Hyatt Regency Calgary – Calgary, Alberta

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The bathroom in our room, although accessible, was really outdated.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.

Banff Park Lodge – Banff, Alberta

We have stayed at this hotel twice in the last 2 years, once for a Christmas party (November 2015) and again in October, 2016 for a conference. The Banff Park Lodge is located on Lynx Street, making it one of the more centrally located hotels in Banff. You can walk down Caribou Street to get to Banff Avenue (main shopping area) in less than 5 minutes. 

THE GOOD

The Banff Park Lodge has underground parking for its registered guests, which is nice in the mountains as you don’t have to scrape snow off of your car if you are staying in the winter. You can take the elevator in the parkade straight up to the lobby level or up to your room if you are staying on one of the higher floors. 

The wheelchair accessible room we stayed in (room 102) was very average. It had a king-sized bed and a small pull-out sofa. The room was located on the main floor of the hotel, just off the elevator to the parkade. The patio doors opened up onto a nice little outdoor area that would be a good place to sit in the summertime (or convenient if you were travelling with a dog).

The bathroom was large and had a wheel-under sink, toilet with grab-bars and a wheel-in shower. The shower was upgraded to include several different controls and the heated towel bar was a nice touch. The hotel supplied a portable shower bench.

There were two eating establishments in the hotel, one lounge area on the main level and a restaurant on the second floor. We ate at the restaurant on the second floor twice and, although overpriced, the food was good. A much better option is the famous Melissa’s Missteak restaurant across the street, which serves the best breakfasts known to man (yes, I think this has been scientifically proven). See below for photographic evidence:

There were a few shops and a hair salon located on the main floor of the hotel. The gift shop offered quite a few things, so if you forgot something, you could probably just pick it up there. 

The main floor and lobby of this hotel was completely wheelchair friendly. The sidewalks outside of the Banff Park Lodge were easy to navigate, although immediately across the street, some of the sidewalks were missing curb-cuts. 

THE BAD

The pool area was quite pretty, complete with a swimming pool, hot tub and a cooler hot tub. They also had a steam room and a very small fitness room. Unfortunately, the accessibility for this area was extremely poor. There were three steps down into the pool area from the entrance door and there were no pool lifts. The fitness room (if you can even call it that) was accessible but there was no room to manoeuver in there and no accessible machines or equipment. 

The staff at this hotel wasn’t overly helpful. When I called the front desk to ask what time the pool opened they told me 7am but 9am for kids. So I entertained the kids for two hours until 9am only to go and see a sign on the door to the pool that said the pool was open to adults at 7am and everyone at 8am.

Another example of the below-average hospitality occurred at breakfast in the upstairs restaurant. They had a big buffet set out for the conference attendees and my husband grabbed a plate and came to sit with us in the restaurant. We ordered food from the restaurant menu for the kids and myself but the kids were picking some hashbrowns off of my husband’s plate. When we got the bill, we noticed that we were charged for the breakfasts we ordered and $10 extra for a “kids buffet.” I thought that was pretty bad. If we had intended to feed them from the buffet, we wouldn’t have ordered separate meals for them.

Lastly, because we were staying two nights, housekeeping came to clean our room after the first night. I’m not really picky about that kind of thing but the effort was noticeably lacking. The garbages were emptied and the main bed was hastily made but that was it. This was how they made up the sofa bed:

img_6320

Sofa Bed Untouched After Room Cleaned

THE UGLY

While the sprayers in the wheel-in shower were kind of cool (our kids called it the car wash shower), the shower itself could have used a really good cleaning and repair job. The caulking around the shower was in bad shape and looked like it could be harbouring all kinds of grime and mould. 

OVERALL

The Banff Park Lodge is a very average hotel in a great location. Its proximity to Banff Avenue and tons of eating establishments definitely puts it higher on my list than it would be otherwise.  If you are looking for a wheelchair-friendly hotel in Banff and proximity to shopping and food is your top priority, then this one is a good choice. 

Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Red Deer South – Red Deer, Alberta

We stayed at this hotel for a family get-together in December of 2014. There are two Holiday Inns in Red Deer but this is the one located at 37471 Hwy 2 SouthRed Deer, AB. It is visible from Highway 2. We stayed here with a group of twelve people, so we got a good feeling for what the various rooms were like and for what different people’s experiences were.

THE GOOD

This is a newer hotel and, in my opinion, is currently the best place to stay in Red Deer. The hotel is easy to access right off of Highway 2, whether you are coming from Edmonton or Calgary. There was ample free parking and check-in was a breeze. We had no issue getting the two cribs that we needed for our kids. We also had no issue getting rooms on the same floor as the rest of our family so that we could be close by. 

Cribs Provided by Hotel

Cribs Provided by Hotel

I understand that there are two fully-accessible rooms at this hotel. The accessible room we stayed in (room 303) was absolutely massive! There was a king-sized bed, a huge chair and ottoman, a desk, a dresser, a flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge, a microwave, a Keurig coffee machine, an iron and ironing board and a large accessible bathroom. The room itself had a huge living area with lots of space for the kids to run around and play. 

Accessible Room - King-Sized Bed

Accessible Room – King-Sized Bed

Chair and Ottoman

Chair and Ottoman

Play Time!

Play Time!

In the bathroom, there were grab bars by the toilet, there was a wheel-under sink and there was a large wheel-in shower with grab bars and a portable shower bench. The floor in the bathroom was tiled and there was a drain in the middle of the floor in case you are like me and happen to soak the bathroom while showering. 

Toilet With Grab Bars

Toilet With Grab Bars

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-In Shower

Wheel-In Shower

Portable Shower Bench

Portable Shower Bench

There is a wide variety of non-accessible rooms at this hotel as well. I have stayed here before with my niece and nephew in a room with bunk beds for the kids. One couple in our group got upgraded to a room with a jacuzzi and fireplace, which was very nice. The room with two queen beds is standard and pretty much exactly what you would expect from a traditional hotel room. 

There was a large, warm pool at this hotel with a waterslide which was great for the kids and adults alike. There was a large hot tub as well with jets that could be turned on or off. The pool area was located on the main floor just off the lobby and it was accessible by wheelchair. There were stairs in the pool and the hot tub that a wheelchair user could bounce down on in order to ease into the water. 

There is a 24-hour gym at this hotel that can be accessed in a wheelchair. It is mostly equipment but there is room to do some free weights (available in the gym) or exercise bands if you travel with those. 

The restaurant at the hotel (same floor as the lobby area) was really amazing. It was called Boulevard Restaurant & Lounge and the food at lunch and dinner was very impressive. We learned when we were there that the chef at this restaurant has won awards for the food and it is not surprising when you see the presentation and experience the food for yourself. Prices range from about $10 to $17 per entrée. They have one area full of booths and another area of tables, so they can easily accommodate larger groups and they regularly served our party of 12 with no problems. 

Kids eat free at this restaurant if you are staying in the hotel. You have to ask for coupons from the front desk that you present to the wait staff in order to get the free meals. The kids’ menu consisted of grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers, pizza, burgers, mac and cheese or grilled chicken. Each meal came with a drink and a side of fruit, veggies or fries. For dinner the kids even got free ice cream. At breakfast, the kids were able to choose from yogurt and fruit, pancakes, eggs and bacon, or oatmeal and fruit. The portion sizes were quite substantial.

The hotel was very clean. There was not a single time I passed through the lobby that I did not see someone mopping. The pool maintenance staff checked and tested the hot tub every time we were in the pool and it appeared that the staff was really on top of the cleaning. 

THE BAD

In terms of accessibility, the only bad thing was that the sink in the wheelchair accessible room was too deep. There was no foam on the bottom of the sink to provide a protective barrier either, so you would have to be very careful when using hot water not to burn your legs. We did mention this to the hotel and they indicated they would look into placing foam on the bottom of the sink.

The waterslide in the pool was very fast. And by very fast, I mean probably one of the fastest hotel pool slides I have ever been on. Some people liked it and it was too fast for others.  

THE UGLY

There is nothing ugly about this hotel. 

OVERALL

This is a nice, new hotel located in a very convenient spot just off the highway. I highly recommend this for a stay in Red Deer, whether you are in a wheelchair or not and whether you are travelling alone, as a couple or as a family.