Nightmare hotel experience - advice requested

From a member of our community:

My husband and I booked a hotel in Atlanta. When I booked it I stated I needed a handicap accessible room as I have MS. We were given a room on the 10th floor. The room I was given was fine other than the bed was way too high. We spoke to the Guest Relations Mngr. Regarding the bed, I may mention my husband had to lift my legs each time I used the bed to get in and out, she agreed that was a problem and that she would take it to her team. She was gracious about it.

Last Saturday we were awakened by a person on the hotel loudspeaker stating please leave your room there is a fire on your floor and do not take the elevator, please use the stairs. My husband and I left the room in a hurry and went into the hallway. We were the only ones on the floor. It was frightening, I have MS and cannot walk down 10 flights of stairs, that is impossible. My husband called 911 with no response. I truly thought we were going to die. So all we could do was stand there and pray. Eventually, a gentleman from the hotel came up and said he would stay with us well what good is that we would have all burnt to death.

We were then told we could go back into our room.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. When we booked the room they should have never placed us on the 10th floor. That is their responsibility. We brought all of this to the manager. and they totally agreed and would discuss this with their team.

This is something that needs to be addressed. Obviously, they do not have a very good policy and procedure in place.

This could have turned into a disaster! My husband and I were totally shaken up by this. We feel when someone calls for a handicap room and states they have a disability they should be placed on the first floor. We spoke to the Duty Manager and he agreed with us. He told us that he would remove charges from our bill for that might but was not done. We are going to contact him as he was not working when we checked out. We are still shaken up about this as my husband has PTSD and I MS.

What can we do about this? Does anyone have advice or experience?

Unfortunately many many high rise hotels have “accessible rooms on many higher floors. You need to specify you need an accessible room on a low floor. As for the bed, in 2001 I was in Cincinnati working for my agency and was in a “wheelchair accessible room”. The bed was much higher than it should have been and I would up tearing my rotator cuff severely because I was not able to make the transfer into the high bed. When we went to go after them in court, there were no speculations for beds in a wheelchair accessible room under ADA law. Not sure if that has changed yet or not. Now when I get a wheelchair accessible room and the bed is to high I often have them remove the bed frame to make it lower for me

Sorry for your frightful experience but it is not unusual for handicapped rooms to be scattered throughout the hotel. Most hotels that serve conventions and special occasions such as meetings and weddings, etc. utilize ground floor rooms for such and you don’t see actual hotel rooms on the first and sometimes even 2nd floors. On my last trip to NYC the hotel lobby and checkin was on the 8th floor and my handicapped accessible room was on the 48th floor (this was the Marriott Marquis on Times Square). I have a friend whose late father was in a wheelchair for the last 5 or 6 years of his life. They were in a hotel and she was the person in charge of dad and his chair. A similar situation occurred and she called the front desk and asked how she was supposed to bring him down in a wheelchair. They sent someone to help her but thankfully the alarm quit as it turned out to be a false one.

I was in a hotel with daughter and granddaughter as we picked her up from college and for a girls’ weekend and no sooner had we settled into our room than a fire alarm began to shriek. We were only on the 3rd floor and it was a false alarm but it gives one food for thought.

I have also had that same issue with the bed being so high I needed assistance putting my legs up and out. Luckily I had family to call on for help. Then it happened - I was traveling alone and after returning to the room following dinner out with family and friends I got ready for bed and the bed was so tall I could not get into the bed no matter how hard I tried. I had a stepstool in my minivan which was out in tte parking lot but I was already in my pajamas so I looked around until I found a steel trashcan in the bathroom and I turned it upside down and used it for a stepstool so that I could get into bed. Don’t understand why they would use such high beds in what are supposedly handicapped rooms.

Question for you and anyone else: when you are looking at hotel accommodations and are looking for a handicapped accessible room, do you mind getting a room with a tub, or are like me and need an accessible shower? I cannot get over the side of a tub and neither can my friends who are using walkers, canes, or transport chairs, scooters, etc. I do not understand why hotel chains would put tubs into handicapped accessible rooms. Even my able-bodied friends say they don’t want a tub in their hotel room; they want to shower and go whether traveling for business or fun. Quite personally I don’t want to take a tub bath after 100’s of my not so personal friends have used the tub. At least with a shower only my feet are touching the shower floor.

⁶ I also do not understand why hearing impaired accessible rooms are combined with physically handicapped accessible rooms. I have noticed recently that accessible rooms are getting harder and harder to reserve. On my hotel app I use I can indicate I need an accessible room. First I provide location I desire then dates and number of people. A list of available hotels within the parent company’s umbrella comes up and then I can ciick on a particular hotel. It will load and tell me the various types of rooms available for those dates at that particular location. I then click on accessible and boom and ever how many rooms that are available begins to drop and soon 0 rooms are available. This keeps happening over and over again. I also note that the price goes up for those accessible rooms. For example: need a room with 2 queens for 2 adults and need walkin shower. Room types pop up. I have AAA, AARP, SENIOR or GOV’T rates that I can use. I use the mouse to click on accessible and where I may have had 8 available rooms now I have 0. Or I can have 2 available rooms, one with accessible tub and one with walkin shower. Maybe the going rate for AAA is $94 and I think $94 hey great rate then I click on accessible and I am now left with 2 choices and the price is now $114. The room still has 2 queen beds and it’s for 2 adults

Just saying. . .

I think you did everything correctly i am so sorry that happened to you and you husband

We arrived at hotel where our main floor room was given away. Also elevator wasn’r big enough for wheelchair and 1 person or even to turn around. We insisted on them putting us up in a hotel nearby that was accommodating to us.

I’ve had similar experiences with high beds and deliberately try to stay in cheaper older motels when we are on the road because they are less likely to have upgraded to higher beds. As long as they are clean I’m happy. If I’m just passing through all I want to do is sleep and I always travel with a shower chair for safety.
I also got stuck on an upper floor in an older hotel in Philadelphia. It had no rooms on the 1st. floor with no way to get my scooter into or near the room, the elevator was too small. Fortunately I can still use crutches.The handicapped room had a high bed but did have a walk in shower. I was there for a family event and my Daughter had reserved and paid for the room and she picked the place because she wanted it to be very special.
While we were there the elevator broke down just when I needed to leave for the party. I had to walk down 4/5 flights of stairs, I don’t remember for sure and had a long talk with the manager about how unsafe that arrangement was. The next morning while I was in the dining room having breakfast there was a fire in the kitchen. Again I had a talk with the manager about the safety arrangements that were made for the disabled. He was embarrassed I could tell and said that he would discuss it with the owner.
Too little too late but thankfully there was no tragedy.