Wielding a white plastic sprayer device, the housekeeping staff at the Embassy Suites Napa Valley looks ready to do battle. And fighting they are – the spread of COVID-19.
By adopting new technology and new procedures, the hotel is making its facilities as germ-free as science and technology allow, said hotel spokeswoman Sara Swiger.
A new sanitation process has been implemented “to deepen the property’s commitment to a safe and clean environment throughout the hotel space,” she said.
The technology uses an electrostatic disinfectant tool from a company called EvaClean. The products use sanitizing chemicals with electrostatic molecules to kill germs and viruses on surfaces.
This technology goes well beyond the Center for Disease Control’s sanitation guidelines, said Swiger.
The new cleaning process is completed in every guest room upon checkout as well as in public areas and high-touch areas like door handles, handrails and elevator lifts.
As longtime hotel General Manager Reynaldo Zertuche explained, the EvaClean sprayer uses a disinfectant product called Purtabs.
Purtabs is a colorless, water-soluble solid that comes in the form of tablets that dissolve in the EvaClean electrostatic spraying system.
The sprayer’s electrostatic charge allows the droplets to be attracted to the surface rather than float in the air, as is typical with misters or foggers, and the disinfectant works on contact, he said.
The hotel has two electrostatic sprayers, he said.
Hotel staffers Maria Montoya and Gary Ceron recently demonstrated how the sprayer works and how they use it.
Wearing a mask and gloves, Ceron turned on the sprayer, which sent out a light mist. A blue light illuminated where he was aiming the device.
Walking around one of the suites at the property, he misted all areas of contact, including door handles, chair backs, phones, remotes, light switches, countertops and other surfaces.
In addition to the sprayer device, the hotel also cleans rooms with more traditional methods. Using disinfecting wipes, Ceron demonstrated how he wipes every single surface of the suite, including the top and bottom of each phone, every handle on a six-drawer chest, and even the magazines inside the nightstand. For an extra measure of confidence, each TV remote control is cleaned and then placed inside a clear plastic baggie.
Zertuche said the hotel has been using EvaClean sanitizing method since shortly after the pandemic broke out, despite the major drop in tourism caused by the lockdown.
“We have always provided cleanliness care in our guest rooms and public spaces and we are excited to take our sanitation measures a step further,” Zertuche said.
“The health and safety of our guests is always our top priority and we want to ensure we are delivering comfort during their visits with us.”
“There are no shortcuts, there are no missteps,” said Montoya of the cleaning process at the Embassy Suites. “We’re helping the community and keeping our guests safe.”
“We want (guests) to be happy and secure, and know they are in a safe place,” said Ceron.
Andrew Felsinger, the new director of sales at the hotel, said that the recent Glass wildfire has put a damper on some visits, yet at the same time the hotel was busy hosting fire evacuees.
The new cleaning processes are crucial, he said. “The stakes couldn’t be higher for guests, for employees, for everyone.”
As part of the Hilton brand, the property also follows the Hilton CleanStay initiative for cleanliness and disinfection at all Hilton properties, he said.
New additions to the hotel include hand-sanitizing stations throughout the property, in both guest-facing and back-of-house areas; individually wrapped breakfast items for ease of grab and go; and the option for contactless check-in and digital keys, he said.
“We are also taking advantage of this slow period to address some capital improvements,” Zertuche said.
“For instance, we just replaced 410 TVs to the new Hilton standard of 55-inch LCD. In addition, we are upgrading Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the hotel.”
In the hope that COVID-19-related cases will continue to drop and restrictions will continue to ease, some 45 percent of the hotel’s workforce has already been brought back, Zertuche said, adding that guests are most concerned about “safety above all,” when it comes to travel.
Hotel management said they believe the new protocols, added to the cleanliness and safety measures already in place, help them meet this need.
Register business editor Jennifer Huffman contributed to this story.
You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or firstname.lastname@example.org