When it comes to hotel accommodations, accessibility is key. One feature that enhances accessibility is the roll-in shower.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: A roll-in shower is a barrier-free shower designed to accommodate individuals with mobility issues, such as those using wheelchairs. Its features include a wide entrance, a flat floor, grab bars, and a handheld showerhead.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the design and function of roll-in showers, their importance for accessibility, and the legal requirements surrounding their provision in hotels. Additionally, we will guide you on how to request a roll-in shower when booking a hotel room.

Detailed Explanation of Roll-In Showers

A roll-in shower is a type of bathroom shower that is specifically designed for people with limited mobility, such as those who use wheelchairs or walkers. Roll-in showers are typically found in hotels, as they are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide accessible accommodations for guests with disabilities. In this article, we will discuss the design elements of roll-in showers and how they function.

Design Elements of Roll-In Showers

Roll-in showers are designed with several key elements that make them accessible for people with disabilities. These elements include:

  • A low threshold or no threshold at all, which allows a wheelchair or walker to easily roll into the shower
  • A wide opening, typically at least 36 inches wide, to provide ample space for a wheelchair or walker
  • A showerhead that can be handheld, so that the person can easily direct the water where they need it
  • Grab bars or other support features to help the person maintain balance and stability
  • A non-slip floor to prevent slips and falls

These design elements ensure that the roll-in shower is safe and accessible for people with disabilities.

How Roll-In Showers Function

The functionality of a roll-in shower is similar to that of a traditional shower, with a few key differences. The person using the shower can enter the shower area with their wheelchair or walker, and then transfer onto a shower chair or bench if needed. The handheld showerhead allows the person to easily direct the water where they need it, and the grab bars provide support and stability. Once they are finished showering, they can easily exit the shower area.

Roll-in showers are an important feature in hotels, as they provide accessible accommodations for people with disabilities. By ensuring that these accommodations are available, hotels can help ensure that all guests feel welcome and valued.

For more information on accessible hotel accommodations, you can visit the ADA’s Hotel Accommodations for Guests with Disabilities resource.

The Importance of Roll-In Showers

Roll-in showers are becoming more common in hotels due to their practicality and convenience for guests with disabilities or temporary mobility issues. These showers are designed with a low threshold entry that allows guests to easily roll-in with a wheelchair or walker. Here are some reasons why roll-in showers are important in hotels:

  1. Facilitating accessibility for people with disabilities: Roll-in showers are a necessity for guests with disabilities who use a wheelchair or have limited mobility. These guests need a shower that is easy to access and navigate without any obstacles. According to the CDC, approximately 61 million adults in the US have a disability, and providing accessible accommodations is essential to ensure equal opportunity for all.
  2. Providing safety and comfort for elderly guests: Elderly guests may also benefit from roll-in showers as they provide safety and comfort. These guests may have difficulty stepping over a traditional shower threshold, which can increase the risk of falls. Roll-in showers eliminate this risk and provide a more comfortable and enjoyable experience for elderly guests.
  3. Ease of use for guests with temporary mobility issues: Guests who have temporary mobility issues, such as a broken leg or sprained ankle, may also find roll-in showers to be more convenient. These guests may not require a wheelchair or walker, but still have difficulty stepping over a shower threshold. Roll-in showers offer a more accessible and comfortable option for these guests.

Legal Requirements for Roll-In Showers

Roll-in showers are an essential feature in hotel rooms that cater to guests with disabilities. It is a shower that has a low threshold (usually less than half an inch) to enable wheelchair users to enter the shower area without encountering any barriers. There are two main legal requirements for roll-in showers in hotels:

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements: The ADA is a U.S. law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including hotels. The ADA requires hotels to provide accessible rooms that meet specific criteria, including the provision of roll-in showers. The shower must have a minimum size of 36 inches by 36 inches, with a grab bar and a shower seat. The shower controls must also be within reach of the seated user.
  2. International standards for accessible hotel accommodations: Apart from the ADA requirements, hotels must also comply with international standards for accessible hotel accommodations. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a set of guidelines, ISO 21542, that provide recommendations for accessible design and construction of buildings, including hotels. The ISO guidelines stipulate that a roll-in shower must have a minimum size of 39 inches by 63 inches, with a shower seat and grab bars. The shower controls must also be within reach of the seated user.

Hotels that fail to provide accessible rooms that meet these legal requirements may face legal action from guests with disabilities. Therefore, it is important for hotels to ensure that their roll-in showers comply with the ADA and international standards to avoid legal liabilities.

For more information on ADA requirements and ISO standards for accessible hotel accommodations, visit ADA.gov and ISO.org.

How to Request a Roll-In Shower in a Hotel

If you’re someone who uses a wheelchair or has mobility issues, having a roll-in shower can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying your hotel stay. Here are some ways to request a roll-in shower during your hotel booking process:

  • During the booking process: Many hotel booking websites have an option for requesting an accessible room. When selecting your room preferences, look for this option and make sure to check the box for a roll-in shower. You can also call the hotel directly to confirm that your request has been noted.
  • Inquiring at check-in: Even if you requested an accessible room with a roll-in shower during the booking process, it’s always a good idea to confirm your request at check-in. This will give the hotel staff a chance to double-check that everything has been set up for you.
  • What to do if a roll-in shower is not available: If for some reason a roll-in shower is not available, don’t be afraid to ask for alternative options. Some hotels may have shower chairs or transfer benches available to make a standard shower accessible. If these options are not available, the hotel may be able to recommend nearby accessible facilities.

Remember, requesting a roll-in shower is a simple way to ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable hotel stay. Don’t hesitate to speak up and advocate for your needs.


In conclusion, a roll-in shower is a key accessibility feature in hotels that makes the accommodation experience more comfortable, safe, and inclusive for guests with mobility issues.

With its barrier-free design and additional safety elements, it plays a crucial role in ensuring that everyone can enjoy their stay, regardless of their physical condition. Knowledge about roll-in showers is not only important for guests who need them, but also for all hotel guests, as it promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of accessibility in travel.

Remember, when booking a hotel, if you or your companions require a roll-in shower, make sure to communicate this requirement during the booking process or at check-in.

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