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Savoy slammed over accessibility by wheelchair user

11 April 2011 by

The Savoy hotel has been slammed for poor accessibility by a wheelchair user who was routed through its kitchens, goods lifts and even a bedroom, in a bid to get to the Riverside Room.

Legal journalist Husnara Begum visited the iconic hotel, which reopened last year following a £220m refurbishment, for a networking event last week in the ground floor Riverside Room.

But she found that there was no direct route from the entrance on the Strand across the hotel. Begum told the Evening Standard that she was led up and down two lifts, through a bedroom and down a kitchen corridor before arriving at her destination.

She said: "With the amount of money spent on its refurbishment, I was excited and expecting big things. When I arrived the staff were very helpful but in the end I found the whole experience very stressful."

Leaving the hotel was just as challenging as Begum was forced to wait for a member of staff who knew how to take her back across the hotel. She said: "I was taken back through a kitchen, past all the chefs and through a loading bay where workers were taking a cigarette break."

Kiaran MacDonald apologised for the "less than satisfactory experience" and said that he had spoken to Begum personally to apologise.

He said: "During the restoration we made several additions to make The Savoy more wheelchair accessible and to meet the legal requirements outlined in the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act."

He added that a new stair climber is going to be purchased to enable guests to "overcome any challenges presented by our status as a listed building.

Restoring the dream at the Savoy hotel >>

The Savoy starts to take bookings ahead of hotel reopening >>

Savoy to reopen in October after nearly three years >>

By Janie Stamford

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