Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Marriott’s BeachPlace Towers

I cannot believe it has taken me so long to write this post! This was one of our favourite hotel stays and I definitely want to go back to the BeachPlace Towers again. We stayed at this hotel for four nights in February of 2015 (2 bedroom villa, room 1116). The hotel is located right on the beach, within walking distance to restaurants, shops, playgrounds, entertainment and lots of beautiful scenery. 

THE GOOD

Our two-bedroom villa was huge and fully wheelchair accessible! We had two full bedrooms, each with a king-sized bed, two bathrooms (one was fully accessible), a huge jacuzzi tub, kitchen, dining area, living room, pull-out sofa, washer and dryer, balcony, etc. 

IMG_4490

Jacuzzi Tub

The view from our balcony was absolutely amazing. We got to watch boats come and go all day long and admire the gigantic houses across the water. Watching the sun go down and taking in the city lights from that vantage point was really quite breathtaking. 

This hotel was absolutely perfect for families. There was lots of room to explore, there was a splash park in the pool area and there was a huge playroom on the main floor of the hotel with a giant wooden ship for them to climb around on. The kids absolutely loved it. The hotel had a program of activities with things like craft time and movie night. They also had video games, board games, chess and other activities for older kids. 

The pool area was accessible. There was a ramp to get from the pool area to the hot tub area. The pool was equipped with a lift (the hot tub was not). There was also a pool-side bar where you could order food and drinks to enjoy by the pool or to take up to your room. 

The location of the hotel was perfect. It was set back a little bit from the road but it was in a complex with lots of restaurants and fast food options. We had a very short walk across the street to get to the beach. 

About 10 minutes away on the same street as this hotel, there was an accessible playground and mats for wheelchair users to get closer to the water. The kids had a ton of fun playing there. They had convenient foot showers and sprayers located at the entrance to the beach so you could get the sand off after playing.

THE BAD

The entrance to this hotel was through a semi-sketchy parkade and it felt a bit strange walking through there after dark. 

A portion of this hotel is a timeshare for Marriott Vacation Club. We definitely got the timeshare vibe when we were staying there. We were invited to a sales pitch, which we declined. 

We checked out the Fort Lauderdale water taxi, which stops about a 5 minute walk from this hotel, but it was not accessible. There was no way that someone in a wheelchair could get themselves up the huge step to get onto the water taxi. That was a real shame as it would have been a great, inexpensive way to see more of Fort Lauderdale.

THE UGLY

There was nothing ugly about this hotel. 

OVERALL

This place was one of my favourite vacation stops for a number of reasons. The weather and the beach in Fort Lauderdale was amazing. It was sunny and humid and the evenings were absolutely beautiful. Having the two bedrooms with a full kitchen and washer and dryer was so great. I could make food for the kids that I knew they would eat and save us from having to eat out for every meal. 

The location of this hotel was perfect. We were right in the middle of the action and a stone’s throw away from the beach. We took the kids to play in the sand and ocean every morning and then came back to shower off and have lunch. At dinnertime, we would walk to a nearby patio, listen to live music, sip piña coladas and watch the cruise ships sail away. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back there! 

Regal Princess, Princess Cruise Line

We went on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the Regal Princess in February of 2015. The boat left the port in Fort Lauderdale and sailed first to Princess Cays (Princess Cruise Line private port), then to St. Thomas and lastly to St. Maarten before returning back to Florida. We had three full days at sea.

We stayed in a wheelchair accessible balcony room (room B303) on the starboard side of the boat, close to one of the banks of elevators. This was very convenient for going to and from our room.

THE GOOD

The room was tastefully decorated with modern, neutral colours. I am not sure why but our room only came with two twin beds. I had requested a queen instead of two twins but there must only be one configuration for this room. It worked out okay because we had to have two cribs in our room as well, so we put one of them in between our beds and one over by the balcony.

IMG_3844

Two Twin Beds

IMG_3858

View of Room Facing Balcony

IMG_3856

TV, Desk and Storage Closet

Although the room was not huge, there was lots of storage space in the room for luggage and clothes. Just to give you an idea, we had two strollers, four pieces of luggage, two playpen-type cribs, the wheelchair and all of us in the room. Having the balcony definitely helped as we were able to see the natural light and get fresh air into our room.

IMG_3854

Large Storage Closet

The bathroom in our room was great for accessibility. There was a wheel-under sink, a shower with a fold-down bench and a toilet with grab bars. There was even an alarm next to the toilet for someone to push if they were in distress in the bathroom. Unfortunately this alarm was well within reach of our little people and there was no way to disable it 🙂 We had the front desk calling us several times some days when our kids couldn’t keep their hands off of the buttons.

The balcony was fully accessible. There was a metal piece that dropped down to cover the threshold after the sliding door was fully opened.

The ship itself was very accessible. There were plenty of elevators, albeit slow ones. Several of the common areas had nice, smooth tile on the floors, making it easier for a wheelchair to get around. 

IMG_3903

Atrium in the Middle of the Ship

The back of the boat had a few different levels, which you could access via a lift. The very top level of the ship had a mini-golf course and you could access that level using a stair lift. 

IMG_4482

Lift To Get to Exercise Track Level

IMG_4478

Mini-Golf Course on Very Top Level

IMG_4476

Stair Lift to Get Up to Mini-Golf Level

As with most cruise ships, this one had something for everyone. The Regal Princess had a casino, theatre, spa, adults-only pool area, a gym, a walking/running track, movies under the stars and a night-time water show. The kids particularly enjoyed the Seawalk, which is a glass floor walkway that extends out over the edge of the boat so that you can look down into the ocean.

IMG_3862

Seawalk

ITINERARIES

Our first stop was at Princess Cays. This is a private island owned by the Princess Cruise Line and they use it as a port of call on their Caribbean cruises. This was a tender port and the cruise representatives said that my husband would only be able to get to the island if he could get onto the tender boat without assistance. Given that he can’t walk, this is impossible. We took our chances and headed down to the gangway and the people loading passengers on and off the tender boat had no issue carrying him on. I often find this to be the case. People are more than willing to help you when you are right in front of them but the official position often is that they aren’t supposed to do it. The boat ride to the island was about 5 minutes long. There was not much there other than the beach and a buffet-style lunch place, but the sand was soft and it was nice to get off of the boat for an afternoon. The island itself had some paved pathways that were easy to wheel on.

IMG_3905

Princess Cays

Our next stop was St Thomas. Last time we were there, we realized that there wasn’t much to do if you didn’t have some form of accessible transportation. This time we got pro-active and booked an accessible excursion to the Magic Ice Bar. The vehicle that picked us up was an open air bus, but they had a lift at the back and it all went pretty smoothly. They were even able to fit two people in wheelchairs on the bus.

The Magic Ice Bar was actually pretty cool (no pun intended!). When we walked in, they gave us big winter parkas to put on and, from then on, we felt right at home! There were ice sculptures everywhere and even ice slides for the kids. There was a long ice bar inside and they let us sample various flavours of rum (i.e. coconut, pineapple, cherry, etc.). 

Our last port on this cruise before heading back to Fort Lauderdale was St. Maarten. We had been here before and walked through the downtown shopping area that time. This time we decided to head to the beach and spend a day hanging out by the ocean. The water taxis to get to the downtown/beach area are not accessible per se, but the operators have always been extremely helpful and we have never had an issue getting on or off. We had to pay to rent a big beach umbrella to provide some shade on the beach but it worked out okay and the kids had a blast playing in the sand and water. 

THE BAD

All cruise lines operate differently in terms of dining, reservations, gratuities, etc. We found Princess somewhat more challenging with kids because if you wanted to eat anywhere other than the buffet, you had to book a reservation or wait in line for a long time. Because of this, we ended up eating at the buffet for every meal. The buffet food was good but the buffet area always felt very busy and it was sometimes tough to find a table. 

Getting through the hallways on cruise ships in a wheelchair can be a challenge, especially when luggage is left in the hallways on embarkation and disembarkation. It can also be a challenge getting to your room during the day when the housekeeping carts are in the halls. The best strategy is to book a room very close to the elevators so you don’t have to traverse a long hallway to get in and out of your room.  

This boat did not have an accessible pool or any accessible hot tubs and did not have any pool lifts. 

This cruise ship was definitely better-suited to adults or families with older kids. The boat had a mini-golf area, sports court and a shallow pool area but not a lot for younger kids.  

THE UGLY

This was a very classy ship and it was practically new when we were on it. There was nothing ugly about it. 

OVERALL

The Regal Princess was a beautiful boat with some very cool features. I enjoyed the Seawalk and the water shows at night. I appreciated that they had room service and we had a very lovely room steward for the week who took good care of us. Although we didn’t suffer in the food department, I would have liked it if the specialty restaurants had more flexible dining options.

In terms of accessibility, this specific itinerary is a bit of a challenge for wheelchair users as two of the three stops require being hoisted onto a tender boat or water taxi. If you cannot walk at all, you may be better off selecting an itinerary with no tenders. If you have some mobility, however, you may find it to be more manageable than we did. 

 

Polo Towers – Las Vegas, Nevada

We stayed in a wheelchair accessible room at the Polo Towers for the first time many years ago and recently stayed again for one week in August of 2016. 

THE GOOD

The Polo Towers is conveniently located right on the strip between the MGM Grand and Planet Hollywood. There were lots of places to eat in front of the Polo Towers in a Hawaiian market of sorts, including a popular Chili’s restaurant. 

Our room was a two bedroom, two bathroom unit with a living room, sofa bed, full kitchen,  kitchenette and two balconies. One bedroom and one bathroom were fully wheelchair accessible. 

img_7045

Accessible Bedroom

img_7049

Accessible Bathroom

img_7047

Wheel-In Shower with Built-In Shower Bench

img_7048

Wheel-Under Sink in Accessible Bathroom

There was a handle on the bathroom door to make it easier for people with limited upper body mobility to shut the door. 

img_7051

For Closing the Pocket Door on the Accessible Bathroom

There was a door in between the second bedroom and the main living area that could be closed or locked for additional privacy. The bed in the second bedroom was a murphy bed, so it could be folded up to create additional living space. There was a small kitchenette on this side and a second bathroom (the door was wide enough to get in, but the bathroom itself was not accessible).

img_7040

Second Bedroom, Murphy Bed

img_7041

Second Bathroom – Not Accessible

img_7042

Second Bathroom Shower – Not Accessible

img_7043

Kitchenette in Second Bedroom

The kitchen in the main living area was modified with lower counter tops and a wheel-under sink.

img_7038

Kitchen with Wheel-Under Sink and Lower Countertops

There was a Room Valet panel on the wall in the accessible bedroom, living room and accessible bathroom with several cool features. You could turn it on to receive visual alerts when the phone rang, when the doorbell was pushed, for a wake-up call or when the fire alarm went off. You could also set the bed to vibrate for these same alerts (I know what you’re thinking but this would be really handy if you were sleeping and couldn’t see the visual alerts!).

img_7052

Each room had a closet, a dresser, TV, in-room safe and coffee maker. 

img_7053

Main Closet

The entire hotel was accessible, including the entrances, exits, main lobby, washrooms on the main floor, fitness area, splash park and the roof-top pool area. There was a large cold pool and a smaller hot tub. Both pools were equipped with a lift. 

img_4589

Cold Pool Lift

img_4590

Hot Tub Lift

img_4587

View of Pool Area – Hot Tub is in the Back Behind the Blue Cabanas

There was an observation deck at the end of the pool area that was up a few stairs, however, there was an ADA lift so that people who could not climb the stairs could still get up to look around. This space provided a beautiful view of the strip at night!

img_4593

ADA Lift to Access the Observation Deck

There was an amazing splash park in the back of the hotel, which was great for kids of all ages. Because of the shape of the hotel, the splash park stayed shaded all day long, which was perfect for everyone. Even though it was 40 degrees Celsius outside, the temperature in the splash park was quite comfortable. There was a shallow kiddie pool, sprayers, a play structure with slides and lots of room to run around. For the parents, there were several comfortable loungers along the sides, tables and chairs and a vending machine.

img_7088

Play Structure

img_7090

Kiddie Pool

img_7091

Sprayers

img_8472

There was no casino at this hotel. For some, this might be considered a drawback, but for us it meant a much quieter place to retire to and a smoke-free environment to walk through and sleep in each night. 

I cannot forget to mention that his hotel had free laundry machines on every other floor! I walked up one floor and had full access to the machines for as long as I needed them. There was enough laundry soap provided in our room for one load and there was a vending machine in the laundry room from which additional soap could be purchased. 

THE BAD

The view from our room was facing the front of the building, which was not a great view. We could see people coming and going and see the MGM Grand in the distance but otherwise there wasn’t much to look at. 

Our room did not have a bathtub. The accessible bathroom had a huge wheel-in shower and the other bathroom had a shower as well (note that the glass door on the other shower didn’t open or close properly, which was a bit dangerous for the kids). We managed fine but I really prefer hotel rooms that have a bathtub for the kids.

The kitchen was not set up for guests with kids. The knives and all of the sharp implements were located in a cupboard that was very easily accessible for small people. As soon as we discovered this, we had to empty out the cupboards and move all of the sharp things to the top of the counter!

img_7061

Yikes! Not a Great Location for Knives When Kids are Around!

The Wi-Fi in this hotel was atrocious! They provided us with a password and log-in information for the free Wi-Fi when we checked in but the signal strength was terrible and every time we lost the connection, we would have to go through the log-in process all over again. It was so unbelievably bad it was practically unusable. 

My husband got stuck in the lift between the pool area and the observation deck one night. He got part-way up and then it stopped working. He was able to access the emergency phone to call the hotel staff and I pulled the emergency release button to get him back down to the ground. The hotel sent a maintenance crew up and they worked on it for about 30 minutes to get the lift up and running again. 

THE UGLY

The furnishings in our unit could have used an update. The couch in the living room, in particular, had a panel on the front that kept falling off exposing a bunch of sharp staples that little people could easily scratch themselves on. I kept trying to re-attach it to the couch but had little success.

img_7056

Living Room Furniture was Old and Outdated

img_7697

This Panel Kept Falling Off the Couch Exposing a Bunch of Sharp Nails and Staples

One of the toilets in our room was not working properly. It stopped flushing several times and we would have to call the front desk to request that someone in maintenance come and fix it. The first time this happened, we had just gotten back to our room and had a message on our machine saying that housekeeping noticed that one of the toilets wasn’t flushing properly and to call if we wanted maintenance to come and fix it. So what did we do? Naturally, we tried flushing the toilets. The one in the accessible bathroom overflowed everywhere and covered the bathroom floor in water. We called down to request that someone come and fix it and despite the fact that it was leaking everywhere, they said it would take about 30 minutes to get someone to our room (this was about 10pm). They did send someone up with a bunch of towels though!

OVERALL

I would definitely stay at the Polo Towers again. I think most of the bad elements were specific to our room and we probably would not have that same experience again. The proximity to the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood was a bonus and the splash park was unbeatable for the kids. They started every day running around in there and had so much fun.  

The hotel was clean and quiet and our room was huge considering what you would get at a normal hotel in Vegas. The two bedrooms worked out great and having two bathrooms and a kitchen was ideal. I think Polo Towers is a great option, particularly if travelling to Vegas as a family.

 

 

Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort – Oxnard, California

We stayed in room 9301 at the Embassy Suites in March of 2016 for one week. We booked this hotel knowing nothing about Oxnard, California other than that the hotel was right on the beach with some accessible pathways alongside the beach. When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by the overall accessibility of the hotel and surroundings.

THE GOOD

There were several different buildings at this hotel and our room was on the third floor of building number 9, which was just to the right side of the main lobby building.

View of Main Lobby

View of Main Lobby Area

All of the rooms at this hotel are suites. In our room, we had two queen beds in a separate bedroom, two bathrooms (one with a wheel-in shower and built-in shower bench, wheel-under sink and toilet with grab bars), living room with a pull-out sofa and small kitchenette (microwave, mini-fridge, coffee maker and sink).

Two Queen Beds

Two Queen Beds, Access to Deck Across From Far Bed

Main Area Bathroom - Not Accessible

Main Area Bathroom Located by the Front Door – Not Accessible

Accessible Bathroom

Accessible Bathroom Attached to the Bedroom

Wheel-In-Shower With Shower Bench

Wheel-In-Shower With Shower Bench

Accessible Toilet Area

Accessible Toilet Area

Pull-Out Sofa and Living Room Area

Pull-Out Sofa, Living Room Area and Access to Deck

Kitchenette

Kitchenette

Front Door And Desk

Front Door And Desk

Our room was a “resort view” room. We had a nice view of the pool and courtyard and could actually see the beach and ocean in the distance.

View From Our Room

View From Our Room

View of the Main Pool from Our Room

View of the Main Pool from Our Room

View of Waterfall Near One of the Two Hot Tubs

View of Waterfall Near One of the Two Hot Tubs

Our room was cleaned every day by the time we got back from our morning activity except for once. The staff seemed very efficient and happy to help.

This hotel served free breakfast every morning until 10 am and free drinks and snacks every night between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Breakfast was buffet-style with eggs, potatoes, pancakes, waffles, sausages, bacon, cereal, fruit, toast, yogurt and a selection of beverages. There was also a made-to-order section where you could order eggs or omelettes. The happy hour snacks consisted of nachos, veggies and party mix and the drinks consisted of alcoholic selections from the bar, punch and pop. Although the food wasn’t the best quality, it was plentiful and it made for an easy alternative to going out.

There was one large swimming pool and two large hot tubs at the hotel. The pool and one of the hot tubs were equipped with battery-powered pool lifts. We had no issue with the lifts and they seemed to work smoothly using a handheld remote.

Main Pool Lift

Main Pool Lift

Hot Tub Lift

Hot Tub Lift

Turn On the Key and Use Remote to Operate Lift

Turn On the Key and Use Remote to Operate Lift

There was direct beach access at the hotel. There was a gate in the back that led right to the sand and a long accessible pathway along the edge of the beach. If you turned right, it led you to a beautiful park with a large playground.

Beach Access at Back of Hotel

Beach Access at Back of Hotel

Paved Pathway Along the Beach

Paved Pathway Along the Beach

Amazing Playground for the Kids

Amazing Playground for the Kids

There was an accessible pathway through the sand so that wheelchair users could get closer to the ocean. The beaches were extremely large and there were lots of sand dunes, so one would not be able to get to the water in a wheelchair but you would be able to get close enough to see over all of the dunes and to watch the waves roll in. There were picnic tables up near the end of the accessible pathway where you could sit and have a nice lunch or dinner on the beach if you wanted.

Accessible Pathway Towards the Ocean

Accessible Pathway Towards the Ocean

Accessible Pathway Heading Towards Ocean

Accessible Pathway Heading Towards Ocean

View From the Top of the Accessible Path

View From the Top of the Accessible Path Facing Away From the Ocean

Looking Towards The Ocean - The Picnic Tables Mark the End of the Accessible Path

Looking Towards The Ocean – The Picnic Tables Mark the End of the Accessible Path

Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean – The Sand Was Extremely Soft Everywhere Except Right Along the Water’s Edge

In terms of its general location, this hotel was within walking distance of a number of beautiful harbours where you could look at fancy boats and beautiful homes. We also drove around and explored a number of shops, grocery stores and restaurants.  There was a family-friendly restaurant close to the resort called Toppers that served some of the best pizza we have ever had.

One of Many Beautiful Harbours

One of Many Beautiful Harbours

We learned when we were there that Oxnard is surrounded by fruit farms. It’s quite something when you are driving there to see the miles and miles of strawberries and other produce growing right there.

For entertainment purposes, you can drive from Oxnard to Ventura in 5 minutes, Camarillo (where there is a HUGE premium outlet mall) in 23 minutes, Santa Monica (where there is a really fun pier with rides and food, etc.) in one hour and Solvang (which is a very cool Danish tourist town) in one and a half hours. We thought Oxnard was ideally located for fun day trips with the kids.

Santa Monica Pier - View From the Top of the Ferris Wheel

Santa Monica Pier – View From the Top of the Ferris Wheel

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

For those flying in to California, this hotel was about one and a half hours away from LAX. Do not be afraid to rent a car as the shuttle buses for the major rental companies are accessible and they will pick you up at the terminal and take you to the rental company. Most all major car rental companies will install hand controls in a rental car for you for free. (Little tip we learned – don’t pay for anything fancy as chances are good that no matter what you rent, you will end up with a Chevy Impala (or similar) and they will not refund you the difference. Apparently most companies can only install the hand controls in mid-sized cars.)

THE BAD

I really had to think about something bad to say about this hotel. All I could come up with was that the food was not amazing and it would not be somewhere I would recommend to someone travelling without kids. We were there during spring break, mind you, but this is not a peaceful adults-only type hotel. It is definitely geared towards hosting families.

THE UGLY

The only thing that was ugly in my view was the bird poop on our deck. We were on the top floor and there were wooden slats above our deck that the birds sat on. Every morning, the deck, the deck chairs and the deck table were covered in fresh bird droppings, which made the deck unusable.

Our Deck

Our Deck

Bird Droppings on Our Deck

Bird Droppings on Our Deck

OVERALL

Overall, we thought this hotel was great and that Oxnard in general was a total hidden gem for those in wheelchairs and for families. We tend not to go to the same place more than once but we both agreed that we would definitely return here in the future. We left feeling like there was still a lot more to see.

Norwegian Epic – Norwegian Cruise Line

We sailed on this boat for two weeks in October of 2010 when it was only a few months old. It was the third largest cruise ship in the world at that time, but has since been bumped down to the fourth largest cruise ship in the world (the top three all belong to Royal Caribbean).

Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic

On our cruise, the ship left from the pier in Miami, Florida. The first week, we stopped in: Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico before heading back to Miami. The second week we stopped in: St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas and then returned again to Miami. We had a balcony suite on the very back of the boat.

THE GOOD

The Norwegian Epic is a HUGE ship, which we thought was good because there were so many things to do. Once everyone got settled in, we didn’t notice that there were approximately 4000 people on board.

We stayed in a wheelchair accessible room at the very back of the boat. We wanted the back of the boat because we thought it would offer the best view. When sailing away from the ports, we got to take in all of the scenery and the views of the sunsets were out of this world. 

Beautiful Views of the Sunsets from Our Room at the Back of the Boat

Beautiful Views of the Sunsets from Our Room at the Back of the Boat

Our Room Was in the Middle Just Above the Big Rectangular Window

Our Room Was in the Middle Just Above the Big Rectangular Window

Our room was quite large compared to the non-accessible rooms on the boat. There was ample room to wheel around. The bed was a king-sized bed and it was very comfortable. The decor on this boat was very tasteful (some boats have a lot of crazy colours but this was very modern).

Wheelchair Accessible Room on Norwegian Epic

Wheelchair Accessible Balcony Suite at Back of the Boat

The balcony could easily be accessed in a wheelchair as they built a small wooden ramp on the outside to create a smooth transition.

Outside on Balcony

Outside on Balcony – Small Ramp to Ease Transition

The bathroom in our room was very compact (as all of them are on the boat) but it had everything we needed. The shower and toilet were in a separate room of their own. The toilet came equipped with grab bars on all sides of the toilet (and behind) and a plastic, raised toilet seat. The shower was small but functional and had a built-in shower bench that folded up and out of the way when not in use. The shower controls could easily be accessed by someone sitting on the shower bench. 

Toilet in Accessible Room on Norwegian Epic

Toilet in Wheelchair Accessible Room on Norwegian Epic

The sink was outside in the main area of the room, which was nice as it could be used even if someone was in the bathroom. It was small but it was wheel-under. The height of the counter was good for those in wheelchairs (although basin-type sinks can be trickier to use when you can’t stand over them).

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-Under Sink

Those who have been on cruises before will know that cruise ships are a great way for those with mobility issues to travel. They are generally completely accessible and the Norwegian Epic is no different. Other than some of the activities on the boat (rock climbing wall, waterslides, etc.), there was no area of the ship that was not accessible. Even at the back of the boat, where the main elevators didn’t run, we located a wheelchair lift that gave us access to every level.

Wheelchair Lift at the Back of the Norwegian Epic

Wheelchair Lift at the Back of the Norwegian Epic

Wheelchair Lift

Wheelchair Lift

Wheelchair Lift

Wheelchair Lift

There were several pools and several hot tubs on this boat and one pool and one hot tub were equipped with a pool lift. 

Pool With Lift

Pool With Lift

Hot Tub With Lift

Hot Tub With Lift at the Back of the Boat

The other pools could be accessed by someone in a wheelchair if you felt comfortable bouncing down into the water. The other hot tubs could not be accessed as they were all raised and required the ability to navigate a number of stairs.

View of Additional Pools

View of Additional Pools

View of Additional Pools

View of Additional Pools

Access Into Other Hot Tubs Was Via Stairs

Access Into Other Hot Tubs Required Ability to Navigate Stairs

The main areas of the Norwegian Epic were all accessible. Most cruise ships have very narrow hallways but, on this ship, they were not too bad. The only real problem we ran into navigating the hallways was trying to get around the housekeeping carts in the middle of the day.

Hallways

Hallways

The buffet area was huge and could easily be navigated in a wheelchair. 

Buffet Area

Buffet Area

The food on the Norwegian Epic was amazing. Norwegian Cruise Line does freestyle cruising, which means you can eat whenever you want. The food at the buffet was exceptional and there was always a good selection available. A few of the specialty restaurants required reservations, but for the rest of the eating establishments, no reservations were required.  The specialty restaurants not only had good food but they offered beautiful views. They were definitely worth experiencing. The food served on the Norwegian Epic was far better than anything we have experienced at an all-inclusive resort. 

There were a lot of activities available on this boat. The evening entertainment included a magic show, comedy show, dinner theatre, dance party, the Blue Man Group show, impersonator show (Legends), movie night, sports night, etc. During the day, there were pool activities, waterslides, a rock climbing wall, ping pong, an arcade, a bowling alley, a basketball court, a climbing cage, etc. There was a huge gym on the boat, a walking/jogging track and a spa. Really, I wish we had had more days at sea so we could have spent more time exploring and relaxing on the boat.

Rock Climbing Wall

Larger Rock Climbing Wall

Rock Climbing Wall

Shorter Rock Climbing Wall

Waterslides

Waterslides

Basketball Court (This Was Taken on a Rainy Day. Most Days it Was Really Hot up There).

Basketball Court (This Was Taken on a Rainy Day. Most Days it Was Really Hot up There).

Video Arcade

Video Arcade

Kiddie Pool Area and Waterpark

Kiddie Pool Area and Waterpark

THE BAD

Although the size of the boat was a good thing for us, as we were on it for two weeks and we never got bored, it could be a bad thing if you have a hard time getting around. Cruise ships are primarily carpeted (with the exception of the pool deck and buffet area) and it can be really tiring wheeling down long hallways when you have to wheel on carpet. Given the size of this boat, you could be faced with having to make quite a trek to the buffet area or to one of the specialty restaurants depending on where you are coming from. This is something to keep in mind. Sometimes we went up to the pool deck to make our way to the other side of the boat just because it was easier and quicker to wheel across the floor on that deck. 

There was a casino on this boat, which is a good thing for most people. We aren’t much into gambling so we don’t give it much thought either way. The only thing that did bother us was the smoke emanating from the casino at night. It was really strong on that floor and wafted up to the floor above it as well. They did make a real effort to use deodorizers and air purifiers but the smoke around the casino area was noticeable. 

Casino

Casino

We had one unusual experience on this trip that has never happened to us before. While the boat was sailing, a bird flew into our room through the balcony door and we couldn’t get it out! It resulted in some hilarious antics on our part, and eventually we were able to help it find the door again, but we spent a few crazy hours ducking and diving and running around the room trying to convince it to go back outside.

Bird That Decided to Join Us in Our Room

Bird That Decided to Join Us in Our Room

For the second week of our cruise we had an issue with the heating and cooling system in our room. The ventilation system was continually blowing hot air. Given that the temperatures outside were extremely hot and humid, this got to be very uncomfortable. They tried multiple times to fix it and ended up having to order a part, which they were able to pick up at a port on our second last day on the boat. 

By far, the worst part of this boat was the vibration and noise it made when it docked at the ports. I am not sure if this could only be heard or felt at the back of the boat, but we would be sleeping soundly early in the morning and when the ship began docking at a port (usually around 7am, but sometimes earlier) the whole room would start to shake and the boat would make a horrible noise. It was so unbelievably loud that it was impossible to sleep. We are not morning people at all and every day that we were not at sea, we could count on this rude awakening.

THE UGLY

We had a really strange room steward for the two weeks that we were on the boat. When he noticed that my husband’s tires were leaving marks on the new carpets in the room, he taped white plastic all over the carpet with duct tape to help protect it. He seemed much more concerned about the cleanliness of the carpet than about how crazy it looked or how it would make my husband feel. I am sure he was trying to avoid having to shampoo the carpets at the end of our stay, which was totally understandable, but when we came back to our room and saw the plastic everywhere it kind of made us feel like we were in a contamination zone. 

THE PORTS

If you go on this same itinerary, you might want to know a little bit about the accessibility at the ports.

Costa Maya – There was very little to see at the stop in Costa Maya and it was insanely hot there. There were some shops right at the port where we wandered around but they had the usual souvenirs. You would have to look for an accessible excursion here if you wanted to see something interesting.

Roatan – Roatan was relatively accessible, however, we felt pretty unsafe walking around there. We left the shopping area at the pier as we wanted to find some local crafts, but after walking through several dark, back-alley shops and being followed and harassed by small children needing money, we made a quick exit back to the boat. 

Cozumel – Cozumel was great for accessibility and it was a fun stop. We had a really good day there walking around and were able to see lots of different places and do a ton of shopping for family back at home. 

St. Maarten – St. Maarten was fairly inaccessible. We were able to get on a water taxi to the downtown area so that we could walk around a little bit but there was a lot of cobblestone, very narrow sidewalks and a lot of uneven pavement.

St. Thomas – We were unable to get any form of accessible transportation in St. Thomas or find anyone willing to take us on a tour so we spent the day wandering around the shops at the port. There were quite a few shops there, but nothing overly exciting.  

Nassau – We were not able to find a wheelchair accessible cab in Nassau but the cab drivers were all willing to help carry my husband into their vans. We took a cab over to Atlantis and walked around there for most of the day. Beware that it is crazy expensive there but it was fun to see. We also explored the straw market in Nassau, which was a little tough to navigate in the wheelchair due to narrow aisles, but it was a good place to shop and chat with local people.

Miami – Miami was very accessible. We took a cab to South Beach and enjoyed walking up and down Ocean Drive. We were surprised to find that there were mats laid out along the beach for wheelchair access and there were beach chairs available at the Beach Patrol Office. We wished we had had more time there so we could have spent more time on this beautiful beach. 

Wheelchair Beach Access in Southbeach, Miami

Wheelchair Beach Access in Southbeach, Miami

OVERALL
 
For wheelchair users, you can’t go wrong on a cruise. It is a great way to see more of the world with very little hassle. No matter how inaccessible the various ports might be, you always get to go back to your room at night and you know that you have what you need there.  
 
The real luxury of a cruise is that no matter what type of vacation you like to have, whether you like to be busy and see everything and try every activity or whether you like to sit on a lounge chair in the sun sipping on drinks all day long, you can do it on a cruise. There is truly something for everyone. 

Las Vegas, Nevada – The Mirage

We stayed in a wheelchair accessible room at The Mirage for the first time in 2009. We actually booked a cheap package on-line and then called the resort to request that a wheelchair accessible room be set aside for us. This usually works okay in Vegas because they have a lot of wheelchair accessible rooms (so don’t be afraid to scope out cheap Vegas deals on-line). 

THE GOOD

The Mirage is one of our favourite hotels because of its central location on the strip and its pleasant atmosphere. I really like all of the greenery and the sound of the water inside The Mirage as it feels kind of tropical.

Interior of the Lobby at Mirage

Interior of the Lobby at The Mirage

The Mirage is completely wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair users will have no trouble getting into or accessing any of the shops or restaurants here. We particularly like the layout of The Mirage because you don’t have to walk a mile from the lobby area to get to the hotel rooms.

In our standard room, there was a comfortable, king-sized bed, a desk, a TV, two chairs and a mini-bar.

King-Sized Bed in Wheelchair Accessible Room

King-Sized Bed in Wheelchair Accessible Room

Interior of Room at the Mirage

Interior of Wheelchair Accessible Room at the Mirage

TV, Desk and Mini-Bar

TV, Desk and Mini-Bar

The bathroom was spacious, but not huge. Our room had a wheel-under sink, toilet with grab-bars and a bathtub with a portable shower bench. Most of the accessible rooms at The Mirage have bathtubs, not wheel-in showers. I understand that they do have a few rooms with wheel-in showers, so if you absolutely require one you should probably book with The Mirage directly to ensure you get what you need. 

Wheel-Under Sink and Toilet with Grab Bars

Wheel-Under Sink and Toilet with Grab Bars

Bathtub With Portable Shower Bench

Bathtub With Portable Shower Bench

Wheel-Under Sink and Bathtub

Wheel-Under Sink and Bathtub

The pool area at The Mirage is quite big although it is really busy and it was difficult, at times, to find a free lounge chair. There are lots of waterfalls and palm trees, which help to create a nice outdoor ambiance. We didn’t see any pool lifts at this pool and it was so busy that we didn’t try to get into the water. It was a good place to kick back for a few hours and do some people watching.

Mirage Pool

Mirage Pool and Palm Trees

Mirage Pool

Mirage Pool and Waterfalls

The Mirage has upgraded its volcano show in recent years and it is actually pretty cool to watch now. There is loud drum music that accompanies the flames that shoot out of the water. It goes off every half an hour in the evening and is worth catching at least once when you are in Vegas.

Mirage Volcano Show

Mirage Volcano Show

Mirage Volcano Erupting

Mirage Volcano Erupting

There is lots of good food available at The Mirage. The California Pizza Kitchen (one of our favourites) is located just off to the side of the casino. We also tried a place called BLT Burger that serves all kinds of milkshakes. They will also combine a variety of weird milkshake flavours if you ask, so you can really go wild (Twinkies, Nutella and toasted marshmallows milkshake, anyone?).

THE BAD

The view from our room was bad. Not only did we not get a strip view but we got the concrete jungle view on the opposite side. It’s not as though you spend a lot of time staring out your window in Vegas, but still. This is almost as bad as it gets. 

View From Our Room

View From Our Room

One issue that we have encountered a few times now is that some of the elevators outside on the strip can be out of order. There are several pedestrian walkways that cross over top of the strip or that connect one hotel to the next. To get to the top of the walkways, you either need to head up the escalator (if there is one) in your chair or access the elevators. Nothing in Vegas is that close so when you get to the other side of the walkway and realize you can’t get down in your wheelchair because the elevator is out of order,  it is a big pain. We have even been in a situation once where we took an escalator up to get to a walkway and when we got to the other side, the elevator was out of service. So we walked back to where we had come up and there was no down escalator and no elevator, only stairs. So… we were stuck… We had to convince several guys to carry my husband down a huge flight of stairs. This is something to watch out for as the elevators are out of service from time to time and it is possible to get up without being able to get down.

THE UGLY

The only thing I really do not enjoy about Vegas and the Vegas hotels is that smoking is allowed in the casinos. California Pizza Kitchen is one of our favourite restaurants in Vegas, but it is located on the edge of the casino in The Mirage. When you are dining at CPK, it is impossible to escape the smell of the smoke and, for me, it certainly detracts from the ambiance.

OVERALL

The Mirage is a great, family-friendly resort. It is situated in a convenient central location on the strip, between Caesar’s Palace and Treasure Island. There is lots of good food on-site and it is right next door to The Forum Shops at Caesar’s (some of the best shopping on the strip). The standard wheelchair accessible rooms are nothing fancy, but they are comfortable and they meet basic accessibility requirements. Who spends time in their room in Vegas anyway?

Follow Papa Wheelie on WordPress.com

Rancho Mirage, California (Palm Springs) – Westin Mission Hills Resort Villas

We stayed in a one bedroom, one bathroom villa at this resort for a week in 2010. We had never been to Palm Springs before but had heard good things about the shopping. We booked this place without knowing anything about it, just hoping it would be okay, and we were very happy with what we saw when we arrived.

THE GOOD

If you are looking for wheelchair accessible accommodations in Palm Springs, there are probably lots of nice places to choose from. We chose the Westin and found it really exceeded our expectations. The unit we stayed in was unit 3819, a non-smoking unit on the main floor. There was parking for our rental car right outside of our unit. 

We entered the unit into the kitchen but there was a stackable washer and dryer just inside the doorway off to the side (super convenient!). The kitchen was accessible, complete with a wheel-under sink, and had a fridge, dishwasher, stove and microwave. 

Accessible Kitchen

Accessible Kitchen

Wheel-Under Sink in the Kitchen

Wheel-Under Sink in the Kitchen

The kitchen led into the dining room area, where there was a table that seated six people. It wasn’t a huge space, but it was big enough that a wheelchair could get around the table and the table was high enough that a wheelchair could get underneath.

Dining Room Area

Dining Room Area

The living room area was beside the dining room. It had lots of seating, a TV and a fireplace. The couch in the living room was a pull-out sofa, so this room could sleep four if two people wanted to use the sofa bed. 

View of Living Area from the Door

View of Living Area from the Door

Living Room and Fireplace

Living Room and Fireplace

The living room patio doors opened out onto the private deck area. There was a patio table with chairs and a barbecue outside on the deck. The bedroom also had patio doors that opened out onto the deck. Both sets of doors in the below picture were connected to our unit. 

Outside View of our Main Floor Unit

Outside View of our Main Floor Unit

View From Our Patio

View From Our Patio

The bedroom was comfortable and a good size. There was a king-sized bed, a TV and a fireplace in the bedroom. There was also a large closet next to the door that has lowered railings for ease of use. 

Bedroom with King-Sized Bed

Bedroom with King-Sized Bed

Closet in Bedroom with Lowered Railing

Closet in Bedroom with Lowered Railing

The bathroom in this unit was really something. I always love places that have both a wheel-in shower and a bathtub and this one had both and both were nice! The wheel-in shower had a built-in shower bench which was close enough to the controls that a wheelchair user could use them on their own. 

Wheel-In Shower with Built-in Shower Bench

Wheel-In Shower with Built-in Shower Bench

The jetted bathtub was huge and one nice feature is that you could watch TV from the bathtub if you opened up the shutters in between the bathtub and the bedroom.

View From the Bathtub

View From the Bathtub

There were two wheel-under sinks in the bathroom and a toilet with two grab bars. The mirror over the counter was the perfect height for wheelchair users and able-bodied users. Overall this bathroom was perfectly equipped for wheelchair accessibility.

Two Wheel-Under Sinks and Bathtub

Two Wheel-Under Sinks and Bathtub

Toilet with Grab Bars

Toilet with Grab Bars

The outside grounds at this resort were really beautiful and well-maintained. Everything was green and there were fountains and little ducks everywhere. The pathways around the resort were all paved and easy to wheel on. There were a few wooden bridges that went over top of the water areas, but they were flat bridges and could be easily navigated in a wheelchair. 

Beautiful Fountains Everywhere

Beautiful Fountains Everywhere

Beautifully Manicured Grounds

Beautifully Manicured Grounds

The pool area was large and we found it easy to find a spot to sit in the shade. There was a pool lift at the pool. We didn’t make use of it, but we did see it and if you look in the back of the middle of the below picture, you might be able to see it. There was a really cool hot-tub area here too hidden inside some rocks and we made use of that even though there was no lift for the hot tub. We asked for help to get in and out and the other guests were more than happy to assist. 

Relaxing Pool Area - With Pool Lift

Relaxing Pool Area – With Pool Lift

While in Palm Springs, we took in the shopping at the outlet mall (Desert Hills Premium Outlets) and in the El Paseo Shopping District. Both areas were accessible and easy to get around in. The outlet mall is absolutely massive, so do take note of where the washrooms are as there aren’t that many and they seem hard to find when you need them. El Paseo was fun to walk around in but is very expensive. 

We also took in the Palm Springs Street Fair or VillageFest, which takes place every Thursday night. There was a ton of food, artwork, crafts and entertainment and it was a fun atmosphere. This is definitely worth doing in order to see a lot in a short amount of time. 

I also have to mention that we ate at a Mexican restaurant called La Casita, which was arguably some of the best Mexican food we have ever had. The decor leaves a lot to be desired, but the food is amazing. This place is definitely worth looking up if you are in the area. 

THE BAD

We had never been to Palm Springs before and had no idea what to expect. Now, having been there, I feel like there isn’t a lot to do there other than shopping and golf. The outlet mall is good but it is really too large to explore in one day. There are definitely some deals to be had, but trying to see it all is pretty exhausting. 

We don’t golf, so we failed to appreciate the beauty of the multitude of golf courses here.

There aren’t a lot of restaurants or shops close by to this resort. You definitely need to have a rental car if you are staying here. There is a restaurant by the pool at the resort but it is only open select hours and the food is just so-so. You will find lots of restaurants and grocery stores in Palm Springs, but you will need to drive there. 

The location of this resort is very quiet, but it isn’t right in Palm Springs. It is about a 15 minute drive from the airport and from downtown Palm Springs. It takes about 30 minutes to drive to the outlet mall, although it’s a very easy highway drive to get there.

Highway on the Way to the Outlet Mall

Wide Highway on the Way to the Outlet Mall

Wind Turbines All Along Highway

Wind Turbines All Along Highway

THE UGLY

There was nothing ugly about this resort. 

OVERALL

Overall, this resort is a beautiful, wheelchair accessible place to escape to. If you enjoy shopping, golfing or gambling, there are lots of attractions here to keep you occupied. Otherwise, you can take in the scenery, relax by the pool, enjoy the hot temperatures and try some good local restaurants. 

 

 

Follow Papa Wheelie on WordPress.com
//

Las Vegas, Nevada – The Palazzo

We had the good fortune of staying at this hotel in July of 2012. We have stayed at many different places on the Las Vegas strip before but we always kind of dreamed of staying at The Palazzo one day. When we were looking for a hotel for this trip, we found a good deal at The Palazzo and decided to treat ourselves to a room here for a couple of days. And I’m glad we did! It was amazing!

THE GOOD

At The Palazzo, all of the rooms are suites and they are HUGE! When we first walked into the room, we were absolutely blown away by its size. There is a king-sized bed, full-sized living room, table with chairs, desk with every kind of plug-in you could ever need for work (complete with phone, printer and fax machine), dresser and two nice, flat-screen TVs. I don’t think the accessible rooms are any bigger than the standard suites as the standard suites are so huge, a wheelchair would have no trouble getting around in one. 

Comfortable King-Sized Bed

Comfortable King-Sized Bed

Huge Living Room Area With Full-Sized Sectional Sofa

Huge Living Room Area With Full-Sized Sectional Sofa

Flat Screen TV

Flat Screen TV and Dresser

Desk Complete With Workstation

Desk Complete With Workstation

The bathroom was perfectly accessible and beautiful. The sink was wheel-under with lots of counter space. And yes – that is a TV you see in the bathroom!! The area around the toilet is huge and there is lots of room to maneuver. There are two grab bars by the toilet, one beside and one behind. There are some accessible rooms at The Palazzo with a bathtub and some with a wheel-in shower, so make sure you request the wheel-in shower if you need one. 

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-Under Sink

Toilet With Two Grab Bars

Toilet With Two Grab Bars

For me, the coolest thing about the entire room was that the blinds were controlled by remote!! There was a sheer layer and a blackout blind layer and it was so fun to watch them open and close! (I know, the small things make me happy!)

Remote Controlled Blinds

Remote Controlled Blinds

Our room was facing the opposite direction from the strip and we had an amazing view. We looked out over a golf course and seeing all of that green in Vegas was pretty amazing. 

Beautiful View From Our Room

Beautiful View From Our Room

The hallways in the hotel are very wide and although they are carpet, they are quite easy to wheel around in.

Nice, Wide Hallways

Nice, Wide Hallways

If you have been to Vegas before, you have probably seen the lobby of The Palazzo. It is really stunning. The pictures absolutely do not do it justice. There is also great shopping at The Palazzo and it is connected to The Venetian so you can shop in both hotels without ever having to brave the Vegas heat!

Stunning Lobby

Stunning Lobby

There are a number of pools at The Palazzo and they are situated in different areas. The great thing about this is that you can choose to sit in the shade or in the sun. As the sun moves, you will find lots of people re-locating. There is no pool lift that we saw but the pools were very easy to bounce down into and there were shallow areas around several of the perimeters that were easy for my husband to sit on. There were also lounge chairs in the shallow part of the water that made it easy to lay back and soak up some sun. 

One of The Palazzo Pools closest to the Azure Lounge

One of The Palazzo Pools Closest to the Entrance for the Azure Luxury Pool

We don’t usually use the gym in Vegas because we end up doing so much walking/wheeling, but we did head to the gym at The Palazzo. We were completely shocked to find a wheelchair-friendly arm ergometer! This is no cheap-o arm crank either. It comes with a TV for you to watch while you cycle. Crazy!

Wheelchair Friendly Arm Cycle

Wheelchair Friendly Arm Cycle

In the canal area of The Palazzo and The Venetian, there is a gondola attraction where you can sail along the canal in a gondola while being serenaded by a singing gondolier. There is wheelchair access to the gondola. We didn’t try it out but we did see the area where the wheelchair would enter and exit the “ride”.

THE BAD

I can’t really say anything bad about The Palazzo itself as it is such a beautiful hotel. In the shopping area where the canal is, however, there are several foot bridges that able-bodied people can cross, but they are not accessible. This is slightly annoying as wheelchair users basically have to pick a side and stick to it all the way along the canal. At the end, you can double back and see the shops on the other side, but it would be nice if you could go back and forth somehow like everyone else. 

About Vegas in general, smoking is still allowed in all of the casinos. I find the smell pretty overwhelming as, where we live, smoking is banned in all inside establishments. Fortunately, the hotel rooms and the shopping areas do not smell like smoke, so it is fairly easy to avoid if you walk quickly through the casinos.

THE UGLY

There is nothing ugly about The Palazzo!

OVERALL

Overall, this is one of the most beautiful properties on the strip. We felt very lucky to have experienced it, if only for a couple of days. The entire hotel has a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere about it and there are almost no crowds here. The food is great, the shopping is great, the location is great and you cannot beat the accessibility in this hotel or in Vegas in general. 

Follow Papa Wheelie on WordPress.com
//

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.

Follow Papa Wheelie on WordPress.com
//