Ask a Peer: Choosing the Right Hotel Room

Accessibility can mean different things to different people, especially if that person is able-bodied. What’s important to ask when reserving an accessible hotel room or vacation rental?

Accessibility means different things to different people depending on the type of disability a person has. Likewise, there are many different types of accessible hotel rooms.  It is not enough to simply ask, “Are your rooms accessible?” because the hotel’s view of accessibility may not fit your needs.  When our peers responded to this question, EVERYONE offered this one piece of advice: you must talk to the hotel directly, not a reservation agency, AND you must be specific about your needs and ask specific questions. An accessible hotel room can mean a room with a roll-in shower or a room with grab bars and a tub.  Doorway widths and counter top heights WILL vary. Some rooms may be located far from the elevator/exit or only on the ground floor.

With that said, here is more great advice from those who’ve “been there, done that” that will help make your hotel stay a great experience.

  • “Once you arrive at your hotel room, check the bathroom first before unpacking. If it does not work, that is the time to go back to the front desk to get it worked out.”
  • “If you need a hotel shuttle and they provide one for able-bodied customers, they need to do something for you. One hotel I stay in every year pays for a cab for me since their shuttle is not accessible.”
  • “What is the distance between the floor and the bottom of the sink or panel in front of the sink?  I want to be able to roll under the sink — to “belly up to the bar” so-to-speak.  Is there space next to the tub to park a wheelchair (if no roll-in shower)?”
  • “Am I guaranteed that room or is it first come, first serve?  Ask them to email you the confirmation with your requirements listed in the email.”
  • “If you use a lift to get into the bed, you need to ask for an open frame, that way the lift can roll under because most beds now days are on a box frame. If you stick with a name brand chain, they are good to provide room enough to move around. Ask for a roll in shower (no lip to get in). If the person is on a vent, are plenty of plugs?”
  • “Requesting adjoining rooms is helpful if you are traveling with an assistant or family members.”
  • “If possible try to book hotels that have sister hotels. In case of wrongful accommodations, there will be additional options to switch.”
  • Expedia has an option to pick all the accommodations you need including accessibility and roll-in showers. Click all the boxes your heart desires for your hotel. A list will be pulled up on how many are in your location. There are also virtual tours and pictures.”

We want to hear from you! Do you have any additional tips to share? Any great accessible hotels we should know about?

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