My sister-in-law and I just returned from a wonderful six-day trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where we stayed at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond for the second time. The River Rock is located a short 7 minute ride from the airport on the Canada Line and is connected to the train via a covered sky bridge to the Bridgeport Station. The Canada Line easily accommodates a power wheelchair. The ticket price from the airport is expensive, $7.50 each, however to travel from the hotel to downtown Vancouver or back to the airport is much cheaper. Translink operates the Canada Line and has a great website to help you plan your trips around Vancouver if you like to use public transportation. We rented a van from Delta Wheelchair Van Rentals for a few days as well.  

The hotel did not have a lowered counter at check-in for easy wheelchair access but did have a number of accessible suites including at least one with a roll in shower. The suites are large, with a king sized bed in one room and a foldout queen sized couch in the sitting area. The concierges helped to organize the rental, drop-off, and pick-up of a Hoyer lift and shower sling from HealthLinc Medical Equipment Ltd. nearby and the hotel staff attended to our needs quickly and efficiently.  Inside the room it was determined that a manual wheelchair would have an easier time fitting underneath the desk compared to a power one. Furthermore, the coffee tables are made of stone and metal and so are difficult to rearrange in the room.  The staff are very helpful though and I don’t mind doing whatever it takes to make the room manageable. My power wheelchair had no problem reaching the HVAC controls but then again my chair can raise or lower 8.” 

Included in our room rate was a very good in-house breakfast buffet served until 10:30am. There is a great variety of food offered and if breakfast isn’t your thing, for a small upgrade fee, you can use the coupon for the lunch or dinner buffet instead. The buffet at the River Rock is very popular with local residents and guests both.        

We also enjoyed the short but scenic boardwalk along the Fraser River where we spotted Great Blue Herons and Canada Geese. Along the boardwalk and pier is a narrow path covered with plywood to allow for smooth rolling.

Things we spoke to the hotel about, in the hope that they will become even more wheelchair friendly included the difficulty reaching the door to the room because it is in a recessed alcove off the main hallway. A smaller wheelchair or someone with more upper body movement may have reached it, but with my power chair, I could not. Our suggestion was an automatic door with the key located on the outside wall towards the hallway instead of on the door itself and a button that opens the door from inside the room as well. The roll-in shower had a small ¾” tile lip that did cause a bit of a bump but didn’t prevent a great deal of water from spilling out onto the main floor. We solved the problem when we asked for extra floor mats to absorb the overflow. 

This hotel is a good option for staying in Vancouver because it is very accessible, the staff is receptive and helpful, public transportation is handy, there are a lot of in-house entertainment and eating options, and the décor is lovely. Apparently the casino itself is great too, but we aren’t gamblers so other than suggesting you go for the free coffee and tea served in the food court, we can’t comment on it.

(Review provided by Maureen Fisher)

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