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The Caterer

Cateys 2012: Accessibility Award – Chewton Glen

06 July 2012
Cateys 2012: Accessibility Award – Chewton Glen

Sponsored by Amadeus

Chewton Glen strives to treat each guest as an individual. As a result, the hotel, situated on the edge of the New Forest, stands as an accessible model to all, with full training for staff in understanding the needs of all their guests.

Those with accessibility requirements are treated like any other, while staff are trained to anticipate their every need. Training is carried out at induction and through annual refreshers to ensure all staff understand how they can help people with disabilities. The emphasis is on how the staff can make a difference, though it also covers the facilities.

Porter assistance is available for both cars and luggage and there is level entry to the main hotel, lounges and bar. For any rooms that have step access, portable ramps are available.

Some of the hotel's success in identifying and predicting guests requirements has been by encouraging feedback during the development of its accessible room and through continuous review. In fact the feedback from guests justifies the investment made. One said: "Our room is so well adapted - the shower in particular is wonderful, with plenty of space for the wheelchair and it has an excellent shower seat."

Others praise the access to the spa, which boasts "one of the best disabled changing areas I've seen". In fact, the entire renovation of the room and the hotel's facilities has been undertaken with such sensitivity and care that, as well as being practical, at heart the facilities do nothing to undermine the luxury of the setting.

But beyond making the hotel and its facilities as accessible as possible, it is the attitude of all staff to ensure all guest feel perfectly at ease that sets it apart. There is a top-down approach, with leadership from the heads of department who work with the hotel's health and safety consultant, local council and solicitors to ensure it is up to date with all accessibility issues.

And the hotel is happy to share its experience. Managing director Andrew Stembridge recently presented at a Tourism for All conference, explaining to delegates just how it exceeds all guests expectations, while also undertaking to feed back learning from other speakers to the team on his return.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID

"Chewton Glen is not only a lovely hotel with very high standards but is also fully inclusive for both guests and staff. The accessible room is beautifully appointed with a balcony overlooking the grounds and the spa has been adapted so that a disabled person can use all the hotel facilities. It was obvious from the testimonials provided that many people were enjoying these facilities and this proves the business case for making these investments."
Arnold Fewell, AVF Marketing


Shortlisted

â- Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
â- One Great George Street, London


The Judges
Helen Dolphin, director of policy and campaigns, Disabled Motoring UK
Arnold Fewell, managing director, AVF Marketing
Anthony Marshall, landlord, the Pembroke Arms
Brian Seaman, head of consultancy, Tourism for All Services
Johanna Van Houdt, director, Cringletie House Hotel

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