Fairmont Hot Springs Resort – Fairmont, British Columbia

We stayed at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort for 2 nights in April of 2017. It took us about 3.5 hours to drive there from Calgary (we stopped for a nice lunch in Radium). The drive is very scenic and there are a number of beautiful stops along the way. 

THE GOOD

I had extremely low expectations of our room at this Resort as when I called to book it, they told me they only had one accessible room and that it had absolutely no view. They said the windows faced a rooftop and because of the terrible view it was in their “economy” room category at a rate of $100 a night. I decided we might as well try it as I couldn’t locate any other accessible options in Fairmont. 

When we arrived and had a look around, we were very pleasantly surprised! The room (number 566) was rustic, but spacious; it had a queen-sized bed and a single bed. It took us a while to figure out, but the single bed was actually adjustable so you could raise the head or feet of the bed using a remote. The kids had a blast with that!

The bathroom was large with a wheel-under sink, toilet with grab bars and a bathtub with a built-in bench. 

There was a very peaceful indoor hot tub and steam room area on the lower floor of the Resort that was accessible by wheelchair. To get to the outdoor pool, you had to go up a long, indoor ramp to get to the door that led outside. The ramp was a bit steep, but not impossible. The outdoor soaking pool was for hotel guests only. It was spacious and the view of the sunset and nearby scenery from there was really breathtaking. 

Access to the Fairmont Hot Springs, Canada’s largest natural hot springs, was just a little further down the pathway from the guest pool. The Hot Springs are open to the public but, if you are staying at the Hot Springs Resort, you can access them for free.

Wheelchair accessibility to get into the Hot Springs was questionable. There was a gate that you could go through at the top but then you would have to traverse down a large, grassy hill to get to the Hot Springs level. The men’s changeroom was accessible at the top but the women’s changeroom was down a set of stairs. Getting back up the hill after your swim would also be a major challenge. Can you imagine trying to wheel up a grassy hill soaking wet and in your swimsuit? Um, no thanks. They could definitely do some work on the accessibility of the public Hot Springs. 

This Resort had three or four food establishments to choose from and we were able to find decent food without any issues. 

The Resort provided amazingly soft bathrobes in each room. I loved the robes so much, I almost bought one for myself at the swim shop. Speaking of the swim shop, it was located adjacent to the entrance to the Hot Springs and its claim to fame is that it holds Western Canada’s largest collection of swimwear. 

THE BAD

From the bathroom pictures, above, you may have noticed how far the bench is away from the taps and shower head. It would be extremely difficult for anyone sitting on the bench to use this shower without help.

As I alluded to earlier, the view from the accessible room wasn’t great. We had 2 small windows that overlooked a rooftop. We didn’t spend much time in our room, however, so I felt it was a non-issue. 

IMG_0373

The Resort has a lot of stairs as there are two wings connected by a central lobby/reception area. Once we got used to where we were going and where the elevators were, it was less of an issue but we couldn’t check in at reception and then head to our room because the only way to get there inside required going up the stairs. We had to go outside, up the hill and then inside a different door. This is a relatively minor hassle in the summer but it would be a major issue in the winter. 

THE UGLY

Ugh – I will never forget this hotel stay as one of our kids injured his finger pretty badly in the bathroom door in our room. When we called the front desk to ask where the nearest hospital was, they sent one of their ski patrol personnel to our room in less than a minute. She arrived with her complete medical bag, bandaged his finger securely and gave us directions to the hospital in Invermere (about 25 minutes away). I was extremely grateful that they had someone on staff that could attend to him immediately and give us proper instructions, but the thought of it still makes me sick to my stomach. None of this had anything to do with the Resort of course but, for me, this was the only ugly part of our stay in Fairmont. 

OVERALL

This Resort is a great mountain getaway for anyone looking for a relaxing place to stay. Fairmont is pretty hilly, so be prepared for a really good workout if you are wheeling or walking outdoors. It is worth it to go out and explore as you’ll be able to take in the beautiful mountain views. If you enjoy golfing, there are several popular golf courses located in Fairmont as well.

The price of the accessible room here was really reasonable, I thought, especially considering that it included free access to the Hot Springs. I look forward to going back to Fairmont sometime soon!

The Palazzo – Las Vegas, Nevada

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. 

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