Like many wheelchair users, Anthony Amorello is frustrated by the trend of hotels having higher and higher mattresses. He remembers better days, back when he was injured 44 years ago, where hotel beds with fancy mattresses didn’t tower over him and his wheelchair. As a C5-6 quad who uses a sliding board to transfer, the higher mattresses make getting into and out of bed nearly impossible.
His frustration came to a head in 2010 when he visited Hawaii with his wife and kids and stayed in a luxury resort that cost over $400 per night. “The beds were on a platform in addition to their 28-inch mattresses,” he says. It was impossible to make the transfer from his manual chair. In the end, Amorello and his wife slept on rollaway beds for two weeks, while their kids shared the king-size hotel bed. “That’s when I realized I’ve got to change this.”
He called the Department of Justice and asked if they could do anything related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. They said no. “You’ve got all these things [such as sinks and doorways and showers] that are covered under the ADA,” he says, “but hotel furniture is not.” Calls to the American Hotel & Lodging Association weren’t helpful either, as officials recommended that hotels remove bed frames and box springs. But as Amorello knew first-hand, that doesn’t guarantee a good height — and because new mattresses are so soft, he’d just sink into them and have a hard time transferring out.