How to find the best hotels for wheelchair users

To ask questions

Finding specific information about a hotel’s accessibility features takes time. Unfortunately, most hotels do not post photos of their actually accessible rooms and bathrooms online.

If you have any questions, call the hotel directly, not the company’s reservation line. Get the name of the person you’re talking to and their email address. Take the time to patiently explain your specific needs. For example, some wheelchair users need an open space under a bed for a Hoyer lift.

Another way to find an accessible hotel is to book hotels on The company, which is part of the Priceline partner network, has collected access data on approximately 4,000 hotels in 45 US cities. It is important that travelers with accessibility requirements know how seriously properties will take their requests: “Asking for a roll-in shower or an accessible bathtub with grab bars is light years away. to request a late check-out, ”says Miriam Eljas, accessibilityGO co-founder. and CEO. “Hotels do not always register the seriousness of the need.

We saw a few stars. We have stayed at Aloft hotels, a Marriott brand, in Chicago, Corpus Christi, Texas, Minneapolis and Munich. Each time, we have been impressed with the quality of the design of the modern and accessible rooms. The new 14-story Holiday Inn Express Houston Galleria, a brand of IHG Hotels & Resorts, has an accessible king sofa bed in the king bedroom, a feature ideal for families. Our room at the sleek Waldorf Astoria Chicago, a Hilton brand, had a cozy in-room fireplace with a roll-in shower and tub – a rare combo.

When you ask your questions. consider these questions:

Room configurations when traveling with others. Wheelchair accessible rooms, especially those with roll-in shower, usually have a king-size bed. A room with only one bed is inconvenient for anyone traveling with a companion. And families generally need more than one bed. Paying for an extra room is expensive.

One solution is to request a folding bed. Call the hotel to ask if they offer this convenience – many don’t – and if so, ask if you will be charged extra for it. Consider booking an all-suite hotel (also known as extended stay properties). These hotels are more spacious and some of their room configurations include a separate living area with a sofa bed. Brands to compare include SpringHill Suites, Embassy Suites, Hyatt Place, Home2 Suites by Hilton, Residence Inn and Comfort Suites.

Obstacles in the guest room. Not all access issues are covered by ADA. The height of the bed is not, for example, although it can significantly affect someone’s hotel stay. As luxury beds get higher and higher, wheelchair users find it impossible to transfer their chair to bed. “If I can’t get to bed, I can’t sleep,” Sears says. “Usually the hotel is ready to remove the bed frame to lower the bed. It works well because it takes about 8-10 inches in height. But some frames are fixed and cannot be deleted. Then I have to remove the mattress and sleep on the box spring. “

Too much furniture in a spare bedroom hinders the wheelchair user’s navigation. If you cannot easily access the curtains or thermostat, ask hotel staff to remove chairs. Often there are not enough electrical outlets or they are not located where they are needed. Be prepared by bringing your own extension cord and surge protector.

Bathroom barriers. Wheelchair accessible showers consistently receive low ratings from wheelchair users. Shower controls are often located in front of the bench seat and are not within easy reach. Grab bars are missing or incorrectly placed. The shower seat is too small, too low, or there is no seat at all. (Because they’re also notoriously messy, ask for extra towels when checking in.)

Professional speaker Rosemarie Rossetti, 67, travels from her home in Columbus, Ohio, more than a dozen times a year. Paralyzed from the waist down, she uses a manual wheelchair and always inspects her guest room before unwrapping her bag. When a shower does not have a seat, it will ask the hotel to provide one. (On one occasion, a bellboy returned with a shower chair that belonged to his grandmother.) The rickety seats are a safety hazard. Another option for some travelers is to bring their own portable shower chair.

And because bathroom counter space is often insufficient, Rossetti brings a hanging storage bag for easy access.

Pool accessibility. Thanks to a new ADA regulation, people who cannot manage the steps will find that hotel swimming pools are equipped with lifts. A pool lift is a submersible chair that swings above and in the water. It can be permanently installed next to the pool or portable and placed in a warehouse. If the use of the pool is a priority, contact the hotel 48 hours before your visit to ensure that the elevator will be available and functional (battery operated elevators are chargeable).

After your trip

When you get home, help other wheelchair users know what to expect by posting photos and reviews of your accessible room on social media and with businesses like accessibleGO. Join hotel rewards programs (they are free) and provide feedback to hotels. When staying at a hotel that meets your needs, write down the room number so that you can request it on a future stay. Let the manager know that you appreciate the room was well designed and that you will be recommending the property to friends.

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