Sea Containers in London has been awarded Best Hotel at the inaugural Blue Badge Access Awards this evening.
The 359-bedroom property was joined by Pip Lacey's Hicce in London's King's Cross and the Three Chimneys in Skye, which won Best Restaurant Budget and Best Restaurant Upmarket respectively. The Deep aquarium in Hull won the Arnold Fewell Most Inclusive award, named after the late accessibility campaigner and hospitality marketing expert.
Thirteen awards in total were handed out at the Langham London hotel on Monday, recognising venues and businesses with a stylish approach to accessibility. The awards were created by combining two major design competitions, the Bespoke Access Awards and the Blue Badge Style Awards, with the support of Leonard Cheshire, the charity that supports individuals to live independently.
The 2019 winners included:
Leonard Cheshire, Employee of the Year: Jeannine Gubbin, Anfield Catering Liverpool FC
Commended: Jo Dewhurst, Moor Hall Hotel & Spa, Sutton Coldfield
Leonard Cheshire Award, Inclusive Employer: Shakespeare's Globe, London Commended: M Restaurants London
Arnold Fewell, Most Inclusive: The Deep, Hull
Commended: Omnipods & Cabins
Historic England, Inclusive Listed Building: Woodhorn Museum, Ashington, Northumberland Commended: The Kimpton Fitzroy hotel, London
Above & Beyond: Jo Dewhurst – Moor Hall Hotel & Spa, Sutton Coldfield Commended: Attitude is Everything
HEWI, Best Accessible Toilet: Mere restaurant, London Commended: Mobiloo & Kindred, Hammersmith, London
HEWI, Best Hotel: Sea Containers, London Commended: The Beaumont, London
Bespoke Access, Best Boutique Hotel: Kings Head, Cirencester Commended: Cottages in the Dales
Best Restaurant Budget: Hicce, King's Cross, London Commended: Kindred, Hammersmith, London
Conran and Partners, Best Restaurant Upmarket: Three Chimneys, Skye Commended: M Restaurants
Best Bar Budget: Caya Club, Brixton, London Commended: Coffee #1 Newbury, Berkshire
Blue Badge Style, Best Bar Upmarket: 1881 Terrasse de Les Indianes, Per Sagardi, Barcelona
Commended: Bar Americain, Brasserie Zedel London
Euan's Guide, People's Choice: Cottages in the Dales
The ‘Ludicrous Loo' prize, awarded to venues where accessible bathrooms are "an afterthought, used as storerooms or with inadequate, thoughtless design", was awarded to Saunton Beachside Grill, with Artist Residence in London's Pimlico a close runner-up.
The judging panel included Fiona Jarvis, chief executive of Blue Badge Style; Tina Norden, partner at Conran and Partners; Alex Taylor, BBC journalist; Paul Vaughan, Bespoke Access; Neil Heslop, chief executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability; and Karen Fewell, daughter of the late accessibility campaigner Arnold Fewell.
Robin Sheppard, chairman of Bespoke Hotels and hotel sector champion for disabled people, said: "We are thrilled to unveil so many exemplary winners at the first Blue Badge Access Awards and celebrate the great work of designers and architects around the world in inclusive design. It is important to make access a permanent addition to the agenda. No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be as high as a priority as it is now, and we want access to be just as lionised in the future."
Jarvis said: "There is tremendous public interest in the area of accessible design, with a strong desire to honour and recognise businesses that go the extra mile for their customers. We are delighted to champion these venues with Blue Badge Access Awards and will continue to do so to amplify enthusiasm across the hospitality sector, as well as wider tourist attractions, museums, and public organisations."
Heslop added: "Awards like this are profoundly important because they shine a light on best practice Leonard Cheshire exists to improve life choices for people with disabilities globally, and accessibility is key to this. We work with cross-sector organisations every day in supporting individuals to live, learn and work independently, whatever their disability. We congratulate everyone who has been involved to date and hope many more join in, having been inspired by tonight's winners."