Are Boston Hotels Wheelchair Accessible?
by Don Nault
(Sudbury, Ontario Canada)
Copley Square Hotel in Back Bay, Boston
What are the best rates in Boston hotels during the spring or summer months? Can you tell me which hotels are good for people with a physical disability who get around with a manual wheelchair? What things I can see in a manual wheelchair? Thanks! Don from Sudbury, Ontario Canada
Susan's reply: Hi Don, As far as I'm aware, all Boston hotels, at least in central Boston where most of the tourist attractions are located, are accessible in a wheelchair. Inside the hotel, there will be an elevator to go from floor to floor. Outside, there will either be a ramp or a door at street level, or both. However, I strongly suggest calling the hotel when you make reservations not only to confirm accessibility, but in particular, to ask where the accessible door is. It may not be in an obvious place, such as the front of the hotel, because many of our buildings are old and were built before the time when accessibility was given priority. As a result, they've had to be retrofitted, and depending on the property, that is not always easy.
Boston hotel rates can get pretty high here in the summer (spring rates are somewhat better) but usually if you look around and can be flexible about dates, you can find something reasonable. The rates can vary a lot by date; for example, rates soar during the Boston Marathon (mid-April), July 4th, and a period of about 3 weeks during late May and early June when all of the colleges and universities in and near Boston hold graduation - there are about 60+ of them, so you can imagine how packed the hotels get.
A good approach is to check rates for a few different dates. If you look about halfway down on this page about Boston hotels, you'll see a link that says "TripAdvisor Search Tool." (Look for the small photo of Fenway Park in the right column - the link is almost opposite it.) You can use it to check rates for different dates. I do have one word of caution about it, though - not all of the hotels that it pulls up are in central Boston - in fact, a few are in downright inconvenient locations for anyone who wants easy access to historic sites. To be sure, you can check BostonDiscoveryGuide.com to see if the hotel is listed (just use the search box at the top left to search for it); if it is, I always state if it's outside of Boston Proper.
Boston is reasonably wheelchair accessible, with a few caveats: our subway system is very old, and although most of the stations are accessible, usually via elevators, the elevators are not always easy to find. In general, many stations will have multiple entrances, but only one will be accessible.
However, especially if you stay in a hotel in Downtown or Back Bay (you can find all hotels in these and other neighborhoods on our Boston hotels page).
Almost all major attractions such as museums, Fenway Park, etc, are wheelchair accessible. There's also a lot to see outdoors. Check out our list of Top Attractions to get some ideas.
Hope this helps! Have a wonderful time here when you visit Boston!