|[THUMBNAIL: Picturesque view of the hotel exterior, pools and a stone throw from the beach]|
In 2016 we embarked on what some may say was a very ambitious adventure of our 1st family holiday. Reason being we aren't your average family of 4 with just budgeting and small children to contend with (both of which are hard enough!) Put in the fact I, their Mother am a full-time wheelchair user and a full-time powerchair user at that and our holiday just got a lot more complicated and sadly, a lot more expensive...
Upcoming in this series focusing around our family holiday to Costa Almeria;
Air Travel with a Wheelchair + Children
Comparing Budget and Disabled Holiday Websites
This post is focused on why we chose the Hotel Best Sabinal in the small village of Roquetas de Mar and the accessibility in the hotel as a whole, aswell as their Superior Accessible Rooms.
How Did I Find This Hotel?
|[IMAGE: Access Rating screenshot. Photo Credit - EnableHolidays.com]|
What were Best Sabinal's biggest selling points to us as a family with young kids and me being a wheelchair user?
For our family it was a combination of the fact it was a family hotel so lots to do for the kids, swimming pools and had an all inclusive option (which is a must with littles!) and its access rating on Enable. Sometimes it can be pretty hard to find a hotel that's both disabled/wheelchair friendly AND family friendly. If it wasn't for being able to find the specific access features of this hotel via Enable's website first, we probably would of overlooked it. Only you know what you need and Enabled takes out all the guess work, they actually have dedicated staff that go over to these locations and make absolutely sure the hotels have the access features they claim to have. Now that's peace of mind! We would of booked directly with Enable Holidays themselves but unfortunately like most disabled holiday companies the price was way above the budget sites. Essentially because you're paying for them to do all the leg work. I feel kinda bad we took their free online info and went elsewhere but we are a family with additional needs on a budget...
Entrance + Reception
|[IMAGE: Showing low incline ramps upto hotel entrance. Photo Credit - EnableHolidays.com]|
The entrance to Best Sabinal has two long ramps leading upto two rotating entry doors. Great for coming from any direction. Our wheelchair accessible vehicle airport transfer (courtesy of OnTheBeach.com) was able to pull right up front and drop us off without an issue. The front doors were automatic aswell which was very helpful!
|[IMAGE: Spacious modern hotel reception area, flooded with natural light. Photo Credit - EnableHolidays.com]|
The reception area is very open plan with plenty of space to navigate a wheelchair, luggage, pushchairs between the various WiFi accessible seating areas people often occupied throughout the day for a drink or when there were big queue's at the main desk. The main check in/out and information desk has a lowered area for a wheelchair user to engage in conversation with hotel staff more easily and staff were always polite and happy to help.
Restaurant + Bar
|[IMAGE: Modern, spacious dining room with buffet area. Photo Credit - EnableHolidays.com]|
The access in the restaurant was fine but did get very crowded. Once we realised how popular it was, we noted the opening times and tried to plan our days a bit better so we could get there and seated prior to it becoming very busy. It is a buffet type service, with table cloths and wine glasses at lunch and tea time. The managers stand to greet guests in suit and tie which made us Brits on our jollies feel very underdressed, oops 🙁. Although these managers seemed not to speak much English, they would happily assist making a path for me to navigate through seated diners if we came a bit later. There was this incredibly nice Spanish waitress who often tried to help me get my plate filled at the buffet as Mark and I had to take it in turns sitting with the girls at the table and getting food. I will say it is 98% Spanish and other worldly cuisines on offer, poor Abbie barely ate that entire holiday (see "Healthy Eating With Your Little Fusspot" for the lowdown on our picky eater!)
The bar was always very busy, nomatter the time of day. I had a mocktail on occasion but as we had a 4yr old and 10 month old at the time it was difficult to adjust them to the Spanish culture of having a solid daytime nap and it being commonplace for kids to be participating in the 7-10pm children's disco! So I often just went up to bed with them at their usual bedtime and Mark would have a few drinks. But the bar was accessible and again, staff very friendly. I liked how the door to the outside evening entertainment was always propped open and I managed to navigate the lip of the doorway in my powerchair with ease.
Outdoor Pools + Playground
|[IMAGE: Children's swimming pool with pirate theme climbing area and water slides. Photo Credit -EnableHolidays.com]|
They had a large outdoor pool and childrens pool back in 2016. Both of which were NOT accessible to a wheelchair user (unless you could stand, walk short distances and get in and out with help). I watched from the sidelines while my partner Mark spent hours in the pool with the kids, then we'd trade off. There was very little shade on the tables nearest the pools which got to me at times. People were very possessive over the sun loungers, often claiming it as 'theirs' by occupying it with a towel from as early as 6am (despite a nearby sign stating otherwise!) The staff at the little bar by the pool often came around the bar to give me my/the kids drinks as it was too high which was thoughtful.
|[IMAGE: Baby Ava floating in the pool in a inflatable giraffe float wearing UVA swimsuit]|
They also had a little sandy playground tucked behind the hotel that was small and consisted of a set of swings and slide.
In 2017 the hotel underwent MASS refurbishment and I've read the hotel pools have changed to incorporate a large pirate themed pool area and colourful slides. If only we'd of booked a year later! Then the big blow was I heard from a reader the hotel has confirmed they now have a hoist into the main pool. Absolutely gutted but so glad they listened to their disabled guests 👍
|[IMAGE: Pool side hoist with head and armrests. Photo Credit - EnableHolidays.com]|
They have 3 lifts to all floors from the main floor, almost 1 was always out of order (most likely because nearly everyone waits for the lift rather than walking up the several flights of stairs). We spent a vast majority of our morning especially, standing waiting for a lift to become available. They were VERY slow even when you did get to the front of the queue to use one. I do hope these were sorted as part of the hotels grand refurbishment....
Superior Accessible Room
|[IMAGE: Spacious room with two double beds pushed together + balcony. Photo Credit - EnableHolidays.com]|
We had booked 1 of the hotels 6 accessible rooms. It was absolutely HUGE and we were in total shock of how practical it was for a young family AND a wheelchair user. Again, often the two don't go hand in hand when they design them. We had a huge king bed (which were two doubles pushed together), a foldout sofa bed for Abbie and we'd booked a travel cot for Ava. All fit perfectly with plenty of room to maneuver around in my powerchair still. The lady who showed us to our room said we were free to move furniture around to make it more suitable, as long as we returned it to its original layout before we left. I found them even suggesting that very compassionate! The room had tile floors, as do most Spanish hotels and a small balcony that overlooked a children's play park across the street.
|[IMAGE: Abbie + Ava playing on the floor in our room, all ready to head to the pool for the millionth time that day!]|
The plug sockets weren't wheelchair height so I'd recommend bringing an power extention bar so you can reach your mobile phone from bed and generally have more sockets to plug in things like powerchair chargers and ventilators. Don't forget travel adapters!
|[IMAGE: Mark with Ava on his shoulders, taking a selfie in the bathroom mirror]|
What wowed us even further was when we looked in the bathroom. The sink was completely clear underneath, therefore I managed to get my legs under and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of brushing my teeth, skincare and make-up which I don't have the luxury of doing at my bathroom sink at home. The toilet had lots of room around for someone able to self-transfer with a drop down rail on one side, wall grab rail on the opposite.
This bathroom not only had a wheel-in-shower but right next to it, on the same wall space was a full bath with a glass screen. I couldn't believe it. I was totally prepared to have to find a way to bath the kids in the wheel-in-shower but no, whoever designed it obvious gets baths are easier for small children. That was such a huge relief! The shower didn't have a drop down seat or shower chair available so we simply used one of the plastic chairs from the balcony.
If you were hiring a mobile hoist, you may have enough clearance under the main beds but because we didn't hire one I haven't tried and tested that theory, but I will say 100% if the legs of the hoist won't fit under those, it will DEFINITELY clear under the fold out sofa bed, which when full laid out could fit 2-3 school aged kids. You'd also be fine with space using it over the toilet but I'd really recommend hiring a shower chair as opposed to using a plastic garden chair like I did, only because then it's more supportive and on wheels. It'd be awkward getting the mobile hoist actually into the shower area. More practical to hoist in the bedroom onto the shower chair, then be wheeled through.
That brings me to the end of this accessibility review. All-in-all we absolutely loved this hotel and would love to stay here again given the chance. Its attention to detail made our holiday that bit more stress free given our additional requirements.
|[IMAGE: Mark + I smiling in the hot sun]|
|[IMAGE: Family selfie on our last day in Costa Almeria]|
If you have any further questions about this particular hotel, the area, places or company's mentioned don't hesitate to contact me via the tab at the top of the website. I hope this and been helpful and if you're thinking of going here, you have a wonderful holiday as we did!
Best Sabinal Hotel, Costa Almeria - EnableHolidays.com Access
Hotel Best Sabinal, Roquetas de Mar
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