Saturday, 1 August 2015

I Try To Be Fair

I continue to be appalled at hotels who don't understand the concept of "wheelchair access". I am staying as a guest of a small hotel chain based here in Edmonton. Management offered me a stay at anyone of their properties as a compensation for messing up on another reservation. I happily said yes to the proposal, and used it for a free weekend here in Edmonton where I get to visit my brothers, Peter and Jim.

The hotel property here is almost brand new, having been built within the last few years. It's the newest in their chain of properties. It's not like this is some old building with ancient limitations. It has a lovely foyer, great looking restaurant, nice little bar. It's elevator space is excellent, with a wheelchair room nearby. The door has a wheelchair viewing hole, so I can see who is at the door.

Entering the room, all looks well. The entry area is large enough for a wheelchair to come in and turn around. The bathroom is equally large, with a wide door for easy access. The flooring is carpet, one of my pet peeves, yet the grain and loft is such that movement is not tremendously difficult, although one could not say it is easy for me.

Then I went into the bathroom. First of all, some idiot decides to put in a "wheelchair" shower with a four inch lip on the front. Then, to add insult to injury, they put a glass half-door blocking access to the wheelchair seat. The open space remaining is too narrow for wheelchair access. Then there is the grab bar on the toilet. Someone put it in with an upward slant of 45 degrees away from the front. This means that I cannot hold onto it while sitting on the toilet, as the angle makes it almost impossible to grip; it needs to be level to work properly. Finally, I come into the sleeping area to discover once again that someone has decided wheelchair access means a bed high enough to need a stepladder.

All of this is from a chain and property which seemed to want to make a special effort to impress me, to make up for a mistake. All they did was make it worse, proving to me that wheelchair access is something they simply don't understand, or possibly even worse, don't care about.

You will note that I am not naming the hotel or chain. This is on purpose. I want to give them an opportunity to learn, to make things right, to show that they truly care about their guests who are handicapped, in wheelchairs. I want to give them a chance. I just seems like the fair thing to do.

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