Last weekend I got to enjoy a mini-break with some of my family in Aberdeen. I’ve been to the Granite City before, but as my sister and nephew were coming with us, this time, we wanted to go somewhere with a nice beach nearby for my nephew, so Aberdeen seemed like a pretty good choice. We decided on Aberdeen Marriott for our wheelchair accessible hotel for the weekend.
Reservation and Check-in
I made our reservations for two nights and two rooms at Aberdeen Marriott through the Marriott website. Before finalising the booking I was able to make my requests for wheelchair accessible rooms on the ground floor. It’s important to note that there are no lifts in the hotel. Once I made the booking I called the hotel to ensure both rooms where interconnecting. Room rates for the two nights we stayed were £43 (Friday) and £47 (Saturday), which included free breakfast.
The hotel entrance and reception were completely accessible with a ramp and push button to open the door. We were greeted by a lovely member of the front desk team who had us checked in before we knew it. Our rooms were only a short walk from the reception desk and we couldn’t help notice the beautiful scent throughout the hotel, especially in the main lobby/reception area.
Wheelchair Accessible Room
Although both our rooms were accessible they were slightly different. My room (#112) had a queen bed with a walk-in shower and my sister’s room (#110) had two double beds with a bathtub. I’ll focus on my room, but I’ll come back to my sisters in a bit as it played an important part in my overall room experience.
Upon entering the room I noticed our room wasn’t very spacious and the entrance was quite tight. I’m not sure how easy it would be for wider wheelchairs to get through and turn. The bathroom was to the right and mirrored wardrobes to the left.
The queen size bed was comfortable with plenty of pillows and a nightstand on each side. There was only space for wheelchair transferring on one side as the bed was positioned much closer to one wall than the other. The height of the bed could be a problem if you manually transfer and need the bed to be wheelchair height. There was no space underneath the bed to allow a portable hoist to roll under.
Across from the bed sat a large TV unit and chest of drawers with tea/coffee making facilities. A desk was also positioned here which I was able to roll under with no problems.
Like other Marriott hotel rooms I’ve stayed in, there was an armchair and small table located beside the bed. They take up quite a bit of space in the room, so you may find it easier to move them aside or have them removed from the room if you need the extra space for manoeuvring your wheelchair or hoist.
Next up is the bathroom and this is where the problems began. To put it simply…it was NOT accessible for wheelchair users in my opinion.
Firstly, the bathroom was so small I couldn’t fit my powered wheelchair inside. I had to leave my wheelchair outside the bathroom door and be carried in. Luckily I have someone that is able to do this for me, but this is not practical or very safe. I’m concerned how other disabled guests manage in these conditions.
I was surprised to see a walk-in shower rather than a roll-in shower. The walk-in shower had doors and there was a portable seat (no back or armrests) inside. The shower was very narrow and awkward to move around in. There was no space to transfer in/out of a wheelchair once the shower doors were open. In my opinion, the walk-in shower set-up is less accessible and very outdated.
Although there were grab bars (fixed and folding) next to the toilet, there was no space for my wheelchair at either side of it, which made wheelchair transferring impossible. The toilet roll holder was fixed low down behind the toilet, meaning you’d potentially have to twist awkwardly to reach it.
The sink was a decent size for a hotel bathroom and would allow wheelchair users to roll underneath if there was actually space in the bathroom to accommodate this. It was also located very close to the toilet.
The bathroom was a big let-down and proved inaccessible for my needs. I think most wheelchair users would struggle with this bathroom set-up. It may be more suitable for people with limited mobility that are able to walk and will benefit from the walk-in shower.
Remember earlier when I mentioned my sister’s room? Well, due to the issues I had with the bathroom in my room, I ended up having to use hers for simple things like washing and brushing my teeth. I was able to drive into her bathroom sink a little easier than mine due to its position, but I had to remove the footplates from my wheelchair to get under the sink. You can see her bathroom in the photo above.
Food & Service
Breakfast was included in our room rate and we were able to enjoy the buffet style breakfast on both mornings. The staff were extremely friendly and accommodating.
There was a great selection of food to choose from and a chef to prepare omelettes etc. Any food allergies or special dietary requests will also be met. I was able to ask for gluten-free porridge. Yay!
To get to the breakfast area, I had to use a lift to get down some stairs (as you can see in the photo above). I’m not going to lie, I did hold my breath until I reached the bottom of the stairs. We also had a slight issue after breakfast on our first morning when the lift wouldn’t work to take me back up the stairs. It was a nerve-racking 5 minutes while the lovely man tried to get it to start working again.
Thankfully he got it working and I was able to reach the top of the stairs and we had no problems with it on our second morning at breakfast.
Aberdeen Marriott has a nice heated swimming hotel that my family used throughout our two-night stay. It was good that I was able to access the pool area and watch my nephew play in the pool.
The pool area was down a few steps, but it is accessible for wheelchair users with the help of a lift (as you can see in the photo below with my Nephew helping me into the lift). The changing rooms were also accessible.
Aberdeen Marriott is located only three miles from Aberdeen airport and six miles from the city centre. If you arrive by car you can enjoy complimentary parking. There is also an airport shuttle service if required. We enjoyed a day at the beach which was only a 15-minute drive from the hotel.
Marriott is a great hotel brand and even though I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at this hotel, I’m not sure I’d return solely based on the poor accessibility of the bathrooms. Therefore I’d highly recommend that Aberdeen Marriott make some adjustments to the bathrooms to better meet the needs of wheelchair users. Aberdeen Marriott would be an all-around fantastic hotel if these changes were implemented. I cannot fault anything else as service, facilities, food and location were all great.
Pool photo by Expedia