Generally, hotel rooms at any given property follow a consistent design. When a disabled traveler checks-in to a hotel room and finds its accessibility features lacking, they often assume that all of the hotel’s accessible guest rooms will have the same issues. While that may be the case, it isn’t always so.
Take the Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel as an example. I checked-in yesterday and the hotel wasn’t able to honor my king bed request, so I got a room with two double beds instead, #412. This was the roll-in shower in that room:
There was no built-in shower seat, so I had to use a portable plastic chair provided by the hotel.
Today, I asked to be moved to a room with a king size bed. I expected the same shower set-up, but found this instead in room #415:
The roll-in shower had a built-in seat, but no handheld showerhead. I couldn’t use that shower, and asked if anything else was available. They sent me across the hall, to room #414, and here’s what I found:
This roll-in shower has a built-in bench and a handheld showerhead, but it and the water controls are out of reach. As a result, I’ll have to request a plastic chair once more. Frustrating, but at least I have a king size bed.
For the sake of comparison, here are the three roll-in showers pictured side-by-side:
None of the roll-in showers I saw are ADA compliant, with each having one or more of the following compliance issues:
- No built-in shower seat.
- L-shaped shower seat installed backwards (bottom of the “L” should be against the wall).
- Shower lacks handheld shower spray unit.
- Handheld shower unit out of reach of the shower chair.
- Water controls installed in the wrong location.
Having stayed in more than 300 hotels as a wheelchair user, I know that it is not uncommon for roll-in shower designs to be inconsistent across properties. But these three hotel rooms, numbered 412, 414 and 415, are located on the same floor and within feet of each other. It’s surprising to see so much design variation in such close proximity.
Hotel leadership and the building contractor should have read my Guide to ADA Design Requirements for Hotels.
If you are staying at a hotel and find your first room option to be insufficient, ask to see others. You may find the accessibility features you’re looking for in another room — maybe even across the hall.