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How “Accessible” are accessible hotel rooms?

How “Accessible” are accessible hotel rooms?

My boyfriend and I recently took a 600-mile road trip from Minnesota to Colorado for a mini weekend getaway. During our vacation, we stayed at two different hotels. One in Rapid City, SD and the other in Fort Collins, CO. Both rooms were classified as handicapped accessible rooms.

Backstory…My boyfriend is a C5/C6 quadriplegic. Due to his injury, not only can he not walk, but he also lost the ability to use his triceps muscles which hinders him from transferring in and out of his wheelchair on his own. He also has limited hand mobility and lack of hand strength.

With his condition, he is dependent on others to help him transfer in and out of bed. Though our rooms were nice and the bed extremely comfortable, the extra plush mattresses were roughly 6” taller than the base of his wheelchair. For anyone wheelchair bound, without a transfer board, it makes it very difficult to lift dead-weight up onto the bed.

Our second issue we had to overcome was how we were going to sit him up, so he could use the bathroom. For many quadriplegics, to use the bathroom they have to cath. Doing this lying down it not very easy.

Our solution: After helping him sit up, I would sit behind him and use my body to help prop him up so he could use the bathroom.

Why not just use a wedge pillow?

A decent wedge pillow cost around $50-$75. As the cost is justified and worth the investment, if you have ever traveled with someone in a wheelchair, you would agree that one travel bag is not enough. For those traveling for several days, not only do you need to pack your clothes and toiletries, but you have to pack medical supplies, a shower chair, and other adaptable equipment based on the individuals needs. Adding one more items is not really an ideal situation.

So how can we make an accessible room more accessible?

By having at least one accessible room have a remote-controlled adjustable bed. It would be easier not only for those with mobility disabilities, but limited abilities as well.

Since our trip, I have written to several hotel chains explaining the need for a remote adjustable bed. Each message sent, I had received confirmation that my message was redirected to the general manager of the hotel chain. I do not know how they will respond, but it is my hope to have my voice heard.

Awareness creates change!


  • imkrameyimkramey Member Posts: 6
    First Comment
    I do hope you got some type of response. 
    My husband is a paraplegic. He and I married after his accident. I have 2 daughters who participated on travel sports teams. We have an awful time with hotels. Traveling with a family of 4 meant we had to get get 2 rooms. The "accessible" rooms typically had king beds and were also more expensive. A lot of these times, the "accessible" bathroom had a flimsy chair for my husband to transfer in. Very scary at many times. 
    One hotel we stayed at was remodeled and had new plush carpeting. He could not wheel himself down the hall. 
    Another hotel had new beds, he could not transfer in to the bed.
    When talking with the managers, we were assured they had met the ADA regulations. 
    It is very frustrating.
    We have found that many hotels only have 1 room with a roll-in shower. Again, flimsy plastic chairs. I would love someone on the inspection team to be in a wheelchair and give the final approval. 
  • garrisonreddgarrisonredd Moderator Posts: 153 Moderator
    25 Awesomes 25 Likes 10 Comments First Anniversary
    I encounter the same problems @imkramey the accessible rooms barely pass ada regualations

  • imkrameyimkramey Member Posts: 6
    First Comment
    My husband offered his wheelchair to a manager one day and he declined. I know we have come a long way, but we really have a long way to go.
  • stephanie426stephanie426 Moderator Posts: 46 Moderator
    10 Comments First Answer 5 Awesomes Photogenic
    @imkramey you said the accessible rooms usually were kings and more expensive.  I just wanted to let you know that it's illegal for hotels to charge extra for accessible hotel rooms in the U.S. Hotels should have a variety of hotel rooms that are accessible as well. 
  • imkrameyimkramey Member Posts: 6
    First Comment
    You are correct. It is illegal for them to charge more. I have talked with many managers and the answer is we charge more for a king bed room, thus they can get around the "rules". They may have several ADA rooms, but typically have only one with a roll in shower.
  • stephanie426stephanie426 Moderator Posts: 46 Moderator
    10 Comments First Answer 5 Awesomes Photogenic
    If they only have one with the roll in shower and it's a king, but you don't need a king - you just need the shower, then it's still illegal for them to charge you more. It's their fault for only having one option for a roll in shower. You can definitely file a DOJ complaint for this if they still insist on charging you more.  
  • meave390meave390 Member Posts: 2
    First Comment
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