Calgary, Alberta – Hyatt Regency Calgary

This hotel is located in the heart of downtown Calgary at 700 Centre Street SE. We stayed here for two nights in September of 2015 for a work function. 

THE GOOD

The Hyatt is in a great location. It is easily accessible by the LRT or “C-Train,” as it is otherwise known, and there are several restaurants and shops very close by. The hotel is right on Stephen Avenue (popular spot for restaurants, bars and shops) and the famous Calgary Tower is about a block away. 

The hotel had on-site parking, although it was full when we arrived at the hotel. If you can get in early in the day, you are more likely to find parking here. The hotel also offered valet parking, which was considerably more expensive.

There was a beautiful pool, hot tub, steam room and gym located on the 18th floor of the hotel. This entire area was wheelchair accessible, including the steam room. Although there was no pool lift, one could bounce down into the hot tub or pool. There were steps in both pools that one could sit on or use to bounce in and out of the water.

Pool and Hot Tub Area

Pool and Hot Tub Area

Door to Steam Room

Door to Steam Room

Steam Room Access

Steam Room Access – Wide Enough for a Wheelchair and No Threshold

Nice Gym Area - No Modified Equipment for Wheelchair Users

Nice Gym Area – No Modified Equipment for Wheelchair Users

Our accessible room (on the 10th floor) had a wheel-in shower, wheel-under sink, toilet with grab bars, king-sized bed, TV, mini-fridge, desk, chair, ironing board, iron and a coffee machine. Upon request, the hotel provided a portable shower bench and a raised toilet seat.

Wheel-Under Sink - Good Clearance

Wheel-Under Sink – Good Clearance

Toilet with Grab Bar and Raised Toilet Seat

Toilet with Grab Bar and Raised Toilet Seat

Wheel-In Shower with Portable Shower Bench

Wheel-In Shower with Portable Shower Bench

The bed was comfortable and we had no issue getting two play-pen style cribs upon request. 

King-Sized Bed

King-Sized Bed

Our Two Little Monkeys Enjoying Curious George

Our Two Little Monkeys Enjoying Curious George

THE BAD

There was no breakfast included with the room, which is always a negative, particularly when you travel with kids. There was no microwave in the room for re-heating leftovers or making a hot breakfast.

The bathroom in our room, although accessible, was really outdated. It could definitely use some new tile and a paint job. The portable shower bench provided by the hotel was very small. It would have been a lot easier if the shower had a built-in shower bench. The toilet was very low without the raised toilet seat attachment, so be aware that you will likely have to ask for one or bring your own. Although it is very common, I always view it as a negative when accessible rooms have no bathtub. I understand that they only have so much space, but it is always nice for the kids when there is a bathtub. 

While we were at the hotel, there was a huge convention going on. There were several parties being held by the convention attendees in their hotel rooms and it was extremely loud on our floor at night. This is not likely to be the case all the time but the Hyatt is a popular location for retreats and conferences. 

THE UGLY

The Hyatt is a nice hotel and there was nothing ugly I noticed about it. 

OVERALL

There are lots of positives about the Hyatt. It is in a convenient downtown location and the staff is helpful and accommodating. For accessibility, it meets all of the basic criteria. In my opinion, however, this hotel is overpriced for what it is. There is nothing particularly amazing about it (standard hotel room, outdated bathroom, no breakfast, no free parking) but it costs about $200 a night. The Fairmont Palliser, which is about two blocks away from the Hyatt, is a much nicer hotel experience for roughly the same price.

Fairmont Palliser Hotel – Calgary, Alberta

We have stayed at this hotel a few times before, most recently in July of 2016. This historical hotel is located in the heart of the downtown, just down the street from the Calgary Tower. The Palliser is over 100 years old and is known locally as the hotel of choice for hosting elegant events.

THE GOOD

When you enter the lobby of the Palliser, you immediately get a sense that you are stepping back in time. The ballrooms are grand, the decor is elegant and you can see hints of times gone by everywhere you look. 

There have been several updates to the Palliser over the years, one of the recent ones being to the Gold Rooms. On our most recent stay, we were lucky enough to have a gift certificate to use for one of the newly renovated Gold Rooms!

img_3831

Along with a Gold Room comes a couple of pretty nice perks! You can check-in on the Penthouse level to avoid any lines, you get nicer towels and bathrobes, an upgraded coffee machine in your room, turn-down service, etc. But the best perk by far is access to the complimentary Gold Lounge where they serve breakfast every morning and snacks, cookies and appetizers every evening between 5-7 pm. They also have unlimited beverages available all day long (and an honour bar) and they have big jars of candy, which our kids were over the moon about!

img_3810

Fresh Juices Available at Breakfast in the Gold Lounge

img_3809

Gold Lounge

The room itself was comfortable. There was a king-sized bed, TV, a small desk and a small sitting area.

img_3591

img_3595

The bathroom was very large and was fully wheelchair accessible. It had a wheel-under sink, toilet with a grab bar on the left and a wheel-in shower with built-in shower bench. The bathroom also had an electronic scale, upgraded amenities (mouth wash, cotton balls, Q-tips, etc.) and heated floors. 

img_3596

Huge Bathroom

img_3599

Wheel-Under Sink

img_3598

Wheel-In Shower With Built-In Shower Bench

img_3827

Toilet Only Had One Grab Bar

The hallways on the Gold floor looked to have been recently updated and this floor was completely non-smoking.

img_3832

One of the best things about the Palliser is their pool and spa area. The pool area is complete with pool, hot tub and steam room and it is very quiet and peaceful. This area can be accessed by anyone in a wheelchair (although there are no pool lifts). The spa is called RnR Wellness and it is one of my favourite spas in Calgary. I have had a good experience every single time I have been there.     

THE BAD

It is a challenge to think of anything bad to say about this hotel, but I can say that the view from our room wasn’t amazing. It overlooked the train tracks and you could hear and feel the trains going by as they ran adjacent to the hotel. The kids enjoyed watching the trains go by, however, so it wasn’t all bad. 

img_3824

The windows in our room were older casement windows that cranked open at the bottom. The bottom half of the window opened out and there were no screens on the window. I was pretty sure that my kids would be able to fit through the opening. Given that we were on the 8th floor, these windows made me pretty nervous. 

The Palliser is really old and you can tell that the accessibility features came along many years after the hotel was designed. The main entrance to the hotel is all stairs and there is no wheelchair access right at the main entrance. There is a long ramp off to the side of the main entrance that takes you into a small room with a lift. The lift takes you down into the lower level of the hotel (spa level) and then you can access the main elevator bank to get up to the lobby or up to your room. The staff was very helpful and escorted us through the accessible entrance but the setup is certainly less than ideal. 

THE UGLY

There is nothing ugly about the Palliser. 

OVERALL

Its proximity to other downtown amenities makes the Palliser a very attractive choice. The staff was exceptionally pleasant and helpful and they really went out of their way to make us feel looked after. For the access to the Gold Lounge, I think the extra cost of a Gold Room would be well worth it. Overall, the Palliser is a very elegant, peaceful hotel, perfect for a relaxing weekend or overnight stay. 

Calgary, Alberta – Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel

This hotel is located in the downtown core at 110 9th Avenue SE. I stayed at this hotel many times as a child when it was operated under a different chain and I had fond memories of it, so we decided to stay here with our kids in September of 2015. The hotel recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation in the spring of 2015 so I thought now would be a good time to check it out.

THE GOOD

The location of this hotel was great – right across the street from the Calgary Tower and accessible to the Calgary Convention Centre and the Glenbow Museum. There were shops and restaurants nearby and you could easily walk to the LRT from this hotel.

The staff at the hotel, for the most part, was very pleasant and friendly.

The nightly rate at this hotel was very reasonable. We paid $130 for one night while many of the surrounding hotels go for about $200 a night.

There were blackout blinds in the room that were operated by pushing a button on the wall. Needless to say, the kids had fun pushing those buttons and watching the blinds go up and down.

View of the Room and the Blinds

View of the Room and the Blinds

When you swiped your card to get into the room, the door opened on its own. This is really nice for wheelchair users as you don’t have to try to manoeuver on the carpet to open the door. There was also a button on the inside that you could push to open the door when you leave the room – very convenient.

Button on Inside of Door

Button on Inside of Door

Visually, the decor of the hotel and the look of the rooms was appealing. The layout of the bathroom inside the room was good and there was a true wheel-under sink, a wheel-in shower with built-in bench and a toilet with one grab bar.

Wheel-Under Sink With Good Clearance

Wheel-Under Sink With Good Clearance

Toilet With Grab Bar

Toilet With Grab Bar

Wheel-In Shower With Built-In Shower Bench

Wheel-In Shower With Built-In Shower Bench

Room Had a TV, Mini-Fridge, Iron, Ironing Board and In-Room Safe

Room Had a TV, Mini-Fridge, Iron, Ironing Board and In-Room Safe

View From Our Room - 3rd Floor

View From Our Room – 3rd Floor

The hotel had a fitness room on the third floor that could be accessed by someone in a wheelchair (this was at the bottom of the steps that led up to the pool). There was an accessible bathroom outside of the fitness area.

Fitness Room - 3rd Floor

Fitness Room – 3rd Floor

Free Weights - No other Accessible Equipment

Free Weights – No other Accessible Equipment

Bathroom Located Outside of Fitness Area

Bathroom Located Outside of Fitness Area

THE BAD

Ok… get ready…

The accessible hotel room we stayed in on the third floor smelled like sewage. As soon as we walked in, the smell hit us like a ton of bricks. It seemed to emanate from the drain in the bathroom but, regardless of where it came from, it smelled disgusting and it was really difficult to ignore.

We requested two cribs when we booked this room and they told us it would be no problem. When we checked in, they told us they had no record of the request on the reservation and that they likely didn’t have any cribs available, let alone two of them. I told them that they would need to let me know because if they didn’t have cribs, we would have to stay elsewhere. The person checking us in assured me that they would find some cribs for us and bring them up to the room. By the time we got back to our room after dinner, there were still no cribs. We called down to the front desk and they again told us that they had no cribs. We told them they would need to find some or re-locate us to a different hotel and they again assured us that they would find some. At about 10:30 pm, waaaaaay past the kids’ bedtime, they brought two playpens from a hotel across the street (Hotel Le Germaine) and it took me and the staff member who brought them about 30 minutes to assemble them (the rails weren’t locking properly).

We checked out on a Sunday morning and the standard hotel check-out time was at noon. Starting at about 9 o’clock, housekeeping began knocking on our door asking what time we would be leaving. They knocked a total of 3 times between 9 and 10:30 asking when we would be gone before I finally told them that we would be there until we left and asked them to stop knocking on our door. Luckily we were already awake but I would have been really angry if that had been my one chance to sleep in. 

There is no self-parking at this hotel. You can drive around and find a public parking lot or pay for the valet parking that is available at the hotel.

THE UGLY

And… it gets worse…

When I went to shower in our room, I noticed something all over the walls of the shower. I got in to take a closer look and – yep – it was hair! Long pieces of black hair left behind by the last hotel guest. If the housekeeping staff didn’t even see this it definitely makes you wonder what else in the room was not cleaned…

Not My Hair! Yuck!

Not My Hair! Yuck!

The pool and fitness centre were located on the third floor. The pool was up a flight of stairs but there was a lift for wheelchair users for access to the pool area. We called the front desk from our room and they sent someone up to operate the lift.

Lift to Access Pool Area

Lift to Access Pool Area

When we got up to the pool area, I have to say, I was shocked by the condition of the pool. The entire swimming pool was covered with a slimy pool liner and there was about a 2-inch strip of grime along the waterline all the way around the pool.

View of the Pool

View of the Pool

Here's a Closer Look - Note the Grime Along the Waterline

Here’s a Closer Look – Note the Grime Along the Waterline

The steps into the pool had obvious signs of mould on them.

These Are the Steps Leading into the Pool. Gross.

These Are the Steps Leading into the Pool. Gross.

The kids wanted to go in, so I took them for a quick dip and I kept getting big chunks of hair stuck on my hands – disgusting!! I honestly felt like I was jeopardizing my health by being in that pool. The hot tub was better than the pool but it was difficult to enjoy the entire area given its state of repair.

Hot Tub

Hot Tub

The front desk staff told us to call the emergency phone when we were ready to go back to our room and they would send someone up to operate the lift for us but – SURPRISE – the emergency phone at the pool area did not work. I had to walk down to the fitness centre to find a working telephone. If I hadn’t been there, my husband would have been pretty much screwed.

Trip Down the Stairs

Trip Down the Stairs

As soon as we got to the hotel I started coughing, my nose was running and I was sneezing like crazy. I figured all of the travelling had finally caught up to me and that I was getting sick. Interestingly though, as soon as we left the hotel, I was completely fine – no sneezing, no runny nose, no coughing… Something at this hotel had a major effect on my allergies, which rarely flare up anymore. You could smell a lot of things in the air here between the sewer smell and some type of chemical smell which seemed to be coming out of the carpets. I have never stayed anywhere before where this was an issue but it is clearly an issue here. Anyone with allergies should beware!

OVERALL

I can sum up this hotel in one word – RUN!!! Multi-million dollar renovation or not, this still needs a ton of work and, in my opinion, it is not worth risking your health to stay here. 

Calgary, Alberta – Hotel Le Germain Calgary

We stayed at this hotel in December of 2011 for my sister’s wedding. It was a beautiful hotel with a very unique style. The wheelchair accessible room was large and well-equipped for anyone with mobility issues.

THE GOOD

The decor at Hotel Le Germain Calgary is very modern and you can tell that they have put a tremendous amount of thought into the design. The room felt more like a trendy apartment than a hotel room.

Our wheelchair accessible room came with two queen beds, a desk area, a flat-screen TV, and a huge closet area. I’m not sure why I thought this in the dead of winter, but I recall being tremendously excited that the windows actually opened. 

Two Queen Beds, Desk Area and Flat Screen TV

Two Queen Beds, Desk Area and Flat Screen TV

The bathroom in our room was huge and had a toilet with grab bars, wheel-under sink and wheel-in shower. The fixed shower head was a cool rain-shower type shower head but a wheelchair user would likely need to use the handheld shower head closer to the controls. 

Wheel-Under Sink and Wheel-In Shower

Wheel-Under Sink and Wheel-In Shower

The suspended toilet seat was a bit different but had grab bars both behind and beside the toilet seat. If you travel with a padded toilet seat, I’m not sure that it will fit on this design, but you could rent a commode from one of the many healthcare stores in Calgary, if necessary (most will drop off and pick up any rented equipment at your hotel if you ask them).

Toilet with Grab Bars

Toilet with Grab Bars

At the entry of the hotel room, there is a huge walk-in closet area. The rods are lower and within easy reach for someone in a wheelchair. Given that we were here for a wedding, it was really nice to have a lot of room for hanging up our dressy clothes and a lot of space to get ready in. 

Closet Area - Lowered Closet Rods for Easy Access

Closet Area – Lowered Closet Rods for Easy Access

The lounge area near the lobby of the hotel, Central 899, has a very cool atmosphere. They have beautiful, modern lighting and comfortable chairs and it stays pretty busy there for a hotel lounge.

The hotel is right in the heart of downtown Calgary. It is within walking distance of the Calgary Tower, the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, the Glenbow Museum, the TELUS Convention Centre, and Stephen Avenue. You will have no trouble locating nearby accessible shopping, restaurants, cafes and bars. 

THE BAD

One unfortunate detail about this hotel is that the lounge area on the main floor, Central 899, is down about four steps and there is no wheelchair access to this area. You will have to ask for assistance to bounce down into this space if you want to have a drink here or hang out with friends. 

The parking situation in downtown Calgary is always bad, but at this hotel there is no good place to stop to unload your vehicle. You really have no choice but to use the valet parking service as otherwise you are stuck trying to unload on the side of a very busy street. 

THE UGLY

There is definitely nothing ugly about this chic hotel. 

OVERALL

This is a beautiful hotel right in the heart of downtown Calgary. They have clearly spared no expense on the design of the hotel. The rooms are well-equipped and stylish in the sense that the accessibility features blend seamlessly with the overall design. The hotel itself would be perfect in terms of accessibility if the lounge area on the main floor was also wheelchair accessible. 

Follow Papa Wheelie on WordPress.com

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.

Follow Papa Wheelie on WordPress.com