Accessibility Checklist for Hotel Accommodation; Beijing Disabled Travel

07/03/2011
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Accessibility is not standardized in the hotel industry and can be easily interpreted in different ways by hotel employees. Rather than look for ‘wheelchair friendly’ hotels in the forums and websites, have your criteria and needs ready and deal with the hotel directly. Often hotel websites will show that they have accessible rooms, but their definitions may differ widely and they may not be designed to meet your needs. At this point, you call directly.

Disabled Travel

Disabled Travel

Some things to ask a hotel:

Common areas:

1. designated handicap parking with a priority location in the parking lot.
2. step free access (level or ramped) and/or lift access to main entrance.
3. automated door opening.
4. ground level/lobby level accessible washroom.
5. elevator to above ground accessible accommodation.
6. level or ramped access to public areas.

Rooms:

1. wider entry and bathroom doorways – external 80 cm, internal 75 cm. Easy to open?
2. mid-height light switches and power outlets
3. lever type door handles
4. maneuvering space on each side of the bed – 90 cm
5. roll in shower
6. wheeled shower chair and/or wall mounted shower seat
7. grab bars in bathroom
8. raised toilet
9. lower hanging space in closet

Neighbourhood:

1. proximity to markets, pubs, restaurants … up to 500 m distant.
2. proximity to health services.

Tips:

1. Call hotel directly.
2. Keep notes: names, dates, times, topics, what’s agreed and confirmation numbers. Take these notes and print outs with you on your vacation.
3. Ask to talk to someone who is familiar with handicap rooms because they have been in them.
4. Ask questions that will elicit information rather than a yes or a no
– Describe …
– Tell me about …
5. Check that you have a credit card GUARANTEE for an accessible room and a confirmation number. Not just a REQUEST for an accessible room if available at the time of check in.
6. Reconfirm your reservation for a guaranteed accessible room a couple of days ahead.
7. When you arrive, check out the room before you check in.
8. Again, take your notes and print outs with you on your vacation.

More tips:

Be prepared, in the unlikely event that:

1. the hotel does not have the accessible room available for you when you arrive. The hotel will need to find you an accessible room, even in another hotel. (See #6 just above) “Where will you put us up for the night?”
2. the complimentary hotel shuttle may not be accessible. The hotel will need to accommodate the service in some other way. “How will you provide alternate shuttle service for us?”

Be cool, be persistent, use a sense of humour and your vacation will be much more a pleasure than a nightmare.