My granddaughter and grandson were receiving their masters degrees from the same university on the same day in different disciplines. This took me out of my Covid stay-in-town hibernation and I got on a plane to Los Angeles.
Flying post-stroke has not been unheard of for me but it is still a challenge. My mind is overtaken with many things that could go wrong on such a trip. I have to place my confidence in the airlines and hotels.
Thanks to United Airlines I did fine getting there. I was able to take my time and walk to the plane in Medford and a wheelchair was waiting for me in Los Angeles. My son texted me that he had arrived and was able to pick me up in LAX. Great! I didn’t have to fight the shuttle to get to my hotel.
I had been careful to book an accessible room at the Beverly Hills Marriott, feeling that this was a sure-fire way to know that the room would meet my needs. I was confident that a Marriott would be modern in both concept and designs.
Imagine my dismay to arrive late in the evening to find an elevated bed. The current vogue of fake royalty beds makes it difficult for those of us with disabilities. Also, to my chagrin there was no chair in a $350+/night room. But I was too tired the first night to deal with calling the front desk so I sat on the toilet to undress and struggled up onto the bed by using the night table.
The next morning I was quick to call the desk and request either a different room which had a chair – or to have one delivered to my room. A chair isn’t only a necessity for dressing. Since I was staying for three days, I needed a place to relax during the day. Obviously it wasn’t easy to relax on the bed because it was difficult to get everything in position. My only options was to sit on the shower bench or the toilet. Hmm…
When the kind maintenance man came with the chair, I mentioned the bed and he offered to come back with another maintenance person and remove the platform so that the bed would be normal height. That worked out perfectly.
But the chair he brought was a straight-back chair with no arms. Not exactly a restful place to sit in the daytime. He also kindly thought of bringing a small table so that I would have somewhere to place a cup. But it was in a dark corner of the room and there was no lamp or plug-in.
I went down to speak with the manager and explained that although the maintenance staff were very kind but that the chair was not comfortable for a three-day stay. I was certain that they could bring a chair from another room but was told that there are no chairs in any of the rooms.
“Not even in the bar or the conference rooms? I asked.
She told me that they would look for another chair. I told her it was a completely unsatisfactory room without change. This was not remedied in my stay. Although there was a Marriott residence hotel across the street, no one offered to get a chair from that facility.
It was a dicey three days with a slippery marble floor* in the beautiful bathroom and no adequate place to hang clothes in a closet with only shelves and no rod or hangars.
My unsatisfactory experience was not due to a lack of caring on the staff’s part, but rather a lack of provision of the necessities by the overall management of the hotel. There is no comprehension of disabilities and limitations. Perhaps they do not hire consultants.
I’m not sorry that I took the trip. The airlines were more than considerate. The university did not provide the best facilities for the plethora of grandparents attending, but we assumed too much. (Next time I’ll travel with a wheelchair.} And I made it!
The hotel was the only real negative. Bye bye, Marriott hotel. I won’t be staying at your establishments again.
* My cane slipped out from under me on the marble floor but managed to throw towels ahead of me across the carpet and crawl/drag myself to the chair to stand up.
As a longtime Marriott loyalist, this is disheartening. I will reconsider my future travel arrangements. You are an extraordinary warrior, however. I am continually inspired.
Love that you made it to graduation. What a blessing.
It takes a village!
Wow ~ I am amazed at your fortitude in embarking on this journey by yourself, but for the price of a your stay, it sounds horrific that they wouldn’t find you a comfortable chair! I will definitely never stay at a Marriott now. Glad United was good to you. I have had very few good experiences with that airline and mostly terrible! They didn’t refund my daughter’s and my airfare when we were going to Egypt in 2013 because they didn’t honor coup attempts as viable reasons to cancel our trip.
United has its problems but it is very good for accessible travel, as is Alaska. Thanks for the comments. Maybe we can see each other this year.
In your place, I would have blown my top!
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Maybe that would have worked better.