent antibacterial spray (light activated!)? How effective is it, really? And why are heavy chemicals the only alternative solution?” —Laura Redman, deputy digital director
“I know there can be a lot of chemicals in housekeeping products (bad), and that this technology reduces water consumption (good) and lightens labor for staff (better). But something that is transparent, odorless, and activated-by-sunlight seems, to me, a toe too far into a Matrix-like existence I’m not quite ready for. I know this makes little sense—but hey, there are a lot of things that don’t.” —Katherine Lagrave, Senior Digital Editor
This article originally appeared on CNTraveler.com.