NYC Hotel agrees to improve accessibility for people with disabilities

Americas, September 17 2011

The owners of the Gramercy Park Hotel have agreed to improve accessibility for guests with disabilities after settling a lawsuit filed by the government.

“New York City hosts millions of visitors each year, and it is essential that our hotels are open and accessible to all,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

“This agreement helps ensure that people with disabilities will have the same access to hotel accommodations that are enjoyed by others.”

The upscale hotel, at 2 Lexington Ave., violated the American Disabilities Act by failing to provide communication devices to a “profoundly deaf” guest, by having features that blocked access – and by actually making access worse when it carried out renovations, according to court papers filed on Sept. 7.

The lobby, bathrooms and guestrooms were all deemed inaccessible, the complaint said.

Hotel owners had agreed to meet ADA requirements when renovating the hotel, but were cited with violations after the renovation was completed in 2009, and were found to have, in fact, made the hotel even less accessible for guests with disabilities, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office said.

As part of Thursday’s settlement, the hotel agreed to retrofit luxury suites, entrances and other facilities and maintain equipment for deaf people.

The hotel also agreed to pay $10,000 in compensation to victims of the alleged discrimination and $20,000 in penalties to the government.


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