There is so much to worry about when planning a vacation and your accommodation’s barriers shouldn’t be one of them. The term barrier-free is very widespread – there is no ‘one size fits all’ option for accessibility. Accessibility in hotels can mean anything from a Braille room-service menu to lower bed height and everything in between.

I am embarrassed to say; but I must admit that accessibility was never something I thought about when travelling. All of that changed when I spent a summer living with my cousin. He is a double below knee amputee who has two prosthetic legs yet also requires the use of a wheelchair to start and end his day. Living with him opened my eyes to the struggles he faces daily, not to mention while travelling. My cousin said he would rather travel 2 hours to stay with family or friends rather than stay in a hotel (due to the lack of accessibility that most hotels offer). After his comment, I set out to find our most accessible hotels here in Sudbury in the hopes that it might make his life, and anyone else’s, a little more convenient when visiting our beautiful city.

Researching accessibility options in hotels is unnerving to say the least. Because there are so many factors to consider, I chose to concentrate my efforts on five distinct features that hotels can boast to increase accessibility for guests.

1.       Automated door openings at main entrances

2.       Step free access (level or ramped) to main entrance and public areas

3.       Accessible rooms availability, including roll-in showers

4.       Handicap parking availability

5.       Minimum 32 inch wide door frames in accessible rooms and public areas

With these five features in mind, I set out to look for Sudbury’s most accessible hotels. See highlights of each hotel below:

Hotel

Automated Doors

Step free access

Number of Accessible rooms with roll in shower

Number of Handicapped Parking spots

Minimum 32-Inch-wide door frames

Microtel

Yes

Yes

10

3

36”

Lexington

yes

yes

1

4

35” or more

Holiday Inn

yes

yes

2

5

34”

Travelway Inn

yes

yes

1

2

36”

Hampton Inn

Yes

yes

1 + 12 partially accessible

1

36”

Homewood suites

Yes

yes

10 – no roll in shower

1

36”

TownePlace Suites

Yes

Yes

1 + 10 partially accessible

2

36”

 

 

Microtel Inn & Suites (1312 Kingsway, Sudbury)

 

Microtel Inn & Suites was, by far, the hotel with the most accessible rooms which included roll in showers. These rooms boasted larger entry-ways, more space in between beds, large roll in showers with a foldable seat, lower closet rods and lowered peep holes. The rooms even had an automated ‘push-button’ feature for convenient access in and out of the room, which was really impressive.

Lexington (50 Brady Street)

The Lexington Hotel is newly renovated, so you can expect very modern and beautifully up-to-date rooms. They have one accessible room with a stunning bathroom. The door frames are very large in the room – over 35” in all places and there is lots of room to get around. The bathroom also has a very large roll-in shower with a seat available for use.

Holiday Inn (1696 Regent Street)

The Holiday Inn has two fully accessible rooms with your choice of a king or two queen sized beds. The rooms boast wider door frames, lower closet rods, lowered peepholes, lowered towel hooks, a higher furnace unit (for easier access), a minimum 34” door frame and lowered 28” bed height. All public areas in the hotel are accessible and you will be very impressed by the lavish décor they have put in!

Travelway Inn (1200 Paris Street)

 

The Travelway Inn is a great option for those wanting a close stay to Science North or the Hospital. They have one fully accessible room; however, they have plenty of equipment to help adapt any of their other rooms to become more accessible for your stay. They have lowered peepholes, light switches, deadbolt locks and plenty of room to move around for those needing a wheelchair. They also have a huge washroom with a collapsible shower seat as well as remote-controlled bedroom lights, so you don’t even need to get out of bed to turn them off.

Hampton Inn (2280 Regent Street)

The Hampton Inn has one fully accessible room and 12 other partially accessible rooms. Their fully accessible room boasts a beautifully updated washroom with open counters and a roll in shower. It also has lowered coat racks, peepholes and a doorbell that is connected to the light switches for those that are hearing impaired. The partially accessible rooms have the option of a stand-up shower or a bathtub with hand rails along with all the features of the other rooms.

Homewood Suites by Hilton (2270 Regent Street)

Homewood Suites offers spacious studios and both one and two bedroom suites with a fully equipped kitchen area. They also have a complimentary grocery service which is great for those longer stays or if you just don’t feel like doing groceries. Although their rooms do not feature roll-in showers, they do have grab bars in their bathtubs and plenty of space to move around inside the room. Another great feature is that all their accessible rooms offer Braille signage, making it easier to identify room numbers. In addition, there are door bells which connect to light switches in the room for those that are hearing impaired.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott (1710 The Kingsway)

TownePlace Suites is a newly built hotel that not only boasts many accessible features, but also gives you room options. It has one fully accessible room with a roll-in shower and 10 other partially-accessible rooms, including one suite, that include tubs fitted with safety rails and adjustable shower rails. The rooms have lower peep holes for wheelchair visibility and generous 36 inch doors. On top of this, the hotel is AODA compliant and they offer many extras upon request such as a telephone signaler, text answering machine, telephone amplifier, sonic boom alarm clock with a bed shaker, a CO2 detector with strobe light and a flashing knocking device for the door. 

Across the board, I have learned that the hospitality staff at these fine hotels within the City of Sudbury will do everything they can to make your stay as comfortable and conveniently accessible as they can. Each hotel mentioned had its own distinct characteristics and advantages. All establishments had outstanding hotel staff and management to ensure your stay is welcoming, accessible and as pleasant as they are.

With these conveniently accessible hotel options with in our City, perhaps now I can encourage my cousin, and others, to travel a little more to enjoy some of the highlights that Sudbury has to offer.  

 

By: Natalie Lalonde with thanks to Robert Dalcourt


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