Because I Still Can
In the last 12 years, I've stayed 947 paid nights at Marriott properties. Most of those nights have been business travel. In addition, I'm sure we've stayed another 100+ nights on points. In all those stays, I've never been disappointed.
When we travel for fun, I always seek out Marriott locations and will even drive an hour out of our way for the consistency. However, there is a serious lack of Marriott hotels along the coast in the far north of California. For some reason, Marriott doesn't have a single hotel in the entire region.
I was forced to book our stay at another hotel and my requirements were simple, first floor room, non-smoking, and a pool that we could use in 50 degree weather. I'm almost always disappointed when I book other chains (not counting Hilton properties where I stay probably 25% of the time, but Hilton hotels are also missing in the area), but I booked a five night stay at a national chain in Eureka, CA for our 2017 Spring Break trip. We drove for over 5 hours to reach the hotel and the idea of swimming as soon as we dropped our stuff in the room and change into our swimsuits is what got Laurel through the last 100 or so miles. After we checked in, we were told that the pool was down for a week due to a broken pipe. Laurel took it in stride and I would later learn that she was worried that we would go back home if we didn't stay at this hotel. I appreciate her flexibility and honesty.
I changed our reservation to one night and promised the girls that I would find another hotel for the last four nights. I found another national chain type hotel online only a few miles away. Before I booked online, I called to make sure they had a working pool and that we could be guaranteed a first floor room. Check and check. Swimming was promised for the following day.
Laurel was ready to swim at first light and was disappointed to learn that she would have to wait until we could check in later in the afternoon. Again, she took it in stride.
At check in, I asked about the pool and was surprised to learn it was located on the second floor. A little weird, but no big deal. I asked for directions to an elevator, "Sorry, we don't have an elevator". That is a big deal.
I decided to stay at this hotel and just deal with the lack of accessibility because I still can. I have always worried about the days when I can't do what Kellisa wants to do. I will admit to slowing down and losing some endurance, and sometimes I take the easy path to save my back and energy for another day. One big example, Kellisa loves to sit in regular chairs or booths when we're out and I always transferred her from her wheelchair. Now, I usually just leave her in her chair. Fortunately we can still do pretty much everything we want to do.
I was careful to take the stairs slowly while carrying Kellisa over my shoulder. Laurel is a great helper who carried Kellisa's float and even snapped the picture above. We made our way to the pool where there was another surprise waiting for us. The pool didn't have any steps. Swimmers have two choices, take the ladder or jump in. Our plan that worked perfectly- Laurel jumps in with the float and I place Kellisa sitting with her legs in the water while I plop in myself. We then position Kellisa in her float. Once in the water, all was perfect. We've played in the pool for multiple hours every day. We kind of do the reverse on our way out.
It's clear the ADA hasn't made it to this hotel.