Which major hotel chain is the best in terms of accessibility for disabled people?
Readers ask this question frequently, but I haven’t had a good answer to offer. Even within the same brand, hotels are independently owned (franchised), and there is rarely any consistency in their accessibility. In the United States, there is a legal standard for accessibility — but only one in ten hotels comply (at best) with the ADA. Abroad, where there are few accessibility regulations, it’s a real crap shoot.
That is, until I began experimenting with a European-owned hotel chain that I had frequently passed over: Accor Hotels.
Accor Hotels operates in 100 countries, and has more than 4,800 hotels in its portfolio. The company’s brands touch all price points and include the following:
- Luxury Hotels — Fairmont, Raffles, Sofitel
- Premium Hotels — MGallery, Mövenpick, Pullman, Swissôtel
- Midscale Hotels — Adagio, Mercure, Novotel
- Economy Hotels — hotelF1, ibis, ibis Styles
While I haven’t tried every brand in the Accor portfolio, every hotel room that I have tried has been usable. The chain’s consistent adherence to accessible design principles is rare, and it sets the brand apart. It’s refreshing to walk into a hotel sight unseen and find exactly what I expected.
From Asia to Europe to South America, Accor has given me an accessible place to stay with every booking. Rooms with a bed at the right height, and a roll-in shower with a wall-mounted seat.
Check out these bathroom photos from a few of the Accor hotels where I have stayed.
The rooms are accessible, too, with lower-profile beds, clear space underneath the bed for a hoist, and plenty of space to operate a wheelchair.
The ibis brand, in particular, has become one of my favorites. It is a distinctly budget hotel chain, but gets the accessibility right in a way that may more expensive hotels do not. Read my article, “See the Difference $370 Makes in Hotel Room Accessibility” to learn why staying at an ibis hotel can make much more sense.
Due to Accor’s extremely limited footprint in North America, only 104 hotels, the brand will be most attractive to global travelers. I have stayed in accessible rooms at Accor properties in cities all around the world, including Beijing, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dubai, London, Luxembourg, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
This year, I intend to redirect a lot of my business to Accor given their excellent track-record on accessibility. When traveling outside of the United States, the Accor Hotels website will be the first place I look for an accessible room.
If there is a hotel from one of the Accor brands at your next destination, I encourage you to give it a second look. It may be more accessible (and less expensive) than many other options.
Please note that while the vast majority of my Accor experiences have been positive, not all hotels in the portfolio are equally accessible. It is still important to inquire about the accessibility features of each property prior to booking to avoid disappointment.