How to manage a disabled-friendly disaster
So spending the weekend in one of Singapore’s priciest hotels is not exactly what I’d planned.
Still at least the view at Marina Bay Sands was worth the $500 USD a night walkin rack rate – just.
Yep, you read it right.
$500 bucks. Per night. Ouch.
Thank God for Visa.
I had booked the Ibis on Bencoolen through bookings’ website Agoda.
It looked good enough and I’d stayed at the Ibis in Hong Kong before with no problem. What could possibly go wrong?
Agoda’s great because it allows you to search for disabled friendly hotels. And most of the time they are. But only most of the time.
I couldn’t fault the bathroom. All the railings, fixed seating you could shake a stick at, space where it was needed.
But the bedroom was a different story.
Maybe if I was 1.80cm tall the bed would have been fine. But being just 1.65cm at a stretch, not being able to reach the floor when propped up on the side of the bed was never gonna wash.
And let’s not dwell on the size of the room itself. Swinging cats best describes it. Forget about trying to turn your wheelchair around.
The staff, to be fair, tried their best. We changed the bed. We moved the bed. At one point we even considered new legs for the bed. All to no avail.
Disabled in Singapore was turning into a disabled disaster.
Time for Plan B. The Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
But after making the booking, it turned out there was no room at the Inn either. No wheelchair friendly rooms were available.
Onto Plan C. The Holiday Inn concierge hits the phones.
It’s 9pm. I have nowhere to sleep and I have a job interview in the morning.
Stress level? High.
Ma’am I’ve got a room for you.
Umm, MBS, Marina Bay Sands.
I knew the hotel. 2,500 rooms and a casino. Average occupancy rate since opening around 80%
Umm, gulp, how much?
Even bigger gulp. Umm. 500 usd
For the weekend?
Umm, No. Per night.
Reader, please choose the expletive of your choice and repeat several times.
Umm, Ok. No where else available?
Not at 10pm at night, no.
An hour later I’m in my room and for 500 bucks a night it’s rather ordinary.
The disabled friendly part also looks rather like an after thought. One vertical bar in the shower and a rickety shower seat on request doesn’t quite hit the mark.
The toilet wasn’t much better. A doorway so narrow I only just got my small travel chair through the door
No emergency call button either.
But at least the bed rail worked.
At 11pm tired, hungry and ever so slightly relieved I had somewhere to sleep, I finally called room service for a cheese and ham sandwich.
The first food I’d had since a tiny dimsum snack on the plane at 2pm.
11.45 it arrived. Lots of chips, but no cheese. Mmm hot bread and ham. Delish.
But the view’s good.