Today I read this blog post and it got me thinking. Well, first it got me feeling really glad I'm not physically disabled, or not more physically disabled than I already am, I mean. My back problems might be considered a physical disability but I can walk and I can get around in most situations. Sometimes I have trouble reaching certain items, like things on the lower shelves in the grocery store, but I never have to worry about whether or not I can even get into the store.
The blogger of the post I read was talking about how he stayed at a hotel that claimed to be wheelchair accessible, but in fact was only partially accessible. While there was room for a wheelchair to maneuver in the bedroom and bathroom, the towel rack and thermostat were too high for someone sitting in a wheelchair to reach them. What is the point in having a wheelchair accessible bathroom if the person using that bathroom can't get a towel?
The hotel had a pool and a working lift to allow someone that uses a wheelchair to get into the pool, but one must walk up two steps in order to get to the pool and the lift. Why bother putting in a lift if you're going to make it impossible for someone that uses a wheelchair to reach it?
Finally, he wanted to visit the hotel bar for a drink but the bar was not wheelchair accessible. He then asked to buy a beer to take back to his room but was told he was not allowed to take beer out of the bar. Of course, he was not even in the bar to begin with, since it was not wheelchair accessible. I think it was probably illegal for them to refuse to sell him a beer to drink in his room since the bar was not accessible, but refuse him they did.
Now, accessibility varies depending on the needs of the individual. It can be almost impossible to create a space that is accessible to absolutely everyone. For instance, in the laundry room at my apartment building, there are two washing machines. One is a top loading machine and one is a front loading machine. The front loading machine is not accessible to me because you have to bend over to put clothes in and get clothes out and I can't bend that much. However, the top loading machine is not accessible to my neighbors that use wheelchairs. They can't reach into the top loading machine to get clothes out while sitting in a wheelchair. That's why the property manager installed one of each, trying to accommodate the different needs of different tenants.
I realize that it's not reasonable to expect every hotel room everywhere to be accessible to every single person on the planet. But let's use a little common sense. Let's not install stairs leading to the wheelchair lift.
I can hardly imagine how frustrated I would be if I was traveling and had so many accessibility issues at hotels. You know how I hate to ask for help. WTF would I do if I couldn't even reach the towels in the bathroom?