Summer is travel time, and that also means it’s gambling time for people who use wheelchairs or who have other disabilities that make using a typical hotel room something of a pain. Travelers with ‘special needs’ might want to take a look at Microtel Inns. Last year, a representative of the company told me that Microtel intends to make all of its rooms ADA-compliant.
It looks as if they’ve gone a bit further than that. Their website implies that they’ve not only done the ADA thing but invoked intelligent design. Not the creationist kind — the kind of design that is intelligent. Clicking on Specialty Travel>Travelers With Disabilities>Room Types not only gets you to a list of accomodations, but floor plans and virtual tours of an accessible bathroom and a double room.
According to the website,
Microtel Inns & Suites ADA-Accessible hotel rooms incorporate features such as:
- Two (2) peepholes on each door, one located 48″ above the floor, for our travelers who may use a wheelchair.
- Door locks on guestroom doors that are no higher than 48″ above the floor.
- Electronic door locks and door handles that can be operated with a closed fist.
- Guestroom and guest bathroom doors that are a minimum of 36″ wide.
- Closets with lowered clothes bar located at 48″ above the floor plus removable hangers.
- Switches that are located 42″ above the finished floor.
- Heavy-duty 8″ metal bed frames with heights not greater than 23″ from the floor.
- Desks with a minimum of 27″ clearance space.
- Remote equipped televisions with closed captioning for the hearing impaired.
- Drapery wands with a ring attachment measuring 4″ in diameter mounted on the lower end of the baton.
The list of bathroom amenities is impressive, too, as are the photos. The accessible sink enjoyed by the gent above is only the beginning; the shower shown in the still photos would do any private home proud.
Both Microtel and their extended-stay partner Hawthorn also offer a “Short Stature Accessibility Kit” designed for use by Little People, including “a custom stepstool, ergonomic reach grabber, door security latch adapter, extension or ‘push-pull’ tool, and specially designed closet rod adapter”.
“Compliance alone” is not enough, according to Microtel’s website:
We are currently the only hotel chain to offer Opening Doors® training for disability etiquette to ALL staff at EVERY one of our hotels. The Opening Doors program teaches hospitality employees how to be friendly and helpful to travelers with disabilities and also teaches practical service skills covering customer relations, operational procedures, emergency and safety considerations, and an awareness of “people first” terminology.
I’m not thrilled that I can’t get any idea about rates on the website without providing my name and contact information, but Microtel is theoretically an economy/budget choice. That’s a small quibble, though, considering what’s on offer — but I would like to know what it all costs. There’s a 10% discount for travelers over 50.
And, oh, yes, the entire website’s available in Spanish — click on the link in the upper right hand corner.