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The AC Hotel Chicago Downtown offers wheelchair accessible guest rooms with a roll-in shower right in the heart of the Windy City's Downtown Loop. AC Hotels are a recent addition to the Marriott family and this was my first stay at the brand. After a two night stay I left impressed, looking forward to exploring more AC Hotels both in the United States and around the world.
Reservation & Check-in
I booked my hotel room two weeks in advance via the hotel's website, taking advantage of a low rate of $149 per night (inclusive of tax). Hotels in downtown Chicago can be costly, but two nights for under $300 is a real bargain.
Check-in at the hotel was a breeze, and I was up to my handicap accessible guest room in a matter of minutes. The door was easy to open, and I rolled through to inspect the room's level of accessibility.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room #8420
I had reserved an accessible guest room with a king size bed, roll-in shower and sofa bed, and that is just what I found waiting inside.
Upon opening the door, I discovered a wide entryway which led into a particularly spacious room. Along this entry hallway was an open closet space with a lowered clothing rack and several shelving units. The in-room safe offered a place to store my valuables when away. A small alcove held a mini-fridge and coffeemaker.
The king size bed was comfortable and had a mattress that sat atop a platform with a recessed base. Power outlets and USB ports were available above the night stands on each side of the bed. Lamps and adjustable reading lights affixed to the headboard were easy to operate and within reach. In all, a very nice set-up.
The room featured a fairly nice sofa, which contained a pull-out mattress. The coffee table was on wheels, and could be moved easily to make way for the sofa bed.
A wheelchair accessible desk, seen in the second photograph above, was located along the wall opposite the bed. While the provided desk chair was not on wheels, it was light and easy to move. A wall-mounted flat panel television was located to the left of the desk, but is not pictured.
These photographs should demonstrate the large amount of space that was available in the room - a real treat in a downtown hotel!
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
Like the sleeping area, the bathroom was fairly spacious and I had no trouble moving around in my wheelchair.
Unfortunately, the roll-in shower did not meet ADA regulations. Although the required shower seat was provided, the water controls and handheld shower nozzle were not within reach. Having been recently remodeled, there can be no doubt that the 1991 ADA Regulations would apply, at minimum. Unable to use the shower as it existed, I requested a separate shower chair. Having no other option, I used it, constantly concerned by the unsafe conditions.
The situation at the sink was better. It was easy to use, with space to roll my wheelchair beneath the countertop and wash basin. Although there was not enough clear space to park my wheelchair next to the toilet, the provided grab bars made the awkward transfers to/from my wheelchair much safer.
In the end, the bathroom served its purpose. But we shouldn't be faced with accessibility violations like these almost 30 years after the guidelines were enacted.
I'm not a swimmer, but I do know that many readers enjoy a dip in the pool.
The AC Hotel has a nice indoor swimming pool, outfitted with a self-operating lift. It's nice to see hotels falling into compliance with the regulations that require this accessibility tool. Perhaps one day, I'll have the courage to hop in myself.
Interested in visiting Chicago? Click here to read the free wheelchair travel guide to the Windy City!
Location & Transportation
On the corner of Ontario and Rush Streets, the AC Hotel Chicago Downtown is only one block off the Magnificent Mile, north of the Chicago River. On Michigan Avenue, you'll entertain yourself for hours while shopping at stores like Gap, Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue, Chanel, Nike, Crate and Barrel, Burberry and the Apple Store, among many others.
With such a stellar downtown location, you'll have access to countless city bus routes that can take you to each of the city's top attractions - from the Willis Tower to the galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago. Don't forget to enjoy a deep dish pizza at Gino's East, only a few blocks from the hotel!
The AC Hotel has a lot of promise. They need to bring the roll-in showers into ADA compliance. But, aside from that, I had a fantastic stay. The hotel's location and price can't be beat, and I'll look forward to staying there again.