Tips on how to be sure to get an accessible resort room when you want one

After a 20-hour journey, an exhausted Emmett Yee just lately checked into the Marriott Cincinnati Airport resort. He was trying ahead to a scorching bathe and a chilly beverage earlier than getting some shut-eye. Sadly, the bathe a part of these easy plans turned out to be unimaginable.

Yee, a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum member[******], is battling a mind tumor and makes use of a wheelchair. Months earlier than this journey, he had reserved a room with a roll-in bathe. Yee had even referred to as the property days earlier than his arrival to reconfirm this fundamental necessity.

Ultimately, none of these efforts made a distinction — the resort assigned him a room the place he could not bathe.

With no roll-in bathe rooms accessible on the resort, Yee’s plans for the night time took an disagreeable flip. He had no alternative however to go to mattress with out washing up after his full day of journey.


Nevertheless, for Yee, the dearth of a usable bathe in his room wasn’t the worst a part of the expertise; no, it was the insensitivity to his plight.

Since he wasn’t given the room Marriott had confirmed, he complained and utilized for the Final Reservation Assure compensation. For his troubles, as a Platinum member, he anticipated to be eligible for the $200 and 90,000 factors outlined within the Final Reservation Assure phrases.

A customer support consultant, nonetheless, inexplicably instructed Yee that Marriott considers a roll-in bathe as an on-request amenity, not a assured characteristic. In consequence, Yee’s request for Marriott’s Final Reservation Assure[******] compensation was summarily rejected.

Unable to imagine that Marriott may actually view an accessible bathe as a negotiable amenity, particularly after the lengths he had gone to when reserving a selected room sort, Yee reached out to TPG for assist. He hoped we may shine a lightweight on his state of affairs and suggest resort manufacturers that honor confirmed reservations for friends with restricted mobility.

Because it seems, that very same week, one other TPG reader despatched the same story to about her expertise at a Hyatt resort. It is one which, sadly, suggests this insensitivity to friends with particular wants would possibly simply be a widespread challenge within the resort business.

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Opposite to fashionable perception, not all accommodations in america are required to have any accessible rooms. The Individuals with Disabilities Act[******] mandates lodging services constructed after 1993 should adjust to the regulation.

Older accommodations might not have modern-day accessibility components. The excellent news is that many accommodations have voluntarily complied with the ADA even when the property is not required to take action. Nevertheless, it doesn’t imply that accommodations, even newly constructed ones, have tons of ADA-compliant lodging or these with accessibility options they depend on, so vacationers with particular wants face hurdles with each single keep.

The difficulty goes past Marriott

Dr. Jayne Fortson was a 19-year-old pupil at Albany State College when an ill-advised journey with mates altered her life ceaselessly. Whereas exploring Thatcher State Park in Upstate New York, the group entered a cave that collapsed on them. A gravely injured Fortson was trapped beneath a pile of rubble contained in the cave for practically 24 hours.

Rescuers had been lastly capable of extract her, however the harm to her physique was everlasting. Since that point, practically 50 years in the past, Fortson has been paralyzed from the waist down.

Nonetheless, she by no means let this tragic accident intrude together with her life plans. Simply weeks later, she returned to Albany State College to proceed her research. Fortson developed a brand new purpose: to make sure that college students with mobility challenges may freely navigate campus.

Fortson graduated on time, went on to medical faculty and, in her free time, grew to become an achieved Paralympian. She married, raised a household and is a world traveler.

There’s virtually nothing Fortson hasn’t been capable of do regardless of the twist her destiny took that night time all these years in the past.

So, think about her shock when she just lately hit a hurdle she could not navigate at an unassuming Hyatt Home in Morristown, New Jersey.

No method to bathe at this Hyatt resort

Hyatt Home in Morristown, New Jersey. HYATT

After touring all day from Alaska to the East Coast to attend a household marriage ceremony, Fortson arrived on the entrance desk of the Hyatt Home. Though she had alerted the employees that she makes use of a wheelchair and requires a totally accessible room with a roll-in bathe, she was given a typical room.

When she introduced this challenge as much as the employees, they knowledgeable her that the property solely has two accessible rooms with roll-in showers, and each had been already occupied.

Issues went from unhealthy to worse when she entered her assigned room. Not solely did it not have a roll-in bathe, however it had a raised mattress, which made it way more tough for her to switch herself from the mattress to her wheelchair and vice versa.

For the following two days, Fortson and her two daughters tried to make do.

“It was horrible, and naturally, we could not go away since we had been there for a marriage. We had been with a big household group,” Fortson instructed TPG. “The one approach I may get into mattress was with the assistance of my daughters and the power of my arms.”

“However a raised mattress like that will be unimaginable for a wheelchair-dependent visitor to make use of with out help,” she continued. “And for the reason that toilet had no roll-in bathe, I couldn’t bathe throughout my keep. It was demoralizing.”

Regardless of complaining to the entrance desk and reminding administration that she had confirmed a selected sort of room to accommodate her wants, the resort had no different rooms to supply her and instructed her nothing may very well be executed.

“In all my years of touring, I’ve by no means skilled such a horrible state of affairs at a resort,” Fortson instructed me throughout a cellphone name from her house in Alaska. “I all the time attempt to keep at a Marriott as a result of that model is persistently attuned to the wants of their friends. If one thing goes flawed, they make it proper.”

Fortson went on to narrate her experiences at numerous Marriott accommodations wherein the employees went above and past to make sure she may simply entry all areas of her room. She instructed me that, in her opinion, Marriott is the gold normal for mobility-challenged friends.

This made Yee’s Marriott criticism, which was sitting there on my desk as I chatted with Fortson, moderately ironic.

Marriott customer support: A roll-in bathe is a request not assured

Once I went by the paper path Yee included in his emails, I shared his view that the Marriott customer support consultant he had been coping with wanted some sensitivity coaching.

Right here was the preliminary e-mail response Yee acquired from Marriott customer support after his keep:

“I reviewed the Affirmation e-mail that you simply despatched in. It states the Assured Request: Mobility Accessible Room with Roll-In Bathe.

Per Marriott phrases and circumstances, beneath Part 4.3.c.vii. Assured Room Sort might have utilized on this state of affairs.

As a Platinum Elite member, you’re entitled to this profit compensation. Nevertheless, the one room sort that was assured was the King mattress. The Roll In bathe was a request, not a assure.

With a view to assure this room sort as required, it’s best to contact our Buyer Care brokers when reserving in order that we might coordinate with the right staff to make sure the room sort is on the market on the resort in your keep and to guarantee that it’s particularly put aside for you.

You will have been given 10,000 bonus factors for the state of affairs. You may see these factors on the Exercise part of your account.

Emmett, thanks for selecting Marriott in your journey wants. We stay up for helping you with new adventures and journey reminiscences sooner or later.

Glad and secure travels.


Marriott Bonvoy™ Case Resolutions Specialist”

This “Case Resolutions Specialist” appeared to be ignoring what Yee had already defined to them: He had referred to as the resort a number of occasions earlier than arrival to remind the property of his wants.

Additionally, their closing signature, which most actually got here from a template, was greater than a little bit tone-deaf.

Yee actually didn’t want the help of Marriott sooner or later to create the kind of journey reminiscences it had created throughout this “journey.”

Asking Marriott if an accessible bathe is admittedly on-request solely

Not prepared to surrender, Yee continued to correspond with this Marriott “specialist,” who remained unswayed. So, Yee turned to TPG for assist.

After talking with Yee and reviewing his paperwork, I used to be assured that Marriott would need to make some type of amends for this case – together with addressing the specialist’s repeated declaration {that a} roll-in bathe is a request-only characteristic, like further pillows, a bucket of ice or a selected view.

I reached out to our govt contact at Marriott. This isn’t a buyer service-facing individual. That is somebody I can contact as a client advocate and member of the media.

As I wrote:

“Emmett may be very disillusioned with what occurred on the resort, however he’s much more disillusioned by Marriott’s response. [******] response makes it seem as if he complained about one thing trivial — not that he had no method to have the fundamental necessity of showering.

[*******] additionally instructed him that the Marriott Final Reservation Assure does not apply to requests for accessible rooms.

This response appears insensitive to the emotions and desires of an individual struggling with a mind tumor and who’s making an attempt to proceed to reside his life and journey for so long as attainable.

Might your staff please take a look at this case and see if he truly does qualify for the Platinum Reservation Assure compensation?

Thanks! Michelle Sofa-Friedman, Client Advocate”

It wasn’t lengthy earlier than I acquired a response.

The nice (and commonsense) information from Marriott


In a short time, Yee acquired the excellent news from Marriott. After all, an accessible bathe isn’t an on-request amenity. It’s a requirement for a traveler in a wheelchair[******].

The Marriott govt workplace contacted Yee to supply an apology and compensation that went past the Marriott Reservation Assure phrases.

As in one other Marriott case[******] I just lately wrote about, the person property supplied the beneficiant decision. (Notice: Many Marriott properties are independently owned, franchised accommodations. In consequence, typically Marriott company’s intervention can solely accomplish a lot.)

Yee wrote to inform me the excellent news:

“Hello Michelle, I simply obtained off the cellphone. **** (identify redacted for privateness) mentioned the [Marriott property] provided 80,000 factors, refunded our keep cost, plus $500 to cowl what ought to have been a roll-in bathe room someplace that night time.

I instructed her that is greater than what the Final Reservation Assure states. She knew, and mentioned the resort needed to make up for all of the troubles. Additionally, she put me on an inventory associated to inner ADA coaching applications they’re engaged on.

I do not suppose any of what is occurred up to now few days may have occurred with out your intervention. THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Emmett Yee”

With Yee’s downside efficiently addressed, I turned my sights to the Hyatt Home to seek out out what had occurred with Fortson’s reservation.

What about that Hyatt Home?

Hyatt Home Boston/Burlington’s ADA toilet. AIMBRIDGE HOSPITALITY/HYATT

I want I may say that issues went equally nicely for Dr. Fortson, however they did not.

I despatched a number of requests to the manager staff at Hyatt over the course of a number of weeks however didn’t obtain a response regarding Fortson’s expertise. For its half, this Hyatt Home, which is an independently owned and franchised property, did challenge Fortson Hyatt factors as a goodwill gesture after her keep.

In response to an e-mail from Fortson’s sister, who was internet hosting the marriage, the property’s supervisor wrote on the time:

“Thanks for bringing this vital challenge to our consideration. I apologize that your sister’s expertise with our entrance desk staff, and in her suite, was not a optimistic one and that we had been unable to offer the room sort that she had initially booked. Whereas we did our greatest to make up for this on the day by offering her a bathe chair in order that she may use the bathe in her suite, I perceive that it was not a super resolution. As a token of apology, I wish to present her with 24,000 World of Hyatt factors to her account. Sufficient for [two] free nights at the same class resort.

(Hyatt Home Morristown, spokesperson)”

Fortson wasn’t after compensation, although. As was the case when she first grew to become a paraplegic as a university sophomore and instantly got down to be an advocate for others in the identical state of affairs, Fortson’s purpose in contacting TPG was to share her expertise in order that others would possibly be taught from it and be capable to keep away from the identical. After this journey, she’ll be sticking with Marriott, she says.

Whereas investigating this story, I realized that Avion Hospitality took over the administration of this Hyatt Home franchise in March 2023, nicely after Fortson’s incident occurred. I used to be capable of attain a spokesperson for the corporate, who instructed me that they intend to make use of this case as a coaching alternative for the employees on methods to deal with these conditions higher sooner or later “with a refocus on ADA procedures.”

Nevertheless, these two ADA-compliant rooms with roll-in showers stay completely occupied, so it’s unclear what plan of motion they are going to be capable to take.

Tips on how to keep away from ending up in an inaccessible room

Sadly, I do know from my case information that the experiences of those two TPG readers aren’t distinctive. As a consequence of poorly educated employees, sloppiness within the accommodations’ reservation programs, or franchise property house owners who’re unaware of the necessities of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, vacationers with mobility challenges can simply find yourself in inaccessible rooms.

Listed below are some tricks to cut back the possibilities of getting assigned a resort room that may’t meet your fundamental wants.

Verify that the resort has accessible rooms

Step one to discovering out if a property can suit your wants is to find out if the construction was constructed after 1993. If it wasn’t, contact the resort and ask in the event that they’ve refurbished to adjust to the ADA. Even when your resort was constructed after the ADA was handed, it’s best to in all probability nonetheless get in contact on to be taught in regards to the lodging choices and property options.

Based mostly on ADA laws, there could also be just one or two rooms on the property that meet your wants. Vacationers who want mobility help needs to be particularly cautious of smaller properties (fewer than 50 rooms) as these aren’t required to have any accessible rooms with roll-in showers.

Even when you do confirm {that a} resort has rooms with the options you want, you’ll have to dig deeper to find out when you can keep there comfortably.

Discover out exactly what an accessible room means on the resort

There is not a nationwide definition of what an accessible room means in america, leaving it as much as the traveler to verify if the resort will meet their wants.

Some accommodations will fulfill the requirement for a selected variety of accessible rooms by creating lodging which will or might not make issues accessible to your state of affairs. As an example, when you want a roll-in bathe, reserving an accessible room isn’t sufficient to make certain you may get what you require.

It is important that you simply discover out from the resort what varieties of rooms they’ve and what particular facilities every affords. Do not forget to ask in regards to the public areas of the property. You may’t assume that an accessible room means the identical factor throughout the journey business. It does not.

Ask the resort about your room — and get it in writing

In Yee’s case, he had the roll-in bathe confirmed in writing from Marriott. Nevertheless, in Fortson’s case, the resort employees instructed her issues they by no means famous in her reservation. In each instances, the rooms they had been assigned lacked what they wanted.

Earlier than you e book any resort, make sure that the room you are reserving can accommodate you. Once you focus on your wants with the resort, word the identify of the individual you are talking with and allow them to know you take notes.

Sadly, cellphone representatives typically say issues which may not be correct, and after you disconnect from that individual, you don’t have any report of what was mentioned. So, take your notes and ask for a abstract of your dialog to be despatched to you through e-mail. Most respected corporations will adjust to this request.

Reconfirm through e-mail and cellphone a number of days earlier than your keep

Name the resort and remind the employees you may quickly be arriving and what your particular necessities are. Most accommodations begin blocking and assigning rooms a number of days earlier than a traveler’s arrival date. It is essential that earlier than their scheduling staff will get to work, you give them that reminder.

Steadily reminding the property of your impending arrival and desires is not you being a nuisance – it is you ensuring that you simply obtain what you require.

Backside line

I am completely satisfied we may assist Yee on this state of affairs. I’m stunned that Hyatt refused to touch upon Fortson’s expertise, although the property did try to make a goodwill gesture within the type of factors. Readers with particular mobility wants might want to think about these responses of their future journey plans.

Bear in mind, if you end up in a battle with an airline, cruise line, automotive rental company, trip rental firm or bank card, ship your request for assist to, and I might be tremendous completely satisfied that will help you, too.

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