We always used Booking.com as our go-to for hotel bookings before Craig's accident as we found it was the cheapest and easiest way to book accommodation. We didn't want to have to change the way we look for accommodation. Having to ring up hotels or use disabled travel agents or anything like that really isn't our style. We wanted to keep our travel experience as close to normal as possible. So when it got to booking our first trip we went straight back to Booking.com. It took us a little while to work out how to find accessible accommodation on Booking.com but it's fairly easy once you know how and we've used it several times since.
Here are our top tips for booking accessible accommodation using Booking.com:
The earlier you book the better. Prices are generally cheaper and you have more time to message hotels to request an accessible room.
There is a general filter 'facilities for disabled guests' under facilities filter but if you scroll far enough down you can find whole filter sections: facilities for disabled guests and room accessibility. This allows you to filter for specific requirements such as 'roll in shower' or 'toilet with grab rails'. One thing to note is that not all hotels will fill in all the accessible facilities they do have and may only select the general facilities for disabled guests option. This means that if you select all the specific filters you desire, you might actually be limiting yourself to a smaller selection of hotels than possible. We tend to only use the general filter so that we can have a wider selection of results. We then make sure we read the description of the hotel carefully and check the photos for an idea of what the bathroom etc might be like. Note the mobile app does not have all these filter option, it only has the general 'facilities for disabled guests' filter. You must visit the desktop site for the full selection.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, they can say a lot about how accessible a hotel might be. Once you've found a hotel you like the look of, flick through the photos and see if you can find things like accessible bathrooms, lifts or the entrance. This will give you an idea of what the hotel is like.
Once you've filtered your results, read the description of the accommodation carefully incase there are any details about accessibility.
We always use the map view option to look at the results. This is handy for working out the proximity of the hotel to transport links and attractions.
Once we've found a hotel we like the look of, we request an accessible room in the special requests box on the booking form. If you need to check for specific access requirements this is the place to do so. From our experience, hotels have been pretty quick at responding.
The nice thing about using Booking.com is that most hotels have the option to book with free cancellation. So if it turns out the hotel doesn't meet your needs or if you find something better you can easily cancel.
Booking.com has a loyalty scheme called the Genius programme. There is a tier of reward levels but you can start earning rewards after just two bookings. Rewards include discounts, free breakfasts and late checkout.
We like to use Booking.com because they generally are the cheapest, have a good selection of hotels, offer free cancellation, have good filter options, the reward scheme that offers discounts after only a few bookings and if you're booking multiple hotels you only need one account.
If you don't fancy staying in a hotel check out our article on how to book accessible accommodation using Airbnb:
If you do decide to use Booking.com please go through one of the links on our website (any link that takes you to booking.com will work) before you book. This will have no effect upon your booking and will not cost you any more but Booking.com will give us a cut of the commission they get from the hotel - this helps greatly towards the costs of updating and maintaining this website. Thank you for supporting us!