The Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, is the first hotel to adopt “Closing the Gap,” an accessibility program designed to enhance the hospitality experience for persons with disabilities.
The Chelsea will offer a Guest Accessibility Package to hotel guests, providing them with a wealth of information to make the most of their stay, including information about the hotel, its amenities and surroundings in a way that speaks to persons with disabilities. Designed by Accessibility Professionals of Ontario (APO), a full-service accessibility consulting firm, the Chelsea is committed to ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to the same information as all guests – consistent with the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equal opportunity.
“Helping people in our communities is not just a nice thing to do, it is an expression of what it means to be a Chelsea Hotel employee,” says Ron Pellerine, general manager, Chelsea Hotel, Toronto. “Our commitment to Closing the Gap is a natural extension of our Chelsea CARES program, which helps Toronto’s hospital community provide complimentary hotel rooms to families in need and includes a five year sponsorship of SickKids Foundation.”
By offering the Guest Accessibility Package upon check in at the Chelsea Hotel, the visitor experience is enhanced by minimizing any potential accessibility barriers due to a lack of communication and information. The typical package includes everything from emergency evacuation procedures and information about accessible entrances and exits as well as where to find hotel amenities, activities and local attractions. The information can be made available in a variety of formats including print, braille and electronic text (via USB drive or with a web browser or mobile device.
Other highlights include a list of assistive devices available at the hotel, restaurant and room service menus, telephone directories, local accessible transit options, directions for orientation and instructions for operating equipment such as televisions, telephones and fitness machines. In response to the increasing need for Autism awareness, the Chelsea Hotel, APO and Kerry’s Place Autism Services have collaborated to develop the first Guests with Autism Comfort Package, which includes social scripts to help with the
understanding of the hotel and its amenities. Due to the sensory issues that affect some individuals with Autism, “Fidget Kits” are included in the package.