The beach wheelchair business is going well in Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta. We never thought we would be so busy so soon. The business is covering it’s own expenses right now and we are very encouraged it will continue even as the busy season winds down. We have quite a few advanced reservations already. Who knew?
But enough of that …
The topic of today’s blog is, “What do they mean by ACCESSIBLE?”
Wow, can this mean a lot of different thing in Vallarta. Now that we have people using our beach wheelchairs and power chairs at a variety of locations we are beginning to really appreciate those facilities that are accessible in the same way that you would expect back in the states.
Paradise Village is in our top recommendations for accessibility. The sidewalks have ramps that are actually wide enough for wheelchairs, the paths are mostly gently sloped, and even the pool has a ramp for the water safe chairs to visit the activity pool. Another thing nice at Paradise Village is that the doors are wide enough for either a power chair or a beach wheelchair without removing any parts. I haven’t been inside of the accessible rooms, but we’ve not heard any complaints from customers. They have an elevator in every tower. The elevators are large enough for the chairs and companion (which is not true at all resorts). There is even an elevator to go up to the Xcarat night club entertainment (welcome party when it is hosted indoors), although this is through the restaurant. It’s a little odd, but functional. Sometimes other guests are not considerate and park in front of ramps or move their chairs in from of access, but they are usually good about moving out of the way when asked. They have wheelchair accessible tables throughout the facility including at the beach. They have beach mats that can be put out to wheel across. You just have to ask for that service as they are not out at all times. Even the spa and gym are easily accessible. They also run a shuttle down to the mall and to the golf course, but those are not wheelchair accessible as far as we’ve seen. They are so helpful though, that they might have an option if one were to ask. Ana at the concierge desk is very helpful. She has all the information you need to access mobility devices or information. She’s always got a smile and will go out of her way to make your stay pleasant.
Another resort that seems pretty accessible is the RIU Vallarta. We’ve had a few rentals there and the only negative feedback we received was that the doors are difficult to maneuver because they don’t face straight out to the hallway. The access ramps are easy to get to, the staff is very helpful, and there is a clear effort to make the facility accessible. Michelle at the concierge desk is quick to respond to email, has a wealth of information and is a joy to work with.
We haven’t had much luck getting into the Grand Mayan, but the Mayan at the Marina has contacted us with several requests. The property is very accessible. However, the elevators are incredible small. It is not possible to have both the chair and another person in the same elevator. On the other hand, the doors face outward and are plenty wide enough for the chairs. The beach wheelchairs barely fit into the elevator and actually rub on both sides requiring a little push to get through the doors. Arturo and Oscar seem to know everything. They are a resource worth tapping as they can help you with not only mobility, but anything you might want. If you need to reserve a mobility device, they will actually get on the computer and walk you through the process step by step.
The Hard Rock Nuevo is very accessible once you get into the resort. However, it is kind of weird getting into the property with a wheelchair. You have to go to this little side door and wait around for a security guard to let you through. They are doing some remodeling out front, so hopefully this will change. Once inside the resort is more accessible than most. The ramps are wide and easily maneuvered. We haven’t seen the rooms or elevators, but have had nothing but positive reviews from our clients.
Canto del Sol in the hotel district was very difficult for our clients. The “accessible” shower had a 4 inch lip making it impossible for the wheelchair to enter. It did have a drain outside of the shower and a hand held shower that could be used in that area. The rooms are small and difficult for a wheelchair to maneuver. The staff was absolutely wonderful and really tried to make it a comfortable stay, but the facility is just not set up well for limited mobility.
We visited the concierge at Samba and although we haven’t seem much of the facility, it seemed like there would definitely be challenges in a wheelchair. Just the lobby area posed some obstacles, so unless there was some modernization somewhere around a corner I don’t think this would be a great choice.
We plan to visit all of the resorts and check out their facilities more thoroughly. Will keep you posted 🙂