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Following a recent renovation, the La Quinta Inn Tallahassee North now offers wheelchair accessible guest rooms with a roll-in shower. The hotel is conveniently located on North Monroe Street in Florida's capital city, right by Interstate 10. I was in town for a Florida State University college football game and almost all of the hotels were sold out. I had a fantastic stay at this La Quinta hotel and found my room to be ADA compliant.
Reservation & Check-in
When the Seminoles are playing at home during college football season, it is difficult to score a reasonably priced hotel room in Tallahassee. Room rates shoot up, with many hotels charging hundreds of dollars more per night.
Having decided to attend last weekend's game vs. NC State at the last minute, my options were limited. I ultimately settled on the La Quinta Inn Tallahassee North, which was charging $169 per night (plus tax) - about $100 above its regular rate.
Not wanting to pay $169 for my room, I decided to use points instead. Only 8,000 La Quinta Returns points were required, which is a low redemption category in the Returns program. If you're wondering how I had La Quinta points... the simple answer is, I am a points & miles addict - I have points in just about every program that exists, from American Airlines to La Quinta to Pizza Hut! And, even though I am nowhere near retirement age, I have (worthless) points in the AARP Rewards for Good program.
I was able to book an ADA accessible room directly on the website, then called the hotel to request that a roll-in shower be reserved for me. ADA rooms with bathtubs are also available at this hotel.
When I attempted to check-in around lunchtime, my room wasn't ready. The standard check-in time is 3:00 p.m, so I was a few hours early. The staff were very friendly, and the housekeepers made my room a priority. It was ready within 30 minutes.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room #137
The La Quinta Inn Tallahassee North is an older hotel with exterior corridors. My room, #137, was on the ground floor of building 1, just a short walk from the hotel lobby. The door was easy to open and did not close automatically.
Van accessible handicap parking spots were right outside the door of my room. The picture above was taken with the room door ajar. You can see the ends of the beds, the new flat screen television installed during the remodel, a mini fridge and a microwave (that's my duffel bag on top of the microwave).
The room's two double beds were arranged side-by-side, with slightly more than the 30 inches minimum clear space between them. A nightstand between the beds had a telephone and alarm clock. Power outlets and USB ports were built into the alarm clock, and this is where I charged my power wheelchair.
A desk at the far end of the room was wheelchair accessible; the provided desk chair was on wheels and could be rolled away easily.
There were several areas of the room that met the standard for "T" turn areas, and I had no problem getting around in my wheelchair throughout.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
The wheelchair accessible bathroom complied with the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. I am not sure when the hotel renovation took place (it seemed recent), but because the building was constructed prior to the ADA, it would only be required to meet requirements that are "readily achievable."
The toilet does not comply with the 2010 ADA Standards because it is directly next to the sink, and there is no space to park a wheelchair parallel. However, the small size of the bathroom and the age of the building would have made compliance with the latest standards impossible, which makes this perfectly legal. Grab bars on the walls adjacent to the toilet are up to code.
The bathroom sink had the required clearance space underneath, and I was able to roll my wheelchair up to and underneath the sink.
The roll-in shower, pictured above, met all of the requirements for roll-in shower compartments found in the 2010 standards. A folding shower seat was attached to the wall, water controls were within reach of the bench, and a handheld showerhead was provided.
In all, a fantastic bathroom!
Location & Transportation
The La Quinta hotel is near the interstate, but it is not secluded. After checking in, I enjoyed a late lunch at the Cracker Barrel across the street, then hopped on the city bus to meet some friends in Downtown Tallahassee. Within a mile of the hotel, you'll find many fast food and sit-down restaurants including Sonny's BBQ, Chuck E. Cheese's, Crystal River Seafood, Denny's, Red Lobster and Whataburger.
The stop for city bus routes B and S are about a ten minute walk from the hotel. If public transportation isn't your style, Yellow Cab has two wheelchair taxis that should be reserved at least one hour in advance. The hotel is just over 3 miles from the intersection of Monroe St. & Tennessee St., which could be considered the most important intersection in Tallahassee, located at the center of downtown.
ADA compliance is not difficult to achieve, but so many hotels shirk their responsibility and ignore the regulations. The owners and developers of the La Quinta Inn Tallahassee North did not - they followed the law, and made this committed critic one happy camper. Now, with a positive experience under my belt, I look forward to seeing how other La Quinta properties stack up around the country.
If you're looking for value and accessibility when selecting a hotel in Tallahassee, Florida, the La Quinta Inn earns my recommendation and stamp of approval.