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The Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown is a wheelchair accessible hotel in the state capital of Florida. Just blocks from the campus of Florida State University (my alma mater!), it is a great choice of accommodation for an FSU college football weekend. The hotel recently went through a complete remodel, picking up the mid-range Starwood brand, Four Points by Sheraton.
I was in Tallahassee this past November, during Veteran's Day weekend. I arrived in the city on Friday for the football game against Boston College. Because hotels were so expensive for the football weekend, I crashed at a friend's house that night, after the game. On Saturday (the day after the game), I booked a one-night stay at this hotel, for a fantastic rate of $117, inclusive of tax. The tailgaters had decided to return home for the remainder of that weekend, it seems.
Reservation & Check-in
I made a reservation for a wheelchair accessible room with a king size bed and roll-in shower. I used the Starwood Hotels SPG mobile app to book the room, but the same rate was available on the hotel website.
When I showed up to check-in, the hotel offered me a complimentary upgrade to an ADA king suite, twice the size of the 315 ft2 standard accessible room I had reserved. This was a nice treat, and served as a fun space for my friends and I to gather before that night's music concert at Doak Campbell Stadium. The complimentary upgrade had a value of about $50 on that particular night.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room/Suite, #714
My wheelchair accessible room/mini-suite was located on the 7th floor, and looked out over Tennessee Street, one of the main roadways in Tallahassee.
The first notable accessibility feature I discovered was an electronic door:
Automatic doors are one of the most important features of an accessible building. But automatic hotel room doors are rare. So rare, in fact, that I can't remember the last time I stayed in a hotel that offered them.
To open the door from the hallway, you insert the key card into the slot, then turn the handle. From that point, the electronics will open the door into the room. From inside the room, you open the door by the iconic push button, which is easily accessible and marked with the universal symbol of access (the wheelchair icon).
The room's main door opens into the living room portion of the suite:
The living room area offers a lot of space, but I was unable to access the wet bar (including sink, mini fridge and microwave) that is hidden behind the dining table. I could have asked the hotel staff to move the table, but there was no need.
The first picture above offers another perspective on the living room space. The sofa is quite nice and a great place for you or friends to relax. The floor-to-ceiling windows also bring in a lot of natural light. The second photo shows the flat-screen television hanging on the wall opposite the sofa. The corridor into the bedroom is also pictured here.
The king size bed was set low to the floor and matched the height of my wheelchair's seat. Space underneath the bed allows for the use of transfer lifts/hoyer lifts. The bed itself was comfortable, which is to be expected from a recently renovated hotel.
Space to accommodate a wheelchair exists on both sides of the bed, but there is significantly more space on the right side of the bed, shown in the foreground of the image above.
The first photo above depicts the room's desk, flat screen television, armoire, and the floor-to-ceiling windows. The chair at the desk is on wheels, and can be easily pulled away to make room for the wheelchair.
The second photo is a close-up shot of the nightstand. Multiple power outlets are placed here and are within reach of the bed. You'll also notice the cordless in-room telephone and an alarm clock.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
If you have read any of my other accessible hotel reviews, you'll know what's coming. I always say, the moat important part of a hotel room is the bathroom and shower facilities. If you aren't able to access the bathroom, what's the point?
The roll-in shower featured all of the important features - a shower bench/seat that folds down from the wall, grab bars, water controls within reach of the bench and a handheld shower nozzle.
Unfortunately, Four Points by Sheraton hotels do not provide individually packaged soap and shampoo, but deliver this through dispensers in the shower. These dispensers have been attached high on the wall and behind the shower seat. For many of us with disabilities, reaching around to access these toiletries is just not possible, and can be a safety hazard. I will share this review with the hotel, and hope they will make a change, like the Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral (also a Starwood property) did last year.
Other components of the bathroom include the wheelchair accessible sink and a toilet. The toilet is inside an alcove of sorts, and there was not enough space for me to roll my wheelchair alongside it for a smooth transfer. I had to park my wheelchair in front of the toilet, and turn my body around while transferring. The wall to the left of the toilet, where the toilet rolls are affixed, lacked a horizontal grab bar. This is the greatest safety issue in the bathroom, and I hope it will be addressed promptly.
Location & Transportation
The Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown hotel is located at 316 W. Tennessee Street in Tallahassee, Florida, between the N. Borough St. and N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
The hotel is a little over 1.5 miles from Doak Campbell Stadium, on the far western end of the Florida State University campus. It is approximately 0.5 ives from the iconic State Capitol building.
Public transportation connections are available just two blocks away, at CK Steele Plaza, the city's main bus terminal. For more information on riding the wheelchair accessible StarMetro city bus services in Tallahassee, visit www.talgov.com. Megabus picks-up and drops off passengers at this terminal, and the Greyhound Bus station is just across the street.
The hotel provides complimentary shuttle service to Tallahassee International Airport and within the surrounding area, but it is not wheelchair accessible. Because the city has only two wheelchair accessible cabs, I wouldn't count on the hotel being able to offer an equivalent service. I first exposed this industry-wide problem last year, in The ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Shuttles.
While the Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown has a few accessibility issues that require attention, my overall stay was quite pleasant, and I was able to make sufficient use of the hotel and my ensuite bathroom. The hotel's location is quite favorable, as it is within walking distance of Florida State's campus. While it is a bit of a hike to the football stadium, there are not very many hotels much closer.
The Four Points will put you a bit closer to campus than the DoubleTree by Hilton and Aloft Hotel, which are a few blocks East and closer to the capitol. If you are able to snag a favorable rate and deal with the accessibility as described in this review, you'll be happy with a stay at this newly updated hotel.