Booking hotels are often one of the most important and difficult decisions you’ll make when it comes to organising your holiday. With so many things to consider from price to location, it can all become a bit of a minefield. Yet finding wheelchair accessible hotels is an added challenge that requires more time and research to identify one that best meets your needs.
Sure it’s easy to click ‘book room’ once you’ve found a hotel that claims to be accessible, but just because it says it’s ‘accessible’ doesn’t mean it’s accessible for you and your needs. So before you decide to go ahead with your online booking have a look at some of my tips for booking wheelchair accessible hotels:
1// Search online
Make a list of potential hotel options while browsing online. Have a look at their accessibility statement (if they have one) and any other information they have about accessible features. TripAdvisor may have some good reviews by other disabled travellers on specific hotels you are interested in. These can give you a rough idea of the hotel’s suitability to your needs and a good starting point for the type of questions you’ll ask when you give them a call.
2// Call the hotel
It’s important to call the hotel to confirm accessibility before deciding to go ahead and book it. Calling the hotel directly will give you the chance to confirm what you’ve read online and to gather more information. Ask questions and raise any concerns you may have about their accessibility features. As a fully dependent wheelchair user with limited mobility, my concerns are always the bathroom and whether there is a roll-in-shower or not. I often struggle to use bathroom sinks in hotels due to poor arrangement or size, which means I can’t wheel under the sink or even reach the taps.
3// Ask questions
Not everyone with a disability has the same requirements. We all have different abilities and something I consider to be a vital accessible feature might not be for someone else with a disability. It’s the same when it comes to the meaning of ‘accessible’ and what hotels interpret as accessible. Before you call the hotel, make a note of the questions you want to ask. The following are some questions you may want to ask the hotel:
What are the hotel’s accessible features?
Even if the website has this information it’s a good idea to confirm if there is disabled parking, ramped access to the entrance and public areas in and around the hotel as well as lift/elevator access. You may also want to ask if the accessible rooms are located on the ground floor in case of an emergency.
What are the room’s accessible features?
Do they have a roll-in-shower or is it a bath and is there a shower chair? Is the shower chair attached to the wall or is it a wheeled shower chair? Does the bathroom and shower area have grab-rails? Are the doorways widened and enough manoeuvring space around the room and bathroom? Ask for the height of the bed as hotel beds are often higher so this may cause a problem when transferring from your wheelchair or if you have difficulty lifting yourself up.
4// Ask for photos
You’ve asked the questions, but still a little uncertain whether it’s the best wheelchair accessible hotel to meet your needs? Ask for photos of the room before you decide to rule the hotel out completely. This way you’re getting a better idea of the size, space and the setup of the room.
Once you’re satisfied that the hotel is suitable for you, ask for a confirmation email with the details discussed. You can either print out the email and take it with you or show them the email on your phone as proof if you have any problems when you arrive.
Hopefully, these tips will help you book the best wheelchair accessible hotels for you, but before you head off on your travels why not check out my tips for wheelchair accessible travel.
What tips do you have for booking wheelchair accessible hotels?