Navigating accessibility on the Las Vegas Strip

Photograph courtesy of Jessica Martin

By Emilia Pablo

September 5, 2023

Las Vegas, Nevada is often dubbed the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” — known for its dazzling lights, vibrant nightlife, and world-class entertainment. While the city has long been associated with luxury and indulgence, it is also making commendable strides in improving accessibility for all visitors, including for people with disabilities.

“Las Vegas resorts and casinos are prime examples of how luxury and accessibility can harmoniously coexist,” Jessica Martin, a worldwide traveler and blogger who uses a wheelchair and walker, told The Nevadan/El Nevadense

Martin reviews and writes about her visits on social media as Corazonsito Viajero.

“I am exploring the world, one wheelchair-friendly adventure at a time and sharing it with everyone,” she told us.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “about 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. People with disabilities have generally poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities, and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities. These disparities are largely due to the lack of services available to them and the many obstacles they face in their everyday lives.”

Martin knows those statistics very well and that is one of the main reasons she is inspired to share the good and bad with the community. 

She’s experienced some of the bad during recent stays at one of the city’s resorts.

“Despite the city’s strides, unexpected barriers dampened my experience during my stay at the Aria Resort & Casino,” Martin said. “My experience with Aria’s broken swimming pool lift chairs was disheartening. Despite calling ahead of my trip to ensure their functionality, I discovered that none of the three lifts were operational when I got there to the pool on August 12th.”

Martin also stayed at The Aria Resort & Casino in December of last year; that’s when she first noticed the problem. To her surprise, the pool lift chairs were still an issue this summer. 

“It signaled a lack of urgency to fix it,” she said. “This unexpected obstacle compromised the joy of my vacation, emphasizing the importance of continuous advocacy.”

In pursuit of a solution, Martin spoke with Aria’s pool manager.

“His genuine empathy led to positive steps, including passes to a different pool. While appreciative, my ultimate desire was for improved accessibility infrastructure,” Martin explained. “Through discussions with the front desk, I advocated for disabled needs, highlighting concerns like elevated beds. My dedication resulted in a room fee reimbursement but it clouded the larger goal of universal accessibility.” 

We reached out to The Aria Resort & Casino to inquire about the incident. They confirmed the lift chair was fixed, but declined to comment on the record.

  • Emilia Pablo

    Emilia Pablo Bazan is The Nevadan, El Nevadense Political Correspondent. She is an alumna from U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism with over 10 years of experience working in the television news industry. She's also a former speechwriter and press officer for the Obama administration and an Emmy award recipient.

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