Don't let the things you can't do  Stop you from doing the things you can Travel with a Disability

Information for people traveling with a wheelchair or other mobility devices or disability, from airlines to cruise ships we have the information to help you with your vacation planning, then just sit back and enjoy the trip.


Hotels Motels

How do you select an appropriate hotel?

The star or diamond ratings, criteria in regards to how accommodations are rated can vary come thru out the world, and are based on a number of factors.

There are some links to sites that explain what the ratings mean...

What do you know about the hotel from these ratings? Well it is a guide, you know that a 5 star will have things a 3 star will not, but along with that a higher rated hotel may translate to higher per night room costs. At the same time not all hotels with the same rating are the same.

For example in Cape Canaveral Florida, we stayed at the Country Inn & Ste, it was a short drive from the hotel to the Port Canaveral cruise terminals?

a)      it had multiple elevators
      free internet
      free TV (unless you ordered pay per view)
     Free breakfast every morning of your stay
      Free transportation to the cruise terminal
      We where close by to small restaurants and fast food take outs.
      Transit systems within a block or less of the hotel.
      Coin operation laundry facilities on the same floor as our room.
        ATM machine in the lobby.

What it did not have is a fancy restaurant, and no bell service, they had self serve luggage dollies.   This hotel was rated at 2 ? stars on the expedia site.

Then you look at a hotel we stayed at in Hollywood Hills California?

Best Western Hollywood Hills, Franklin avenue.

a)      One elevator in the lobby, and it was about half the size of the standard elevator, so with my scooter I had to turn to the side as you went in to fit; larger scooters may not have fit at all.
      There was what appeared to be a coffee area not sure what you could get there as there was steps into it and therefore I never went there.
      No bell service although they did offer to help with the luggage in my case.
     Internet and basic TV was free.
      The personal at the lobby desk was very helpful. The lobby itself was small.
       No ATM machine in the hotel.

Plus at the time there was construction on the outside of the hotel and area streets. The closest route to Hollywood Blvd where the celebrity stars are in the sidewalk was too steep for me in a scooter, however after talking to hotel reception there was a less steep route that was suitable but a few blocks further.

It was rated on the Expedia site as 3 stars. 

So when you compare the 2 hotels I would likely use the Country Inn in Cape Canaveral Florida again, but would look for a different hotel in Hollywood California if going there again. Yet the hotel in Hollywood Hills had a higher star rating then the one we stayed at in Cape Canaveral.  

The point is to use the ratings as a guide, but there are also additional factors to be considered when deciding on what hotel to book particularly for persons with a mobility disability.

Things that mobility limited person should look for in a hotel...

a)      Location. Close to the main attractions you wish to take in, and not in an area with steep hills. Sometimes paying a little more for a better location may save you money in transportation costs.

b)      Multiple elevators. A hotel with only one elevator even if it works well has to have routine maintenance done on it at some point, when that happens it cuts off a disabled person to and from their room.

c)      Accessible room. For mobility restricted persons, showers are easier than bathtubs, a seat in the shower area, adequate solid railing in the shower and toilet areas, and level entry. An entry door that does not take superman to open.  Doorways wide enough for a wheelchair or scooter to easily pass thru. 

d)     Accessibility in the area of the hotel and how close any attractions you wish to see in that area.

e)      Bell service / door man, more of a consideration if traveling alone without an able bodied companion with you. 

These items should be at the top of the list and are usually considered necessities for the mobility disabled traveler, after that you look at amenities that the hotel has, rooms with views (if that is important to you), services and so on along with budget considerations.

If you are traveling with an able bodied companion than a 3 star hotel may serve you well if the above criteria is met, if traveling alone you may want a hotel that has bell service.  I have been in some 3 star hotels that did have some assistance for things like luggage if asked for particularly if you have limited mobility.  

Remember too even if the hotel has a fancy restaurant inside that contributed to a higher star rating, you may be able to eat far cheaper at establishments within 2 or 3 blocks away. Things like swimming pools, fitness rooms that may also contribute to the star rating, is of no use to you if you never intend on using them.

Also utilize Google maps as it is a great way to get additional information. Do your research thru travel sites, then you come up with a short list of possible hotels, then locate them on Google maps, if street view is available be sure to check the area out, look at whatever clues and information found in regards to terrain. Street view will also spot possible eating establishments outside and nearby the area, you may also be able to spot ramps as you can zoom in on the view you see. Check for the attractions that you may want to see in the area. Remember though satellite images and street view will not give you up to date changes on the street as it is hard to say the date in which these images where created. Being in a good location will enable you to get to see a lot on your own without the need to spend as much in transportation costs.

A lot of the internet booking sites will allow you to include a message to the hotel such as the requirement for an accessible room; you can also call the hotels to ask specific accessibility questions. If you are completely dependent on a wheelchair and cannot walk even a couple of steps, and it would cause great hardship if you where not able to get a specific type of room, then I would call the specific hotel and tell them specifically what you require in a room and ask if they could lock or block the room in on that reservation for the days in question so it cannot be given to someone else but that option should be discuss this directly with the specific hotel.  For those with limited mobility and can walk a few steps even if using furniture or walls as a balancing guide then this extra step may not be necessary, but you still need to request an accessible room and also mention that again when arriving at the check in at the hotel.  If you not sure  if the hotel in question has accessible rooms; you can call the specific hotel before booking and ask as they are in a far better position to know, then the booking service.  

By: Donald Kerr

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