While on a visit home I booked an inexpensive room at a hotel near my sister’s place. It was the Days Inn in Brewerton, NY and was set up through the Hotels .com site. When the reservation was made I saw no information regarding the fact that I might be and had been booked into one of that hotel’s handicapped access rooms. The person at the desk made no mention of it when I checked in, especially after seeing me carry my suitcase and bags without a problem. It was late and I was tired so I didn’t say anything about what awaited me in the room. It was a curious surprise.
The room did not have the usual items I knew other rooms had because I had stayed there in the past. The week before in fact. The bathroom was like one you might find in a fast food restaurant, only with a tub that had a hand-held shower head. There was no counter top surrounding the sink and just a simple small rectangular mirror above it. The only horizontal surface was the top of the toilet so that was where the soap & shampoo stuff was. Fewer towels than I was used to – and not very soft ones if you ask me. There was one queen size bed but no desk and no couch. No tissue paper box. At least it had a television – but at least it had a remote. So that’s good…
In short it was disappointing, even for the cut rate room I expected. I mean, come on! Things like floating shelves have been around for decades. I understand needing clearance room for a wheel chair and such in the bathroom but those are simple to install. Plus, it sure looked like the room was equipped for a single occupant only based on the number of typically shared items.
It wasn’t until I went to the front desk in the morning that I found out it was a handicapped access room. The attendant wasn’t at all helpful except to explain that online booking sites fill the cheapest rooms first. I’m naming the hotel here because it apparently is no secret in that chain; perhaps the rule in most discount chains even. But why didn’t they ask me to switch my room once I explained that I did not need such accommodations? I do not know. That’s like having me park in the handicapped reserved spot since it was open anyway. What if someone actually did need the room? Maybe that part of the story can be chalked up to poorly trained staff in that one particular hotel but the room?
So what’s my point? I know of many people who now need to use a walker or a wheelchair. And they don’t always travel alone. The experience brought to mind the single word: relegated. As in relegated to whatever meets the minimum requirements some paragraph in the Americans with Disabilities Act stipulates. But I guess this is yet another source of indignity you and your companions can expect if you need such a room. At Days Inn at least. My negative review is probably going to have a negligible effect. I’m also considering contacting them in other ways because it is not too much effort to make disabled access rooms as nice to stay in as regular rooms.
Captain Obvious here again to say: It will be important to pay close attention to details like this when booking pretty much anything online.