Just because you have a disability, sensory impairment or reduced mobility doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a relaxing and pampering spa session. In this article, we take a look at what makes a good accessible spa and highlight some of our favourite spas that go out of their way to cater for guests with specific needs.
An accessible spa is one that offers its disabled guests access to its facilities and treatments. At a minimum, a spa should have a wheelchair accessible entrance, along with ramps, handrails and toilet/changing facilities. Beyond this, a good accessible spa should offer treatments to guests with disabilities and mobility issues, taking into account individual needs. Some spas refuse treatments to guests who are having treatment for cancer, or who have recently finished treatment. Again, an accessible spa should be happy to accommodate guests with specific needs, as long as they know in advance what a guest requires.
It’s always best to contact us (or the spa directly) before you book to check they can cater for your specific needs. While the Equality Act 2010 places a legal duty on businesses to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people with disabilities, some spas are located in smaller or historical buildings that simply can’t accommodate wheelchair users.
When looking for the perfect accessible spa break, here are some things to check for:
1. Accessible rooms: If you want to stay overnight, are wheelchair accessible rooms available?
2. Trained staff: If you need extra assistance or specialised support during your visit, are staff available to help?
3. A good layout: Are the facilities all on one level or easily accessed via a lift?
4. Adequate changing and washroom facilities: Are there plenty of showers, toilets and changing areas that guests with disabilities can use?
5. A welcoming attitude: Does the spa actively welcome and take steps to accommodate guests with disabilities or impairments?
Lifehouse Spa near Clacton-on-Sea is proud to offer disabled access. 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 have reduced mobility. The spa is also dementia-friendly, with staff trained to assist guests with this condition.
Lifehouse even offers ‘recovery breaks’ for people undergoing treatment for cancer or who are recovering from illness. The therapists were trained by experts at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in how to massage and physically handle patients who might be suffering with effects of chemotherapy or other treatments. The spa’s resident naturopath, Sue Davis, says:
“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 in Leicestershire has good facilities for disabled guests. There’s a wheelchair accessible bedroom and getting around the spa is made as easy as possible, with the provision of ramps, wide corridors, lifts and handrails. Most treatments can be adapted to suit clients with disabilities, including vision and hearing-impaired guests. Let the spa know in advance and they will be able to accommodate any special requirements.
Paralympian, Claire Lomas, rates Ragdale Hall highly, commenting: “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!”
Spa Kasia at Grosvenor Pulford Hotel and Spa in Chester 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 toilet facilities; and 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 him 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!”
Have you got any suggestions for spas that offer good access for guests with physical disabilities or sensory impairments? If so, drop us a comment below.
Once you’ve found your perfect spa, here are a few treatments we think you might enjoy:
• Treat yourself to a soothing or rejuvenating facial
To make a booking at any of the spas mentioned in this article, or for more details on accessible spa breaks, get in touch with us here at SpaSeekers on 024 7671 6192. We look forward to finding you the perfect accessible spa day or mini-break.