What Should an Accessible Hotel Room Include?

Are you planning an accessible vacation? As the anticipation builds for your getaway, it's important to consider accessible lodging. An accessible hotel room is essential for unwinding after a day of exploration and gearing up for the next. If your room isn't accessible, what should be an enjoyable experience can quickly turn into a frustrating one. Follow this guide to find an accessible hotel room for your next trip.

Understanding Accessible Hotel Rooms

When making a reservation for a hotel, you may ask yourself, “What is considered an accessible room?” or “What is the difference between an accessible room and a standard room?” 

An accessible hotel room has features which differ from a standard room. These features can make a room functional for people with physical, visual, and hearing disabilities. Accessible rooms can also accommodate seniors and people with temporary injuries.

What Does ADA Mean in Hotels?

When booking your hotel room you may see the phrase “ADA” or “ADA room.” This simply means the room is accessible to people with disabilities. ADA refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a civil rights law ensuring people with disabilities have equal access in public spaces, including hotels. Sometimes the features in a room marked ADA can vary, so it’s important to follow up with the hotel for exact details to avoid disappointment or frustration.

Key Elements of Accessible Hotel Rooms

Some features in accessible hotel rooms resemble those found in accessible homes, making your stay away from home more comfortable and familiar. Key elements of accessible hotel rooms include:

  • Wider doorways
  • Automatic doors
  • Lowered work surfaces
  • Lowered light switches
  • Visual and audible fire alarms

Bathroom modifications play a significant role in ensuring safety for hotel guests with disabilities. Hotel bathrooms may include the following:

  • Grab bars 
  • Roll-in shower
  • A toilet at a comfortable level: 17 to 19 inches off the ground
  • Shower chair
  • Handheld shower head
  • Lowered countertop, sink, and mirror
  • Emergency cord pulls

Not all hotel rooms include every feature listed; for instance, automatic doors aren't standard in all accessible rooms. However, according to ADA guidelines, doors should require no more than five pounds of force to open. While individual rooms may vary, a combination of these features typically ensures ADA compliance. If you're unsure whether a hotel room will meet your needs, contact the hotel ahead of time for clarification.

Choosing the Right Accessible Hotel Room

Finding the right accessible hotel room will ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Here are some important factors to consider when you or someone you’re traveling with has a mobility disability:

  1. Read Hotel Reviews and Ratings: While hotel reviews may not be specific to accessible rooms, they provide insight into the overall guest experience. Positive reviews generally indicate good service, which is a good sign for accessibility needs.
  2. Hotel Location: Think about the hotel’s proximity to restaurants, tourist attractions, and other places you'll visit. If you have a mobility disability, choosing a hotel close to these locations may be ideal. That way, when you're ready to rest or go out for the next day's adventures, you won’t have to travel far.
  3. Hotel Room Location: When booking your hotel room, look for options to request an accessible room. You might also be able to request a room near the elevator, lobby, or on the first few levels for easier navigation. If these options aren’t available online, call the hotel in advance to see if they can accommodate your request.
  4. Call Ahead to Ask About Hotel Accessibility: No matter which hotel you choose, if you need specific accessibility information, be sure to call the hotel in advance. For instance, if you use a wheelchair, you might need to know the height of the bed for easy transfers. Ambulatory mobility aid users might not need a roll-in shower but may need to know the height of the tub to step in.
  5. Accessible Parking at Hotels: According to ADA law, all hotels built after 1990 should be wheelchair accessible and have accessible parking near the entrance. When traveling, bring your accessible parking placard if you have one so you can utilize these spaces. 

If you need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, contact your local BraunAbility dealer. You can rent a BraunAbility wheelchair van or SUV. Your local dealer will consider your needs and travel plans to find the ideal vehicle for your trip.

If you're still deciding on a travel destination, check out our article on ten accessible travel destinations across the U.S. Whether you're interested in visiting historical sites, an amusement park, or the beach, our travel hub has the resources you need to plan for and enjoy an accessible vacation.