Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Our City's Most Accessible Hotel

This past weekend, Andrew and Brennen and I had the wonderful opportunity to stay in our city's newest and most modern hotel - The Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

The Holiday Inn Express is a uniquely accessible hotel, and is the Children's Wish NL Chapter's hotel of choice for Wish families, as they go to and from their Wish destinations!

Located directly at the St. John's International Airport, the hotel is easily accessible from the Trans Canada Highway, and is just minutes from Stavanger Drive, or just a short drive away from vibrant downtown St. John's. The convenient location is perfect for anyone with an early morning flight, or a stop-over in the city.

I am always excited to learn about the great things that are happening with accessibility in our community, and I was super excited to take this opportunity to learn about the accessible features of this beautiful new hotel!

Andrew and Brennen and I packed our bags and checked in for the night. We had so much fun, pretending to be tourists in our own city!

This particular Holiday Inn is a global icon with local flair. The hotel lobby is full of local artwork that was custom made for the space.

Our accessible room had a king size bed, and a washroom with a wheel-in shower. Our room connected to another room that also had a king size bed, so it was essentially a two bedroom suite with two washrooms. We had tons of space! I honestly feel like we could have moved into that suite and stayed for a long time!

After settling in to our room, we just chilled and hung out for an hour or so before hitting the pool. The indoor heated pool has an automated wheelchair lift. We all got in for a little swim before dinner!

The hotel also has an on-site health club with state of the art equipment.

As the hotel is brand new, they do not yet have an on-site restaurant, but they are in the planning stages to build a restaurant in the parking lot. They do offer a complimentary hot breakfast buffet each morning, and they have delivery options set up with a number of local restaurants as well.

We ordered dinner entrées from Boston Pizza... so good!

I just love this family of mine. A friend of ours told us recently that we can make an adventure out of anything, and that is the truth! It can be daunting at times. Just the thought of packing up your family when you have a child with special needs, and staying in an unfamiliar place, gives me all kinds of anxiety, but we know now that the Holiday Inn Express is fully accessible and able to meet all of our unique needs.

The owners of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements to ensure that their hotel is fully accessible for all of its guests. Not only is it "wheelchair friendly", but they have incorporated many special features to meet the needs of people with disabilities other than just mobility limitations.

We were pleased to see a good number of accessible parking spaces with priority location in the parking lot, and step-free access to the main entrance of the building.

The hotel has six accessible rooms, two of which have wheel-in showers with wall-mounted shower seats, and grab bars in the washrooms. The bathroom in our room had a sink that you can wheel under (see photo of Brennen above!), and a beautiful sliding door with a large handle to accommodate people of varying heights.

Our room had plenty of space to maneuver Brennen's wheelchair, with lots of extra space on either side of the bed. There were mid-height light switches and power outlets, and a visual door knock indicator in both the main room and the bathroom. A doorbell outside of the room made a sound and flashed inside, to accommodate both hearing and visually impaired individuals.

Each person with a disability will have unique needs, but any building or room that is accessible to persons with disabilities will be accessible to ALL users. Providing full and equal access is essential when trying to make an inclusive society a reality, and The Holiday Inn Express has considered the needs of most everyone in seeking to create a hotel that is usable by the greatest number of people, regardless of ability.

Our overnight stay exceeded our expectations. The friendly staff were super helpful, and we couldn't have asked for better treatment. We are so grateful for this fun opportunity to stay in this beautiful new hotel. Thank you to Holiday Inn for hosting our family. We had such a great time!

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