Under the Customer Service Standards of the AODA, service providers must make their goods, services, and facilities accessible to customers with disabilities. Our last article outlined accessible features in hotels. In this article, we cover accessible hotel rooms for guests with various disabilities.
Accessible Hotel Rooms
Under the Ontario Building Code, at least ten percent (10%) of hotel rooms must be barrier-free for guests with physical disabilities. A hotel is not required to provide more than twenty (20) barrier-free rooms, although hotels may provide more if they wish. When possible, every floor with elevator access should have some barrier-free rooms on it.
What is a barrier-free hotel room?
In a barrier-free hotel room, a guest using an assistive device, like a wheelchair or scooter, must be able to reach everything in the room. In other words, there are barrier-free paths of travel to every part of the room. Balconies in accessible rooms must also be barrier-free.
Doors and Switches
Guests must be able to open their room doors independently. They must also be able to use any control switches for features like lights or thermostats. Guests must be able to reach these features from a wheelchair or scooter and operate them with a closed fist. The Ontario Building Code details precise guidelines, including measurements, for all of these features. If an accessible room adjoins to a non-accessible room, these guidelines also apply to the door between the rooms.
The bathrooms in barrier-free rooms must also be barrier-free. There must be space for guests in mobility devices to turn around, including when the bathroom door is open. Furthermore, sinks, toilets, and tubs or showers must also be accessible. The Ontario Building Code provides further guidelines for accessible bathrooms, including details about different types of bathroom fixtures.
Beds in barrier-free hotel rooms should be at a height convenient for a guest to transfer into from a wheelchair or scooter.
More Ways to Make Rooms Accessible
Some guests may not need a barrier-free room but may still need some accessible features or devices. Many of these features or devices are moveable, so that they can be installed in a guest’s room for their stay and then removed. For example, a guest who is deaf or hard of hearing might request:
- A visual alarm or bed shaker
- A teletypewriter (TTY) or phone amplifier
- A door knocker
A guest with a physical disability might use:
- Bed rails
- A bath bench
- A raised toilet seat
Accessible hotel rooms make overnight travel possible for everyone. Our next article will cover what staff can do to create an accessible service experience for guests.