Friday, December 18, 2009

Best of 2009 - Hotels

Here are the best hotels we saw this year...

Best Chain - Springhill Suites by Marriott.  A two-room suite, a hot breakfast, good rates, and guaranteed accessibility.  We stayed at several locations and always had a good suite...a real suite too, I hate hotels that have a divider between the bed and sofa and call it a "suite" - a suite is more than one room, period...a good, hot breakfast with eggs; meat; very helpful and friendly staff, never more than around $20 more than Motel 6, decent locations, with all Marriott hotels...if an accessible room is available, you can guarantee it with a web reservation at 

If you need a roll-in shower, you'll need to call ahead of time to block it, so I'd deduct a half star for that, but otherwise, you really can't go wrong here.  Locations also have free wi-fi, and an ethernet connection in the room (also free) if the wi-fi is spotty. 

Best Independent hotel - Best Western Station House Inn, South Lake Tahoe, California.  I know Best Western calls itself the world's "largest hotel chain," but really it's just a confederation of independently owned inns.  Here in Lake Tahoe are about a half-dozen Best Westerns.  Some of you are already whining, "but it's on the South Shore!"  I'm with you's the best place to stay.  One block from the lake, with free beach passes; two blocks from the casinos; two blocks to the Heavenly Valley gondola and on a very quiet street - quite a rarity at this location.

Two-room suites with in-room spas are the prime rooms here and the management will provide a bath chair.  A large standard room with two queen beds is also available with a roll-in shower.
The best feature, even better than the heated pool and spa, is the restaurant.  Your room includes what has been called the best free hotel breakfast in the world.  It has been included in a number of top 10 lists.  You actually get to sit in the restaurant; get waited on by professional, experienced waiters; and get to choose from a number of huge breakfasts or choose that day's special.  The hotel, and the restaurant staff, are very proud of their breakfast service and it shows.  The rates are Southshore reasonable, the rooms very comfortable but I wish they'd have just one suite with a roll-in shower.  Still, the nicest place in Tahoe right now.

Honorable Mention - list thousands of private rental properties that you can search for wheelchair accessibility.  We got a gem of a flat in France with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, dining room, kitchen, living room, sattelite TV, wifi, two pools, free gated parking, two terraces in the heart of Cannes for $250 a nght (five people) and step-free access.  The only drawback is that you can't book on the site, your request is sent to the owner and you then negotiate with them directly.  I'd like to see you be able to book directly on the website.

Pictures courtesey Wikimedia
Terrence Ong under CC-SA license
Sidney and Russel Poore under CC-SA license

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