I have been in a wheelchair now for just over 3 years and as anyone else will tell you who has suffered the awful fate of becoming disabled, a great many things in their life changes in an instant. It seems that every day I notice something that I can no longer do or something that needs to be done differently in order to accommodate my new situation. One such area of my life that I noticed recently was finding handicap accessible hotels when I go abroad.
For the first 2 years after I lost the use of my legs, I have had terrible experiences with so called handicap accessible hotels and I now know that I have to be absolutely sure before I book anywhere. Last year I employed a different strategy to find my hotel and the result were just what I was after. If you want to stop being fooled by the false advertising, here is how to find the perfect hotel if you have a disability.
The first place that I check once I have decided on the location of my holiday, is to look at some of the disability forums online to see where people have stayed in the area in the past. These forums are fantastic for getting real life experience from people and it can help you to avoid staying somewhere that is not as handicap friendly as they like to make out.
Calling the Hotel
Once you have found hotel that you like the look of, give them a call and ask them some questions about their accessibility. If the person you are speaking to says that they will get the manager or if they are struggling to answer your questions, then it is likely that they are not quite as ready for the handicapped as they like to think.
One of the biggest problems that I have had in the past was that the hotel was more than prepared for someone with a wheelchair, but that both sides of the hotel had hills on them. In order to best work out what the surrounding area around the hotel is, I like to use Google Streetview which gives me a great understanding of what hills there are nearby. As anyone in a wheelchair will know, even the slightest incline in the hot midday heat can really take its toll and that is not my idea of a vacation.
There are many specialist hotel brands out there who focus their efforts on creating hotels that are specifically designed with mobility in mind. These hotels may cost a little extra but you can be absolutely sure that you are going to be going to a hotel which can give you everything that you need and ensure that you have the best possible time during your vacation. If you don’t want to risk it, this is the choice for you.