It’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities today, and so I thought it would be a good idea to talk to some of our favourite UK spas to find out how accessible their facilities are for anyone with a disability, as well as what treatments they offer for people who have different types of disability.
Lifehouse Spa is proud to offer plenty of disabled access, and the whole building complies with ADA standards for accessible design. There are four accessible bedrooms for any disabled visitors who want to enjoy an overnight spa break, and there are specially designed ESPA treatments on offer for people who are less mobile and in wheelchairs.
Lifehouse has also very recently launched a launched recovery breaks for people undergoing treatment for cancer, or recovering from the illness. Therapists were trained by experts at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, a specialist hospital for patients with cancer, in how to massage and physically handle patients who might be suffering with effects of chemotherapy or other treatments. Sue Davis explained to me:
“Some therapists can find it hard to give a treatment to someone suffering from cancer, they don’t want to hurt them so aren’t sure how to touch them, and some even thought that by massaging them too hard they might ‘spread’ the cancer. Working with the Christie Trust really helped to dispel a lot of myths and we’re now pleased to be able to offer nurturing and wellbeing breaks for people who really need it.”
Ragdale Hall has good facilities for disabled guests, and Paralympian Claire Lomas thoroughly rates them, saying:
“I could use so many of the heat rooms, get my wheelchair in and easily transfer on to the more comfortable seats. The treatment rooms are gorgeous, and the couches could even be lowered making it easier for me to get on to them!”
There’s an accessible bedroom for disabled guests, and getting around the spa is made as easy as possible with the provision of ramps, wide corridors, lifts and hand rails. Most treatments can be adapted to suit people with disabilities, including vision and hearing impaired guests, so all you need to do is make sure that you let the spa know in advance and they will be able to accommodate you.
Spa Kasia at Grosvenor Pulford Hotel and Spa also offers disabled guests a spa that’s accessible and welcoming.
“Here at Spa by Kasia we are continuously researching new ways to accommodate our leisure guests with disabilities,” says personal trainer Amber French.
“Over the years we have installed numerous elements to our spa to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests. All our doorways, corridors and treatment rooms are wheelchair accessible; we have lifts and ramps to reach all areas of the leisure and w/c facilities, handrails to assist in getting in and out of the pool and Jacuzzi. There’s also ample wheelchair space in the sauna and steam rooms.
“All of these points should be standard consideration in any leisure build, but we are always aiming to add that extra level of service, therefore we have had specially fitted swipe sensors at each door which flash and emit a buzzing sound to assist with both our visually or hearing impaired guests.
“One member in particular is partially sighted so I often spend time in the gym with him, working through the machines and guiding around the equipment. It is this one-to-one contact that we are always on hand for and results in positive feedback which is great news for everyone!”
Do your research
It’s always best to check whether a spa can cater for your disability, even though the Disability Discrimination Act does make it a legal requirement that ‘reasonable adjustments’ are made for people with disabilities. If you’re visiting a modern spa, or a large destination spa like Ragdale Hall, you can expect to be catered for extensively, but where a smaller spa is set into a historical building, or is part of a hotel, you might find that the facilities are less forthcoming.
At a Glance
• Senspa at Carey’s Manor in Hampshire is a good example of a spa that provides excellent access for guests with mobility problems. The vast majority of the spa’s gorgeous thermal spa and hydrotherapy areas are accessible to wheelchair users.
• Grayshott Spa in Surrey is also rated as being a great place for guests with disabilities, there are ground floor bedrooms, some of which have support bars in the showers, most of the pool areas are accessible to wheelchairs and all of the treatment beds are easily adjusted to accommodate disabled guests.
• Malvern Spa in Worcestershire has two accessible bedrooms, plus handrails and emergency pull cords in the bathroom. All of the spa facilities are on the ground floor.