Organic mattresses and circadian mood lighting sound like features you'd only find at a wellness retreat in the desert. But now, they're a few of the crazy amenities that hotels like the Marriott and MGM Grand are using to attract health-obsessed travelers.
One of the weirdest that's gaining popularity is the vitamin C shower, offered in Stay Well hotel rooms. Rumor has it, even Leonardo DiCaprio uses one. And they're not for treating that cold you caught on the flight over.
According to Vitashower, vitamin C neutralizes the chlorine that's used to treat your water, a reaction that's been proven by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Vitashower describes the chlorine coming out of your typical shower head "as a poisonous, greenish-yellow gas with an irritating, pungent odor."
No one wants that on their vacation, but does this new hotel room feature live up to the hype?
The vitamin C shower works by using filters to infuse your shower with vitamin C, an antioxidant which reduces skin dryness and aging. However, Neal Langerman, an officer of the American Chemical Society's Division of Chemical Health and Safety, says that the theories surrounding these healthy showers are only skin deep.
"First off, chlorine and chloramines do not cross the skin barrier, nor does vitamin C," he tells Bloomberg. "[Also] I don't think the reaction would be complete — the neutralization, if you will — by the time the water hits your head or flows down the drain."
Furthermore, Patricia Ferris, MD, argues that vitamin C needs to be carefully packaged in order to prevent oxidation, which renders it ineffective. "If it's just sprayed out of the shower, the majority of it will be inactivated rather quickly as it is exposed to air," she tells Men's Health.
If you're feeling "meh" about the vitamin C shower claims but still interested in maintaining your wellness abroad, hotels are offering a huge variety of other health and fitness features as well.
For example, the Westin features a “Superfoods Rx” menu and offers rooms fitted with a stationary bike or treadmill. The Westin loans its guests New Balance gear and has a running concierge for tips on scenic jogs. EVEN hotels feature nutritious menu items and gym-style workout classes, and Hotel Benjamin has a curated pillow menu as part of its Rest & Renew program in New York.