Guide to the Capclave Hotel for the Handicapped

by Marilee J. Layman

The good news is that the rooms are some of the best I've ever seen. The bad news is that getting around the hotel is complicated and may be dangerous.

The Rooms

The handicapped rooms (they call them ADA rooms) are mini-suites. The door has both electronic and regular metal key locks, and peepholes at two heights. As you come in the door, a seating area with couch, table and chairs, wardrobe, and TV are in front of you. The closet is to the side, with an extra-wide door for access. Moving into the bedroom, there is a king-size bed, another wardrobe and TV, plus bedside tables. Off the bedroom, the bathroom is *very* large and has plenty of grips. There are 13 ADA rooms; ten of the rooms have a tub, three have a roll-in shower.

There's both visual and audio notification of emergencies; TDDs and bath chairs are available on request.

The Hotel

Getting To The Lobby

There are two main entrances -- from the garage and from the sidewalk.

From the garage, the automatic sliding doors lead to three choices: a half-flight of stairs directly in front, a winding narrow ramp to the right front, and two elevators to the immediate left. The ramp is narrow enough that some wheelchairs and scooters may not be able to make the turns. In that case, take the elevators to the left up to the 2nd floor or higher, follow the main hall to the other set of elevators, and take those down to the lobby/first floor where the desk is on the right.

The sidewalk entrance is about halfway up the hill from the garage and leads directly into the lobby. However, in an attempt to make the restaurant accessible, the hotel has placed small tables and chairs directly inside that entrance. When Peggy Rae and I were there to get a recent look at the hotel, chairs at least would have had to be moved to clear space for a wheelchair to come through.

The front desk doesn't have a lowered accessible area.

The Restaurant

There are three steps up to the restaurant; the hotel has placed some small tables and chairs at lobby level to try to make it accessible. I suspect one may have to shout for a waiter.

The Mezzanine

One of the major downfalls of this hotel for handicapped folk is the mezzanine. Able-bodied folk reach the two parts of it by short flights of stairs to the left of the front desk. Those of us who don't do stairs reach the upper mezzanine by way of the two elevators by the garage (there's no mezzanine on the lobby elevators side). The rooms on the upper mezzanine level are Council and Quorum plus restrooms.

People who don't do stairs reach the lower mezzanine by use of a small lift that goes between the garage entrance and the lower mezzanine. The hotel has agreed to leave the key in the lift this year (last year it took up to 30 minutes to get the key, not to mention moving from the lobby to the garage entrance), however, there is no call button for this lift so one may need an able-bodied person to use the stairs and then bring it to your level. The room on the lower mezzanine is Assembly and last year Registration and the parties board were also on that level.

The Elevators

There are two sets of two elevators -- the elevators by the garage entrance and the elevators in the lobby. The hotel has placed braille numbers by the inside buttons, an improvement from last year, but the elevators still do not "ding" when the doors open or when floors are passed. People with low vision may need help in the elevators. Also, last year the elevators frequently were off-set from the floors by as much as two inches. The hotel reps assured us that engineers would check the elevators every morning, but during our tour of the hotel, the elevators were off from a quarter-inch to an inch-and-a-half, so I'm not sure how well adjusted they'll be. Be sure to check before stepping on or off the elevators.

The Hallways

Last year there were places in the hallways where carpet had been stretched over missing boards. I asked about it and the hotel reps said they were sure that had been fixed, but they hadn't known about it before, so I don't know that they've been fixed. The gaps were not large enough to stop wheelchairs or scooters, but might trip people who walk but have mobility problems as well as people with low vision.

Main Capclave '03 page


This page was created 13 November, 2003. This page was last updated 13 November 2003.