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NY's Gramercy Park Hotel Settles ADA Suit

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 16, 2011 1:06 PM

Ritzy New York establishment Gramercy Park Hotel’s ADA suit was settled this Thursday. The government had alleged that the Hotel’s disability access was not up to par with federal standards.

This isn’t the first time the hotel was put on notice. The government expressed its concerns earlier after complaints from guests. And, in 2006, the hotel underwent a $200 million renovation that was meant to address the claimed deficiencies. Instead, the suit alleged that the renovations actually made the situation worse.

The hotel lobby, bathrooms and guestrooms were all considered noncompliant, according to DNAinfo.

The government intervened when a hearing impaired guest visited the hotel in 1996 and in 2004 and was denied a Telephone Device for the Deaf, according to The New York Times. A subsequent investigation turned up multiple violations.

In coming to a settlement with the government, the hotel will be making multiple fixes to its guestrooms to accommodate disabled guests. And, the hotel has agreed to pay $20,000 to the hearing impaired customer who visited the hotel earlier. They also agreed to pay a $10,000 fine to the government, reports The New York Times.

One of the hotel's more opulent guestrooms will be made fully accessible to handicapped guests. The room, which rents for $5,000 a night, is furnished and decorated so decadently that guests are meant to feel as if they are "entering a three-dimensional painting," The New York Times reports.

But, no matter how luxurious a guestroom is, if it isn't made reasonably accessible to those with disabilities it's in violation of the ADA. The ADA mandates businesses that are open to the public, like hotels, make readily achievable changes and remove barriers to access for disabled guests.

And, this is exactly why the hotel's disability access came under fire. But, it's likely that Gramercy Park Hotel's ADA suit will serve as a reminder for the luxury establishment to be aware of federal laws protecting the rights of disabled persons.

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