PAL

March 20, 2007

Westin Nova Scotian Hotel

Filed under: Accessibility, Canada, Disability, Halifax, Life, Reviews, What were they thinking?!, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 9:34 pm

buttonsTo continue writing abotu my hotel experiences on my trip to Halifax, Canada I will write this entry on the Westin Nova Scotian

By the time we arrived we were very tired and just wanted a nice bed to relax on.  We approached the front desk and luckily no one else was there trying to check in.  All the while I was hoping that this room would be accessible.

On the way to the elevators there are stairs and a ramp.  The ramp wasn’t long, and had a “regulation” grade, but it was covered in thick carpet!  I had to get my speed up before it, and by the time I got about halfway up I had to push with every ounce of strength I had to get to the top. (There were about 4 or 5 stairs on the right hand side of the ramp, just to give you an idea of the change in elevation). 

We got to the elevator, and quickly realized that once again, the elevator buttons were too high for me to reach!  (What is it with the people who designed these hotels?!)

When finally got to our room, which was all the way at the end of a very long and twisting carpeted hallway.  Why do people insist on putting accessible rooms so far away from the elevator when there is a hige sea of carpet to push yourself over?! 

This time, the room was a lot bigger than the other rooms.  In fact there was a vast amount of space in the center of the room.  Plenty of room to move around, but because the room was such an odd shape the tv cabnet was on a wall facing the windows and you couldn’t even see it from the bed.  There were some chairs near the desk you could use, but according to Julian they weren’t very comfortable.  This was no big deal, we could deal with this. 

The bathroom was pretty small, but could do in a pinch.  The door opened outand there was a bit of a ramp up to the bathroom.  But then the toilet was right in front of the open door.  Because there wasn’t a lot of room I had a lot of trouble turning around even with the door open.  My wheelchair has the axle position very forward, and I use 3″ castors, so I can turn around in very tight spaces.  For anyone else this could prove to be an impossible task! 

Because the door opened out, and because of the ramp I had to let go of the door to get into the bathroom.  When I finally managed to turn around I couldn’t reach the door to pull it shut!  This would have been an easy thing to fix.  If there was a small “handle” attached to the door where I could reach it, I could have used it to close the door, but there wasn’t.  In order to close it, I had to go back down the ramp a little, grab the door handle and try to pull myself up the rest of the ramp by pulling on the side of the door frame!

Once I was in there with the door closed I had to manuver myself into the right position, only to find that the grab bar that was installed was in such a bad position it was unusable!  There was a sink right next to the toilet, and because there were no cabinets I could roll under it.  But also because of this there were shelves to put the shampoo etc. on.  Not a problem, right?  Wrong!  These 3 shelves were in the corner on the opposite side of the toilet!  Even the lowest was way out of reach, and everything that is usually in a hotel bathroom was inaccessible!  Also the glasses you had to drink out of were oin this shelf!  I thought that was just a bit disgusting!  I mean every time the toillet flushed tiny bits of water mist would land all over them!  Ewww!

Onto the shower!  It was a roll in shower, which is a good idea, in theory.  It was pretty small, and the hand held shower was set really high on the wall, so I couldn’t reach it.  Julian took it down, and that solved part of the problem.  We called downstairs and they brought up a bath bench.  To my surprise it was actually a nice big plastic transfer bench with a back!  This never happens in hotels!  Once it was in the bathroom, the room I had to turn around in was drastically smaller!  When taking a shower I couldn’t reach to turn the water on, so Julian had to turn it on before I went in there and the water sprayed all over the place, even getting the toilet paper wet!  I covered my wheelchair in towels, hoping I wouldn’t have to sit on a wet seat in -33 °C weather!  I solved this problem by putting the bath bench sideways and right against the taps for the water.  I had just enough room to back into the space on the size of the bench, but when sitting on the bench the sink was right in front of me. 

The bed caused another problem!  There wasn’t enough room on either side of the bed to get into it.  There was the width of a nightstand on either side of the bed, so I had to transfer onto the bed from the bottom and pull myself up to the top.  This caused a few problems.  Because the bed was so high, if I fell while transfering onto the slippery sheets I would have fell face first onto the thin carpet (which had concrete underneith)!  When I did transfer I had to pull myself to the head of the bed, and have Julian pull and tug at the blankets trying to move them out of the way while I pulled myself over them.  The bed was also so hard, I was really worried about getting pressure sores.  We called downstairs, and asked if they could get an extra duvet put between the mattress and bottom sheet for me.  This made things a bit better, and I wasn’t so worried about pressure spots.

This hotel was the most “accessible” out of the three we tried.  Out of 297 rooms, only 1 is “accessible”!  This seems to be the trend of hotels in Halifax.  As we found out, most of the rooms that are “considered accessible” are not at all!  I hope that by pointing out these faults to the hotels things will change, but sadly, this is more of a hope than reality.

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4 Comments »

  1. I can imagine how frustrating it would have been finally having a chance to just “flop” onto a bed and relax and not make it. And then having to get up again cuz it’s too hard.

    Gee girl you seem to be the “Queen of Blogs”. How many do you have now?

    Comment by Ahiru — March 26, 2007 @ 6:33 am

  2. Well it wasn’t really “flopping” down on the bed and realizing it was too hard. It was more like transfer onto the bottom of the bed trying not to bash my face off the floor. Pulling myself sideways on the bed, and laying down. Getting up again and then when I went to bed that night I realized that it was very easy to get pressure spots on my hips because the bed was just so hard. It wasn’t “uncomfortable” because I didn’t feel it, but I didn’t want to get a pressure sore so I had to keep waking up and turning over.

    Comment by Kim & Sophie — March 26, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

  3. It was a good job that the bed was a kingsized one otherwise she would have thrown me out onto the floor with all her moving about!

    Comment by Julian — March 26, 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  4. LOL Lord knows I didn’t try! LOL it’s not if I don’t do it enough at home! I blame it all on the muscle spasms!

    Comment by Kim & Sophie — March 26, 2007 @ 5:46 pm


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