I was not originally booked at Downtown Backpackers(now called Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers) but had to take what lodging I could get. I originally was booked at Trek Global but they are located on a steep hill that I would have no chance to wheel up. I don’t think any manual wheelchair users could wheel up O’Reily Avenue. I needed help from my Super Shuttle driver to hold my wheelchair while I transferred out of the minibus so I did not flip over backwards. The small ramp up to Trek Global entrance is very steep too. Trek Global may be accessible inside but being on such a steep hill makes it impossible to come and go freely. For this reason alone Trek Global is not wheelchair accessible.
The small ramp to Downtown Backpackers entrance landing may be steep for some wheelchair users but I was able to wheel up. The entrance is an automatic sliding glass door. The reception staff is nice and very helpful. There are two elevators to the rooms, bar and lounge/café. I stayed in a single room with an ensuite bathroom. The room is small and tight to maneuver around. The bed height is good and easy to transfer to. The bathroom door width is very tight with wheelchairs wider than 24” not being able to make it in the bathroom. The bathroom is very tight and difficult for a wheelchair to get around. The sink and mirror are both too high. The shower will be very difficult for a wheelchair user. It’s situated in the corner of the bathroom with a small opening to the shower, no shower chair or handheld shower.
On the 2nd floor is the bar, guest kitchen, café and lounge with internet. The bar has several pool tables and TV to watch rugby matches. There are happy hour specials on drinks. The bar staff was very slow at times. The bathroom by the bar is not wheelchair accessible. There’s a guest kitchen to make your own meals and a café to order meals from. Computers for the internet, for a fee, are located in the lounge area. There is a laundry room for guests located on the 6th floor but the elevator only goes to the 5th floor then you must walk up steps, making it not accessible.
The location is very good, within walking distance of the Wellington Waterfront, Te Papa Museum, Westpac Stadium and the Cable Car to the Wellington Botanic Gardens. The gardens are very hilly, steep downhill’s, and not advised to go alone in a wheelchair. I needed someone to hold my wheelchair going down several hills because they were too steep. I fell out of my chair once picking up too much speed and lost control. The waterfront is flat and easy to wheel around with plenty of restaurants. Te Papa Museum is highly recommended to spend a few hours in.
Accessibility wise Downtown Backpackers would receive a 1.5/5 rating.
Longer ramp for the front entrance.
Lower the mirror and sink in the bathroom.
Wider bathroom door opening.
Install handheld shower.
Shower chair for wheelchair user to sit on.
Larger shower but probably not possible with how small the bathroom is.
Wheelchair users looking to stay:
Staying here was a last resort. They may have other rooms that are better than the one I stayed in. I was not able to shower because of how small the shower was. Once you get a few blocks from the waterfront there are hills making it very difficult to wheel.