Accessible Auditing Visit In Costa del Sol01 August 2018
Recently Annie and myself (Matt) went to visit the Costa del Sol, to audit new and current accessible accommodation, as well as looking around the local areas of Fuengirola and Torremelinos to report on the accessibility.
We arrived mid-afternoon, and our plan was to make notes in the local area of Fuengirola and see if we can visit a few hotels that we have on our website that aren’t on our itinerary, before meeting with our in-resort agent in the area and visit many hotels in the next couple of days.
This was the view from our accommodation in Fuengirola, Costa del Sol.
We were situated at one end of the promenade, so we decided to take a long stroll to the other end, where the IPV Palace and Spa was situated and see everything along the promenade. Along the way, we managed to view the Ilunion Fuengirola, the PYR Fuengirola (all three hotels were on the sea front) and the fantastic accessibility of the local area.
The promenade was completely flat for a a stretch of over 3 miles! Along the way it became obvious that it’s very popular for wheelchair users with lots of accessibility/ramps/decking to the beach (around every 200m and each point had an accessible toilet), all kerbs were ramped and lots of restaurants and bars have flat access across either side of the promenade.
The beach also has an accessible section for wheelchair users, that includes aid, beach wheelchairs, male and female adapted toilets and a completely flat wooden decking area with plenty of room to maneuver a wheelchair.
This was the first hotel we visited, and we were fortunate to see one of the accessible rooms (we didn’t have a scheduled meeting for this hotel). It’s in a great seafront location, and the first impression I had was that it was very clean and modern.
The accessible room that we saw was very good, with plenty of space in the bedroom, accessible clothes hangers, a lowered sink (with lowered mirror and hairdryer), a grab rail for the toilet and also lowered rails in the wheel-in shower.
After looking at the room, we visited the communal roof-top swimming pool area which offers stunning views. It also has a pool hoist and accessible bathroom nearby that included a shower chair too.
All the accessible rooms were in use upon our impromptu visit, however we were allowed access to their pool area which includes a pool hoist and it also has specific sun loungers for wheelchair users.
This hotel was the furthest away from us, situated at the other end of the promenade. Upon arrival, I was impressed with the quality of the hotel and it really matched the name of being a ‘Palace’, as it's a large hotel with grand, spacious interior. There are disabled parking bays very close to the entrance, which is facing the main road - but once you have your keys for the property, there is a back gate that you can use to go in/out, that opens directly on to the promenade.
Fortunately, we managed to view one of the accessible rooms that was on the same level as the reception. The room itself was of a good standard, except for having a lip to get out to the balcony (this may be difficult for some of our customers). The bathroom was very accessible, with grab rails on both sides of the toilet, a lowered sink and a shower chair that could easily be moved into the ideal position.
The outdoor area was as impressive as the rest of the hotel, with a big pool and plenty of space to relax – however there is only access to the pool to roman-style steps.
The next couple of days, were spent with our in-resort agent, where we had pre-arranged meetings to view and audit new and existing hotels, the accessibility within them and the rooms themselves. We were on a tight schedule to get all the hotels in, so we didn’t have as much time as we did in Fuengirola to look around Torremelinos, Benalmadena and Malaga.
We visited 16 different hotels in the Costa del Sol, and most of them were new hotels that we’re looking to add to our range. Whilst we can’t go in to details of all these hotels yet, we can say that we won’t be adding all of them to our brochure as the accessibility in some of them were not up to our high standard, such as lifts being too small for wheelchairs, widths of hallways being too narrow and one hotel that didn’t have a wheel-in shower (as you can see in the image below).
However, we did visit and audit hotels that we already feature, which are the Sol Don hotels, the Illunion Malaga, Cervantes, the Sol Principe and the Hotel Melia Costa del Sol. It’s important for us to re-visit some hotels that we have previously audited as all hotels are constantly changing and improving and our audits need to be accurate and up-to-date to be able to provide our customers with the correct information.
We were impressed with the full renovation on this hotel, as you can see in the video below. The hotel looks inviting from the outside and the reception area is very flat, spacious, light and modern.
This theme continues throughout the hotel and the accessible room that we saw which overlooked bowling greens and it also had a sea view. Access to the balcony wasn't completely straight forward for a wheelchair user, but we've taken measurements and notes to let our customers make a decision beforehand.
A stylish and modern hotel in Malaga City which is very good for accessibility, with a very flat opening, a lowered reception desk, swimming pool with a hoist (and roman-style steps), a restaurant with specific tables for wheelchair users, as well as having fantastic adapted facilities in the bedrooms.
The accessible bathroom was equally as good, if not better than the rest of the hotel, with a brand new adapted bathroom that included unique features such as a hidden (and automatic) shower screen (to stop the wet room getting very wet), shower chair and grab rails with height altering adaptations, adjustable mirror, and a lowered sink.
Based in the centre of Torremolinos, the Gran Hotel Cervantes is stylish and comfortable without being flashy and modern. One of the first things we noticed on arrival was the accessible ramp into reception which is a great first impression. There were ramps everywhere around the hotel and they also plan on adding in a pool hoist soon!
The rooms were good, and offered good accessibility with hand rails, a maneuverable shower chair and a lowered sink.
Whilst access around the hotel is good, unfortunately there are steps to the rooftop which offers stunning views as well as a covered pool. Whilst our main focus is on holidays for wheelchair users, we also cater holidays for customers who can walk short distances and walk up a small amount of steps, but need additional assistance elsewhere. Not everyone's
There was a luxury feel as soon as we walked in, and we were off to a good start as the revolving doors had a button which slowed them down for wheelchair users, which gave a great impression.
Around the hotel, the accessibility was good as there were ramps leading to many different levels of the hotel which gave access to the bar area, the rooftop terrace with swimming pool (which has a pool hoist), spa and other facilities.
We also visited the Sol Principe, which we did a Facebook Live video on our complete audit around the hotel. It was the first time that we did this and we did experience a few teething problems – we were connected to the WiFi and the connection cut off in lifts and in other areas of the hotel.
This hotel was clean, modern and it had fantastic accessibility throughout. I was thoroughly impressed with their renovated section of the hotel which had big, accessible rooms which overlooked the pool area and was very close to the pool hoist (as seen in the video below).
Please see the video below of our full accessibility audit of the property.
(Note, that this was live and we were answering questions from Facebook whilst we were filming. You can see the full comments on our Facebook page. We were also trying to be as respectful as we can to the holidaymakers in the hotel, whilst trying to show our customers as much as we can around the hotel.)
On our way home we had a look at the accessibility and assistance at Malaga airport. There were plenty of bright signs which were easy to follow, to direct you to the right location. There were dedicated seats at the the terminal for wheelchair users and their friends and there were plenty of people assisting the wheelchair users.
This was my first trip to audit properties abroad and I've learned a lot on this trip. It's certainly changed the way I look at anything and everything in my everyday life, and I can fully understand why we do these accessible audits as no two accessible rooms are ever the same. This is why we have such a good reputation and it allows us to offer a high standard, stress-free accessible holiday.
I understand that some of our customers would like to see a wheelchair user do these audits for us, however due to the difficulties that we discover (such as lifts being too small for a wheelchair/hallways being too narrow etc), it would restrict how much of the property we could potentially audit - as we also cater for people that are able to walk, but may need assistance from time-to-time. For example, Hotel Cervantes has a lovely roof terrace which unfortuantely isn't accessible for wheelchair users (as there are around 5-10 stairs) - but this would suit someone who is able to walk up a short amount of stairs.
We have a number of new properties to add to our website including this luxury accessible accommodation in Malaga (see images below), which will be coming soon - click here to see all of our accessible properties in the Costa del Sol.
To enquire about booking a holiday to the Costa del Sol, please click here and fill out the enquiry form at the bottom of this page, or any particular hotel that you like the look of.
If you have any further queries, please email us on [email protected] or call us on 0871 222 4939
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