Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati
Vacations are about feeling relaxed and comfortable. Read on to learn the process of requesting accessible hotel rooms to travel safely and worry-free.
What are some features available in hotel rooms that clients and travel agents can look out for to accommodate guests with mobility issues?
Features vary from place to place. More commonly, you will see a bath with bars or roll in showers, wide entrance doors, a king bed, and rooms on the ground floor or accessible by elevators. Ideally, there would be other features like a lower bed, larger room with space for wheelchair mobility, seats inside the shower, wide hallways, and accessible restaurants and amenities. Sometimes there is even height-adjusted rooms with electrical outlets, door handles, lights, heating controls, and drapery wands within reach.
How does booking with a travel agent make the process easier for the client?
Travel agents can help the client research the best property to fit their needs and make a suggestion based on their own visits to different properties and consulting with the tour operator, such as Transat Holidays’, special technical agents directly. They can also go directly to the hotel to ensure requests are processed. Travel agents will ensure that all details such as transfers to and from the airport as well as the hotel accommodations are booked correctly.
What is the process like when requesting an accessible room? Is this reservation guaranteed?
The special technical agents at Transat Holidays have a list of hotels that will guarantee adapted rooms. Once they receive the completed form and the tentative reservation from the travel agent, they process the request with the hotel for confirmation. At times it can take up to 14 business days for a written confirmation back on behalf of the hotel. Their average delay is approx. 7 days.
Are there any specific destinations that are good for those with mobility challenges, and others that pose more challenges in general?
Most south destinations are great. Our suggestion is to avoid any destination or property that is set in the mountains or hilly grounds, such as Samana or the Cofresi in Puerto Plata. It can be frustrating for customers not to get around easily, though many large resorts do have golf carts for transportation within the property. Your travel agent should be able to advise of resorts that have lots of stairs and those that are smaller and easier to navigate.
Are there certain hotel chains that are great with accommodating special visitors?
Iberostar, AMResorts, Melia, Paradisus, Barcelo brands are known for accommodating special requests.
How do cruises measure up in terms of accommodating guests with mobility challenges?
Cruise lines handle this topic very seriously, and a cruise is a fantastic option for travellers with mobility challenges. Usually, there is a form to complete to help staff understand what your challenges are and how they can help. Accessible staterooms are larger and include modifications like a bathroom grab bar, lowered sink and vanity, roll-in shower and fold-down shower bench, raised toilet seats, lowered closet rods, and accessible balconies. In some cases, sign language services are available, as well as a portable hearing room kit, large print materials, braille signage, wheelchair pier assistance and other services. Each ship is equipped with a medical facility with a licensed physician and nurse but the types of services and medications are limited and come with a fee. Your travel agent can confirm what is available on your particular ship and help you find a cruise for you.
What about service dogs?
Service dogs are welcome onboard. It is the passenger’s responsibility to contact the ports of call to obtain the required documentation for the animal to disembark the ship. The dog must be able to use the designated relief area, which is a 4×4 wood box with cypress mulch. Passengers should carry the dog’s health documents onboard and bring their own food.
What assistance is provided when flying?
Please refer to each airline’s website. Here is where you can learn about special arrangements with WestJet. Special services with Air Canada are listed here and Air Transat is listed here.
If you have any recommendations for great accessible hotel rooms and what to look for in a vacation, please share them with the community in the comment section below.