We are visiting Atlanta and decided to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Downtown as I was able to find an accessible suite, or so I thought. My reservation said that I was guaranteed a “Mobility Accessible Room with Roll-in Shower”:
After the debacle at a Renaissance in Pittsburgh (click here for details), I decided to email ahead of arrival to see what I was in for. I asked to confirm that the room was wheelchair accessible and this was the response I received: “The bath is half accessible which means it has grab rails in the shower tub combination. The shower is not a roll in shower however. ” Ummm…grab rails do not make for an ADA bathroom.
So much for an accurate website reservation. I was OK with this as I can use a tub or roll-in shower and actually prefer a tub, so I figured I should be fine. Well, the reality of things was a bit different.
The only accessible feature in the room is the non-master BR bathroom which is a proper accessible bathroom despite the email response, albeit with a few issues (more on this later). The rest of the suite, however is not accessible. The door is barely wide enough for me to get through (I have a wheelchair with a 29″ track) and does not have a lowered peephole. The master BR is not accessible at all. The desk is in a corner and a wheelchair cannot access the desk. Very narrow path around the bed as well. And the bathroom in the master BR is a standard non-ADA bathroom. So, I was relegated to the outside bathroom and to using the table in the living room area as a desk. As for the bathroom, people in wheelchairs can’t reach up to get the shampoo and conditioner you leave on the only rack in the shower, and leaving the handheld shower at its highest setting doesn’t make things easy for a disabled customer – yes, we can ask someone to help and I’m sure the staff would be happy to assist, but that is an imposition and puts us in the uncomfortable position of having to ask for help all the time.
The valet area of the hotel is also very poorly designed. There is a curb the entire length of the driveway with no curb cut. For a wheelchair to enter the hotel, you have to go down the driveway where the cars go (very dangerous) and then come back up the hill on the sidewalk so you can enter the building. Not only is this difficult and dangerous (putting wheelchair users in the middle of automotive traffic), but it also requires you to leave the covered area and be exposed to the weather. This is a simple fix that should have been done years ago.
I don’t know what has happened to the Marriott family of hotels. I became a Marriott loyalist because they were the first hotel to allow me to reserve and guarantee an accessible room online, but now everyone does that so my reason for staying at Marriott properties has been eliminated. My past few stays at Marriott brand hotels have been underwhelming to say the least. Marriott needs to hire an new ADA coordinator and review every property and their reservation system. I shouldn’t have to confirm every detail of a reservation – if the system says a room is accessible with a roll-in shower, the room should be. If I am guaranteed a king accessible room, the system shouldn’t try and upgrade me out of an accessible room. We are way past the era of blaming the computer system – Marriott is a sophisticated company and their systems should be state of the art.
I’m very disappointed in Marriott and hope this trend is reversed as I have been generally pleased over the years but lately it has been a different story.
And on a non-ADA note, the electronics on these properties need to be updated. The TVs are ancient, the HDMI jacks rarely work for plugging your computer in, and there are only a handful of HD channels – the rest are modulated SD channels and they look horrible. The guest services menu on the TVs take forever and frequently don’t work. The wifi in these hotels also needs to be updated – very slow, even if you pay for the premium package. And before you say that’s because there are many users, I have tried in the middle of the night and received the same slow speeds. Free wifi isn’t really a benefit if it is too slow to use. And paying for really poor wifi is just a slap in the face.