Dear Editor,

I like the new features added to the site. A question came up the other day in a discussion I was having with some friends and I figured you’d know the answer, or at least be able to point me in the right direction to look. In order for a hotel to claim that it has accessible rooms, must they provide either a roll-in shower or some sort of tub transfer bench? If they just offer a bathtub can they claim to have a fully accessible bathroom?

Two weeks ago I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Connecticut. When the reservations were made, they claimed they had a fully accessible bathroom. I outlined exactly what I would need and made it known that I was unable to independently bathe in a bathtub. They assured me that was not a problem, that they had a roll in shower with a bench. The bathroom was very spacious, but it did not have a roll-in shower, it had a tub. Also, the toilet was not elevated (I actually measured it- only 13 and 1/2 inches off the floor). When I asked the manager about the possibility of obtaining a tub transfer bench or seat for use in the tub, I was told that the hotel does not provide such accommodations for guests, due to the possibility of the guest falling, injuring themselves and suing the hotel!

So, were they within compliance? Where can I find the regulations regarding compliance?

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter. -Denise DiNoto

The Department of Justice has a good site which answers these questions and more (www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm). However, here are a few highlights to answer your question. Hotels with 50 rooms or less are not required to have roll-in showers, and those with 51-100 rooms need only 1. Toilets are supposed to be 17″-19″ with grab bars at 33″-36″. Moreover, if only a tub is provided, a transfer seat is supposed to be available, along with grab bars and reachable water controls.

Obviously, this Holiday Inn fell short of compliance, but unless you travel with a copy of the ADA regulations, it’s unlikely that they are aware of their shortcomings.