Many handicap-accessible hotels and resorts around the world offer accommodations for travelers with disabilities, but that doesn’t ensure that all of your room’s features or the property’s amenities and venues will be fully accessible.[st_content_ad]
In the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires by law that people with disabilities have access to public buildings, hotels, transportation, and other facilities. In the European Union, the European Accessibility Act is in place, but it’s not as wide-reaching as the ADA, and other countries have no official programs requiring accessibility at all. However, that should not discourage a traveler with a disability from visiting those destinations.
No matter where you’re traveling, global brands like Marriott, Hilton, and IHG tend to have the best options when booking hotels for the disabled. Still, it’s always best to call ahead to your chosen hotel to get specifics about the width of the doorway, shower and tub set-up, grab rails, bed height, and other details so there are no surprises when you arrive. If you need rental equipment at your destination, such as a wheelchair or scooter, companies like Special Needs at Sea will deliver equipment to hotels in 68 countries around the world.
This list of handicap-accessible hotels and resorts highlights many of the best amenities for disabled travelers in North America and abroad.
Noelle: Nashville, Tennessee
This 224-room experiential boutique hotel is located in the heart of downtown Nashville adjacent to Printer’s Alley. The historic luxury property features 10 fully accessible modern guest rooms with 32-inch doorways, roll-in showers, bathroom and bathtub grab bars, remote-control-operated lights and blinds, doorbells, and other useful amenities. It also offers hearing-accessible rooms and/or kits, and the property is pet-friendly. The fitness center, art gallery, boutique, and all restaurants and lounges, including the Hidden Bar beneath Noelle, are accessible during a stay at one of Music City’s most unique handicap-accessible hotels.
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Resort at Squaw Creek: Olympic Valley, California
This resort property is one of the most impressive handicap-accessible hotels, thanks to its Disabled Access Ambassador, who assists disabled guests with navigating the property and planning their time in the North Lake Tahoe region. The hotel features 14 ADA-compliant rooms with features such as accessible peepholes and lower climate controls and closet poles. The sink and vanity are wheelchair accessible, and the bathrooms have roll-in showers. The rooms also offer audio-visual smoke detectors, close-captioned television decoders, telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD), and a telephone and front door alerting device. This wheelchair-accessible hotel offers ramps and elevator access to restaurants and other resort amenities.
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Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz: Berlin, Germany
This centrally located property is one of the best hotels for the disabled in Berlin. Its 60 handicap-accessible hotel rooms feature adjustable-height beds and plenty of space for maneuverability. The bathrooms are also spacious with accessible amenities and roll-in showers; wheelchairs can also fit under the sinks. The corridors of the hotel are extra wide, and the restaurant is barrier-free, so wheelchair users can serve themselves at the breakfast buffet. A unique feature is the property’s barrier-free representative, who provides training to the staff so they can better assist their guests with special needs.
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Halekulani: Honolulu, Hawaii
Located on Waikiki Beach, this luxury resort affords stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby Diamond Head. The handicap-accessible hotel offers 14 ADA-compliant rooms specifically designed for travelers with wheelchairs. These accommodations feature modified bathrooms, lower closet rods, and accessible door peepholes and air conditioner control panels. There are wheelchair ramps throughout the property, and all of the restaurants and facilities are accessible. The hotel also has a pool lift for guests and ADA-compliant parking stalls. Hearing-impaired kits are available upon request.
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Grand Velas Riviera Maya: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
This luxurious, handicap-accessible all-inclusive resort is located on the Caribbean coast, adjacent to the Yucatan Jungle in Playa Del Carmen. There are three distinct experiences offered at Grand Velas Riviera Maya: the romantic oceanfront Grand Class resort, family-friendly accommodations at The Ambassador, and the secluded Zen Grand surrounded by the Mayan Jungle. Each experience offers two ground-floor suites that are accessible, with wide door entrances and roll-in showers. The restaurants and bars have ramps, and there is a ramp with access to the beach. The resort also has wheelchairs on site. Zen Grand and Grand Class offer electric wheelchairs to guests at no additional charge.
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Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa: Lake Placid, New York
This beautiful resort property is picturesquely situated on Mirror Lake overlooking the Adirondack High Peaks. The handicap-accessible hotel offers five ADA-compliant guest accommodations in two different room categories, with six accessible parking spaces. Two dining venues are wheelchair accessible, including AAA Four Diamond-rated The View Restaurant and the property’s casual option, Taste Bar & Bistro. All of the property’s meeting rooms, as well as its main lobby, library, living room, spa, and fitness room, are accessible. The indoor pool also has an individual pool lift, and there is a transfer wall for whirlpool access.
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InterContinental David: Tel Aviv, Israel
Guests of this centrally located hotel in Tel Aviv will appreciate the property’s impressive views of the Mediterranean Sea and accommodations at one of the city’s best hotels for the disabled. The InterContinental David boasts 10 fully accessible rooms featuring bedside and bathroom grab bars, roll-in showers, wheelchair-accessible closets, panic buttons, and other amenities. Hearing-impaired devices and ionizers for respiratory conditions are available on request. The hotel also has wheelchair-accessible parking and easy access to restaurants and other on-site facilities. Service dogs are permitted.
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Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate: Orlando, Florida
This 15-acre handicap-accessible resort stands out for its proximity to Orlando’s theme parks and attractions but offers a great escape at the end of the day. The property’s 42 ADA-compliant rooms feature many amenities, including lower light switches, peepholes, deadbolts, and closet rods. They also have roll-in showers and accessible toilets, sinks, and grab bars. Visual alarm notifications are available for the hotel alarm, door, and phone. The entire property is wheelchair accessible, including the pool area with a lift and hot tub area with a transfer station.
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Sandals Barbados: St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados
This new adults-only, handicap-accessible all-inclusive resort features a long list of included amenities, plus three luxurious accessible rooms. Two are in Sandals‘ LX category with a private balcony and soaking tub, and one is an SLX suite. This swim-up suite features a large private patio and soaking tub with zero-entry access to the resort’s Crystal Lagoon pool. All three accommodations boast accessible showers with grab bars, a lowered magnifying mirror, a 34-inch vanity, and a grab bar in the toilet area. Eleven of the resort’s restaurants are wheelchair friendly, and the beach is accessible. The property also has one beach wheelchair and two standard wheelchairs for guest use.
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Novotel Melbourne on Collins: Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne is a wheelchair-friendly city that offers visitors an accessible metro and various activities for people with disabilities, including surfing. (Yes, surfing.) Novotel Melbourne on Collins is one of Australia’s best handicap-accessible hotels, boasting seven accessible rooms that are some of the largest in the city. The property is centrally located on Collins Street, directly above the upscale St. Collins Lane shops. Its spacious standard queen and deluxe king rooms are bright with large windows, and have extra living space and wider doorways. The bathrooms are also generous in size with roll-in showers that have fold-down seats and handrails. All hotel venues are wheelchair accessible. The hotel’s pool is currently under renovation and will become handicap accessible, including a pool lift, by mid-December 2019.
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More from SmarterTravel:
- Disabled Travel: Tips and Advice for Travelers with Disabilities
- 10 Amazing Wheelchair-Accessible Tourist Attractions
- Traveling with a Disability: What Are Your Rights?
Gwen Pratesi is a James Beard Award Finalist in journalism and an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in U.S. News & World Report, USA TODAY, Cruise Critic, Reader’s Digest, Forbes Travel Guide, TripAdvisor, and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. Follow her on PratesiLiving.com and on Twitter and Instagram.