The ideal Gift Experience - Paul's Latest Blog
Founder Paul Nicol embarks on his own personal blog, taking you on his journey from diagnosis of a sight losing disease through to the present day as he makes the UK's only gift experience provider for disabled people a success in the midst of tough economic times.
Hello Gift Purchasers,
Well, it's on the horizon, here at the Gift Experience provider for disabled people, we have been researching Spa Breaks and Spa Treatments! A Spa Break is an ideal gift for both men and women and going as a couple is proving ever more popular! This is a great Christmas gift experience, so please bare with us as we work with our providers to bring this to our catalogue in time for that perfect Christmas Gift for a friend or loved one with a disability!
I recently visited Bicester Hotel and Spa along with the supplier, so i thought i would share my write up of the visit with you.
My first impressions of the venue were good: there are four disabled parking bays, a large tarmac car park and well maintained pathways to the hotel with no steps to overcome, great for people with disabilities, restricted leg movement or wheelchair users. As I walked into the main foyer, I could sense it was a spacious area, despite being blind. The feeling of space followed me around for the remainder of the visit and I could sense from the furnishings and fittings that this venue was all about a high quality experience! To add to this, the reception has a lowered section so if you are in a wheelchair, you won’t be left peering over the top of the reception desk trying to hold a conversation, good start!
Accessibility in the Hotel
It’s worth mentioning straight away, that throughout the buildings there are no steps to contend with, flat surfaces were everywhere, ideal for manual and electric wheelchair users! If you wanted to get to the upper floor, there is an accessible lift which has a low level control unit so wheelchair users don’t have to struggle to reach the buttons. The hotel has four accessible rooms. The rooms are spacious, fitted with emergency cords, grab rails, low level light switches and accessible bathrooms with a shower seat with wet-room-style shower units. I thought these were all great features, suitable for varying levels of disability, this was starting to look like a great gift experience venue!
Disabled people in a Spa!
All of the treatment rooms are fitted with electrically operated couches (or beds to the untrained like me) which could be lowered right to the floor, ideal for those who might struggle to climb onto a waist height couch. The beds could then be adjusted in a multitude of different ways to get customers comfortable for the range of treatments available. What was great to hear was that every session is tailored to the needs of a client, so you can be assured that no matter what your disability; you will leave feeling amazing! The spa also has a sauna and steam room as well as a pool, Jacuzzi, and hydro pool. The Sauna and Steam rooms are both wheelchair accessible, the lack of a hoist means that the pool, Jacuzzi and Hydro Pool may not be accessible for people with certain disabilities. Oh, whilst I remember, there is of course an accessible changing room that opens directly onto the poolside!
Swiftly onto Gray’s Lounge and Restaurant and the Sports Bar. In all cases, furniture is easily moved to make room for a wheelchair to pull right up to the table. The lounge/ bar areas are furnished with low level tables, ideal for cracking your shins on (Which is something I do regularly!), the dining tables in the breakfast room and restaurant are both standard height, so are accessible to wheelchair users. Breakfast is self service if you are not having a cooked meal, but staff are on hand to assist and the restaurant is table service for other meals.
The whole facility is well laid out, there aren’t rabbit warren style corridors and loads of doors to contend with, it is all flat and step free; my feeling is that a good amount of consideration has been given to the accessibility of the building and facilities within. For me, the most important thing when visiting any venue is the staff, it is difficult if not impossible to find a perfect venue in terms of accessibility, so having happy, friendly and helpful staff on hand can make a big difference to your gift experience. I am glad to say that Bicester Hotel and Spa had wonderful staff and in the unlikely event you have any problems, they will work with you to resolve them. Personally, I really liked the venue, it is definitely one that i would like to add to the catalogue of gift experiences for disabled people!
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