Finding Wheelchair-Accessible Lodging

Author Shares Seven Questions You Absolutely Must Ask

Do you need to reserve a wheelchair-accessible room at a hotel or inn? Says Candy Harrington, author of Resting Easy in the US; Unique Lodging Options for Wheelers and Slow Walkers,

Although there are many more choices today, not all properties are equal when it come to accessibility. There are different standards for large and small properties, and sometimes they even vary from state to state. That’s why it’s important to ask a lot of questions before you make that reservation, to make sure you get a room with the access features you need.

With that in mind, here are seven essential questions Harrington suggests you ask before you book an accessible room.

  • Find out if the accessible room has a roll-in shower or a tub/shower combination. In the US, properties with fewer than 50 rooms are not required to have accessible rooms with roll-in showers, so if you just ask for an accessible room you will get one with a tub/shower combination. Even at larger properties, you need to specify that you need a roll-in shower.
  • If you reserve a room with a tub/shower combination, make sure and confirm that it comes with a portable shower chair or a fold-down bath bench. Although this is a requirement under the law, it’s often overlooked. Additionally, some properties store portable shower chairs in the housekeeping closet and only put them in rooms upon request.
  • Inquire about toilet grab bar placement, especially if you are weaker on one side than the other. And when you request a room with toilet grab bars on a certain wall, be sure to specify if that is as seated, or as you are facing the toilet.
  • Ask about bed-height if this is an issue for you. Currently there are no access regulations governing bed height, and I’ve seen everything from 18 inches high to 36 inches high. Many hotels are now opting for higher beds to make it easier for their housekeeping staff, but those beds are usually not appropriate for wheelchair-users.
  • Also check to see if there is wheelchair access on both sides of the bed. This is especially important if you can only transfer on one side.
  • Find out if the main lobby and dining area are accessible. If the dining area is not accessible, ask if breakfast can be delivered to your room.
  • Finally, ask if there are any thresholds or lips – even as little as an inch – at the doorways or in the accessible guest rooms. Some properties totally overlook this access obstacle, and to some people that one-inch threshold may as well be an eight-foot high wall.

Resting Easy in the US; Unique Lodging Options for Wheelers and Slow Walkers includes accurate access descriptions and detailed photographs of over 90 properties across the US. From B&Bs, guest ranches and lakeside cottages, to boutique hotels, rustic cabins and deluxe yurts, you’ll discover access is some very unconventional places. Available from www.createspace.com/5436074/, it’s a good choice for seniors, parents with stroller-aged children, Baby Boomers, folks who need to take things a little slower, and anybody who uses a cane, walker, wheelchair or scooter.

Candy also blogs about accessible travel at www.barrierfreetravels.com