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PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Exterior of the Courtyard Edison Woodbridge Hotel during the evening.Unless you are traveling to Edison, New Jersey with your own vehicle or on a weekday, the city will not be very accessible to wheelchair users. If you are in the area, though, the Courtyard Marriott Edison Woodbridge Hotel will be an excellent choice for accommodation.

I stayed at the hotel last month during my failed trip to the Abilities Expo at the nearby New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center. Although the city was not very friendly an absolute nightmare to me from an access standpoint, the Courtyard Marriott exceeded my expectations in all areas.

Reservation & Check-in

I made my reservation 2-3 weeks before arrival via the Marriott website. I was able to confirm a wheelchair accessible room with a king size bed and roll-in shower at booking, and paid using some of my rewards points. I checked-in to the hotel the night of Friday, April 29. My reservation was only for one night, because I planned to spend the remainder of the weekend in New York City. While I paid with points, the hotel’s going rate for that night was around $150.

The front desk staff was friendly and helpful, and I had room keys in hand within a few minutes. Thereafter, I had the nice surprise of running into a few members of the Quantum Rehab team (the manufacturer of my power wheelchair), who were also staying at the hotel, and we had a few drinks in the lobby bar.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: View of the hotel hallway and the door to room #115 at the Courtyard Marriott Edison Woodbridge.

Wheelchair Accessible Room #115

I knew right away that my room was accessible, due to the doorbell (and visual alarm), plus the second peep-hole at a lower height for wheelchair users. I had been assigned room #115, on the first floor, and the door swung open (into the room) with little effort on my part. The room’s interior hallway led to a bathroom on the immediate right, and the main bedroom area beyond the bathroom and straight ahead.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: King size bed with white bed linens, with two nightstands, one on each side of the bed, and a chair in the far distance.

The king size bed was comfortable and draped with the white bed linens typical of Courtyard hotels. Nightstands bordered the bed on both sides, and lamps were affixed to the wall above each of them. The nightstand to the right of the bed held the alarm clock, and the telephone was on the left.

A red chair with an ottoman was also located to the left of the bed, but did not impede wheelchair access. The room was quite large, and there was plenty of space for my power wheelchair on both sides of the bed. Open space beneath the bed would allow for the use of a portable hoyer lift.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Looking across the bed to the opposite wall was a flat screen television atop a chest of drawers, and a desk with chair by the window.

A chest of drawers sat against the wall opposite the foot of the bed, and it was topped with a large flat screen television. A wheelchair accessible desk was also located here, along with a table lamp. An air conditioner inside the room was quiet, and cooled the room very well. I was able to set the temperature to 60 degrees via a thermostat on the wall.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A power charging station sat atop the nightstand on the left of the bed, with two AC power outlets and two USB charging ports.

Perhaps my favorite feature in the room was the ChargePort sitting on the nightstand to the left of the bed. This charging station contained two AC power outlets and two USB charging ports. I was able to conveniently charge my power wheelchair, laptop and mobile phone – all from outlets within easy reach of the bed. More hotels should have an option to access power like this, particularly in wheelchair accessible rooms.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Bathroom toilet surrounded by grab bars, separated from the sink by a small wall.

To the bathroom we go, oftentimes the most important space in a hotel room, and one that critically requires excellent accessibility for wheelchair users.

In the photograph above, you will see a toilet separated from the sink by a wall. The space between the toilet and wall was large enough for my wheelchair, which made lateral transfers easy and safe. Grab bars were affixed to the walls directly alongside and behind the toilet. The toilet paper dispenser could have been placed a bit closer to the commode, but it was still accessible with a short reach.

The sink was accessible to me from my wheelchair, and I was able to safely roll underneath the countertop without fear of banging my knees against a hard surface.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Roll-in shower with a fold-down shower seat affixed to the wall, grab bars and a handheld shower nozzle.

The accessible roll-in shower was well designed, with a built-in bench that folded down from the wall. Grab bars were attached to the shower walls, and the handheld shower nozzle and water controls were within easy reach of the seat. A shower curtain protected the rest of the bathroom from stray water, and the floor drain worked well.

Towels located on a nearby rack could be reached easily, and a telephone was attached low on the wall outside the shower, to be used in case of an accident or emergency.

Accessibility of Public Areas

The hotel had a number of facilities in the public areas of the property, including a bar, restaurant and pool facility. All were accessible to wheelchairs.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Hotel pool with lift for wheelchair users or persons with reduced mobility.

The hotel’s swimming pool was located indoors on the ground floor, and featured a maximum depth of 4 feet. A lift to assist wheelchair users and persons with reduced mobility access the pool was installed, and is pictured in the photograph above. Due to its indoor location, use of the pool is possible even in the winter!

Final Thoughts

In spite of the challenges I faced as a wheelchair user visiting Edison, NJ, I am glad that I was able to stay at a hotel that met my accessibility needs. The room was a nice oasis from the jungle outside, and I hope other hotels will use this property as an example. Should I ever need to visit Edison again, I’ll make sure to take my own vehicle and will not hesitate to book another room at this hotel.

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