Hotels as a wheelchair user
We continue our travel blog season with information about staying in hotels as a wheelchair user.
You fancy a break away, a countryside hotel a city break or maybe a trip to the sun but you need accessible accommodation, what questions should you ask to make sure what they are saying is true.
Firstly, check the location – do you really want to have to navigate a steep hill in order to access the hotel we all know it’s not too bad going one way but the other can be anything from exhausting to downright impossible! If the whole area is hilly is that going to be an issue, could you or your chair cope and how are your fitness levels? You are going on a break after all, not boot camp!
So, you’ve found the area, now the hotel. What is it that you absolutely need and what is that you would like. Make a list – for example, if an accessible bathroom and step free access is a must there are several ways you can check this. Do they provide a shower chair and what sort is it? It pays to check as it removes some of the stress when you get there. Googling or searching TripAdvisor for images for the outside and inside of the hotel can be useful.
Do you require a hoist, if so, check that it can go under the bed and check the height of the bed is suitable for your needs too.
As a rule of thumb always contact the hotel direct to ask questions. If using a travel agent that doesn’t specialist in accessible holidays, ask them to check the gazetteer but still phone or email the hotel direct yourself.
Once you have checked that the essential things are okay then you can go for the ‘likes!’ – the infinity pool, spa treatments or the best in-house dining experience.
Remember you can take two pieces of mobility equipment with you if you are flying with European airlines, but it is worthwhile knowing that in many places you can hire equipment such as hoists and just taking your own slings with you. Similarly, if you use feeds and catheter supplies these can sometimes be delivered to a hotel abroad for you by your supply company depending on location. Speak to you delivery company for further information,
It can be daunting choosing a hotel for the first time but it does get easier. Mistakes can be made however there are always little hacks that can help such as:
- if your wheelchair won’t fit through bathroom door – ask hotel to take the door off!
- a plastic garden chair is a great substitute shower chair
- always ask for extra towels and pillows on arrival so it’s not last thing at night when you realise you need more -let’s face it – we go through more towels than average!
- don’t be afraid to ask the hotel move furniture take it out of the room completely so you can manoeuvre around the room.
- Ask the local hotel staff for advice about local accessibility
Remember the more homework you do the more informed you will be. As you become more experienced in travel planning you will do things automatically. For example, while travelling solo there are certain hotel chains we would not stay in as the fire doors are too heavy to open. On the other hand, there are others that we would stay in worldwide that we wouldn’t feel the need to even ask questions as we know they have a universal room plan. This knowledge comes with time and it’s different for each person due to individual access needs.
The most important thing though is when you get there to be able to finally enjoy yourself and relax.Posted on: 1st August 2016, by : Paula Moulton