The Blue Badge Access Awards are featured in the Times 30th April by Elizabeth Mistry:
Blue Badge Access Awards: the 2022 winners revealed
From the Great Scotland Yard Hotel to Shangri-La The Shard, these are the hotels, bars and restaurants setting the standard for accessible travel
If you have ever tried to book a hotel room or a restaurant table for someone with a disability, you’ll know how difficult it can be. While many places say they offer rooms that are “wheelchair-friendly”, there is no official definition of what that means. Few hotels include detailed information such as photographs or audio descriptions of bedrooms, meaning disabled people or their carers have to contact a venue each time they want to book.
Occasionally a hotel or attraction will provide an accessibility statement, but they don’t always have staff trained to answer customers’ questions about access and don’t appreciate that there are many types of disability, seen and unseen. This is why the Blue Badge Access Awards (bluebadgeaccessawards.com), which recognise the hotels and venues that get it right, are so important. Research shows that businesses that are proactive and attentive to those with disabilities gain loyal customers who will return again and again. From loos to hotels, here’s our pick of the winners.
Best luxury hotel: Great Scotland Yard Hotel, London
Once the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, in an Edwardian building just off Whitehall, the Great Scotland Yard Hotel is a 150-bedroom hotel that opened in 2019. Accessibility starts at the main entrance where a discreet Sesame lift conveys wheelchairs and buggies down to the reception area. Eleven bedrooms are classed as accessible and the marble wet room-style bathrooms are luxurious with good natural light.
Details B&B doubles in an accessible room from £425 (greatscotlandyard.com, 020 7925 4700)
Also shortlisted Hotel Nimb Copenhagen (nimb.dk); Sea Containers London (seacontainerslondon.com); Westin London City (marriott.co.uk)
Best boutique hotel: Telegraph Hotel, Coventry
Boutique hotels are easy to find these days, but tracking down one with a hoist is still difficult. In repurposing the offices that once housed the Coventry Telegraph newspaper, Bespoke Hotels has created a chic environment that retains its 1950s glass doors and marble columns but is bang up to date when it comes to accessibility.
Details B&B doubles from £85 (telegraph-hotel.com, 024 7526 2885)
Also shortlisted A Little Bit of Heaven, Cornwall (alittlebitofheaven.co.uk); Calon y Fferi, Carmarthen (calonyfferi.wales); Canvas and Campfires, Lampeter (canvasandcampfires.co.uk); the Hog Hotel, Lowestoft (thehoghotel.co.uk); Village Hotel Basingstoke (village-hotels.co.uk/basingstoke)
Best accessible toilet: Shangri-La the Shard, London
Just off the lobby of the Shangri-La hotel, on the 34th floor of the Shard, is the highest accessible loo in the UK. It is not — sadly — a loo with a view, but the judges praised the design, the decor and the high-tech bottom-drying system that blows warm air into parts that may usually require a carer to reach.
Details B&B doubles in an accessible room from £850 (shangri-la.com, 020 7234 8000)
Also shortlisted Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth (marshamcourthotel.co.uk); 8 bar at the Londoner (thelondoner.com); Great Scotland Yard Hotel (greatscotlandyard.com); Jose Pizarro, London (josepizarro.com); Kricket, London (kricket.co.uk); Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester (hotelbrooklyn.co.uk); Space Centre, Leicester (spacecentre.co.uk); Tate Liverpool (tate.org.uk)