Proud to post our first review of a local bed and breakfast, Irving House, as a sample to give you all a better sense of how we’ll be doing what we’re doing! The following is an example of how we’ll be reviewing hotels. Please comment with any advice, suggestions, and other feedback!
617 547 4600
Rates vary: $85-135 winter to $135-185 summer/peak season
Accessibility Rating: 4/5
Quick basics: Elevator entry to first floor and lobby. Elevator requires staff key to operate. Accessible rooms are spacious with room to fit a wheelchair in all corners. Bathrooms are accessible. Breakfast served downstairs is not accessible, though staff will bring breakfast upstairs if you ask.
Free Wifi: Yes
The Irving House does have stairs, but it does have a lift on the left side of the hotel. The Irving House lift is squat and boxy, and grumbles when it moves from the ground-level sidewalk up to the porch that connects to the inn’s lobby and first floor. The lift only works with a key from the Irving House. So when you come here alone, you may have to call the Irving House in front of the front door to use the lift. I would suggest the Irving House to have a bell in front of the lift or the main entrance for independent wheelchair users for easier access 🙂
Irving House is a reasonably priced bed-and-breakfast a couple minutes’ walk from Harvard Yard, and because its lobby is a short staircase up from the ground level, an elevator by the side is necessary for entry and exit. A quick call to the receptionist will summon a staff member with the lift key. There are some chairs on the porch that may need to be moved too. Entering or exiting the inn might take as long as a minute or two, depending on how busy the staff is at that time.
Rooms are spacious, with enough leeway to allow a person in a wheelchair access to all corners without difficulty. A small shelf of books by the nightstand–tall hardcovers with worn jackets–offers a nice touch.
Ask for an accessible room, and the bathroom comes equipped with the important features: steel handlebars welded to the wallside by the toilet and shower. Moreover, it has a shower chair. It is very considerate of Irving house. Even the cot that they brought in for me (Brad) was soft and warm, and I slept well and woke in the morning from a lazy sunbeam across my face.
A continental breakfast, which is served downstairs from the main floor, is not accessible to the wheelchair-bound. The receptionist on duty, however, was more than willing to bring up breakfast for us and I helped her carry up the plates of warm pastries, fruit and cereal. The coffee was rich and soothing and filled the room with a nice smell.
Overall, Irving House is a good place to stay in Cambridge due to its great location–it’s a two-minute walk from Harvard–and its reasonable pricing for nice rooms. In terms of accessibility, it has everything you will need; just make sure to communicate with the staff at the main desk, so they are prepared to help you enter and exit and bring you breakfast. However, one of the downsides of Irving House is rough and bumpy sidewalks from Irving House to Harvard.