I love hotels. I hate hotels. Know the feeling? While adventure travel is big business these days, for wheelers “adventure” often implies something different: access problems.
What’s most frustrating about hotels is how inconsistent they are. Case in point: over the winter I took a break from the cold and snow and headed to the sun and heat of Arizona, staying for a few days at a resort that promised a carefree visit. It seemed — briefly — that the promise would hold true. Getting around the beautiful lobby, the indoor and outdoor restaurants, vast pool area (with pool lift) and the resort shops was a breeze with their wide, slate walkways, easy doorways and doable ramps.
The “carefree” promise ended as soon as we reached the hallway to our room, which was covered in carpeting so thick it was like pushing in quicksand.
In the room, I was relieved to see furniture placed to create good pathways. But — and no surprise here — the bed was WAY too high to transfer onto, even with some help. The bathroom was the most inconsistent place of all: plenty of grab bars in the right locations; lowered towel racks; OK toilet height; a sink so high I had trouble reaching the faucets (brushing teeth was rather messy); and a bathtub (no roll-in shower) with a hand-held showerhead that didn’t detach and no shower seat.
There was a convenient accessible parking spot near our room, but the curb cut was on a steep hill — difficult to get up, dangerous to get down.
The hotel was accommodating to a point. Maintenance men were dispatched to lower the bed but only after a long discussion on whether to remove the bed frame and put the box spring and mattress on the floor, or leave the frame and remove the boxed spring. I don’t remember which they did, but at least the bed was eventually low enough to transfer onto.
Getting a shower chair was another story. Despite a call to the front desk and a promise to send one up to the room, it never showed, hence showering for the next few days was … well, a challenge.
The Arizona resort is typical of most hotels, leading to the age-old questions: Why does travel have to be so frustrating? Why aren’t basic accommodations provided in all hotel rooms: beds and sinks at reasonable heights; showers that are useable; carpets that we can move on without straining our arm muscles?
Since we pay the same rates as everyone else, it seems reasonable to expect a room we can function in. Just once, I’d like to hang up my clothes in the closet. Just once I’d like to pick up the in-room phone and request room service, not a lower bed.