Accessible means accessible to everyone.
We all love to get away for a bit, whether its a 3 day weekend break or 2 weeks of holiday bliss.
It’s great to let your hair down, relax, unwind and refocus. Sadly, this isn’t the case for everyone. The hotel rooms that we are all used to having are not accessible for everyone.
This is why there are government guidelines in place to ensure every hotel has wheelchair accessible rooms.
Unfortunately, we have found that wheelchair users are left frustrated and angry due to the inaccessibility in most hotels. Accessible rooms advertised on hotel websites and social media platforms don’t always live up to what is promised.
From speaking to some of our loyal customers, we have learned that on arrival to their hotel, they can find themselves in a very frustrating and upsetting situation. Starting their vacation with a negative feeling of been let down and misinformed.
How Accessible are Accessible Hotel Rooms?
When it comes to designed and planning an accessible hotel room, many in the hospitality industry neglect to involve those who would actually use and benefit from them. Below is a list of issue our customers have shared with us over the years and how these issues make them feel.
Bathroom doors must be removed in order to gain access. This has a knock-on effect, as the persons privacy is also removed when sharing a room. We all like our privacy for certain things and having no door makes for a tense stay.
Doorway thresholds are raised and it makes it near impossible to maneuver without assistance. Not exactly a relaxing hotel stay now is it?
Height of Beds
Not taking into account the height of a bed makes things difficult and upsetting for a disabled person. They won’t be able to get in or out of the bed without a considerable amount of help. Who are they to call if they are on their own?
Baths & Showers
Bathing and shower are difficult if not impossible for disabled people to enter or exit, sometimes forcing them to accept that there will be no chance to wash up and relax during their stay. Could you relax and unwind with this thought?
Location Location Location
Rooms located too far away from the elevators or hotel entrances/exits can be hard. The entire point of a hotel stay is to relax and unwind but when every asset of the stay involves anger, frustration and anxiety, you certainly won’t be retuning home happy.
Sadly it’s not just the hotel room that is inaccessible but the common areas too. Bars, coffee shops, restaurants, swimming pools and spa’s may not be accessible in a wheelchair either. There are narrow doorways with little to no room to maneuver a wheelchair.
Managers & Staff
Added to the building themselves, there is a lack of consideration and awareness displayed by managers and their staff. Some staff are not aware of what exactly is in the accessible rooms or even where they are located. This creates a sense of exclusion which can take the disabled person to the edge of despair.
What Is Needed?
Designing and planning out accessible rooms for disabled people, their family and friends it is not much to ask to be considered and taken into account when planning and designing a room that is specifically made for them.
There are many organisations advocating for disabled people and working hard to make changes. If you work in the hospitality industry and would like to know more about what you could do to make everyone’s stay relaxing and enjoyable you can reach out to the NDA Ireland or even to talk to past customers about their stay and what they would recommend.
Don’t forget that helping to make a hotel room more accessible, you can also add assistive technology products such as the Uccello Kettle that will help those who stay pour hot water safely and easily.