This post contains affiliate links from some of my advertising partners. I may receive a small commission on purchases, at no additional cost to you. While you don’t have to use these links, I appreciate your support of my blog when you do. You can read my advertising disclosure here.
Opened in 1912 by the founder of the Anheuser-Busch brewery, The Adolphus Hotel is an iconic landmark in Downtown Dallas, Texas. Through more than a century of history, the hotel has welcomed guests including U.S. Presidents Warren G. Harding and George H.W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II of England, and big band leader Tommy Dorsey. In 1983, The Adolphus was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Adolphus is now a part of the Marriott Hotels’ Autograph Collection of unique and historic properties. Through multiple complex renovations, the hotel has preserved touches of its past while creating a modern oasis of comfort and luxury. Accessibility improvements have been a big part of that transformation, and I am eager to share my thoughts on wheelchair accessibility at The Adolphus Hotel—including the things they got right and where more work should be done.
Reservation & Check-in
Accessible hotel room reservations can be made via the Marriott Hotels website. Room rates typically fall in the range of $200 to $300 per night. Prices may be higher or lower depending on the day of the week, month, level of demand and events in the city. If your travel dates are flexible, it should be easier to find lower than average rates.
I used Marriott Rewards points to pay for my stay at The Adolphus, and redeemed for a package through the Marriott Moments reward center. In addition to the hotel stay, my redemption included tickets to a performance at the Winspear Opera House. The Adolphus is a great choice of accommodation if you are attending events in the Arts District.
Check-in at the hotel took only a few moments, but getting up to my room was a bit of a complicated process. The guest elevators are located on a mezzanine that is reached by escalator, making them inaccessible to wheelchair users.
The accessible route to the guest floors requires use of a service elevator. Two doors located directly alongside the lobby escalators provide access to a hallway which leads to the service elevator. This space is intended to be used only by bellmen and other staff, and it certainly looks the part.
I have serious concerns about the additional steps required to access the hallway and operate the elevator (it only functions after entering a security code on a keypad), which is clearly not accessible to everyone. I plan to share this article and some additional comments with the hotel, and will report back if they decide to make any changes.
After reaching my floor, number 5, I found the interior corridors to be beautiful. Since I use a power wheelchair, I wasn’t able to judge the difficulty of rolling across the carpeted floor, so it could pose issues for manual wheelchair users. My accessible guest room was all the way down the hall and to the left, so nearly as far away from the elevator as one could be.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room
The door to my deluxe hotel room, number 533, was easy to open with the tap of a keycard and swung freely with little effort. The room was spacious, making it easy to move around in my wheelchair.
The king size bed was topped with a plush down comforter that was extremely comfortable. The bed height of around 30 inches was high and not easily accessible, which is unfortunately the standard in most luxury hotels. I slept (and napped, I must admit) extremely well in this bed, but I was disappointed in the small size of the pillows. They seemed suited for a double bed, not a luxury king!
A flat screen television sat atop a chest of drawers on the wall opposite the bed. It too seemed a bit small for the room’s spacious interior, but I’ll happily trade screen size for extra floor space any day. The room had a connecting door, so it is nice to know that a traveling companion or carer could be accommodated in a connecting room.
Power outlets and USB ports were built-in to the nightstand and located within easy reach of the bed. This made charging my power wheelchair extremely convenient.
Electricity in the United States is delivered at 120 volts. Travelers from outside North America will need to use a step-up power transformer to charge wheelchairs that require 220-240V. Please see the FAQ on charging a power wheelchair abroad.
A mini bar/refrigerator was located next to the room’s main entry door, along with a coffee maker.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
The guest bathroom was clean, modern, thoughtfully designed and ADA accessible—that is, with the exception of the roll-in shower.
The vanity was large and offered space for my wheelchair to roll comfortably underneath. The faucet was easy to operate and all of the expected amenities were within reach. Towels placed on a shelf beneath the sink were also easy to access for wheelchair users.
The roll-in shower was beautiful and nearly ADA compliant. The shower seat, water control and grab bars were all in the right place, but the handheld shower spray unit was on the wrong wall – far out of reach of the seat.
The hotel provided a portable shower seat, but that defeats the purpose of having one built-in. The wall-mounted bench is safer, sturdier, larger and more comfortable, and I hope the hotel will reposition the showerhead to achieve ADA compliance.
The toilet was easily accessible, with space to position a wheelchair directly alongside and all of the required grab bars to aid in a safe transfer. The toilet paper roll was within reach of the toilet seat.
All-in-all, a beautiful bathroom facility with only one issue of note.
The Adolphus Hotel features a rooftop swimming pool with a self-operating pool lift for wheelchair users.
There pool deck is large and there are a variety of lounge chairs available. When the sun is out (and we hope it is!), you can find some shade underneath one of the large umbrellas.
If you’re hungry or thirsty, stop by the rooftop pool bar for a snack or a drink.
Guests staying in a room on the hotel’s club level, or who have Platinum/Platinum Premier status in the Marriott Rewards loyalty program, receive access to the club lounge.
The lounge was a nice space, but the offering at breakfast and in the evening was relatively mediocre. I receive complimentary lounge access due to my status level, but wouldn’t recommend paying much for the upgrade. If you have a soda pop addiction like I do, stocking up on free drinks in the lounge can make having access worthwhile.
There were a number of tables of varying heights and sizes in the lounge, and I was able to find one that suited my wheelchair. I was disappointed by the lack of accessibility on the outdoor patio, due to a step. Since the weather outside was drab, I didn’t inquire as to whether a ramp was available.
If you need a hair cut, the Barber Shop by Brass Tacks in the lobby of The Adolphus Hotel has got you covered. It’s always busy, particularly around lunchtime when businessmen can sneak out for a cut or shave.
The guys at the barber shop were very accommodating, and gave me the choice of sitting in my own wheelchair or transferring into the historic barber chair. I chose the latter, and had a great time chatting with Jordan (pictured above). $35 plus tip was a bit steep, but the convenience, conversation and an excellent cut made it worthwhile.
You can stop in to make an appointment or call down from your hotel room.
Location & Transportation
The Adolphus Hotel is right in the center of Dallas, making it an ideal choice for tourists visiting the city. The hotel is within walking distance of many of the best wheelchair accessible attractions in Dallas, including the Reunion Tower observatory, Pioneer Plaza, Dallas World Aquarium, the Sixth Floor Museum, John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza and more.
I had to travel from The Adolphus to the Winspear Opera House to attend a concert, and the journey took less than 15 minutes. About 10 minutes of walking and two quick stops on the light rail, from Akard station to the Pearl/Arts District station—super convenient and accessible!
Connections to public transportation are all within walking distance of the hotel—city buses, light rail trains and the Dallas Streetcar, which are all wheelchair accessible. The Akard light rail station is only three blocks away.
The Adolphus Hotel is one of the most accessible hotels I’ve found in Downtown Dallas and its location is fantastic. While Dallas is a fairly compact city, location still means a lot to tourists and this hotel will not disappoint.
Even with the few accessibility concerns I’ve pointed out, I still believe that The Adolphus is a great choice for wheelchair-friendly accommodation in Dallas. Its history, charm, convenience, comfort and location are all positive factors that I’m confident you’ll come to love.
Featured image courtesy Marriott Hotels.