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Leonard Cheshire survey says hotels fail DDA regulations

01 August 2005

Many hotel chains are failing to meet key accessibility regulations for disabled guests, according to a recent survey.

Leonard Cheshire, which represents disabled people in the UK, conducted the survey across 39 hotels in nine chains and found that fewer than half the hotels surveyed offered fully accessible bathing facilities in disabled rooms.

Richard Adler, sales and marketing director for Thistle, which scored highest in the survey, said: "Accessibility has to be a key consideration and it's coming to the front of the line for most hoteliers."

But David Hayes, chief executive of Best Western, said that surveys were not the best way of judging hotel accessibility.

He said the three hotels surveyed from 309 in the Best Western portfolio, which was rated the third-worst, were not an accurate reflection of how the company - or the hospitality industry as a whole - complies with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: "There needs to be an understanding of what is reasonable for a particular industry, so in hospitality there will be problems with listed buildings and Braille if menus that change daily."

Chris Grace, from disability consultancy In Your Stride, agreed there were pitfalls with the survey.

"Even the simplest question may be difficult to answer completely accurately," he said.

It may be that a hotel is accessible, but doesn't comply with other DDA regulations - all these factors have to be assessed together, he added.

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