Hotel Showers and Wheelchair Accessibility

I take a shower [nearly] every day.

Whether I’m closing a plastic curtain in a tub-and-shower combo or the plexiglass door of a walk-in shower, the ability to shower while traveling is something I enjoy … and generally take for granted.

When Carrieanna and I travel together, however, the type of shower available is a key factor in our choice of lodging. And I have learned that I must be VERY specific in my inquiries because “accessible” seems to have a very broad meaning in the lodging industry.

Due to her MS diagnosis, Carrieanna has limited use of her legs and her energy is easily diminished. So while she *can* sometimes transfer herself onto a shower chair in a tub-and-shower combo, the amount of extra energy necessary to make that transition is often not worth the trouble. In that case, she settles for a wet-washcloth bath – which is neither relaxing nor especially cleansing.

Her preference is a roll-in shower, but if it’s not conveniently configured even that is sometimes difficult for her to use.

Following are photos of a variety of “accessible” showers we have encountered over the past two years. Any traveler who needs an accessible shower will probably recognize the challenges some of these pose.

And for those who are travel companions to someone in a wheelchair, as well as travel agents who do not specialize in accessible travel, you may want to take note of the varied interpretation of “accessible” showers. Your wheelchair-using companion or client will be very grateful.

Beverly Garland Hotel, non-accessible shower

Obviously not a roll-in shower, the bench bolted in the very back of the tub is (1) difficult to get to, due to the placement of the shelving unit, and (2) too far back for the occupant to reach the shower head and water controls.

Best Western Marina Dunes, accessible shower chair

While not a roll-in shower, the adapted shower bench allows the user to transfer from wheelchair to bench and then slide across into the tub area. The shower controls are reachable. The one problem is the shower curtain, which does not keep the water within the tub, resulting in a very wet floor post-shower.

Days Inn at Pima; roll-in shower; wheelchair accessible

Although Carrieanna has long arms, she was unable to reach the water controls from the shower bench; she had to ask for assistance in turning the water on and off.

La Posada Lodge & Casitas, roll-in shower, wheelchair accessible

Roll-in shower, with water controls easily reachable, and a curtain long enough to keep water within the shower enclosure. This shower would have been ideal except for one important detail … (see next photo)

La Posada Lodge & Casitas; wheelchair accessibility; narrow doorway

… the doorway to the bathroom was very narrow and we had to ask the hotel to remove the door so Carrieanna could get into that room.

Hampton Inn, Norco; roll-in shower, wheelchair accessible

This roll-in shower had a small barrier on the floor, which Carrieanna removed for easier entry. The stand-alone shower chair allowed her to position herself within reach of the shower controls.

Worldmark by Wyndham, San Diego; wheelchair accessible roll-in shower

The roll-in shower at this WorldMark by Wyndham suite, with its minimal floor lip and centrally-located shower controls, provided easy access for Carrieanna.

Beverly Garland Hotel, wheelchair accessible, roll-in shower

With its centrally-located controls and minimal floor lip, this roll-in shower at the Beverly Garland Hotel was one of the most accessible showers we’ve encountered in our travels.

(All photos: Images by RJM)