If you have a disability, travelling is rarely straight forward. So that’s why we’ve teamed up with Carrie-Ann Lightley from Tourism for All, to bring you a series of articles to help make travelling easier and more accessible. This month she’s sharing an access review of the Crown Plaza Glasgow.
It’s been a few years since I’ve visited Glasgow, so when Trailblazers asked me to host an accessible tourism workshop at their Glasgow event it gave me the perfect opportunity to return. This would be my first event Trailblazers’ Tourism Ambassador, and I was looking forward to meeting Scottish members and chatting about all things disability, access and travel.
The event was held at the inspiring Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, located in the West End of the city. Kelvingrove has interactive natural history and art displays, all at an accessible height for wheelchair users, with subtitles where required.
The day featured a selection of workshops on topics that really matter to young disabled people. My colleague Dave Gale and I covered topics such as travelling via plane with mobility equipment, hiring equipment and planning accessible activities. Despite the barriers that exist, everyone came away positive that with careful planning, going on holiday is achievable.
After drinks with the group in a bar nearby, Darren and I took a taxi over to the riverside Crowne Plaza.
The hotel is in an impressive setting; a tall, modern building alongside the river Clyde next to the SSE Hydro Arena, a short drive from Glasgow Airport with speedy connections to the city centre. The location makes wheeling/pushing really easy as outside the hotel is flat and level, with stunning views over the river. Being a little way out of the city centre has its benefits; the area is quiet, and the hotel’s rates are very competitive without compromising on luxury or style.
As well as accessible accommodation the hotel has parking (with blue badge spaces available) a bar/restaurant, meeting rooms, a fitness suite, a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
I booked my stay through my employer Tourism for All (TFA). TFA Members are entitled to discounts and savings at more than 500 IHG hotels & resorts across Europe. These include Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and InterContinental Hotels.
Using TFA’s dedicated link to IHG’s website, I booked my accessible room online. The website has a helpful description of facilities for disabled guests, and photographs of the accessible bathrooms.
In my experience, good staff are so important for an accessible, enjoyable hotel stay. I’m much more likely to recommend and return to a hotel if I feel I’ve been looked after, and a forward thinking, well trained staff member can help to solve many access issues.
Every staff member we encountered at the Crowne Plaza had it just right – helpful, without being imposing over overbearing. The gentleman checking us in noticed that we’d booked a room only rate, and presented a voucher for complimentary breakfast. We were really grateful for this, it made a big difference to our stay; good hospitality that I won’t forget.
The first thing I noticed about the room was the stylish décor. Physical access is of massive importance, but it is easy for accessible rooms to have the look and feel of a hospital. Personally, as a paying guest, I want my accessible room to be just as beautiful as the rest of the hotel! This room definitely fits the bill, even with the (very discreet) ceiling track hoist.
I’m not a hoist user, but I’m aware that this is a lifeline for so many disabled people, and there aren’t enough of them in hotels. Guests are asked to contact the hotel directly if the room with hoist is required, and to bring their own hoist sling.
Décor aside the room was spacious with good turning spaces, emergency pull cords and a low-level viewer in the door. Tea and coffee, hairdryer, TV, desk and free WiFi all available.
The bathroom was also stylish and spacious, with fixed and folding grab bars, emergency pull cords, and the all-important wheel-in shower. The shower had a folding seat, and a hand held shower head, which I find makes a huge difference to a sit-down shower.
After a good night’s sleep in a super comfy bed, we were treated to one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had! Buffet-style, with cooked options as far as the eye could see (including haggis for those wanting the traditional experience) as well as fruits, yogurts, pastries, cereals and lots more. It set us up perfectly for the journey home.
If you’re visiting Glasgow and want a stylish, comfortable hotel with very good accessibility in a quieter location I’d highly recommend the Crowne Plaza.
* The Crowne Plaza Glasgow is Scotland’s only hotel with a ceiling track hoist, and a great choice for luxurious accessible accommodation. The hotel is situated on the riverside, next to the SSE Hydro Arena, a short drive from Glasgow Airport with speedy connections to the city centre.
To find out more about Carrie-Ann and her travel experiences, visit her new website, www.carrieannlightley.com.