Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hotel Review: C+

Hotel Review

Courtyard Marriott Chevy Chase
just outside the District of Columbia

Score: C+ (79%)

Dates I stayed: Nov. 23-30, 2013

Reservations made by Able to Travel, which is affiliated with the United Spinal Association

So I'm a quadriplegic, & when I travel I have specific requirements, of which the most important are a roll-in shower & a roll-under bed. My ride is a Permobil power wheelchair, and out of it there's little I can do. We travel with a portable battery-powered lift called a Trixie Lift, chargers & other small essentials, and a shower chair, the purpose of which is obvious. I used to fill ½ a suitcase. Now it's two, plus lift & chair.

We learned long ago that making our own reservations led to us getting fucked by brainless & uncaring hotel staff 3 times out of 4. This was actually the first time Able to Travel didn't come through with an A+ experience. And I think they might've been lied to.

We arrived about 11:30 pm after a 14-hour drive. My wife used to drive 2-3 hours out of each long road trip. Now it's all on her. One of many clues to how lucky I am. I'd called from the road and sure enough the reserved room really had been saved for us. I don't know what Mary at Able to Travel tells reservation clerks. Maybe how many barrels of cement their next of kin will have to find if they want the whole body to be buried in one place. (Just kidding, Mary, please put down that knife & back away slowly.) My wife said “Roll-in shower and roll-under bed, right?” “They said they'd have that installed by now,” the clerk said, risking taking one for the team. “It's been delivered....” So we go up to the room, and sure enough, we have a platform bed. The Trixie Lift is a long-egged feller, and the legs go under the bed. If not, it's throw me or drop me. And that's going the easy way, getting into bed. Or, that would be the case, but we brought bed lifts. These are stout plastic flat-topped pyramids about a foot high. Drag the mattress & box springs a foot to the side & shove a bed lift under each exposed corner. Then laugh at the platform. The first time we needed a bed lift we didn't have one. Luckily we were visiting my dad. He lent us two cinder blocks. Anyway, the bed in the CMCC wheelchair room was on a platform, & we were damn lucky to have bed lifts.

Otherwise the place was great, except for the non-accessible doors to the back parking lot, which was the only place a wheelchair van fit. Also, the bathroom had no heat lamp. Did I mention that quads have internal thermometers for shit? My body thinks it is ALWAYS COLD. Sweat's rolling down my face and I'm still shivering. So yeah, a heat lamp helps. C+. The large bathroom & roll-in shower are nice, but not nice enough.

David C. Kopaska-Merkel

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