DisabledTravelers.com Travel Blog » reviews /1/blog Interesting information, reviews, and pictures in the world of accessible travel... Tue, 30 Oct 2012 01:47:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3 From the Disabled Travelers Mailbag: Wheelchair Accessible Golf /1/blog/2011/03/25/from-the-disabled-travelers-mailbag-wheelchair-accessible-golf/ /1/blog/2011/03/25/from-the-disabled-travelers-mailbag-wheelchair-accessible-golf/#comments Fri, 25 Mar 2011 07:01:30 +0000 /1/blog/?p=953 A tempting sight for golf-lovers!

A tempting sight for golf-lovers!
Photo by: Robert Linder (Stock Exchange)

Fore! Howdy all, and welcome to Disabled Travelers! In today’s blog, DT dips into the mailbag to answer another scintillating viewer question. I actually have a friend to thank for this one, an avid golfer who suggested we take a look at accessibility on the green. So, today’s Disabled Travelers trip is one to the fairway. Wheelchair golfers rejoice, as there’s much in the way of good news while we look at the venerable sport and art of golf – barrier-free, no less! – here in the United States.

SoloRider is the industry leader in accessible golf carts. Not only that, the company has the distinction of being a major player in establishing Americans with Disabilities Act compliance at golf courses. ADA laws require equal access in public places and the majority opinion is that this includes golf courses (with the exception of totally private clubs.) What this means for you is that many – though not all – major golf courses, including the most famous travel destinations, provide at least one adapted golf cart for wheelchair-bound golfers.

While SoloRider may not be the only adaptive golf cart, it is the most widely used. Disabled travelers and travel companions with mobility issues should call ahead or log on to see if these or similar carts are available. As golfers well know, there are many beautiful courses throughout the U.S., and I’ve gotten us started by finding a few that provide this top quality accessible service. Feel free to ring in with your own picks – and if your local course isn’t accessible, give them a call and let them know you’re there!

A Quick Selection of Accessible Golf Courses

Napa Golf Course – Napa, CA

Foxtail Golf Club – Rohnert Park, CA

Crystal Springs Golf Course – Burlingame, CA

Stanford University Golf Course – Stanford, CA

And many more …

But hold the phone, because that’s not all. Your usual clubs and courses aren’t the only places where you can find SoloRider and other adaptive golf carts. Another great place to look is the public park system, which maintains golf courses in many states. Federal and state lands are accredited compliant with ADA standards and, by definition, have to work quite a bit harder on their accessibility than the average bear.

Disabled travelers should check these out …

Hamilton County, OH Parks System Solorider page

Accessible Golf in the City of Phoenix, AZ

Niagara Parks Golf – A Leader in Accessible Golf

For a little more insight on Solorider, and a slew of reviews that might help you plan your next excursion, check out Disability Product Reviews by Access Anything, which gave the Solorider four stars. To search your local or vacation area in advance for accessible golf equipment, visit MobilityGolf, the online source for accessible golf courses. And for a whole lot more info and context on ADA and golfers, read Disabled Golfers Fight for Accessibility and Acceptance. (Take heart, fellow Disabled Travelers – this article is from 2004, and conditions are getting better.)

Thanks for tuning in to Disabled Travelers. I sure appreciate having you stop by. Who knows where Disabled Travelers will wind up next? Whether on the fairway or the freeway, you can find me with the next accessible travel update this time next week. Cheers!


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Disabled Access: Chicago, Part 2 (Back by Popular Demand) /1/blog/2010/02/22/disabled-access-chicago-part-2-back-by-popular-demand/ /1/blog/2010/02/22/disabled-access-chicago-part-2-back-by-popular-demand/#comments Mon, 22 Feb 2010 14:22:11 +0000 /1/blog/?p=381

Chicago Cityscape
Photo by: Nate Brelsford (Stock Exchange)

Hello, everybody! After taking a tour through the Disabled Travelers archives, I realized that one of our best-received recent articles was Disabled Access: Chicago. Now, I don’t usually do this, but since so many folks are queuing up to head to the Windy City and want more info about it, I thought I’d give the city a second look. Definitely read the original post for some great access guides, but in this post we’ll be going a bit deeper and searching out wheelchair accessible hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Let’s go!

Active Diner starts us off with a list of wheelchair access restaurants in Chicago. This includes dozens of listings, each including descriptions and photographs, and many with actual reviews by restaurant patrons. There’s something for everyone, with seafood, Italian, Mediterranean cuisine and more all available in an environment friendly to handicapped travelers and those who require mobility impaired access.

Though not created with accessible travel in mind, the website Metromix can help you find bars, clubs, music venues, movie theaters, restaurants and more. These listings do include information on accessibility. Though it can be somewhat sparse, I’m always in favor of providing a resource that will put readers in touch with great places to go. For our purposes, try Metromix Chicago. For another great site from an on-the-street travel perspective, try the wheelchair accessible entries at the Chicago Traveler blog.

From Disabled Travelers’ very own comment section comes a handful of useful handicapped travel resources I’m happy to mention. Visit WheelchairTraveling.com, a site for planning accessible travel, for some great photographs and Chicago attractions. If you find yourself in need of wheelchair or scooter rental, you can try out Howard Medical, a company with 30 years of experience providing medical supplies in the area.

There are a number of terrific attractions throughout Chicago that are wide open to wheelchair users. Among these are the historic John Hancock Center with its famous observatory, and the Art Institute of Chicago. For outdoor fun, check out Millennium Park. This fantastic space is one of the most beautiful attractions in all of Chicago, offering art and architecture, as well as natural splendor. There are many wonderful things to discover, and events are held regularly. This entire 24.5 acre space is accessible, with free wheelchair rental at the visitors’ center, and there is no entrance fee.

When you’re trying to find an accessible Chicago hotel, I suggest trying Travel Intelligence, a newer index of hotel features and reviews. I found the site intuitive and easy to navigate, and the company claims that the reviews are written by professional travel writers. Can’t confirm that independently, but I did find the reviews to be better-written and more informative than average, so it’s worth taking a look

Hope you’ve had fun on our second visit to Chicago. Remember, we’re here for you, so any time you want more information, just let me know. Coming up in March, I’ll be doing destinations in Asia, as well as some fun vacation spots throughout the States, and keeping the Disabled Travelers Mailbag close by for viewer questions. Adventure on!

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Wheelchair Accessible Cruises for the Caribbean and More /1/blog/2009/11/11/wheelchair-accessible-cruises-for-the-caribbean-and-more/ /1/blog/2009/11/11/wheelchair-accessible-cruises-for-the-caribbean-and-more/#comments Wed, 11 Nov 2009 19:13:54 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/?p=122 Photo by: strakplan (Stock Exchange)

A cruise ship at the harbor of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands

Hello, everyone! I’m back and it’s time for more news from Disabled Travelers. Since the debacle I described last week about accessible travel problems with Canadian airlines, I’ve been thinking a lot about cruises. Cruises are a great way to get from place to place without the hassle of air travel; you get to explore at your leisure and enjoy luxury, wonderful scenery, and a whole slew of activities. So I’d like to spend some time in today’s post talking about wheelchair accessible cruises and disabled travel on the sea. I’ve had the good fortune to make a transatlantic journey on the Queen Mary II, and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade in for any airplane, no matter how nice it was!

To start with, know that though most major cruise lines are very proactive about making accessibility easy for handicapped travelers, many ports of call outside the United States are not known for much in the way of mobility impaired access. It’s always a good idea to check with cruise companies and find out about individual stops on the itinerary before booking a cruise. The AARP’s Peter Greenberg has a huge assortment of great articles on accessibility in cruises. Peter covers transatlantic cruises and visits to plenty of exotic locales, including Alaska, China, and many more. Definitely worth a look. On top of that, Cruise Critic has a detailed piece on Top Ships for Cruisers with Disabilities.

Caribbean destinations can be some of the most troublesome for travel with a disability. Luckily, this trend might be on the reverse according to MSNBC, which offers an introduction on how to plan an accessible Caribbean vacation and tips on choosing a cruise line with wheelchair accessible ship cabins. Connie George Travel Associates arranges accessible vacations, including cruises, and maintains a blog all about accessible cruising. These resources are a great start for planning handicapped travel at sea. Remember that communication is key when you have special needs on a cruise – check and double-check any accommodations you’ve been promised at least ten days in advance of boarding, even if you’re fairly confident everything is in order.

Disability access is a priority for many major cruise lines, so disability access policies are generally pretty well spelled out – take for example the accessibility onboard page from Royal Caribbean International. CruiseCheap has a thorough overview of accessibility on Princess Cruises. Cunard seems a bit less forthcoming, but provides accessibility information in its FAQ. For those who might need accessibility equipment for an ocean voyage, Special Needs at Sea provides a variety of useful items and works directly with Royal Caribbean International and Holland America. I’ve heard mixed reviews on Holland America’s wheelchair access (this is their page on accessibility), but haven’t ever cruised with them. Anyone have any experiences to share?

Small Ship Cruises has information on small ship cruise companies with wheelchair accessible vessels in their fleet. Small ships are particularly interesting since they offer some destinations and opportunities the big cruise lines simply can’t. There are some amazing destinations covered here, including Antarctica, the Falklands, Africa, and a number of great U.S. waterways, as well as many more traditional destinations.

That’s all for now! Next week I’m looking at disabled travel resources for handicapped travelers who want serious outdoor adventure. Of course, this blog is here for you, and I’d be glad to cover whatever you need. Be sure to let me know if you have any requests. Until then, keep adventuring!


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Two Month Tour of North Thailand in a Wheelchair… /1/blog/2009/03/13/two-month-tour-of-north-thailand-in-a-wheelchair/ /1/blog/2009/03/13/two-month-tour-of-north-thailand-in-a-wheelchair/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2009 23:12:45 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/?p=97 This was emailed to me to share with everyone – Thank you Robert Craig!


22 February 2009

Here we are, just home from an experience of a lifetime. It all started with myself, age 82 (and disabled), my Wife 76 and Brother 77, booking deluxe, flat-bed, return business class ETIHAD (the Abu Dhabi airline) flights from Manchester to Bangkok and leaving everything else to Randy and his Team at http://www.all-thailand-exp.com.

Over the years, we have traveled the 5 Continents extensively and in some style, generally staying in the best hotels—such as the Danielli in Venice—sailing on the most exclusive ships—such as Hebridean International (the Queen’s favorite)—or riding on the most luxurious of trains—such as The Captain’s Choice (4,000 miles across Tibet and China).

So it was with a sense of considerable adventure that we placed ourselves wholly in the hands of http://www.all-thailand-exp.com, particularly since their quotation was relatively modest, compared to the pro rata cost of our other recent travels.

We needn’t have worried a jot. Indeed the motto of the trip, jokingly, became DON’T WORRY. From the moment of our arrival to the moment of departure we were looked after on a 24/7 basis, even being loaned a local Thai mobile phone with the local staff numbers programmed in.

It all started on Google, with me keying in “tailormadeholidaysthailand” then emailing a specification explaining who we were and what we wanted. Amongst other things I explained that although my wife and brother were active walkers, I had a mobility problem and could only manage a maximum of 50 metre walk, with no hills or serious staircase. By return came a welcome, and succinct, Randy email—”No problem; we will put a wheelchair in the van”.

The “van” turned out to be a brand new luxurious 8-seater Toyota minibus, offering very comfortable accommodation for the 3 of us, plus the Driver (Khaek); Manager/Organiser/General Guide (Nui) and Specialist/Local Guide (mostly Nan or Nok), plus a very large volume of luggage, icebox, liquor store, wheelchair, etc. NOTE: The van was well run-in at the end of our 7,000 mile trip; the wheelchair was just about caput.

Words completely fail me to describe the staff—they were each and all just superb in their work and hugely likable in every respect. Everything, from the moment of our arrival at 8.00am for 4 nights at the iconic Oriental Hotel, Bangkok (listed as one of the “1000 Things To Do Before You Die”), to our departure nearly 2 months later—went like clockwork. There was huge, and much appreciated, attention to detail. For example Nui and Nok were at the Oriental to greet us and had arranged, despite the early hour, for us to go straight up to our spacious 3-room private suite (which came complete with butler) to freshen-up after the 15-hour flight from Manchester.

The wheelchair was a huge success. It transformed the daily excursions, which otherwise would have been impossible, or hugely embarrassing due to my inability to keep up with the others, into exciting experiences, opening up a whole new type of very relaxing holiday for all 3 of us.. It was also a great help to my photography—(I forgot to mention that both myself and brother are serious photographers dependent on using heavy and clumsy lens/camera combinations). From the wheelchair I could easily manage my huge 300mm f5.6 lens, as we worked our way through the markets, etc.

Of course I was particularly close to Khaek (the driver), as he was in charge both of the wheelchair and of skilfully positioning the “van” so I could photo from my window alongside his seat. His performance was amazing and, although he spoke little English, we got on fine. He, along with the rest of the Team, turned their hands to everything that needed doing, whether it was maintaining the icebox, finding a wine shop (most restaurants had either no wine, or a limited range at high prices), producing the corkscrew and glasses, etc—to repairing the wheelchair!

We saw many wondrous sights, recorded on over 2000 photographs, including a superb picture of my brother stroking the lively King Tiger on our visit to the tiger temple.

This was moments before my brother’s place was to be taken by a tall elderly lady, dressed from head to toe in snow white and reeking of perfume. The unfortunate tiger, taken aback at this apparition, jerked its head round with a grin and a growl (as cats do) and laid a friendly paw on the lady’s arm. Pandemonium ensued—I have never previously seen someone so nearly die of fright—the lady reeled back, to be quickly carried away by a hoard of onlookers and the poor King Tiger was subjected to a humiliating onslaught of scolding and admonishment that went on for 10 minutes. Eventually the poor tiger was led away by a monk. Unfortunately I was so intrigued by the excitement, I missed the photos!

There were far too many memorable events to mention more than six!

  1. The internationally famous New Years Eve fireworks display over the river, alongside the Oriental Hotel.
  2. The sale of home brew Snake Whisky in a Hill Village in Laos, each bottle containing a complete small Cobra!— ideal Christmas presents at $2 per bottle.
  3. Visit to a major wood-carving factory in Chaing Mai where my Brother and I purchased various amazing teak carvings, to be sent by sea to the UK. (Total cost about £2,000).
  4. Eye-boggling exodus at sundown of wave upon wave of over 100,000 bats from some hidden cave, high up on the rock face, en route to the Bridge Over The River Kwai. (Another of the “1000 Things To Do Before You Die”)
  5. The superb daily Thai lunches, served in expertly selected, top quality, scenically situated, restaurants, with multi course banquets personally chosen by Nui. Thus each day seemed a complete and different gourmet experience from anything that had gone before and tended to become the high spot of the day!
  6. The magic of the Golden Triangle Hotel, where one can sit on ones veranda and watch the river meander by, with Thailand down below, impoverished Burma up to the left and poor Laos over to the right—thinking of those far off days when this was the Opium Capital of the world.

We could go on writing for pages—but why? You either have a love of superb weather and urge for adventure, coupled with the sort of cash that buys a business class air ticket, or you don’t.

Moreover, if you, or a friend, have the very slightest mobility problem, take it from my personal experience of “all-thailand-exp.com PLUS wheelchair” that a vacation such as I have had could open up a whole new horizon of relaxed adventure travel at no greater cost than a luxury cruise.

Robert Craig


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Disabledgo.info – a great resource for traveling in the UK /1/blog/2007/11/28/disabledgoinfo-a-great-resource-for-traveling-in-the-uk/ /1/blog/2007/11/28/disabledgoinfo-a-great-resource-for-traveling-in-the-uk/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2007 08:57:18 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/2007/11/28/disabledgoinfo-a-great-resource-for-traveling-in-the-uk/ I came across this site the other day and it seems quite useful. It doesn’t have every location but the ones it does have are researched very extensively with in depth review and explanation of the locations accessibility.

In their words:

DisabledGo provides free detailed access information for disabled people across the UK. Our detailed access information will empower you to judge the disabled access to venues for yourself. See examples of our access guides for hotels, cinemas, restaurants, tourist attractions, pubs, train stations, leisure centres and universities.


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Accessibility Review of “Hervey Bay Whale Watch” Service /1/blog/2007/11/27/travel-review-of-hervey-bay-whale-watch/ /1/blog/2007/11/27/travel-review-of-hervey-bay-whale-watch/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2007 06:54:39 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/?p=9 This review was emailed to me September 26, 2007:

Recently we spent a week in Hervey Bay in Australia. Off course the highlight of our trip was whale watching, even though one of us is in a wheelchair. The crew of Quick Cat 2 were very considerate in advising us to postpone our outing by a day, due to the rough conditions. The 18th of September was indeed much smoother, and we had an ample display of whale activity.

We sincerely appreciate the help and care received from the skipper and crew. The cruise was a great experience for us all.


Paul, Kathleen & Michael V

Hervey Bay Whale Watch website

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Accessibility Hotel Review of Jurys Washington Hotel – Very Good /1/blog/2007/11/27/accessible-hotel-review-of-jurys-washington-hotel-very-good/ /1/blog/2007/11/27/accessible-hotel-review-of-jurys-washington-hotel-very-good/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2007 06:08:08 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/?p=8 This review was emailed to me in August 2005:

Main dining room accessible but expensive. Irish pub accessible and prices reasonable. One block from wheelchair accessible subway station. 10 min. ride to White House, Capitol, Smithsonian Museums. Located on Dupont Circle many outdoor cafes, restaurants, antiques, bookstores, embassies. WARNING.. D.C. HAS NO WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE TAXIS! They allow w/ch accessible taxis from surrounding areas to pick you up at the airport and drop off at D.C. hotels. Same with taking you to the airport but they cannot pick you up in D.C. and drop you in D.C. You must make taxi arrangements in advance or it may be impossible to get one.


Anna P.

Jurys Washington Hotel InformationTripAdivsor Reviews

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Accessibility Service Review of “Paris on Wheels” – Outstanding! /1/blog/2007/11/27/travel-review-of-paris-on-wheels-outstanding/ /1/blog/2007/11/27/travel-review-of-paris-on-wheels-outstanding/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2007 05:55:15 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/?p=7 This review was emailed to me in December 2005 from Adrian S.:

Paris on Wheels in Middleton, New Jersey – This company is actually one man, Mr. Guzman, an American. While in Paris I did walking tours with him (he pushed me in my chair), and he referred me to another good company (great service) with whom I did van tours of Paris, Versailles, and Normandy. He knows accessible Paris like no one else I’ve come across. I believe he also does work as a travel companion for trips to Paris and other places. This company was outstanding!


Adrian S.

Paris on Wheels website

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Accessibility Hotel Review of Knights Inn – Sturgis, Michigan /1/blog/2007/11/27/travel-review-of-knights-inn-sturgis-michigan/ /1/blog/2007/11/27/travel-review-of-knights-inn-sturgis-michigan/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2007 05:40:46 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/?p=6 The review was emailed to me in May 2005 from Gail S:

When I called this motel for a reservation (in 2006, not 2005; this system wouldn’t let! me choose 2006), I was assured that there was a handicap-accessible room. I was unhappily surprised to arrive at the motel and find out that neither the room nor the office of the motel were accessible (steps up into each). Additionally, my traveling companion looked at the room and told me that the only grab bar in the bathroom was designed to be used by someone standing up (it was above her height of 5’1″). I had to find another lodging at the last minute and when I later contacted the hotel to complain, the manager was verbally abusive and unconcerned about the lack of customer service and honesty. This is a place to avoid at all costs.


Gail S.

TripAdisor ReviewsHotel Information

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Accessibility Review of Becco Restaurant in NYC /1/blog/2007/11/27/travel-review-of-restaurant-in-new-york-city/ /1/blog/2007/11/27/travel-review-of-restaurant-in-new-york-city/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2007 04:53:53 +0000 http://disabledtravelers.com/blog/?p=5 Dear Jeremy,

I have a physical disability and am unable to bear any weight on my legs. I recently visited Becco’s for lunch and want to suggest it to other people who are going to NYC and have similar limitations as I do.

Since they have steps to enter, I had to call ahead to let them know when I would arrive. Once I called they were happy to put out their ramp. They were not only physically accommodating of my needs(they have a large bathroom with a high toilet), but they were helpful in other ways. After eating I needed directions to another location. The server immediately went online and gave me directions and suggested bus routes to my destination.

Susan S.

Other Information on Becco’s: Becco WebsiteTripAdvisor ReviewFrommers InformationMap to Becco

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