Asking the broad question “Are your hotel rooms accessible?” won’t give you the specific answers you need. If you’ve got upcoming travel plans, it is essential to find an accessible hotel room to fit your unique needs.
How to investigate a hotel's accessibility:
Be Specific: Don’t rely on travel websites or reservation agencies to answer your questions about a room’s accessibility. Call the hotel directly, and be sure to be specific about your needs.
Bathroom Check: Upon arrival in your room, make sure you can fit into the bathroom. You don’t want to start getting comfortable just to later discover that you can’t access the bathroom, so check this first!
Measurements: If you will need to roll up to the bathroom sink, you’ll want to find out the distance between the floor and the bottom of the sink to make sure you can fit comfortably. Also ask if there is a space next to the tub to park a wheelchair (if there is no roll in shower).
Getting Around: If you will need transportation during your hotel stay, ask what kind of accessible transportation the hotel offers. If they do not have an accessible vehicle, ask if accommodations can be made. “One hotel I stay in every year pays for a cab for me since their shuttle is not accessible,” shares one traveler.
Guarantee in Writing: Be sure to ask if the accessible room you are booking has guaranteed availability for your stay. Some hotels have a first come, first served policy, meaning you can only have the accessible room if it isn’t already occupied. Ask that a guarantee be emailed to you along with a list of the specific accommodations agreed upon between you and the hotel.
Room for a Lift: If you need a lift to transfer from your chair to the bed, ask for a bed with an open frame so that the lift will be able to roll under the bed completely. Many hotel beds these days are box frames, and that just wouldn’t work with a lift.
Preparation is key for any travel situation. So with a checklist handy – along with your specific accommodation needs – be sure to fully investigate your destination hotel before heading there.
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