How do you deal with hotel bed heights?

It’s required by law that a hotel accommodate proper bed heights for disabled travelers, but I’m wondering how much luck people have had with requesting new rooms or adjustments to their bed height, in cases where they arrive and the bed height ends up being inaccessible?

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I don’t travel much but the few times that I have in past years, I’ve experienced MAJOR issues with bed heights. I am a reasonably active para and the bed heights are way too tall. And… this is in a so-called accessible room, and even when I’ve requested the bed be lowered, it’s still been a scary transfer. I’ve specified a max height and even included pics with reservation requests and still the beds are too tall. I don’t know what to do, ask for, or how to be more specific. I’m nearing retirement and my hopes to travel have become doubtful now due to this issue. I truly wish they’d come up with some standard height requirements in the ADA. Fingers crossed…

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I used to work in a rehab. I do know they make collapsible step stools. Sitting sliding boards to transher from bed to chair, chair to bed. You can call hotel to ask them to measure vheight from top of matress to floor beforehand

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I called the front desk while out of town back in April because the bed was so high even using a leg lift I could not get into the bed, only to be told all beds in the hotel were the same. I told the young man that was their first mistake because this room was supposed to be accessible. Someone later found a small wooden box in the catering office and they brought it for me to use. Once back at home I ordered a wooden block/box which I now take with me when I go out of town. It is nit just handicapped that are noticing the new higher beds. My BFF who is very able bodied asked that question last month when we were out at dinner with friends. She asked if we noticed that hotel beds were getting higher. It is a real problem for me. Likewise I had an issue with the bed being too close to the wall and my walker would not fit between the two. Due to a broken neck and total shoulder replacement I am unable to get into the bed on the left side as standing at the foot; I can only get in from the ride side and it was not easy to do without the use of my walker in getting closer to the head of the bed. I keep trying to tell hotel managers that when building, remodeling or refurbishing rooms, planning committees should have at least one handicapped member. I also tell them no matter what paperwork says until you have walked hee walk you do not know what works and what doesn’t.

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What is the “correct” bed height for an accessible room? I have seen beds that were too high for me to climb into, and others that were so low my weak legs could not stand up from them. I suspect that in each case the bed in the accessible room was the exact same bed as the rest of the hotel.

Then there is the issue of firmness. I need a firm mattress to be able to move around on. Memory foam mattresses are a trap for me.

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I’m fortunate in that while I have mobility problems I am still able to walk short distances. I am short, so high beds give me problems on occasion minus the mobility issues. I have on occasion had to throw myself onto the bed, then roll over and (finally) sit up. I broke down and bought a collapsible stool from Amazon. It was relatively inexpensive and with the legs collapsed takes up very little space. I keep it in the car, as most of my travels are now road trips. It has been a big help on a couple of occasions.

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We don’t stay in hotels often, maybe once or twice per year. We have found that the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas has the best options. Their “Luxe” accessibile rooms with roll in shower have two queen beds. Each bed is a different height (one has simply been removed from its base). This has worked well for us.
Alternatively, we carry a long “beasy” sliding board also.

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There have been times, even at home, where the angle of the slidebored was such that I couldn’t have used it. My husband had 1 good hand. Unless it is level or a downgrade he can’t do it. It depends on the ability of the person. You were working in a controlled environment. Thanks for being vulnerable and giving advice.

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Hello All: I’m the founder of TravelAbility, which helps the travel industry learn how to more more accessible for people with disabilities. I may be wrong, but the reason that ADA law does not specify a standard bed height for accessible rooms is because some people need lower beds and others need higher ones, there was too much of spectrum to find a solution for everyone.
Collapse-able portal chairs may be the best option but I know hotels have been know to send staff in to remove the box spring for beds that were too high. Also, Marriott Corporate is working on a five year plan to replace existing beds with adjustable.

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So the really simple way to get around beds for giants is to ask the hotel (in advance) to remove the box spring from the bed. Call the day before you check in and speak to the manager on duty and ask them to make sure that this is done before you arrive. If you like a hard bed, ask that they add a bed board.

I am just under 5 feet tall and use a power chair. I used to travel with a folding step stool (around $12 at Walmarts) that would slide into the outside pocket of my suitcase. I learned the box spring trick from fellow wheelchair users at Worldcon, the annual conference of the World Science Fiction Society.

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Yes, you are right, some people need lower, or higher, depends on situation, but I have to agree with prior person that commented about her BFF saying that they were getting taller, and she was able bodied. I notice that the beds are getting higher is there not just a standard height in ADA rooms, average height? does not seem to be…one place we went to cambria, ca way high beds, too high I could not use, and I am 5 feet 8 but mobility issues, use walker or cane. we had to chance to another hotel cambria, ca the bed there in ADA room was high also, but manageable, not easy but manageable, its like what happened to the lower, not too low not too high, just to me seemed more normal height…or mid range, I have to agree, seems like more hotels are going the high route for beds ada or not. linda 1530

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I may have missed something but neither the ADA code nor any other national standard governs bed heights in hotels. I know California and Maryland have state law regulating bed heights in hotels. The hotel corporations are not blind to this problem and willingly discourage and disrespect their disabled clients. The greatest fault lies with the Justice Department that does nothing to enforce the ADA in the evidence of overwhelming, blatant violations that affect hundreds of thousands of disabled citizens.

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I had the worst experience at Wentworth by the sea in New Castle NH. They did not have a suitable room. The bed height was way tall, the shower was a step in and nothing in the room was usable height. After 3 room changes going bad to worse I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The icing on the cake was the pool lift that was rusted and did not work.

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This is a big issue for many of us. See my response to a similar thread on this board at

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Agree with you. The Justice Department seems to be ignoring ADA infractions. I made an ADA complaint online and it has been ignored.

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There is NO minimum or maximum bed height specifications in the ADAAG (ADA Acessibility Guidelines). The only references and requirements when it comes to beds is that there needs to be 36” of clear floor space around them.

Justice Department is what I’m hearing that needs to be lobbied!!!
Let’s have our voices heard.

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@leslie.a.donovan ah, yes! thank you for sharing. sorry to hear about all the negative experiences you’ve had, though. it’s incredibly frustrating, i’m so sorry.

Yes! Definitely. I’ve read about this - I just know that there’s a requirement for the hotel to accommodate requests for changes (within reason).

@imetbc Ughhh that is so frustrating!!! I’m so sorry you dealt with that. Terrible. :frowning: