than the central reservation number, and ask about
features that are important to you. If you don’t get
the info you want, thank them and hang up. Then
call back and see if you can reach another person
who may be more helpful; if not, it’s time to try a
different lodging option.
Be aware that “blocking” and “guaranteeing” a
room are not the same thing. With a “guarantee,”
a hotel takes your credit card number to lock
in the quoted rate and to assure a room will be
available even if you arrive late. “Blocking” is the
correct term for reserving a specific room. Ask a
hotel to block, not guarantee, an accessible room
or you might be out of luck when you arrive.
Get everything confirmed in writing. If a hotel
has blocked an accessible room for you but it’s
not available when you check in, the hotel must
either kick out the overstaying guest or find you
Half page ad_hi-res.pdf 1 12/20/11 12:36 PM
equivalent space elsewhere for the same or higher
rate—and it has to pay the difference, if any.
If you have a bad experience, don’t keep it to
yourself, Nayar adds. “Complain, and not just
to your friends.” Write to the CEO or president
of the company and send copies to organizations
such as SATH and the Society.
“My attitude and the way I ask is going to
determine whether destinations accommodate
my needs,” says Jerry Lacroix. “And I have to accept
the fact that sometimes there are limitations and I’m
not going to get into every place I want to. So I look
for other places I can get in. The only limitation is
myself. If I want to do it, I can do it.” n
elinor nauen is a new york–based writer and editor who
covers health, sports and other topics.
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