Best practice suggestions for accessible hotels and accessible rooms include:
- adopting a clear and easily understandable layout to the hotel as a whole and to the room itself. This will help all visitors to comfortably use the hotel facilities and removes the need for unnecessary assistance
- offering equal standard of use in all public areas of the building, including restaurant tables, breakfast areas, business centre, etc
- making dignified provision for common toilets, changing facilities, refuge and evacuation arrangements
- arranging convenient parking to allow easy access to the premises
- choosing best quality finishes and fittings, in keeping with the style of the interior
- décor of the hotel, for example by rejecting hospital standard fittings and crude features
- providing choice of rooms type and location, with also the opportunity to have connecting rooms in a proportion of accessible rooms. Offer choice of bath or shower or bed type
- positioning furniture, switches, mirrors and other devices (such as kettle and cups) in obvious and rational places so that they can be easily found and safely used
- incorporating the small and well designed items that can make a big difference such as embossed room numbers, electronic card operated locks or stick holders at the restaurant tables
- having adequate storage for equipment and mobile furniture
- ensuring that information is available at all stages, pre-booking to arrival and that confirmation of arrangements made at time of booking is made
- training of all staff members in customer care for disabled visitors; personal and appropriate service, in line with what the hotel provides for all guests, is as important as technical solutions
- commitment to continuous improvement and encouragement of client feedback, particularly from the users of accessible rooms.
All accessible rooms should adhere to Part M of the Building Regulations and adopt best practice. It is suggested that all rooms provide the following, which should be considered during planning application and Building Consent procedures:
- wheelchair accessibility
- sufficient space around all doors: minimum 300mm leading edge to all doors
- bathroom layout that is rational and allows for wheelchair circulation
- well designed support rails by toilet and bath or shower, aiming for minimal visual intrusion
- level shower which is open or with easy to use door
- toilet and basin that are comfortable to use for all guests (whether disabled or not) switches, taps and other controls that are easy to operate
- multi-sensory alarm and emergency pulls
- double height spy-hole with wide angle viewer
- card activated locks.
In addition, it is suggested at early design stage, designers should consider and report in their DASs:
- a bed on feet to allow use of mobile hoists
- a choice of bed type, mattress and pillows
- wardrobes with adjustable or double height clothes rail
- a choice of essential equipment available at booking time: mobile hoists, bath
- board, shower or bath seats, etc.
- a choice of desirable equipment available at booking time: vibrating alarm clock,
- choice of TV remote control, etc.
10.2 Accessibility management plans
AMPs should be created as part of the planning stage and planning submission and regularly updated by hotels. In parallel, the BPG suggests there should also be a nominated individual to act as Accessibility coordinator who would be responsible for actions set out in the AMP.
10.3 Meeting the new policy – mixed provision
To promote inclusion and take-up by as many different customers as possible, we suggest that the provision should be for rooms of different types and sizes, with adaptability and flexible furniture integral to the design. Therefore, we suggest that all 10% will meet the requirements of Building Regulations and wheelchair accessibility should be provided to all common parts of the hotels as well as within these rooms.
It is recommended that the 10% accessible requirement for new rooms could be met in a variety of ways. Options could include for example:
- by making all 10% of accessible rooms designed according to Building Regulation guidance (modelled in the BPG as a Room Type B)
- in a budget hotel by providing 5% standard accessible rooms (Room Type B) and 5% smaller accessible rooms (Room Type A), with the latter suitable for wheelchair users but are more appropriate to those with a higher degree of independence. With appropriate management practices in place, the smaller accessible rooms could also be appropriate for a family with a child.
- in a luxury hotel by providing all 10% of accessible rooms in the larger size, where half of these meet full Building Regulations, while the other half (Room Type C) have only minimal additional fittings and can double up as a family room for 4.
- by adopting more mixed provision, with 5% of rooms being standard, and the rest by a combination of smaller and larger accessible bedrooms (Room Types A, B and C), all designed and managed for flexible use.