Maui – Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

This resort is perfect for those looking for a relaxing, wheelchair accessible holiday on Ka’anapali Beach in Maui. This resort has everything a wheelchair user could ask for! 

THE GOOD

The grounds at this resort are completely wheelchair accessible, with nice, concrete paths throughout the resort for wheeling on.  

Wheelchair Accessible Grounds

Wheelchair Accessible Grounds

There are two pools at this resort and the bigger pool is equipped with a wheelchair lift that works great! It is really easy to work the lift – even without any assistance. You just transfer on and rotate the lever and it slowly lowers you around into the pool. Getting back out is done the same way in reverse. It has a very smooth motion and is in a slightly secluded location, so you don’t feel like everyone at the pool is staring at you while you transfer on and off.

Pool Lift

Pool Lift

The pool has a bunch of giant bean bags that you can sit on and float around on. There is a lazy river design to the pool  and we found it very relaxing floating around on the big bean bags soaking up the sun. It is also really convenient that the bathroom by the pool with the lift is wheelchair accessible.

Accessible Bathroom by the Pool

Accessible Bathroom by the Pool

This resort has a beach wheelchair on-site and the staff is more than happy to help you get in and out of it and across the sand to the water. They enthusiastically pushed my husband to the water’s edge and came back to get him when the tide got a bit high for his liking! 

Beach Chair at the Sheraton

Beach Chair at the Sheraton

The Sheraton is located on the beautiful Black Rock, which is known for its world-class snorkelling. We didn’t try any water sports, but the staff at the hotel was keen to take my husband out snorkelling if he wanted to go. I really regret not doing this as it is supposed to be amazing.

There is a nightly cliff diving ceremony on Black Rock that is quite something to watch. When you are staying at the Sheraton, you can view the entire thing from the  comfort of your lounge chair by the pool (which is where this picture was taken from).

Beautiful Black Rock in the Distance

Beautiful Black Rock in the Distance

The gym is wheelchair accessible, the tennis courts are accessible and although we didn’t use the spa, we did walk into it to take a look around and it appeared to be wheelchair accessible.

Accessible Tennis Courts

Accessible Tennis Courts

The room we stayed in was completely wheelchair accessible with two balconies looking out onto the courtyard/pool/ocean. Our room was classified as a “partial ocean view” which had a lovely view of the ocean.

Partial Ocean View

Partial Ocean View

The room was very spacious with lots of room to move around. The bed was comfortable and there was a large flat-screen TV and mini-fridge.

Interior of Room Facing Out One of the Balconies

Interior of Room Facing Out One of the Balconies

Interior of the Room Showing Both Balconies

Interior of the Room Showing Both Balconies

The bathroom was equipped with a wheel-under sink and a wheel-in shower with a built-in shower bench.

Wheel-Under Sink and Wheel-In Shower in Bathroom

Wheel-Under Sink and Wheel-In Shower in Bathroom

There were also grab bars behind and beside the toilet.

Toilet with Grab Bars

Toilet with Grab Bars

The Sheraton is located at the end of the Ka’anapali Beach strip and it seemed to have a quieter, older crowd. There is a cement path that goes all the way down Ka’anapali Beach and we walked it/wheeled it several times. There are lots of great restaurants worth trying along the way. 

View Down Ka'anapali Beach from the Top Floor of the Sheraton

View Down Ka’anapali Beach from the Top Floor of the Sheraton

Whalers Village is a short walk down the beach and it is also completely wheelchair accessible. Whalers Village has shops, a small food court and an interesting whaling museum that is worth checking out. 

We took a helicopter tour of the island of Maui while we were there. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters has a wheelchair lift that will allow you to get in and out of the helicopter with ease. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the beautiful island of Maui from the sky.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Lift - Very Easy

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Lift – Very Easy

Amazing Sights from the Helicopter

Amazing Sights from the Helicopter

Amazing Views from the Helicopter

Amazing Views from the Helicopter

If you are considering going to Front Street, GO! There’s so much to see and you will have no trouble getting around in a wheelchair. We had a fantastic time walking/wheeling around this area, visiting the art galleries and the shops. The largest Banyan Tree in the United States is located at the end of Front Street and it is definitely worth seeing. You may have some trouble finding a wheelchair accessible washroom on Front Street, but ask around. We finally found one in the old courthouse behind the Banyan Tree.  

The Banyan Tree

The Banyan Tree

Travel Tip – Prior to travelling, we arranged for a rental car to be available for us at the airport in Maui and when we inquired about hand controls, they told us they would install them in it for free. Even though my husband only drove once while we were there, it was worth it to have them installed so that we would have the option.

THE BAD

The main downside to this resort was that the wireless internet coverage was spotty, but I understand they were installing wireless in every room the week after we left. I sure hope they did as I spent a few nights reaching over the balcony trying to get a better connection.

The restaurant at the hotel, Black Rock Steak & Seafood, is quite pricey (although most restaurants in Maui are), so we drove to Safeway for groceries and filled the fridge in our room with food for the week.

THE UGLY

There is really nothing ugly about Maui…

OVERALL

If you’re in a wheelchair and you are considering Ka’anapali Beach in Maui, you really can’t go wrong with the Sheraton. It is pretty tough to find a place with a pool lift and a beach chair and this place has both and staff that is nice enough to help you with whatever you need. This resort is quite peaceful (maybe due to its location) and it is not overrun with kids like some of the other hotels on this strip. While we were there, we toured all of the hotels on the Ka’anapali Beach strip and we both felt that if we had it to do over again, we would stay at the Sheraton. It is a large, beautiful resort with a great beach and it is absolutely perfect for wheelchair accessibility.

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Jasper, Alberta – Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre

It is actually really difficult to find a wheelchair accessible hotel in Jasper, Alberta but the Sawridge Inn meets most of the important criteria. We stayed in room 279, which faces the interior of the atrium area on the second floor of the hotel.

THE GOOD

The bathroom in this room has been beautifully renovated, complete with a wheel-under sink, grab bars by the raised toilet and a wheel-in shower with a shower bench. There is ample room to move around in this bathroom. It was obviously recently renovated as it looks very modern and clean.

Beautiful Wheel-In Shower With Built-In Shower Bench

Beautiful Wheel-In Shower With Built-In Shower Bench

Raised Toilet With Grab Bars

Raised Toilet With Grab Bars

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-Under Sink

The room is on the small side, but after we moved the ottoman out of the way, we still had enough room to set up two playpens for the babies. The bed is comfortable and there is a large TV. The room definitely has a cozy, rustic sort of feel to it. 

Cozy Room

Cozy Room

The lobby is accessible and there are elevators that will allow you to access the different floors. We stayed on the second floor, which is entirely non-smoking.

Hallway on Second Floor

Hallway on Second Floor

There is a nice atrium area in the centre of the hotel. Yes, it is a bit dated, but it gives the place a nice open feel.

Atrium Area in Centre of Hotel

Atrium Area in Centre of Hotel

I believe the restaurants are all accessible (although we only tried one – Hearthstone Lounge – and the food was average for the price). 

This hotel is the first one in a row of hotels as you enter Jasper from Edmonton. It is about a 10 minute walk to the main part of downtown, but it really doesn’t feel very far and we had no issues walking/wheeling there. The good thing about the location of this hotel is that there is nothing on the east side but wilderness and you might be more likely to spot some wildlife because of this. It also appears to be a very quiet location. 

THE BAD

The only detail the bathroom overlooks is that the shower head is too far from the shower bench, so someone in a wheelchair probably cannot use the shower alone unless they place the shower head on the floor of the shower before they get seated and don’t mind that they can’t hang it up anywhere while they shower. 

The windows to our room faced the interior of the hotel. Because of this, we had to keep the blinds closed all the time because anyone walking on the stairs or walking down the hallway could see right into our room. Make sure you ask for a different view if this is not what you have in mind.

View From Our Room Windows

View From Our Room Windows

I did not use the spa nor did I ask if the spa was wheelchair accessible but the fitness room is not accessible. It is a very small room without any room for a wheelchair to move around in. 

THE UGLY

From an accessibility standpoint, the main drawback is that the pool, spa and fitness centre are down a big flight of stairs. If you are in a wheelchair, you can only enter this area through a back door to the hotel, however, there is no curb cut at the back (so be prepared to have to bump up and over the curb of the sidewalk). It is really unfortunate that this is the only wheelchair access to the pool area as it is a decent pool and hot tub – but who wants to have to go back outside and wheel around the entire hotel to the front lobby when they are in their swimsuit and wet from the pool! 

OVERALL

Overall, this hotel met our needs quite well. We wanted somewhere we could relax for a few days that had a good accessible bathroom. This hotel was quiet, clean and comfortable.

If you have never been to Jasper before, be prepared that a number of the stores downtown are not accessible. The main street is older and most of the shops and restaurants have a few steps to get in. There is a newer street just behind the main drag though and most of the shops and restaurants on that street are accessible – including the candy store, which is AMAZING!

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Calgary, Alberta – Residence Inn Calgary Airport

We absolutely loved our stay at this hotel! We actually tried to book at an adjacent hotel but were upgraded to a suite at the Residence Inn as the other hotel was under construction. We ended up in a wheelchair accessible suite on the main floor with two bedrooms (one accessible and one not) and two bathrooms (one accessible and one not), a kitchen and a living area. 

THE GOOD

The room we stayed in is absolutely perfect for someone in a wheelchair, complete with a wheel-under sink, wheel-in shower, built-in shower bench, grab bars by the toilet and even a wheel-under sink in the kitchen. The kitchen has a full-sized fridge, dishes, utensils and a dishwasher. It is really well-equipped to make for a very comfortable stay.

Toilet With Grab Bars

Toilet with Grab Bars

Wheel-In Shower with Built-In Shower Bench

Wheel-In Shower With Built In Shower Bench

Wheel-Under Sink in Bathroom

Wheel-Under Sink in Bathroom

Kitchen - The Cabinets Under the Sink Open Up And it Becomes Completely Wheel Under

Kitchen – The Cabinets By the Sink Open Up And it Becomes Completely Wheel Under

The beds are very comfortable and they are covered in nice clean, white sheets. There are ample comfortable pillows on both beds.

Accessible Bedroom - Very Comfortable Bed

Accessible Bedroom – Very Comfortable Bed

There is a lot of closet space, an iron and ironing board and a free safe in the room.

Closet Space and Free Safe

Closet Space and Free Safe

The second bedroom in our suite also had its own bathroom. It has a normal toilet and a bathtub with grab bars. I always get very excited when we find a room that has a bathtub as well as an accessible shower as so many accessible rooms have no bathtub. And I love my baths!

Second Bathroom

Second Bathroom

We stayed at this hotel for one night on our way to Mexico and one night on the way back and the hotel offered us free parking for two weeks! If you have any idea how expensive airport parking is for two weeks, you will recognize this as a huge bonus.

The night we arrived, we were surprised to find out that the hotel was hosting a complimentary dinner for all of the guests and the food was great (chicken fingers, salad, potatoes, fruit, etc.). In the morning, the hotel offered a complimentary breakfast (eggs, toast, hash browns, yogurt, cereal, etc.).

The staff we encountered at the front desk, the bell staff, the management and the breakfast staff were all extremely pleasant and helpful.

The room was very clean and they provided very new looking playpens for the babies to sleep in (all set up when we got there with clean sheets).

The airport shuttle was not wheelchair accessible, so the hotel graciously offered to pay for us to take a wheelchair accessible cab to and from the airport. Between the wheelchair, the two babies and all of the luggage we had, we couldn’t all fit into the accessible cab… so the hotel paid for us to take two separate cabs on the way to the airport and on the way back to the hotel when we returned. Seriously. I have never experienced such customer service anywhere else – EVER. 

THE BAD

Absolutely nothing.

THE UGLY

Are you kidding me? This place was amazing!

OVERALL

I wish I could have stayed at this hotel longer. We had a fantastic experience and, despite not liking to visit the same place twice, I would stay here again in a heartbeat.

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Riviera Nayarit, Mexico – Hotel Riu Palace Pacifico

My husband and I have travelled to Mexico a few times (both the Cancun side and the Puerto Vallarta side) and we really enjoy it there. We booked this place on short notice with a last minute deal and weren’t sure how it would be. When we got there, I must say we were very pleasantly surprised. 

THE GOOD

This resort was fully wheelchair accessible as was the room we stayed in (room 1073). We were a little upset when we arrived as there was no grab bar in the bathroom by the toilet but after speaking with a manager about it, they had one installed within a few hours. The room was well-equipped for someone in a wheelchair with a wheel-under sink and a wheel-in shower.

Toilet After Grab Bar Was Installed

Toilet After Grab Bar Was Installed

Wheel-in Shower, No Shower Bench - We Used a Deck Chair and it Worked Out Fine

Wheel-in Shower, No Shower Bench – We Used a Deck Chair and it Worked Out Fine

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-Under Sink

Accessible Bedroom

Accessible Bedroom

There was a constant supply of liquor and other beverages in the room. This resort really was all-inclusive in the sense that you could drink as much as you wanted without anyone giving you a hard time. The bar staff was happy to accommodate any request and they did not cheap out on alcohol at this resort. 

The gym and spa could be accessed by someone in a wheelchair. We used the gym quite a lot and it was a really nice space with hard wood floors, TVs, free weights and new equipment. There was also an accessible bathroom right beside the spa and gym, which you could also wheel to from the pool area without any trouble.

Gym

Gym

Ramp to Spa and Gym - Very Easy Access

Ramp to Spa and Gym – Very Easy Access

Accessible Bathroom by the Gym and Spa (and Pool)

Accessible Bathroom by the Gym and Spa (and Pool)

Soaker Tubs in the Spa

Soaker Tubs in the Spa Area – Very Relaxing and Very Quiet. An easy place to transfer into water without everyone watching.

Although the room had a slight musty smell, this resort was immaculately clean and the staff could be seen cleaning around the clock.

The restaurants were all easy to get reservations for and the staff was absolutely amazing. They really went out of their way to make us feel welcome, without making us feel like they were doing it for tips. Even at the buffet, they always helped us find a table, carried trays for us and provided us with any beverage we asked for. The food was good, but not amazing.

There were a few market nights at the resort where you could buy souvenirs, etc. in a very relaxed atmosphere. There was nightly entertainment and several of the shows were quite well done.

Theatre for NIghtly Entertainment

Theatre for Nightly Entertainment

The grounds were beautiful and well-cared for. They had built-in loungers in the pool, which were so nice to lay on. The area where they were was quite shallow and a wheelchair user could bounce down into the water and then bounce up on to the loungers quite easily. There was always someone coming by asking if you needed a drink. The pool was cleaned every night.

You could go eat or drink at neighbouring Riu resorts for free (although this one was by far the nicest of the three).

There was free wi-fi in the lobby area. 

The beach could be accessed via a ramp onto the sand. Although they did not have a beach chair (for wheeling on the sand), they did offer to help us find one for rent. The sand was quite difficult to wheel on. You would likely need to have someone carry you onto a lounger on the sand or into the water if you wanted to take in the ocean. 

Beach Access

Beach Access

We enjoyed a cab ride to the flea market in Puerto Vallarta ($20 for about 20 minutes) and the people there were also great. Those in wheelchairs will have no trouble getting around there and there was lots to see and lots of good deals to be had. There was even a ramp to get up to the second floor where the washrooms were (it was steep, but it was there). We had no trouble getting around outside of the resort and felt completely safe walking around. 

THE BAD

One of the downsides for us was that the resort was quite small and when we wanted to walk, we felt like we were walking in circles. We are fairly active and like to have places to roam. The size of the resort wouldn’t be as much of an issue if you could walk down the beach but that wasn’t an option in the wheelchair.

There was no shower bench in our room, so we pulled one of the chairs in off the balcony and used that. 

The pool closed very early. The good thing was, they closed it so they could completely clean it every night, but sometimes it would have been nice to go for a soak after dinner.

The garden view room looked out onto an empty, dry field so it was not much of a view.

Garden View?

Garden View?

One of the biggest complaints we heard while at the resort was that the elevators were very slow and very small. This is absolutely true. Especially for wheelchair users, this got to be really annoying.

Another minor annoyance was that the main building was a U shape and there was only a ramp on one side. So rather than heading straight up to the buffet, you had to go up on the other side of the main building and then around. We used this as an excuse to eat more coconut ice cream when we were there as we felt we were getting extra exercise!

Ramp Side of Resort - The Other Side of the U Shape Only Has Stairs

Ramp Side of Resort – The Other Side of the U Shape Only Has Stairs

THE UGLY

The excursions offered by the hotel were not wheelchair accessible (one of the agents told us one was, and when the bus showed up the guide told us it was absolutely NOT accessible). Getting a refund was a huge hassle and when we returned home we found out one of the agents ripped off our credit card number to call some Mexican phone sex lines.

OVERALL

Overall, we loved this resort. As a rule, we don’t like going back to the same place twice but we would definitely recommend this resort to others, whether or not they are looking for wheelchair accessibility. 

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