Showing posts with label Hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hotel. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Glo Best Western Savannah-Gateway I-95

Date of Visit: January 6-7, 2023 

Georgia tends to be where we stay on the way down to Florida. We've done it probably half a dozen times and always end up at a different Best Western mostly in the Savannah area. This year we actually were going to stay in Richmond Hill again, but looking same night it did not have enough rooms available for us to book. The Glo Best Western Savannah-Gateway I-95 did and even had an accessible room, which ended up being good, especially when we then ended up with a much worse accessible DVC room when we got to Florida.

We really liked that the room had no carpeting. The space was also good for the wheelchair to maneuver throughout, although the bed was rather high.

There were barn doors for the bathroom with one on each side of the TV and dresser. The microwave was under the TV, although it was kind of odd that then the fridge was over under the desk, but it did make it an easier height if Mik had wanted to use and also left the desk mostly clear for using.

The bathroom was spacious with two sinks (one had towel shelf under, but other was open area under).

The toilet area layout was good and the grab bars worked well for Mik.

The shower was a little awkward with there being a rubber edging. I assume it was to help prevent water from ending up in the bathroom and it would not be hard to roll over, but it actually did not prevent flooding as the shower curtain being curved out seemed to be more of an issue and when I took a shower the bath mat outside of shower ended up soaked.

The chair with a little table was a nice feature. There was even an outlet and USB for power on the side of it.

The bench on the side of the bed near the window was also a great spot for putting luggage out of the way or even for extra seating.

Overall we all enjoyed this Best Western. The breakfast was a little disappointing in that there were no bananas and it was odd that the yogurt came out of a machine, but they did have a waffle maker.

Destination Info:

17005 Abercorn St
Savannah, GA 31419

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Disney's Vero Beach Resort : 2-Bedroom Lock Off Accessible w/ Roll-in Shower

Date of Visit: January 7-14, 2023

To try something different, we stayed at Disney's Vero Beach instead of a Walt Disney World resort for our annual family trip this year.

Mik and I stayed in the studio part of the lock-off, which was accessible with grab bars, but had a tub. Only having the roll-in shower in the one bedroom was not a big deal as we just need it once or twice a trip. Unfortunately, the layout of the studio bathroom was such that Mik could not use it on his own. This was partially due to the grab bar only being on the right side, but it was also due to the path into the bathroom being by the toilet so we could not leave his wheelchair next to the toilet like we usually do for him to have something else to hold on to.

The studio was also immediately disappointing in that it is the smallest studio or hotel room we've ever encountered. I cannot imagine how one would use the room if you needed to fold out the couch into a bed as there is barely enough of a path through the room as is including you have to move the chair to be in the way of other paths in order to maybe fit by the bed and go out on the patio.

The other major issue is that there is pretty much nowhere to unpack and put your things as there is just eight about shoe size drawers to put your clothes in the dresser under the TV and just a little more room in the nightstand between the couch and bed. Then there was no where to put suitcases, but at least we had packed in a bag that rolls up and could use the couch as the place for the storage container we use for food, etc. I guess we may have been able to have some space in the closet if we asked them to take away the vacuum and crib, but it was very shallow and wouldn't have been of use for us.

The one bedroom side was better, but also lacked storage for the living room. Although in this case you do have some room in the laundry closet and we found a storage chest in the bedroom that we could move to give some drawers and a place to put a suitcase.

The kitchen area for the studio was also rather small. I guess a non-accessible might have the microwave up that shelf, but as it did not the coffee pot ended up on the table making for even less surface area to put stuff.

The bathroom on the one bedroom side was better for Mik as the grab bar was on the left and he could use it. However, it was still an awkward set up with there barely being enough of a path between the sink and the shower. The sink being so close in front of the toilet also made it difficult to be able to help Mik without bumping your back on the sink.

The tub area of that bathroom was huge, though. Really seems they could have better used the space from this area to make the toilet area not such a hazard.

Mik did enjoy that the one bedroom only had carpet in the bedroom, so it was easy to roll around.

Mik also liked the huge TV in the living room. The design also gave a good amount of counter space and storage behind it in the kitchen, which was one area that did have adequate storage. In particular, we liked the fridge having ice and water in the door, although the water dispensing was extremely slow. We also had an issue with the light flickering every time we opened the fridge or freezer, but maintenance quickly fixed it once we remembered to report it on day three or so.

The dining room table was slightly disappointing to us as the circle shape made it hard to play Wingpsan. The light, however, can be a real hazard. On one of our last nights, Josh bumped it with his head when sitting down and the glass broke when it hit against another bulb. That was actually our third encounter with maintenance (the second had been fixing the toilet paper holder coming lose in the bathroom). Apparently, the lights breaking happens regularly as it probably the best example of the poor design choices here. Also, we had to throw away two Dole whips due to the potential for glass ending up in them and they had replacements sent up to us.

Mik mostly spent the trip in the room as he was not into the beach, pool, or the nature reserves we went to for birdwatching. However, he did enjoy taking a walk one day and reading the info signs about turtles and some area history on the main path between the buildings.

We also enjoyed taking the walkway that goes under the street to access a treasure trail (not accessible as it is sandy and has parts even I had to duck to get through) and sports facilities (basketball, soccer, beach volleyball, tennis). The walkway is fun because it has Peter Pan characters painted on the wall and during the day the speakers play "You Can Fly!"

As a non-park vacation, we thought we would actually cook in the room more than usual. However, instead we found ourselves enjoying the quick service for lunch and almost all dinners as they had several rotating dinner specials that appealed to us. We also enjoyed being able to get Mickey pretzels and Dole whips, especially the Key Lime. Mik was disappointed, though, that they did not have Mickey waffles. We also found that the staff got to know you more like when you go on a cruise, which is not something we've ever experienced at the Walt Disney World resorts (probably mainly because we just do not spend much time at the resort beyond our room there).

Overall the family enjoyed the trip as a less structured and more relaxing vacation than doing the parks has become. We found the activities at the resort were fun including origami, mini golf, and checking out DVDs. In particular, I also enjoyed walking around the nature area across the street. Nora really enjoyed the water slide competitions. One night, the beach at the resort was also a great place to be able to see a SpaceX launch.

Although, we did not particularly like the room design, we would like to return and may even do it next year.

Destination Info:

9250 Island Grove Terrace
Vero Beach, FL 32963

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Tru by Hilton North Charleston Airport

Date of Visit: September 16-17, 2021

Normally I wouldn't do a post for a hotel when we did not have an accessible room, but we were supposed to. Not only did I make a reservation for an accessible room, but I actually made the reservation before I was able to buy tickets to the Blake Shelton concert because I wanted to ensure we had an accessible room if I could get accessible seats. We didn't get wheelchair accessible seats at the venue and that was our accessibility concern of the trip, but it turned out fine compared to the hotel, which has always been the least concern for us when traveling.

Around 11am on check in day, the Hilton app sent me a notification to check in, which I proceeded to do. At that time it not only showed me I had a reservation for an accessible room, but when I completed check in it had assigned me a room and sent me an email that my digital key was processing. I was actually initially impressed with the online check in because it has an option to tell them that there is a person in the room that may require assistance if there is an emergency evacuation of the hotel.

Around 1pm, I got an alert from the app that we had been assigned to another room and our digital key was ready. I assumed it was just a different accessible room that had become ready earlier even though I selected estimated arrival time of 5pm. However, I did start to be concerned because the app no longer showed anywhere that it was accessible, but I wasn't sure if it had after I completed the check in and was assigned the other room either.

When we finally got to the hotel at 6:15pm after unexpected traffic delays, we proceeded straight to the room to discover it was not accessible at all. My cousin went down to the desk to try to get us reassigned, but they had no available accessible rooms at this point, which is not surprising. We then had to waste more time trying to prove that I not only had reserved an accessible room, but had been assigned one. 

While the guy at the front desk was helpful and tried to figure out why some rooms were out of service, he also tried to convince us that our room was not guaranteed because we had not paid for the room until we checked in and we could not have checked in that early. While I understand that some room requests are not guaranteed until paid, I specifically had made a reservation for an accessible room and per my understanding of ADA law that room has to be set aside when I make the reservation and cannot be given away like it was. It is further annoying that it was given to someone else after the app assigned me the room and I had done everything I could to check in except actually access the room.

We requested a refund and he said he couldn't do that. All he could do was put a note in the system. We also requested to have the manager call us. We never received a refund nor further contact from Hilton. I also provided feedback in the Hilton app when it asked me and via the e-mail survey and never received a response there either despite asking to be contacted. I know we could have probably tried harder to contact them and complain, but they already almost ruined that night and wasted so much of our time. I decided to just report it to the DOJ in case there is a pattern to be investigated and be done with Hilton (except a few locations we have previously enjoyed).

I have long avoided Hilton just because there website has always annoyed me and I found I had to constantly go back and forth to find a hotel that actually had an accessible room to book despite filtering by accessible rooms when searching for reservations. In the last few years, the website has gotten better, but I'd rather go with Best Western that seems to not have online booking for ADA rooms at many locations like it should allow but at least they have never failed to provided it when we are able to book an ADA room online.

And this one feature of the toiletries in the room was so not joy inducing... Also, darn hard to use for someone with grip strength issues, so wonder how well that works if those are in the ADA rooms, too, because even kids (and me) could barely use the soap.

Months later we did end up with a check for a full refund, but the customer service to even get that was barely worth the effort and not satisfactory considering this type of situation should be punitive compensation and not just a refund. However, I did accidentally find I filled out a survey about the situation for the other Hilton we had stayed at without Mik earlier in the week and I will say that manager actually responded and cared that his location may have done something wrong (made sure to respond and let him know it was my mistake on survey and told him that his location had actually been awesome for us that stay), so I guess I am willing to try some other locations, but Hilton as a brand remains a choice we  most likely will only consider when using Mom or Dad's points and only pay to stay at the few locations we have had good experiences at (DC Wharf has always been great customer service wise and a go to even with the crap toilet seats Mik is always knocking off).

Destination Info:

Tru by Hilton North Charleston Airport
3331 W Montague Avenue
North Charleston, SC 29418

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort 1-Bedroom Accessible Villa w/ Roll-in Shower


Date of Visit: June 18-20, 2021

Originally we had planned to celebrate Mom’s 60th birthday with a Norwegian Fjords cruise in September. When it became clear it wasn’t going to happen and with Destination D cancelled last year we had banked DVC points that had to be used this year, we decided to try out Hilton Head. Unfortunately, I thought of it too late to even have a chance of booking for or near Mom’s birthday in July, but after weeks of checking I did finally find two nights in a row that would at least use the points we had to use this year. While it also happened to be Father’s Day weekend and near Mik’s birthday, we specifically only celebrated Mom’s birthday.

To the side after entering is a nice little area to leave your shoes and beach stuff. It also is where the studio would connect if you book a 2-bedroom lock-off.

Laundry is located in the entry area. Not a fan of the top loader as it was hard to fish the socks out of when unloading, but it is somewhat preferable to the usual stackable and allows for larger loads.

Mik liked that the living room had a fold out chair as well as sofa as we ended up only having to use the chair leaving Mik with plenty of floor space for him to hang out along with the TV being at a great height for him.

Kitchen area was one of the worst we've seen. It is usable, but would be annoying if we were actually staying more than a few nights and seems odd for a place that you would really need the kitchen if you stayed a week since there is no restaurant and a rather limited quick service (and even more limited the usual due to not being back to full regular operations or so I assume with it's hours being only until 5pm when we were there).

We found the fridge to be rather small as we almost didn't have enough space for the limited stuff we had brought with. It certainly would have been annoying if we had done this as our usual family trip, which we had considered for 2022 since we aren't sure we want to do WDW again, yet (mainly because no annual pass, but also majorly turned off since they replaced Great Movie Ride with something that requires a transfer).

The design with it ending at the table ends up with it being a tight fit for wheelchair to go through kitchen. Mik even found it hard to crawl that way and thus was basically stuck in the living room when the folding chair bed was out if we hadn't moved the chairs to each side by booth seating, which at least there was plenty of area for that to be done.

We did like the open shelf and counter design on the side behind the TV. Just wish they had made the path in kitchen slightly wider, but then you really would have a problem with the fold out beds in living room, I guess...

Living Room


View from Verandah

The bathroom was kind of awkward with how the door opened by the toilet. Overall the design is okay. Unfortunately, for Mik it just didn't work to use by himself since he has trouble when there is only a grab bar on the right side.

The shower was rather strange. With it mounted off to the side it was awkward and difficult to get it angled to stand under. The hose length was then also made it not that easy for Mik to use either.

We decorated for Mom's 60th similar to what we had done for Dad on our Panama Canal cruise. We also surprised her with some lefse. Not the same as getting to go to Norway, but it was one of the best batches Kirsten and I have ever made.

Mik was happy that he at least still managed to get Mickey waffles. He actually ended up saving them for breakfast at home the next day, though, as instead he filled up the fresh beignets.

Overall it is a decent beach resort, but certainly not somewhere we would have likely ever considered if we didn't have points we needed to use since I am not into the beach and Mik finds it no longer worthwhile as he has gotten older. While DVC is all about "Welcome Home" this is too much like being at home since we now live in Myrtle Beach and it really feels like you could pretty much get the same experience if not better at any other resort at Hilton Head. Perhaps, if the room design had been better, we might have kept it on our maybe list for our annual family trip, but now we won't even consider it and would probably rather risk the annoyance of RCI exchange or even just losing points instead (or maybe even settling for a non-accessible non-park WDW trip).

Destination Info:

22 Harbourside Lane
Hilton Head, SC 29928

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village Accessible 2-Bedroom Villa

Date of Visit: January 11-18, 2020

This was out third time staying at Kidani for our family trip, but it was out first time getting a 2-Bedroom rather than a lock off. For the most part it is the same, however, there is some key differences that make it a little better and a little worse.

The kitchen and living room area is the same.

The bathroom when you first come in is also the same in that it is not really accessible, although it sort of has a roll under sink.

The master bedroom sleeping area is also the same.

The bathroom, however, was unexpectedly not accessible as we have never encountered an accessible room that didn't at least have the master bath as accessible. For us, it didn't matter and was definitely preferable to if it had been the only accessible bathroom, but also kind of disappointing to not have the flexibility and a big reason why a dedicated 2-bedroom is second from the bottom of our list of choices for our family vacation.

The other bedroom has two beds. This means less floor space for Mik as we're used to a studio and not needing the sofa as a bed so he ends up with plenty of floor space. As Dad joined us this year, it was nice to each have a bed and we were able to rearrange the suitcase bench to be by the desk and sort of give Mik his own area to the left of the television.

The bathroom for the second bedroom was the only truly accessible one as the toilet area had room for a wheelchair to roll up next to and grab bars.

The roll in shower was good for both regular and accessible use. However, I found it disappointing that the decor wasn't Lion King or as fun decor as the other two bathrooms.

Just like on the cruise, we are a fan of the change to larger toiletries even though that means we don't end up with toiletries for home anymore. However, sadly they didn't have it for the lotion. There still was a little bottle. It'd be nice if there was also a dispenser size for that, too, and not have to worry about running out of any of the toiletries, which we did use to have to worry about for shampoo, conditioner, and body wash since they don't restock except sometimes on the cleaning day in the middle of the weeklong stay with DVC.

The verandah and savannah view is the main thing we enjoy about Animal Kingdom Lodge, although we didn't spend as much time out here this year as we have on past trips. Having one large verandah instead of two separate ones when in the lock off was one difference that was better. However, we felt like we had less chairs, although I think we've felt that way for the verandahs at all the resorts we've stayed at on our family trip.

Overall we prefer the lock-off style 2 bedroom at Kidani, but still works for our family trip and definitely was the right choice for this particular year. In particular, Mik prefers the extra floor space we end up with in the studio area of the lock off. However, our overall favorite for the family trip is the 2-bedrooms at Boulder Ridge.

Destination Info:
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village
3701 Osceola Parkway
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830