Britt is a paraplegic. While planning a recent trip, she reserved an accessible room at the Best Western where she and her boyfriend would be staying. A room that she could move around in, and that would not require her boyfriend to lift her into bed and onto the toilet. You know, allow her some independence and dignity. When they actually checked in to the hotel, though, they learned that the accessible room had been assigned to another traveler. Worse: according to staffers, this traveler was a regular guest who wasn’t disabled, but just likes having a bigger room.
She sent this letter to Best Western:
I was really looking forward to this trip. I had reserved an ADA room a month in advance because I am a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair and this room would afford me my independence so that my boyfriend could leave me at the hotel and not worry about me.
When we arrived we were given a normal room and when we asked to be placed in an ADA room like
we reserved they informed us that there were none available. The clerks then informed us that one of their regulars had reserved the ADA room and they were pretty sure he was NOT handicapped and that he just enjoyed the space that the ADA room provided. They said they
would call to see if he would be willing to give up the room. He was not.
If I had known ahead of time that there would be no ADA room available to me I would have moved hotels where there had been one available. The rest of our stay consisted of my boyfriend having to carry me into the bathroom anytime I needed to be in there because my
chair could not fit through the door (even if it had there would have been no way for me to get on to the toilet myself). We were provided with a shower chair which wasn’t much help seeing how there wasn’t a detachable shower head I was unable to rinse myself off.
The room itself caused mobility issue; it was tiny and every time I needed to get into or out of bed my boyfriend had to pick me up, I was severely disappointed in my stay with this Best Western and I will never recommend staying here to anyone especially if they are handicapped.
Here’s the message that she received back from the hotel’s manager.
Thank you for completing the survey regarding your recent stay at our
On behalf of our entire team, I would like to apologize for not
exceeding your expectations. Your satisfaction is important to us and
we will be using the feedback you gave us to implement improvements to
ensure we offer a better experience for guests in the future. What
name was the reservation made under? I want to be able to be able to
council my staff and find out what “regular” was put in a ADA room. I
do apologize for not exceeding your expectations.
I hope that you will consider staying with us again so that we can
have another chance to provide you with a superior experience.
If I can provide any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me
directly at ***-***-****
[redacted] General Manager BEST WESTERN PLUS [redacted]
We asked Britt whether she was satisfied with this response. Unsurprisingly, she was not. Best Western hasn’t followed up or offered her any additional help. She wrote back to us:
I wasn’t really happy with the response, but I was even less happy about how they initially dealt with the situation. They wanted to switch us rooms for every night we were there. We carry a lot of clothes and supplies this would have been a large inconvenience to say the least.
I was really upset because not only was this a trip to celebrate my birthday (because my last one was spent in the hospital) but it was also my boyfriend’s and mine first trip since I had become a paraplegic. I was sadly disappointed. I am lucky that my boyfriend is able to pick me up but everything that I needed to accomplish in the bathroom proved to be a huge hassle. I am trying not to let this effect future trips I might make but I am afraid of being burned again, not by just Best Western, but any hotel.
We spent a little over $400 dollars for that stay. I feel that the apology was not very sincere and was an empty gesture.