Accommodation

Read about aspects of accessibility to consider when booking your holiday accommodation.

Is the hotel able to guarantee a disabled access room?

Many online travel agencies, such as Expedia and lastminute.com, offer hotel and flight inclusive packages.

Researching deals carefully

You should undertake your research carefully before booking one of these deals. Quite often, the website is unable to guarantee a wheelchair accessible room at the hotel and simply puts in a request.

It can therefore be difficult to take advantage of these offers whilst guaranteeing that your needs will be met.

Contacting the hotel directly

To be safe, you should contact the hotel directly and enquire about their facilities. Some hotels will say they have disabled access but their definition may differ to yours. Some will consider wheelchair access to mean one small step, or a large room on the ground floor.

If the hotel does have a wheelchair accessible room, they should be able to guarantee this room to you if you book directly with them.

Playing it safe with large chain hotels

Large chains are often a sure choice for guaranteeing wheelchair accessible rooms in locations which may not be well equipped for wheelchair users. Boutique hotels in more developed accessible locations will also be an option. However, you should call beforehand and ensure that the hotel you want to stay in will have everything that you need.

 

Does the room include a wheelchair accessible bathroom and a suitable bed? 

You should consider what your needs are when booking a hotel room.

Ensuring shower facilities are suitable

If you need a roll-in shower, ensure the room specifically states it has this facility. Many hotels may simply provide a bath with some grab rails in their wheelchair accessible bathrooms.

If they do offer a roll-in shower, you should ask if they have a chair or seat that you can sit on in the shower, or whether you need to bring your own.

You may also wish to enquire whether the height of the shower head and controls are fixed at height or are adjustable. If it is fixed at height and not adjustable, you may need someone to help you.

Asking for photos of the room

One option is to ask if the hotel can send you photographs of the room and the bathroom so you can ascertain whether the adaptations meet your needs. This will also enable you to see whether there will be enough room for you to move around in both the bathroom and bedroom.

Making sure you have the right bed

Most disabled rooms provide a double bed. If you need a profiling bed, you should ask if they offer this. If you struggle to regulate your body temperature, you may find it helpful to know whether there is air conditioning available in the room.

If travelling with someone, or if you have a personal assistant, you may wish to enquire if they have connecting rooms. This may make it easier for you to have your needs met.

Asking if you require a hoist

For those with a high level spinal cord injury, you may require a hoist. Not many hotels provide this. You should always ask and, if the hotel does not have a hoist, make alternative arrangements with a company local to the hotel.

Are there any hotel facilities which you will not be able to access?

There is nothing more disappointing than thinking you have booked a wheelchair accessible hotel, to then discover you cannot access all of its facilities.

Checking the accessibility of leisure facilities

Examples of this include access in and out of a swimming pool or changing room, access to any spa or sauna facilities, and access to rooftop bars or gardens. This may not dissuade you from booking with the hotel if it meets all of your other needs, but it is helpful to know in advance.

Equally, if there are one or two steps to access some levels, it may be possible for the hotel to obtain a ramp before your stay to make it easier for you to reach certain sections of their premises.

Checking if there is an accessible toilet at reception

Lastly, it is often helpful to know if there is a disabled toilet amongst the reception amenities. You may need to check out of your room earlier than the time you intend on departing your location. If this occurs, knowing you can still access toilet facilities can prove helpful.

What reviews are available for this hotel?

Considering blogs that others have written about the hotel’s amenities is often a useful guide.

Reading about how the rooms measure up in practice

Wheelchair accessible rooms and bathrooms vary tremendously from location to location and actually reading about how someone else managed can be very useful.

Discovering new tips

Equally, they may suggest tips or services that you did not know were available to you, which would make your stay more comfortable.

The Spinal Injuries Association’s Forward magazine frequently features a travel section where people with a spinal cord injury detail their latest holidays. Hotels are often recommended, along with tips of what to do when in the location.

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