By Sylvia Longmire: For Complete Post, Click Here…
Best of’ Series is a web-first series highlighting the places that offer truly memorable wheelchair accessible experiences across the country — and occasionally internationally. To catch the latest installments, opens in a new windowsign up for our newsletter.
Since I started traveling as a full-time wheelchair user in 2015, I have stayed in hundreds of hotel rooms across dozens of countries and states. If I’m traveling domestically, I never know what I’m going to get when I roll through that hotel room door, other than the 99.9% chance I will come across at least one ADA violation.
The biggest problem when it comes to consistency across wheelchair-accessible rooms in the United States is that at least 90% of hotels are franchises. That means that the parent corporation, like Marriott, IHG, Hilton, etc., only dictates some things that must be standardized across the brand, like logos and some interior decorating touches. Construction companies, interior design companies, layouts and standards vary widely across the same brand. You could stay in 20 different hotels of the same brand that look nothing alike and have varying levels of accessibility.
The major hotel corporations are always looking to innovate and come up with different brands that meet different traveler needs. The Home2 Suites chain is a Hilton brand that launched in 2011 and was Hilton‘s first new brand in 20 years. Today, it has approximately 400 properties across the U.S. While most of them are franchised, the interior design elements are very standardized with minimal deviation and layout differences — something highly unusual for such a widely franchised hotel chain. This is an incredible bonus for travelers who require wheelchair accessible rooms.