>Snapshots of a Holiday: An interesting take on Wheelchair Access

>So I got to my holiday on the Saturday after a long train journey. It was mid afternoon, I was tired and just about DONE. Traveling to Liverpool alone and then onto the hotel was slightly more stressful than I had anticipated and so the spoon draw got emptied faster than planned.

And I’d heard that their was wheelchair access only through a side door. To the hotel I was to stay in Saturday night, I mean. I heard that only after I booked and was not best impressed as you might imagine. I gave them a ring to confirm this story with them the Monday before I traveled. I was told by “Hayley” that they had full access and her answer to my specific question about the location of the access was that it was through the main entrance.

So I arrive at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool (which, btw, is a lousy, tacky, overpriced place and best avoided). And the main entrance has a bucket load of steps with no sign of anything even remotely resembling wheelchair access or indicating where such a thing might be found. Luckily the taxi driver I had went in and found out where to go. He drops me outside this side door and I can see a member of hotel staff trying about five different keys and dropping them and getting pretty damn flustered trying to unlock and open the door. Finally he gets it open and tells me that he “doesn’t do that often.” Thus inspiring me with confidence.

Then he leaves me for a few minutes which turn into about ten. Comes back and tells me the platform lift isn’t working so we have to go another way. Wanders off to find some more keys. Takes me through one of the restaurants and then THROUGH THE KITCHEN down into the skanky dark damp service area under the hotel. Up onto one of the bedroom floors, miles on that floor and then into a customer lift and to reception. Checks me in and then starts taking me to my room.

They didn’t give me an adapted room which was fine. I had told them I use a chair but that as it was for one night if the adapted room wasn’t available it would be ok. But, even if an adapted room wasn’t available, they knew I use a chair and still put me as far as is humanly possible from the lift on the top floor. Have they not heard of common sense?! So I trail miles from the lift and arrive to realise he gave me the wrong key. Off he wanders to get it and I’m left quietly seething but thankful I’d insisted on his coming to carry my bag.

Finally make it into the room and potter about for a bit. Then I decide it’s time for a late lunch so I wander to reception wait a while for attention and ask how I get into the coffee shop for a snack. The girl didn’t know and went to find out. On her return she tells me there is no access but they’ll send me room service for free, what do I want? I say that I’ll need to see the menu to choose from and she huffs off to get one. Place my order and return to the room.

Repeat as required.

Between leaving the hotel twice to wander around, checking in and checking out and going to and from breakfast in the main restaurant, I got to go through the hotel kitchens EIGHT TIMES. And at one point in time it took 30 minutes for me to get out of the hotel. Not to mention the fact that no one told anyone else about the platform lift meaning everytime I wanted to go somewhere they insisted on trying it first.

And that, my friends, is what scousers consider wheelchair access. But I don’t.

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