Ella and I travel fairly regularly, and In the seven years I have been full time in a wheelchair we have been to Australia 4 times and stayed in over 2 dozen 3,4,and 5 star hotels. The one annoying thing that regularly pisses me off is as a wheelchair using guest, when I am staying at iconic hotels such as 4 seasons plaza’s and Waldorf Astoria s in the states and the Chifley and the Rydges the Hyatts in Australia and Asia is why if their idea of wheelchair accessibility is for me to go 2 blocks around the back past the kitchen dumpster and enter through the staff entrance not the marble foyer to have my door opened by a liveried bellhop who utters”welcome to the Waldorf Astoria, plaza, four seasons” but to have screaming kitchen hands running past and having kitchen slops on my wheels SHOULD I PAY FULL PRICE?
In Sydney Australia in 2011 we stayed at one of the oldest and most iconic hotels in the city The menzies, where queens and princes and presidents have stayed and we were told it was completely accessible only to be told the only accessible toilet in 17 floors was in the basement past the commercial laundry behind the boiler it had broken ceiling and water dripping in the corner and smelled like the furnace? below is the story about the menzies and many other horrors of travel as a disabled person
The Sydney Hyatt has a grand Greco roman entrance but my entrance was through the basement garage past the staff locker room?
The Adelaide grand hotel at Glenelg is a huge hotel it takes up an entire city block, the front door has a sweeping Italian marble staircase and a liveried door man
but my entrance was 20 metres past turn left and 100 metres down the block then up a plain cement ramp past a cement planter blocking most of the ramp and entering only to find myself technically so far from the entrance I was on a different city block?
This Christmas eve just passed Ella and Zeus and I stayed in the iconic Waldorf Astoria which has one of the most famous front entrances in the world of hotels.
Not one but four liveried doorman await you to utter the words “welcome to the Waldorf Astoria” where once past them you enter a foyer large enough to land a plane with 40 foot ceilings and Tiffany lampshades. I however in my wheelchair had to go down a steep hill dangerous for wheelchairs, then turn left into the parking garage push and sit and yell”does anybody work here ?” for five minutes until a bellhop told me he was busy with cars could we wait? on the actual road because cabs blocked any access to the foot path.
Ask yourself if you were paying over a thousand dollars a night which would you want?
If a property can offer accessibility and offer no discount then doesn’t it behoove them to make the wheelchair entrance as beautiful and as inviting with the doorman in the long coat and gloves to greet you?
One of the cool things of pulling in front of a hotel you’re booked in is to have the bellhops carry your bags and open the doors and make you feel special isn’t it? Ella and I are forced to lump our own through the back door the only time we see the staff is when they want us to pay full price.
Anyway that’s my bitch about the back door treatment of the disabled in more ways than one?