Renaissance Hotel Manchester City Centre has been singled out by the Guide Dogs Association for its “high level of service” in accommodating the needs of a recent blind visitor and her guide dog.
With almost half (49%) of people with guide dogs being refused access to public venues in the past year, it is hoped the experiences of Sangeeta Uppaladinni and her guide dog, Ranger will help its UK wide campaign to educate and promote the importance of providing access for visually impaired guests and their dogs.
“We often have to deal with hotels, taxis and restaurants refusing to accommodate people with their guide dogs,” said Emma Allen-Taylor, engagement officer for the Guide Dogs Association. “It therefore makes such positive experiences, like that of Sangeeta at the Manchester Renaissance, important to celebrate.”
Resourceful staff at the hotel escorted Uppaladinni to her room and gave her a familiarisation tour to explain where everything was and how facilities worked. They also rearranged the furniture to make it easy to navigate and to accommodate Ranger.
The pair were then walked around the rest of the hotel’s facilities and shown an area of the basement where Ranger could be taken for toilet breaks.
Other initiatives included reading the menu for Uppaladinni and ensuring that a member of staff was on hand in case of a fire alarm.
“Everyone was so helpful, kind and went an extra mile to assist me. When you have such a good experience you hope that others can learn from it,” said Uppaladinni, who contacted the Guide Dogs Association to recommend the hotel across its network.
Cameron McNeillie, general manager at the Renaissance, said: “I hope that this will help encourage others to assess their policies and training so that Manchester can become an example of best practice when it comes to access for visually impaired guests.”