Goldilocks Loves Universal Design; Reads Danielle Steel


The last time I wrote about hotel beds I received hearty encouragement from Eleanor Smith, founder of the Visitability initiative. My search for the "just right" bed will never have the worldwide impact of Visitability. In fact, it may put a few people to sleep. But that's not a bad thing.

Many who travel using wheelchairs or with parents having mobility difficulties have lamented the trend toward "skyscraper beds." These extra high beds may make for enticing promotional photos with their long legs and impressive display of mattress-top quilting and padding. Short of installing step ladders for entry or taking a flying leap to mount them they remain out of reach for many.

The Marriott Suites Hotel in Anaheim, California has hit the "Goldilocks Zone" with more than its sensible height bed in Room 1401.

I chose this accessible room for the tub rather than the roll-in shower which inevitably rusts out my wheelchair bearings after about three days of use. The sitting room is ample and entry is smooth with a low friction carpet. The simple love seat is appropriately high and has firm enough cushions to work well for a transfer. An efficient tableserves as a desk with easy to reach lamp switch, wall outlets, and DSL cable. Someone was thinking "practicality & comfort" in this room.

Goldilocks would approve of the bedroom. The hotel's designers have not succumbed to the Viagra-era compulsion to add a few inches to everything in the bedroom. Envision the bed, for example.

Adding firmness where it counts the reinforced mattress edge guard doesn't disappoint with a limp sag as you move into position for a transfer. Rather than the "look but do not touch" stance of the currently trendy stage-high beds Marriott offers a voluptuous profile. The ample breadth practically heaves under the weight of not one but three pairs of pillows. Sneaking a first peek in through the doorway the whole room seems to ask, "What were you doing out there that was so important anyway?"

Cold showers available in the adjoining bathroom.

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