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Lodging Guest Rooms — A Quick Overview

Janis Kent, Architect, CASp © July, 2014

Guest rooms in hotels, motels, and other short stay facilities can be quite complex with all of the requirements. There are one set of requirements for mobility rooms, another set of requirements for communication feature rooms, and even requirements for all of the rest of the guest rooms in terms of Access.

If we are talking about a new lodging there is one required amount for rooms with mobility features and another for rooms with communication features with some minimal overlap of the two. These amounts are delineated within a Table which differs slightly between ADA and CBC. Both need to be met. If the facility is older, pre-ADA, then these same amounts also apply in terms of Readily Achievable Barrier Removal. If an older lodging has a portion of the rooms being renovated, then these amounts apply based on the actual number renovated. If renovated, the mobility/communication rooms are required to be accessible, not just having barriers removed that are readily achievable, and the non-mobility rooms are to have their doors and bathrooms comply per new requirements.

If we are talking about guest room doors, all doors in all guest rooms are required to have the compliant clear width. In addition, there is no projection on the push face of the door below 34” AFF and 4” maximum from 34” to 80” AFF. For existing, the latch side door stop can project into the clear width ⅝” maximum. An exception, the door closer and door stop can be as low as 78” AFF. An additional exception, in all guest rooms, other than mobility rooms, doors to showers and saunas are not required to comply. California requires bathrooms that are located in all guest rooms other than mobility units, to either have the the door swing out of the bathroom or to have a sliding door. All doors providing user passage in mobility rooms are required to comply with all other door requirements as well, such as operating force, closing speed, maneuvering space on both sides, locks, etc.

Mobility Rooms
Within mobility rooms there is a 60” turning space required within the room. If there is one bed, then there is a clear floor space on both sides of the bed. If there are two beds then a single clear floor space can be shared between two beds. At this point there is no requirement for the height of the bed itself, although California requires a minimum clear height under the bed for most of the full length. Bathrooms are to comply fully with the requirements for single accommodation bathrooms and the shower or tub has a seat installed.

Communication Feature Rooms
Guest rooms with communication features are to have visible notification alerting the guests when someone is knocking at the door or ringing the doorbell as well as for incoming phone calls. The phones within these rooms are to have adjustable volume controls up to a minimum of 20 dB and to be within 48” of an electric outlet in the case of a guest bringing their own TTY. California requires the phones to be hearing aid compatible as well as a few other requirements. There are also requirements if there is an emergency warning system. Additionally California requires all guest bathrooms that are not mobility rooms, to be configured to have a 30” x 48” space touching each fixture which would be communication feature rooms and all other guest rooms.

Hotels, motels, and other lodging requirements can get quite complex. There is an exception from these requirements for lodging where the proprietor lives on the premises and there are 5 guest rooms maximum for rent which covers a good number of bed and breakfast-type of establishments. There is also another exception to facilities where individual units are owned and the interior features are controlled by the individual owners rather than the overall facility who might own, operate, and lease the premises – these individually owned units are exempt from access requirements for alterations. The common areas of lodging facilities are required to comply with the ADA. And just be aware that if this is a pre-ADA facility there is an obligation to perform barrier removal which is an on-going responsibility.

Be aware that your local City or County may have additional requirements that are more restrictive than the State or Federal requirements. Also, this article is an interpretation and opinion of the writer. It is meant as a summary – current original regulations should always be reviewed when making any decisions.

© Janis Kent, Architect, CASp 2014