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“Healthtel” is Just What the Doctor Ordered

Health Hotels Respond to Needs of Medical Travelers

Increased wait-times for appointments, consumer-choice insurance plans and self-referrals have contributed to a medical travel trend. A hotel in Rochester, MN— with a historic, visionary approach to catering to the needs of patients and their families — is setting the pace by offering a true “healthtel” experience.

Medical Travel on the Rise
While travel and tourism to international destinations for medical procedures is a well-documented trend, travel within the U.S. for healthcare is largely un-measured.  A thorough inquiry of the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control, as well as a variety of organizations in the health, travel and insurance industries, turned up no large-scale study of the impact of medical-related travel domestically, particularly as it pertains to patients traveling outside their immediate geographic area. 

Personal Concierge to Mayo Clinic
Personal Concierge to Mayo Clinic

But, the nation’s premier healthcare providers, such as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN., can attest to the rise of domestic and international medical travel.  Nearly 100,000 patients travel more than 120 miles each year to the famed healthcare institution.  The phenomenon traces back to the 1920s, when patients took trains all the way from Mexico to the Southeastern Minnesota city.  When the Clinic began assigning tracking numbers to its patients, “No. 1” was from Canada (patients are now in the six millions).  The many patients who travel to the Mayo Clinic from New York, Los Angeles and everywhere in between have created a medical tourism boom in Rochester and contribute to the trend nationally.

With physician referrals on the rise and many taking their health care into their own hands, patients are willing to travel for better care, expedited appointments and multi-specialty care.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average length of hospital stay in the U.S. is 4.8 days.  When traveling for care, patients may choose to stay in a hotel, rather than a hospital.  The Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester has coined the term “healthtel,” as it offers a variety of unique services and amenities aimed at making Mayo Clinic patients comfortable while they get healthy.

Kahler Hotels Pioneers “Healthtel” Concept
In the early 1900s, the Mayo brothers approached John Henry Kahler and asked him to build and operate hotel facilities to serve the needs of visiting patients and their families. In 1921, Kahler built the Kahler Grand Hotel. The property’s innovative design and approach to hospitality boasted a 220-room hotel, 150-bed convalescent unit, a 210-bed hospital and operating suites for oral, plastic and general surgery. Over the years, the Kahler Grand Hotel housed a dormitory for nursing students, a colonoscopy ward and birthing suites. The Kahler Hotels have evolved throughout the years to meet the diverse needs of patients and visitors, but Kahler’s dedication to top-notch service, excellence and first-class hospitality is still alive.

Today, an estimated 65 percent of the Kahler Grand Hotel room nights are Mayo Clinic related.  In line with the Clinic’s patient base, the majority of these guests hail from the Midwest each year, but 14 percent come from the South including 8,600 room nights from Florida guests alone.  More than 5,000 room nights originate in Texas and California annually. A stroll through the Kahler Grand Hotel parking garage will find numerous license plates from throughout the U.S.

Healthtel Cares for Patients and Vistors
What sets The Kahler Grand, and the other Kahler Hotels in downtown Rochester, apart is the way they care for patients from all walks of life.  The “healthtel” offers medical concierge services, an all-in-one building dedicated to meeting the special needs of patients and their families, and patient rates from $79 to $139 per night with free parking.

“The Kahler Hotels constantly work with the Mayo Clinic to customize our offerings to meet the needs of patients and visitors,” said Bruce Fairchild, regional director of operations.  “Over our 85 year history, we have perfected the ‘healthtel’ concept, developing capabilities to cater to the unique physical, emotional, sensual and spiritual wishes of those that choose to travel to Rochester for care.”

The Kahler Hotels – including the Kahler Grand Hotel, International Hotel, Kahler Inn & Suites, Marriott Rochester at Mayo Clinic and the Residence Inn Rochester Downtown – are connected to the heart of the Mayo Clinic, placing patients literally steps away from some of the finest medical care in the country.

Personal Concierge to Mayo Clinic
24-Hour In-Room Dining

Need help arranging or getting to an appointment? No problem. The personal concierge service will assist in setting appointments and escorting patients and their families to appointments at the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, a medical supply store and pharmacy are located on site and will deliver prescriptions and medical supplies directly to a patient’s guestroom.

The “Right Choice” menu, created by Mayo dietitians and Kahler chefs, offers healthy alternatives for guests with dietary restrictions or those preparing for tests.  This and other special menu items are available in the Grand Grill or through Kahler’s 24-hour in-room dining service.  Additionally, the Kahler Grand servers are very adept at guiding guests with meal selections in advance of procedures or tests.

Pinnacle of Luxury Awaits Patients at the International Hotel
In 2006, the new International Hotel was opened, located in the penthouse of the Kahler Grand.  This luxury floor was developed with the help of Mayo Clinic representatives with a special focus on upscale travelers and international visitors, which encompass a significant segment of patients.  The top originators of International Hotel guests are Bahrain, Dubai, Mexico City, the U.K., the Czech Republic, and Spain.  Domestically, California, Florida and Illinois (Chicago) drive the International’s bookings.

Guests of the AAA Four-Diamond International find a healthy home away from home including international dining fare, access to over 360 global newspapers and in-room phones feature Ask Mayo™ buttons that allow direct access to Mayo Clinic registered nurses.

“I am proud of our staff for their ability to understand the sensitive needs and questions that our guests have due to the nature of their visit to Rochester,” said Fairchild.  “They have the ability to answer questions, provide assistance and just listen – and I think that sets us apart from other hotels.” Read more about the International Hotel in RTM's Green & Healthy Hotel Guide

IF YOU GO…

Kahler Hotels
20 SW Second Avenue
Rochester, MN 55902
(507) 280-6200

International Hotel
20 SW Second Street
Rochester, MN 55902
(800) 940-6811
InternationalHotel@sunstonehotels.com

Kahler Grand Hotel
20 SW Second Avenue
Rochester, MN 55902
(800) 533-1655

Kahler Inn & Suites
9 Third Avenue Northwest
Rochester, MN 55901
(800) 533-1655

Marriott Rochester at Mayo Clinic
101 First Avenue SW
Rochester, MN 55902
(877) 623-7775; (507) 280-6000

Residence Inn by Marriot, Rochester Mayo Clinic Area
441 West Center St. NW
Rochester, MN 55902
(877) 623-7775; (507) 292-1400

Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN Location
200 First St. S.W.
Rochester, MN 55905
(507) 284-2511

RELATED LINKS

Source: Kahler Hotels

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