One thing I found out early on was that many hotels believe a couple of grab bars in the bathroom makes the room “handicap accessible.” Of course, I wasn’t savvy enough to ask the right questions either. What I now know is:
- It is important to find out exactly what the hotel deems accessible.
- And, for you to explain what your needs are.
There is a good article at “Disaboom” written by Candy Harrington that a friend sent to me the other day. “Finding an Accessible Room Beyond ADA Compliance” provides a couple of dozen bullet points about what to look for, what to ask, and who to ask. I recommend that you print the article and refer to it whenever you are considering any travel.
Some RecommendationsI have listed below some of the recommendations mentioned in the article (and some of my comments):
- • Never just ask for an “accessible room.” Instead, list the access features you need. (i.e., a roll in shower if tubs are no longer safe to step in and out of or an elevated toilet seat)
• In the U.S., look for hotels constructed after 1992, the date the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect.
• Always call the hotel directly. On-site reservation agents often have first-hand knowledge about access features at their property. (if you feel the front desk person does not know the answer, ask for the manager)
• Ask the reservation agent to describe the access features of the room. Don’t settle for the broad description of “ADA Compliant.” Ask for specific access details.
• Many properties have raised toilet seats that can be installed in any bathroom. Accessible toilets are 17-19 inches high, so if you need a higher one, ask about a raised toilet seat. (or, do as I do and bring a seat riser with you … “tallette”)
• Don’t be afraid to ask for measurements. If door width is a concern, ask for that measurement. Don't forget about interior (bathroom) door width, too.Travel doesn’t have to be a hardship if you plan ahead and ask the right questions. Have a good trip!
• If walking any distance is a factor, request a room near the elevator.
• Remember to ask the reservation agent if the accessible room can be blocked for you. If the answer is “no” or “usually,” then find another hotel.
• Bed height is not regulated under the ADA, so make sure to ask for bed measurements. Many properties are replacing their standard mattresses with high pillow-top models.