Tag: Wheelchair Accessible Hotels

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Why Did The Hotel Put You in an Accessible Room When You Didn't Ask For One?

May 22, 2014 at 12:16 PM | by | Comment (1)

An accessible bedroom at the Element Las Vegas. It looks quite the same as the others but we felt too guilty staying in it when we didn't need it. Also, there wasn't enough counter space in the bathroom.

Fresh off of teaching how to book a hotel room like a boss, our former front desk manager has returned to answer a common hotel problem--getting placed in an accessible hotel room when you didn't request an accessible hotel room. Here's his take:

This is something we faced quite a few times at the hotel in Washington, DC where I worked. As a historic property, each of our rooms was a different size (some were very small) and we had to make the best use of our accessible rooms because they were bigger.

Accessible rooms should always be kept open for people who really need them but on occasion, hotels will rent these rooms out to others. The reason being is hotels often have a misconceived notion that an accessible room is preferred by guests because of its larger size. But what hotels don't realize is that there are some significant drawbacks to an accessible room. Like, not having a bathtub if someone wanted one, or having an unusually high toilet.

It truly takes a very well-versed hotel staff to understand and anticipate a guests "actual" needs. i.e. you may be willing to forgo a larger size room, but you really do need a bathtub or more counter space at the sink. Size doesn't always matter, but amenities always do.

So, aside from the hotel assuming you'd just like the extra space, here are some other reasons why they would assign this type of room:

1. The room that was blocked for you was accidentally removed and you were given the best available by the time you arrived. (I cannot tell you how many times a front desk agent has just unblocked a room type without reading the comments on the screen!!) When you did arrive they had to scramble to get you the room that you asked for and the accessible room was the best they could do.

2. It could also just be that you arrived late to the hotel and since they were fully booked, they gave you the best they had.

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What Is This At The Mark New York?

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 25 East 77th St. , New York, NY, 10021
October 19, 2011 at 10:08 AM | by | Comments (3)

We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our newest series, What is This? is devoted to odd-looking items in hotel rooms that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.

This mystery appliance had us stumped when we first walked up to the Front Desk at The Mark New York. As we chatted with the friendly concierges, we kept glancing over our shoulder at this bizarre pull-out fixture that's built into the middle of the wall next to the Front Desk, all the while trying not to interrupt the conversation. But, as usual, our curiosity got the better of us.

Before we reveal the faux desk drawer's actual function, here's what it's not: a desk drawer. A diaper changing station. An ironing board. A sex toy.

Give up? Click below to see what it is!

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Inclusive Design: Makaranga Lodge Leads the Way

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1a Igwababa Rd, Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 3610
February 11, 2009 at 4:46 PM | by | Comment (1)

There’s a new wave trend in the hotel world. It’s quite a small wave currently – more of a ripple in the distance – but it’s set to become a veritable tsunami.

It’s called Inclusive Design, and its pioneers are those who believe hotels should welcome all guests equally, regardless of any disability they might have.

Inclusive Design – or Universal Design – is an ocean apart from the wave of "design hotels" that appear on the scene of any tourist mecca. Their "design" stops short at pretty colours and shiny gadgets. How many of you have shelled out a lot of cash to stay in a design hotel, then found that you can’t reach the plug sockets, that you can’t find the switches for the funny luminescent lights, that the shiny bathroom gets a soaking from the shower’s hydromassage jets or that you can’t attract the staff’s attention away from the mirror for long enough to book a taxi?

No, Inclusive Design aims to please everybody.

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Wheelchair Accessible Hotels :: Scandic Hotels Do It Best

May 16, 2008 at 2:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

This week our roving correspondent Monica Guy is writing about an oft-overlooked aspect of hotels and travel: disabled access. Monica knows a lot about this subject as she works and travels frequently with Stephen Hawking. However, feel free to chime in with your thoughts and experiences too. Got a question? Let us know and we'll get it answered for you.

For disabled travellers outside of the US, perhaps a better option than designated specially-designed accessible hotels is to go for ordinary hotel chains who take access seriously.

Three cheers in this department go to the Swedish-owned Scandic Hotel chain. They recently won two prestigious awards for their efforts in the field of disabled access. Unlike most chains, they employ a full-time disability coordinator, Magnus Bergland, to advise on access issues and train staff in how to deal with guests with disabilities.

In fact, he not only advises, he makes all new staff get into a wheelchair and follow the 'guest's route' round the hotel, from parking and the reception desk to the room, bathroom and breakfast area. It's only by doing this, he claims, that people gain any sort of understanding as to the difficulties faced by disabled guests.

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Wheelchair Accessible Hotels :: Fully Accessible Hotels

May 15, 2008 at 4:40 PM | by | Comments (2)

This week our roving correspondent Monica Guy is writing about an oft-overlooked aspect of hotels and travel: disabled access. Monica knows a lot about this subject as she works and travels frequently with Stephen Hawking. However, feel free to chime in with your thoughts and experiences too. Got a question? Let us know and we'll get it answered for you.

A room at the Access Centre Hotel Marmaris in Turkey.So, you're disabled and planning a holiday. Given all the nightmare involved in finding a reliable, accessible hotel, aren't you tempted to go for specially designed and designated accessible hotel?

Accessible hotels are gradually popping up all over the hotel scene, but particularly near seaside resorts in the Mediterranean. They've been designed by architects to be suitable for guests with all sorts of different disabilities, from physical disabilities and wheelchair users to those with visual and hearing impairments.

Rooms often have hoists and lowering beds, wide doors, wheelchair-charging facilities, hand-bars everywhere, emergency cords, low-level switches, flashing or vibrating pillow alarms, accessible swimming pools, and all the rest, along with more disabled toilets than you can shake a walking stick at.

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Wheelchair Accessible Hotels :: To Websites and Hotel Booking

May 14, 2008 at 1:27 PM | by | Comments (2)

This week our roving correspondent Monica Guy is writing about an oft-overlooked aspect of hotels and travel: disabled access. Monica knows a lot about this subject as she works and travels frequently with Stephen Hawking. However, feel free to chime in with your thoughts and experiences too. Got a question? Let us know and we'll get it answered for you.

When you book a hotel in, say, Paris, it's usually because you're not actually in Paris yet. That makes sense.

What makes no sense is that if you have an access need or disability, it's almost impossible to get reliable information or make a secure, discounted booking at a hotel. Unless you're actually there in person, which of course, you're not.

Want to find out what the problem is with hotel websites and booking services? Ready for a moan?

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Wheelchair Accessible Hotels :: The U.S. Leads the Way

May 13, 2008 at 10:17 AM | by | Comment (1)

This week our roving correspondent Monica Guy is writing about an oft-overlooked aspect of hotels and travel: disabled access. Monica knows a lot about this subject as she works and travels frequently with Stephen Hawking. However, feel free to chime in with your thoughts and experiences too. Got a question? Let us know and we'll get it answered for you.

Stephen Hawking and his lovely assistants at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes.

The USA leads the world in terms of accessible hotels. That's the conclusion I've come to after several years spent travelling around with Stephen Hawking, the well-known disabled scientist (that's me on the left in the picture above.)

We've stayed in top and not-so-top hotels in cities all over the world, including in Hong Kong and China, Chile, Easter Island, the Virgin Islands, South Africa, Europe (Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva, Padua, Amsterdam, London, Oxford) and the US (Pasadena, Santa Barbara, College Station, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC).

One thing stands out from all our hotel experiences - in the US it is considered absolutely normal to be disabled, and the right of a disabled person to access the same hotel facilities as everyone else is uncontested. It might be hard for non-US residents to appreciate just how little that principle holds elsewhere in the world.

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Do You Have Wheelchair Access?

May 12, 2008 at 10:28 AM | by | Comments (4)

This week our roving correspondent Monica Guy is writing about an oft-overlooked aspect of hotels and travel: disabled access. Monica knows a lot about this subject as she works and travels frequently with Stephen Hawking. However, feel free to chime in with your thoughts and experiences too. Got a question? Let us know and we'll get it answered for you.

The pool at the Access Centre in Turkey.

"Do you have wheelchair access?" It's a simple question, but one which causes anything between pained embarrassment and outright disdain when asked to hoteliers of many European hotels.

Accessibility of hotels is a subject we feel passionate about, although it's not the sexist subject in the hotel world. Partly because one of our bosses is both a wheelchair user and a nutcase traveller, staying in top hotels all over the world for much of the year.

Partly also because accessible tourism is becoming the next big thing; older and disabled travellers are quickly waking up to the fact that they can travel independently with friends and family, and no longer need to go in organised groups of oldies and other disabled people.

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