If you are a disabled person trying to get a hotel room you can have either a wonderful experience or a epic fail. With traveling all over the country for the last few years I have had an overwhelmingly WONDERFUL time with hotels. A hotel in Michigan for the INCH convention took one look at my daughter and myself in our powerchairs and immediately changed out rooms to handicap accessible rooms near the elevator.
Throughout the year we had a good time with various hotels and traveling. Definitely a treat and delight to meet so many families throughout the country. Which we WILL be doing next year. Hopefully in a much bigger way!
I am trying to finish my book in time for next convention season. We are also going to have special needs items for sale and CD’s of my talks. All right there for you so you can listen at your leisure. The whole family is excited!
The convention season for us ended on a slightly sour note though. The convention was wonderful. Love the whole experience at the convention. The problem was the hotel.
At first I wasn’t going to say anything then I heard from close friends with disabilities or their child with a disability that our experience and treatment was not uncommon. I want to give a warning and hopefully some helpful ideas to make your hotel stay better.
1) Call early and be very clear you must have a handicap room or a room near the elevator/first floor. Get the name of the person you talked to and confirmation number.
2) When you arrive push for the rooms that you reserved. If that is not possible ask to see the manager either that night or have the manager call you first thing in the morning to set up a meeting. Your needs should be listened to and met while you are staying in the hotel if possible.
3) Be persistent. Don’t let the shrug of a shoulder from the front desk or manager leave you with an unsatisfactory stay. If you A/C is out you should immediately get a new hotel room or they should pay for you to stay at the hotel next door! You paid they failed to deliver time for them to keep their promise.
4) At no time should you or your child be looked down upon by any staff member. I have never personally had this happen but I have heard hair raising comment dished out by a tired front desk clerk.
5) Watch what information (credit card) you give the hotel. Be sure you are clear on what they are going to charge you and when. Also be aware the hotel could charge above your hotel bill’s amount as a means to be sure if something is broken they have that money. That is usually charged per day against your card and if you are using a debit card it will show up against your bank account. Leaving you unable to use your money!
I hope these tips help you have a better hotel stay. Here is what happened to us that taught me many of these rules.
I called a month ahead of time and booked our 2 rooms. I got the name and confirmation number. I had to give my credit card number to save the rooms despite a second party (the convention) paying for my rooms. I was assured the credit card would NEVER be charged.
The rooms I had reserved were not available. We showed up on time for check in, late afternoon, in the middle of the HUGE heat wave 100+ degrees. That left most of the family waiting in the heating up van while our rooms were reissued. Okay so we have new rooms, on the second floor, not handicap accessible. I had to walk into the elevator and to the room. The room was so small I couldn’t use my powerchair nor could my daughter. It was a physical struggle just to get to the room.
The next morning I had to go to the front desk. There was ambiguity as to whether they had given us 2 rooms for 2 days. Then talked about the money issue. Promised by the front desk to fix it all by tomorrow morning.
Next morning we get a receipt showing our rooms were charged the full amount on MY card AND each room had a 25$ a day charge for each room. Down to the front desk once again. Promised by the front desk that they knew I was with the convention group and my card was not in fact charged. I even had the coordinator call the hotel to re verify. Nope, they were not honest. My card was charged the night before.
Now this means that I have to finish the convention and drive home 6 hours with $500+ dollars missing from my account. When I get home the severe over charge by the hotel costed me in bank charges $200 more dollars!
We filed a complaint. The first person to contact me was mad at ME for complaining. The second person was very nice and listened. She told me a follow up call would occur. It never has.
I am so disappointed in this hotel experience. To disregard our need for a handicap room. To disregard our financial arrangement (same as many others in the same hotel). Then to call me and be angry at me for saying anything. Sadly disappointed.
One of the reasons this leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth is it left us in such a situation where I and one of my little ones needed to go to Boston to see a specialist but now that is unlikely. At least not for several more months. This hotel should be ashamed of their actions.
As always I won’t let this pop my ballon! Hubby and I are making plans so that this issue will not happen again. That’s the struggle and strength of a family with special needs. We get hit down and stand back up again stronger and wiser.