On the 12th July 2018 I was amongst 40 fellow MDUK Trailblazers who headed to Parliament to celebrate #TrailblazersAt10! Commuting all the way from Greater Manchester for the main event meant I had to stay somewhere local overnight and that's how I ended up in the most incredibly spacious accessible hotel room I've stayed in to date!
If you know me, you know 99% of the time I try and stay overnight (childcare permitting of course) to combat pain and fatigue so I'm ready for the main event - whatever that maybe. This time was in London for my 1st trip to Parliament to celebrate 10 YEARS of tireless campaigning for young disabled people’s access and equality in the UK.
Muscular Dystrophy UK hand-picked the Travelodge, Waterloo Rd London for its prime location and high access features rated by other Trailblazers who've stayed previously. With the House of Commons literally within rolling distance, just across the River Thames, made this particular hotel ideal for the myself and the 3 other wheelchair user Trailblazers housed here who came from all across the country for this grand occasion. Also nearby is Big Ben and Southbank, amongst a wide variety of shops and restaurants should you desire.
|On route to the House of Commons via Waterloo Bridge|
Entrance, Lobby & Bar
The Travelodge, Waterloo Rd has step-free access via automatic doors right from the street, leading into a contemporary and stylish lobby flooded with natural lighting from the surrounding large windows.
The modern layout of the interior of the hotel and strategically placed scatter seating, in the lobby, made navigating my powerchair a breeze. You have two options to check-in, either; use the self service kiosks or if you prefer talking to a real person, there are 3 manned reception desks full of friendly staff eager to assist. I find self service kiosks too high to navigate, so I chose to check-in with a member of staff. Sadly I was left peering over the top of the desk while discussing my booking as they didn't have a lowered desk for wheelchair users.
Check-in time is the standard 2PM, as we arranged relatively early (for once), we expected to have to wait and perhaps grab a drink from the bar. Much to our surprise we were informed the accessible room was actually ready for us, meaning I could go right up to our room and have a much needed rest before getting ready for the big event.
Our room was on the 3rd floor that is accessed by 3 average sized lifts just beyond the bar area. Although we never actually used the bar or restaurant to dine, I did grab a soft drink or 2 that evening. The bar staff were very friendly and came around the bar to hand me my drink personally or kindly offered to bring it up to our room to prevent me trying to juggle carrying it and operating the lifts.
Once inside 1 of the 6 accessible rooms of the Travelodge, I was blown away by how spacious it was! I could of literally invited 3 other wheelchair users in there and still have room to zip around.
The room featured a king sized bed (which as you can see by the photo is 2 twins pushed together). The beauty of that actually being a make-shift king bed is if you were travelling with a PA/carer for example, the beds could be easily separated and re-arranged to fit your preference. Or even if you needed 2 PAs/carers for personal care, they could nudge the bed over a little to gain access to both sides to better meet your needs. This bed situation also gets 3 🌟 🌟 🌟 's from me for having enough underbed clearance for a mobile hoist. Something that is always tricky to find in hotels when you need to be hoisted for transfers.
Next to the bed(s) are wall mounted bedside tables with handy wheelchair level plug sockets and light dimmers/switches. I do wish the bedside tables were bigger though as they're difficult to reach from bed if you were to put your phone on charge and need it in the night. You'd need to pop it on your bed really. Also in the room you'll find a drop-down clothes rail in an open closet, a vanity area with mirror and hair dryer organiser which is right next to the large window with a view - perfect little area to apply your make-up with ample natural lighting cascading. To the right of the window is a full sized desk with tea and coffee corner, phone and desk chair. There are plenty of level access plug sockets throughout the room aswell.
Do be mindful that if you're bringing extra electricals such as wheelchair chargers or portable ventilators, then consider bringing an extension cord. I'm glad I took mine as there was no-way my ventilator cord was going to reach from the sockets by the desk to the bed!
I somewhat expected them to have compromised on the size of the bathroom, seeing as the bedroom area is so spacious, but I was wrong! The bathroom is equally spacious and features a low sink and toilet with both fixed and pull-down grab rails. Also a wheel-in-shower with drop-down shower seat and level access shower controls. Unfortunately these types of shower seats aren't supportive enough for my level of disability, so I rang down to reception who have mobility aid company numbers on hand and helped me hire an actual shower chair on wheels to arrive that same day. Very impressed by the level of staff dedication.