I stayed one night in September with my partner. I use an electric wheelchair. I had booked on-line and there had been a problem with my booking, which was sorted out when I complained by email. I will therefore not mention it here, particularly since the manager Kieran Queen made amends with an apology card, champagne and chocolates sent to our room, shortly after our arrival. I was asked to withdraw my review here, so I did so shortly after arrival.
On arrival, I told the receptionist that we intended to go to the Palm Court bar that evening for a drink, and asked her to check that the stair-lift was in working order, as I wanted to have a pleasant time and not be further upset by bad arrangements for my wheelchair. She assured me it was. I asked her to try the stair-lift (we were only a few metres from it). She assured me this would not be necessary as it was in perfect working order.
That evening we went out. The entrance for the hotel is on Brick Road, at the back of the hotel. It is a narrow one-way street which acts as delivery entrance for several businesses. Most of it has no side-walk on the hotel side. On the other side the pavement is very narrow, with frequent car entrances and inadequate gradients for a wheelchair.
There is a taxi rank, which means taxis block the side of the road nearest the buildings. I was forced to drive my wheelchair along the middle of the narrow road. It was still day-light so I was very visible and although it made me wary, I wasn´t feeling in any danger. However, when I returned it was night, street lighting was poor and there were many cars using it as a short-cut and driving quite quickly. I had asked my companion to go in through the Palm bar to find us a table suitable for my wheelchair. I was in danger of being run over by a car, they were coming up behind me in the dark, and once i turned into Brick Road it was even more unsafe as being beyond the sharp bend, they would not see me until they were upon me. The ground was uneven and I could not go so fast. It really was frightening and dangerous.
When I got to the hotel, I went through the back lobby to the Palm bar. A member of staff from the entrance area went with me and opened the double doors. Then he went to find someone to operate the lift. I got in and we quickly found out it wasn´t working. I couldn´t go down and the safety bar would not lift to let me out either. To cut short 20 mins, of waiting, eventually I went down in it, a short and jerky ride. Meanwhile my partner, who was waiting to celebrate a personal special occasion with me, was standing anxiously at the bottom of the steps. I was fuming, particularly because I had done my best to avoid having more unpleasantness that could spoil our stay. Later, we again had a difficult time and long wait to get me up the stairs again. The staff at the bar were brilliant... specially the young Brazilian-Italian waiter, lovely guy and excellent training.
The hotel was let down by poor maintenance of disability equipment and the receptionist who basically lied to me instead of trying out the equipment in advance.
Now, Mr Kieran, I note you read these reviews, so I say directly to you: the person at the helm is in charge of safety.
Faulty equipment which carries disabled people can cause dangerous accidents and lasting harm.
Access via a dangerous badly lit back service access is also an accident waiting to happen, one much more dangerous than the faulty equipment inside. A potentially fatal accident. Which is why I am writing this review some weeks later, because the thought has stayed with me, that some other disabled person can have a very bad accident while following instructions to enter via Brick Road in the evening or at night.
Except for one person, your staff are exceedingly polite and genuinely welcoming. I cut down points because the one who did behave badly caused me a very uncomfortable half hour and spoiled a special occasion for my guest as well as for me.
If access via the front entrance were allowed for wheelchair users, I would be glad to visit again. If you would like (free) well-informed technical advice on disabled access for the hotel, do contact me.
Room at the back has some noise from early morning deliveries.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
December 12, 2012
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Thank you for your review and your views. As with all customer feedback, your points are particularly insightful as they give valuable insights from a disabled guest’s viewpoint. Since your visit some months ago we have made a number of changes including increased training to increase the numbers of people who are able to operate the stair lift, introduction of a letter for disabled guests with suggestions on how best to get around including access to the hotel; these address many of your concerns. Being a 1920s building limits our ability to implement easy fixes however any significant future work we undertake in the hotel we will take steps to further improve the mobility around the building as this will involve significant construction.
For future visits you have my contact details as I’d be delighted to welcome you back or discuss with you further directly.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.