Behind the scenes of the UK's most accessible hotel

10 September 2021 by
Behind the scenes of the UK's most accessible hotel

Here is a behind the scenes look at some of the access features of Hotel Brooklyn, which this week won the Accessibility Award at the 2021 Cateys and has experienced unprecedented demand for its accessible rooms since opening.

Bespoke Hotels engaged the RIBA-award-winning access specialists Motionspot in the design of Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester. Working alongside the interior designers Squid Inc, Motionspot advised on every aspect of the hotel's accessibility credentials and supplied suitable accessible fixtures and fittings to fulfill the vision of a beautiful and accessible hotel.

From the outset, the Motionspot vision was to design a hotel that delivered beyond building regulations. Ed Warner, chief executive of Motionspot says, "Only 6% of disabled people use a wheelchair. With Hotel Brooklyn we helped their design teams think about considerations for wheelchair users and the 94% of disabled people who may have other physical, sensory and cognitive access needs too" .

Hotel Brooklyn Manchester has 189 boutique rooms set across 10 storeys, plus conference rooms, a restaurant, bar, and mini cinema. The hotel features 18 wheelchair and ambulant accessible rooms, including two with ceiling track hoists. The aim was to embed accessibility across all elements of the hotel to ensure that disabled guests can enjoy everything the hotel has to offer.

Hotel Brooklyn features first-of-their-kind accessibility features. Most notably the ceiling track hoists installed in two of the ‘Liberty Suites'. These devices are cleverly concealed within a lighting feature and are stored inside a specially designed compartment in the wardrobe when not in use.

Other elements of the design included:

• Optimising location and height of the safe, hooks, spyholes and positioning the mini bar so that wheelchair users, guests shorter in stature and people who have difficulty bending down can reach them easily.

• Fully adjustable wardrobe and clothes rail, and desks designed to be accessible for all guests.

• Curtains that can be controlled from a panel by the bed which also includes a sleek, brass emergency call button. These call alarm buttons were also built into the en-suite, replacing the often misused and unsightly red cords more commonly associated with accessible toilets.

The Motionspot accessible bathrooms feature fold-up shower seats and matt black removable support rails which allow a room to be adapted to each guest's individual requirements. Also installed were easy to operate lever tap and shower controls, accessible flush buttons and carefully selected floor and wall tiles that minimised glare and provided fully slip-resistant surfaces.

In the communal spaces the application of Motionspot's design principles led to a level access entranceway and lowered reception desk provided access to wheelchair users or for any guests wishing to take a seat at check in.

Hotel Brooklyn wheelchair accessible ensuite with removable rails and seat
Hotel Brooklyn wheelchair accessible ensuite with removable rails and seat

Throughout the public areas several design choices were made to help support guests including providing accessible furniture and creating beautifully designed Motionspot supplied wheelchair accessible public toilets.

Finally, as a hotel is only accessible if the staff operating it are aware of the design principles, Motionspot implemented a thorough training program for the staff to introduce them to the physical modifications made in the hotel. This ensured they understood what the different access features were and how they might benefit guests during their stay.

A significant percentage of the 14 million disabled people in the UK want to travel more but are discouraged from doing so by a lack of facilities or poor design. Hotel Brooklyn demonstrates that accessible spaces don't have to look second best. By applying the right level of design thinking and product mix, accessible rooms can deliver greater revenue per available room and occupancy rates.

"Aside from the social impetus, the business case for accessibility is undeniable. The result has been beautifully designed rooms that have become our most popular suites. It's been so successful we're planning to recreate the model across our new Hotel Brooklyns in Leicester and Liverpool and we're absolutely delighted Hotel Brooklyn has won Accessible Hotel of the year at the Cateys," said Robin Sheppard, president of Bespoke Hotels.

Dining and entertaining spaces
Dining and entertaining spaces

Designing the right access for your hotel

Motionspot is an award-winning accessible design specialist creating enabling environments that work for all, without compromising on building design.

Motionspot provides access consultancy on all sizes of projects, both new build and refurbishments. Motionspot also designs, manufactures and supply hundreds of accessible products, including sanitaryware, brassware, floor and wall finishes, push-button call alarms, lifts, ramps, hoists, Changing Places and Doc M packs. Every product is created in line with Motionspot's ethos of design-led accessibility.

If you'd like to find out more about how Motionspot's expertise can help with your project however large or small please contact or call 020 3735 5139

Motionspot is also running a free webinar on 29 September focused on the business case and accessible design principles for hotels. Secure your place here

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