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£4m purpose-built hotel for the blind is unveiled

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A charity for blind and partially sighted people wants hoteliers to take note of design features in its new purpose-built hotel.

Action for Blind People has opened the Russell hotel in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, and claims it is the first purpose-built hotel of its kind.

A panel of blind and visually impaired people helped with the design of the 41-bedroom hotel, which cost £4m to build.

Features include a textured carpet in the lobby, which guides people to the reception area, extra-wide corridors to allow two people with guide dogs to pass, an audio lift and steps into the swimming pool instead of a ladder.

With the potential for a lot of dogs in one area, the designers had to ensure there was plenty of space in reception. “At the end of the day they are dogs and get into scraps,” a spokesman said.

Action for Blind People manages three other hotels for blind people in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, Teignmouth, Devon and Windermere, Cumbria. It wants to encourage hoteliers to think more carefully about blind people when refurbishing and designing new hotels.

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 7-13 November 2002

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