What Makes a Good Handicap-Accessible Hotel?

25. 12. 2021

What Makes a Good Handicap-Accessible Hotel?

Travelling usually requires booking various hotels and other accommodation for our trip. In case you are travelling with a disability, this can become quite a daunting task since you have to check so many different things before booking.

This often also means you cannot stay with friends or family if their home is not suited for people in wheelchairs. You simply need wider doorways, grab bars in the bathroom, and other additions for a safe accommodation away from home.

Fortunately, the majority of hotels around the world have accessible guest rooms for wheelchair users. But how well a guest room works for guests can vary from hotel to hotel.

If you use a wheelchair or travel with someone who does, check out what to keep an eye on when booking handicap-accessible hotels.

What Is a Wheelchair-Accessible Hotel?

A handicap-accessible hotel is not simply a hotel with a lift and a bar in the shower a disabled person can hold onto. It means it must be designed with their daily activities in mind, thus ensuring they can feel safe and independent at all times.

So what to look for in different parts of your hotel room?

The Bathroom

Using the bathroom can be dreadful for some handicapped guests, especially if it is not adequately suited to their needs.

To make sure hotel guests can safely use the bathroom, the doorways should be wide enough for wheelchairs or walkers. They should not have raised doorway thresholds that make it impossible to manoeuvre a wheelchair over.

Additionally, the bathroom must be big enough to even accommodate a wheelchair. Guests staying at some hotels with accessible rooms often complain they have to leave the bathroom door open to be able to enter the bathroom on their wheelchair.

The bathroom must be big enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

Moreover, the shower should also offer enough space for the person to be able to enter and get out of it comfortably. The shower controls must be located next to the seating bench and should be within arm’s length. Grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet need to be placed correctly and, most importantly, securely and the same goes for the shower seat.

In general, everything should be installed at a lower level to enable guests to even use the necessary items—this goes for hairdryers, power sockets, and even bathroom counter space. If it is too high, it is practically impossible for disabled people to comfortably use it.

The Bedroom

The bedroom is where guests want to relax, maybe watch TV after a long day of sightseeing, and enjoy a good night’s sleep. This is not possible if the beds are not configured in the right way—being too high so a mobility-challenged person is unable to get onto it without considerable assistance. As luxury beds in hotels are getting higher and higher, this is actually not such an uncommon issue.

Beds in the handicap-accessible hotel room should be low enough for the guests to use them safely.

Additionally, in their wish to accommodate clients’ every wish and need, designers often simply add too many pieces of furniture or appliances that impede the wheelchair user’s navigation. If the guest is unable to easily access the thermostat, power sockets, or curtains, or keeps bumping into things when rolling across the room, this can make for quite a negative experience.

Other Facilities

Make sure you do not only focus on finding an accessible room but always check whether the whole hotel is wheelchair-friendly. This means accessible rooms are ideally located on the ground floor or at least next to the lifts.

Additionally, you should be able to comfortably enter the restaurants and the breakfast area without having to roll through narrow corridors or end up in awkward situations when trying to get your breakfast from the buffet in the morning.

When booking accessible hotels with pools or wellness facilities, check if you can use them without any problems. Thanks to the new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulation, people who cannot get into the pool using steps should be able to use a pool lift—a chair that swings over and into the water—or another safe way to access the pool.

Disabled guests should also be able to access the pool.

How to Book Handicap-Accessible Hotels

Now you know what to look for when booking hotels with accessible rooms. But how to actually tackle this task and guarantee yourself the best room for your holidays?

Book Far in Advance

Always make sure you book the hotel far in advance. This is important since hotels usually have quite a limited number of accessible rooms and this could mean you end up empty-handed or have to settle for a less accessible or more expensive room at some other hotel.

If you think your travel plans might change and are worried about booking far in advance, choose a room with free cancellation and then set up a reminder to cancel it before the deadline to get a full refund.

Bonus tip: When booking, check all the reviews and google everything about the hotel to make sure you get first-hand information. Never solely rely on the photos (unless they have been posted by the guests) as the room can turn up to be something completely different in reality.

Confirm Everything With the Hotel

Do not only book your accessible room online and then consider your job done. Always contact the staff via email or, even better, call them and address certain issues you might have.

This way, you will make sure you actually get what you paid for and the staff will also get more familiar with your restrictions. At the same time, you will be able to leave home more relaxed knowing that there is a comfortable and well-equipped room waiting for you on the other end.

How about a bit of extra help?

Would you like to go the extra mile and make sure everything at the destination is going to go exactly according to your needs and wishes? Then consider booking an agency that deals with such requests on a daily basis and is familiar with the situation in the country of destination.

Feel no Limits offers you bookings of different handicap-accessible hotels in Slovenia and Croatia. All the accommodations that are part of the tours were personally checked by the staff to make sure they fulfil all the requirements for guests with disabilities.

Agencies often offer help with booking tours, transport, or equipment rental, which means you can get a whole lot taken care of at the same time. This way, you can truly enjoy your holidays to the fullest!