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The Protea Hotel Cape Town Victoria Junction offers handicap accessible guest rooms with a roll-in shower, close to many top attractions in what many consider to be South Africa’s premier city. Protea is a brand in the Marriott family of hotels, and the property features many of the wheelchair accessibility modifications you would expect to find in the United States.
I spent five nights at this hotel and had a fantastic stay, apart from a few minor accessibility challenges. In this article, I’ll aim to share all aspects of my experience at the hotel as a triple amputee and wheelchair user, in the hopes that you will be able to make an informed decision based on your own specific needs.
Reservation & Check-in
I made a reservation for a wheelchair accessible room via the hotel’s website. Taking advantage of a Marriott Rewards member rate, the total cost for 5 nights was 5,761 ZAR (~$435 USD), or about $87 USD per night.
After making my reservation, I called Marriott to make sure that the accessible room was blocked off and guaranteed. This was confirmed, and I had no issues at check-in.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room
After swiping my room key, I was able to push the door open with some effort. With a bit of extra effort, you can open it all the way and it will “catch” and remain open. The room reminded me of many European hotels, which often include two twin/single beds placed directly alongside one another.
Due to the small size of the room, only the rightmost bed was accessible to my wheelchair. There was no space between the beds, and the bed on the left side was only a few inches from the window/wall.
The bed height, measured from the floor to the top of the mattress, was approximately 22 inches. This allowed for an easy transfer to/from my wheelchair. Adjustable reading lights attached to the headboard were easy to reach and control.
Mounted on the wall opposite the foot of the beds was a flat panel television. A small counter with cups and a tea kettle was available for use. The room’s air conditioning unit was difficult to reach due to the tight pathway to it. There was only about 30 inches clearance to maneuver, which can be difficult with a power wheelchair.
To the right of the beds was a desk with a rolling office chair. The desk space was accessible, and could easily accommodate a wheelchair.
Power outlets located on the wall above the desk were a great place to set-up my wheelchair charging equipment. Power outlets in South Africa supply electricity at 230 volts. If the standard voltage in your home country is between 220 and 240 volts, you’ll be able to use your electric equipment and appliances in South Africa without issue. If you are traveling from the United States, where electricity is supplied at 110 volts, you’ll need to protect your wheelchair and battery with a step-down power transformer.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
The bathroom in my guest room had an open floor plan design, which meant there was plenty of space to move around in my wheelchair.
Wheelchair access was possible to both the toilet and sink, but the angle of a wall adjacent to the toilet made it impossible to park the wheelchair directly alongside. Every person would likely approach this toilet in a different way, depending on their abilities and preferences.
Although the room did have a roll-in shower, its design was not idea. A small shower seat folded down from the wall, but was at an awkward distance from the grab bar placed on the adjacent wall. After considering my needs and abilities, I did not feel comfortable or safe using this set-up, and asked the hotel for a more substantial chair.
Normally, Marriott-family hotels will have portable shower chairs, but this hotel did not. I was instead offered a chair from their outdoor patio. This too was awkward, but it made me feel safer.
I strongly recommend that hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and others use the ADA Standards for Accessible Design in their foreign hotels. Or, at the very least, images of accessible rooms and bathrooms should be made available on their websites. Even though there is no worldwide standard for hotel accessibility in place, issues like this could be easily avoided with a few photographs.
Restaurant and Amenities
The hotel’s Connexxion Restaurant offers moderately priced South African and international cuisine, with a great wine list for pairings with lunch or dinner.
The full breakfast buffet with an omelette chef costs 195 ZAR (~$15 USD) and offers a wide selection of fruits, cheeses, meat, bread and beverages. The buffet is included free of charge to Gold and Platinum Marriott Rewards members, and was the perfect start to each of my days in Cape Town.
Location & Transportation
Protea Hotel Cape Town Victoria Junction is located in De Waterkant, a district in the Cape Town suburb of Green Point. The neighborhood is near the Central Business District and attracts mid- to upper-class young professionals.
Before my trip, I learned that Cape Town is one of the most violent cities in the world. In selecting accommodations, I wanted to pick a hotel near public transport (a city bus stop is only one block away) but that would still be affordable. I never felt unsafe at or around the hotel, but I followed the advice of locals by not traveling alone at night. In the future, I might prefer to stay at the V&A Waterfront, but I wouldn’t be opposed to staying again at this hotel.
As with all crime, it is random and unexpected. Travelers visiting Cape Town should always maintain awareness of their surroundings. Crime affects all parts of the city.
My stay at the Protea Hotel Cape Town Victoria Junction was pleasant and comfortable. Although the accessibility of my room could have been better, it was workable. The true value of this property is the cost savings – at less than $100 per night, I was able to save quite a bit of money!