Thinking about going on holiday this summer? One of the main things you’ll want to organise is where you’ll be staying – and for many people, this involves checking the accessibility of your accommodation to make sure you have a comfortable stay. Keep reading for some top tips on how to find accessible accommodation for your upcoming UK holidays.
With the sun finally peeking its way through the clouds, many people are excited to plan their fun-packed summer holidays here in the UK. Once you’ve decided where you want to go, the next thing to plan is where you’ll be staying.
For some disabled people, this means booking an accessible hotel room. Having a room that meets your access needs is vital to having a comfortable and enjoyable holiday. Unfortunately, accessibility is not standardised across the hospitality industry, which means that finding the right room for you may take some extra time and effort.
Of course, accessibility requirements vary from person to person, but there are some key factors to consider when searching for a hotel that caters to your specific needs.
Here are some top tips to help you find an accessible hotel room that meets your needs – so that you can focus on enjoying everything your holiday has to offer.
1. Start by researching and planning ahead
It may sound obvious, but the first thing you need to do is thoroughly research accessible hotels in your destination. Look for hotels that prioritise accessibility features and have positive reviews from disabled guests.
Scheme customer Helen Dolphin has shared her guide to accessible hotels in the UK – this might be a good place to start, as she’s covered some of the major budget hotel chains across the country. She also shared her personal experiences at these hotels, alongside her experience booking independent hotels and Airbnbs.
There are also websites that cater specifically to disabled travellers looking for accessible hotel rooms in the UK, including DisabledHolidays.com and accessibleGO. They provide thorough accessibility information on all rooms, often above and beyond what you’ll find on the larger travel booking sites.
Don’t forget that you can always contact the hotel directly via email or telephone to discuss your specific needs and make sure they can accommodate them.
2. Check the location and surroundings
Accessibility extends beyond the hotel room, so it’s important to consider the hotel’s location and the accessibility of its surroundings. Is it near public transportation, restaurants and attractions? Is it in a loud, busy area or somewhere more quiet?
You’ll want to think about how you will be travelling around when you get to your holiday destination. If the accommodation has disabled parking, you might feel more comfortable travelling around in your Motability Scheme vehicle. If you are going to a busy city or somewhere that you don’t think you’ll want to drive around, make sure that there are accessible transport options nearby, as well as local accessible restaurants and amenities.
You can see a range of accessible holiday attractions all across the UK in the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, which has accessibility information for over 200 days out across the UK. You might also want to use one of these five great accessibility apps to help you plan ahead for all aspects of your holiday.
3. Things to check with your hotel
When booking a hotel, there are several accessibility features to look out for in the wider hotel itself. You may want to find out whether the hotel has:
- Designated accessible parking spots
- Step-free access to the building & rooms
- Accessible toilets on the lobby level
- Access to areas such as the breakfast room or any restaurants, with plenty of space to manoeuvre
- Automatic doors
- Seating available throughout the hotel
- Reasonably sized lifts, if you will need to go between floors
These are all questions you can ask before booking your room. When it comes to the room itself, here are a few more things to consider:
If you’re a wheelchair user, your room will need to have sufficient manoeuvring space, including clear pathways and wide doorways to accommodate mobility aids. Some guests prefer to have a ground-floor room.
As mentioned above, you’ll also want to make sure that the hotel itself has wheelchair-accessible entrances, hallways, and lifts that are wide enough and can support the weight of your wheelchair.
Ask about accessible bathrooms. Look for walk-in or roll-in showers or bathtubs with grab bars, adjustable showerheads, and shower chairs.
The sink and toilet should be at an appropriate height, and grab bars should be installed for added safety. There should also be appropriate emergency cords or buttons in case of an emergency.
Visual and hearing impairments
If you have visual or hearing impairments, consider asking whether there is signage in braille, visual fire alarms, doorbell signalling devices, and closed-captioned televisions.
Additionally, check if the hotel provides minicom devices or offers assistance for guests with hearing impairments.
Ensure the bed height is appropriate for your needs, and whether there are hoists or adjustable options available. Bedside controls for lights, air conditioning, and other amenities should be within reach.
It’s also worth asking about the hotel’s emergency evacuation plans for disabled guests, and whether the hotel staff is trained in assisting disabled guests during an emergency.
Assistive devices and services
If you require assistive devices such as bed rails, shower chairs, or wheelchair rentals, check if the hotel provides them or can arrange them for you. You may also want to ask if the hotel welcomes service animals.
Additionally, you can ask about how they cater for allergies in the hotel.
Staff Training and Attitude
A hotel’s staff plays a crucial role in ensuring a comfortable stay. Ask about their accessibility training and their experience in accommodating disabled guests. Staff members who are knowledgeable, respectful, and willing to assist can really enhance your holiday experience.
Of course, this list is quite general and you will want to think about which points apply most to your needs. But hopefully it will give you a good starting point of things to ask the hotels before booking, so that you can focus on enjoying your holiday and having a comfortable stay.
Interested in joining the Scheme?
About the Scheme
The Motability Scheme offers an all-inclusive package. If you are in receipt of a qualifying mobility allowance you can use it to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The Scheme provides flexible and hassle-free access to a brand-new, reliable vehicle of your choice. As well as a great choice of cars, we also provide a wide range of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs.
To join the Scheme, you must be in receipt of one of the following mobility allowances:
- Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Higher Rate Mobility Component of Child Disability Payment – Scotland
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
You can easily check whether you’re eligible to join the Motability Scheme by using our eligibility checker tool.