Even though there were some access problems there were ALWAYS plenty of people, Staff and guests, that were sincerely willing to help. I have NEVER vacationed anywhere that made me feel more accepted, welcome or more "Normal" then Hedo.
This report is based on Access Standards used in the USA and on my personal experience, using my abilities and limitations. There are NO Jamaican laws, that I know of, requiring access for people with disabilities so don't act like the Jamaican people "owe you something".
I am a fairly active 34 yo male, wheelchair user who travelled with my able-bodied wife. I am able, with crutches or help, to negotiate small steps and can transfer easily.
Sangster International Airport
There are NO JETWAYS at the airport which means that, if you are not able to walk down the steps, you will be carried off the plane in a straight chair.
The landing area side entrance to Customs in Not accessible so someone will assist you to the accessible entrance. One person that you are travelling with will be allowed to come with you. The people are very helpful and will assist you with clearing Customs and with your paperwork. The front entrantance to the airport is accessible with ramps and curbcuts.
**NOTE**: When leaving the Island I had the unfortunate experience of being told by Baggage personnel that we would "need to make an arraingement" before i would be carried onto the plane. This was done on the airfield with no authority types around to complain to. I paid each man $5 US and complained when I returned home (My ticket cost was refunded by the airline)
The Superclubs buses were NOT accessible. My wheelchair collapsed enough to fit in the bus window and I was helped on and off the bus. (Hang on tight during the ride !)
The MAIN ENTRANCE has three (3) shallow steps with no handrail. The lobby desk is low and allows wheelchair access.
The DINNING/Seating area in accessible. The Stage is accessible. The Dance floor is NOT accessible. (Many lunch and dinner time games involve getting to the dance floor and thus exclude those without access).
The BARS are high but the staff are fairly attentive. **Self-serve drink stations are out of reach.
The BUFFET lines are within reach but make it difficult to serve yourself and then get your food to your table. **Staff are ALWAYS nearby and ALWAYS offered to assist me.
PASTAFARI'S has one (1) exterior step up and then two (2) (if I remember right) small steps down, inside.
VERONICA'S (Piano Bar) Has one (1) exterior step (6" plus) and once inside there are three (3) shallow steps to access both the slot machines and the piano seating area. Upper level seating is available.
All SHOPS have one (1) large (6" plus) step up.
WALKWAYS are accessible WITH ONE EXCEPTION...access to all rooms, the disco and to the beach area require that a VERY STEEP HILL be negotiated. This hill is so steep that I could hold my tires, totally stopped, and still slide down the hill, especially slippery after a rain shower.
PRUDE POOL/HOT TUB areas are accessible and have handrails to assist access into the water. (No in pool ramps)
DISCO: There is a ramped access into the disco around the back of the building. *STEEP INTERIOR RAMP
GUEST ROOMS: I requested an accessible room and was a bit disappointed. We were assigned 2117 (oceanview/nude side) There is a 6" step into EVERY room (Nude Side) and the doors are very narrow (28" to 30"). No lever door hardware. The room itself is spacious and usable. The bathroom door had to be removed to allow even minimal access. There were NO grab bars of anykind. The tub/shower controls were not accessible.
***We asked the Manager about more accessible rooms are were offered a gardenview room that was exactly like the room we had so we declined their offer.
** This was My biggest disappointment. Small changes: a small portable ramp, wider doorways and a few grab bars, could make it so these rooms could be used..WITHOUT ASSISTANCE. It would have made my trip even more enjoyable if I could have come and go from my own room without help.
Nude Pool/Hot tub: On the beach side there are several shallow steps and a sunken footwash to negotiate. On the room side there are three (3) shallow steps. I used a crutch and braced myself on the rockwall. Lots of stuff to hang onto but watch out for the Large Crab that sleeps there at night...It is vicious. ;-)
There are two (2) paths that would allow level access to the area but they are too narrow and the wheelchair tires staddle the path and end up getting stuck in the moist dirt (MUD !) on either side.
Once up on the Pool/Hot Tub level there are handrails to assist in to most areas. There is NO ACCESS to the "Grotto" or waterfall area.
BEACHES: What can I say...They are sand ! There is a narrow strip of "firmer" sand close to the buildings but the going is still fairly difficult. **NOTE** The BEST wheelchair access to seating is from the room side (opening near 2150's) that leads directly to the Massage Shack. I wheeled directly to My lounge chair everyday. Some shade, some sun...GREAT view.
DOCK: There is a well hidden walkway that leads from the dive shack to the dock that makes access to the catamaran and other water activities MUCH easier.
CATAMARAN: We took a sunset cruise aboard one of the catamarans and it was wonderful. Getting on and off required considerable assistance but both staff and guests did not make it feel like it was an inconvienience. ** restrooms on board are NOT accessible
PUBLIC RESTROOMS: restrooms in the public areas, and rooms for that matter, are NOT ACCESSIBLE.
Shopping in Negril
The Sunrise Mall is surprisingly accessible. There are ramps and rounded thresholds to shops.
The Craft Market is not very accessible, and on a side note did NOT contain many "Crafts"...Mostly t-shirts and low cost jewelry although there were some wood carvings.
Whether changes are made or not I will go back to Hedonism II and I will recommend it to my friends, after telling them what to expect. BUT....
Many easy and cheap changes could be made to GREATLY improve access. Small ramps, even if they are steeper then USA Code, could be placed in many areas, restroom improvements could be made and the paths by the nude pool/hot tub could be widened.
Randy -HedoBuddah- Wagoner