We booked the Crowne Plaza NEC for the weekend of the Motability Big Event at the NEC. We’d travelled up from South Wales so decided to make a ‘real’ trip of it. My husband booked the room by phone and did all the usual checks about accessibility etc. so we had high hopes of a great weekend.
Before I begin my review , I have to say that staff there were absolutely marvellous; all of them were friendly, helpful and just extremely nice. From the concierge at the front desk to the waiters at breakfast and the cleaning staff – all of them always had a smile on their faces and a cheery ‘hello’. This came in very handy as we were to need their assistance more than once in our visit.
So to begin – On arrival, there were Blue Badge spaces outside and a disabled entrance next door to the revolving door. Unfortunately it didn’t have a push button to open it so you’d struggle to get through on your own but we managed fine between us.
On entering the hotel, the reception space was large and we were quickly dealt with and shown to our room. When we arrived at our room, we were very disappointed to see that the so-called ‘accessible’ room whilst full of grab rails, had a bath with a shower above, not a walk in shower. We went to ask for help and my husband found both the manager and the assistant manager who came to our room and said that whilst they could see the problem, there was nothing they could do as every room in the hotel had a bath and not a single one had a walk in shower.
We then asked how the bathing problem could be sorted; to be fair they were really really helpful but still couldn’t think of a way to help me over the weekend. They then decided that the best option would be for me to use the women’s changing room downstairs in the spa. When I explained to them that I needed help to bathe and that my husband would have to come with me, they then decided to make the ladies changing room into a family changing room for the length of my stay. This meant that in order to have a shower I would have to go down two floors to the spa and use the facilities there.
Whilst on the surface this proved to be the answer to the problems, I still had to ring reception and double check that nobody else was using it before I left my room. I could then go down with my husband, lock the doors and use the shower there. The irony of it was that the changing room had a very good roll in shower with a seat and rails which was a perfect place for me to shower but unfortunately it was in the spa not in the so-called accessible room.
The room itself was large with plenty of space for me and my wheelchair, it came equipped with free Wi-Fi and a decent size TV and all the coffee making facilities that you’d expect.
Once we have spoken to the managers about the showering, we decided to go and have a look around. We then discovered that the track usually used by people who leave the front entrance, go down the path that goes the whole way round the lake, it was very steep and I didn’t feel safe trying it so we went back into the hotel and asked if they could find us an alternative exit. The concierge informed us that we could use the fire doors outside of the business rooms. This sounded like a perfect solution and so we left. Unfortunately on our return, we discovered that there is no way in from those fire doors and we had to ring reception and wait for somebody to come and let us in.
Now this wasn’t a problem as it was a beautiful sunny weekend but if it was not a good weather day, this could prove to be an extremely annoying aspect of your visit. (nice photo of P trying to get through on the phone though! 😆)
The service in the hotel was excellent; the food that was available for breakfast was wide-ranging and had many different choices from continental to the usual cooked breakfast. It was buffet style and plenty of people around to help you if you couldn’t reach anything. We were given a table and the chair was removed promptly so that I could get my wheelchair to the table and the staff were very, very helpful in asking whether not we wanted teas or coffee or any other help.
The next day, just out of interest we wheeled up to the Genting Hotel next door and asked if they could give us some information about the accessible rooms there and what their facilities were. The manager there was excellent, was extremely surprised to hear that the hotel we were staying in had no proper accessible rooms and offered to show us the accessible rooms that they had there. It was absolutely beautiful; with a wet room to die for full of shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, the lot. It really did look like a very expensive room for a very similar price to what we were charged at the Crown Plaza.
So would I stay at the Crown Plaza NEC again? I’m afraid the answer would have to be no; as my husband put it “they were lovely people working in a poor building” and seeing as they can’t offer the facilities that a disabled person needs, I don’t think that I would even consider it again. Such a shame as for convenience for the NEC it was excellent but, for accessibility, it came up short.
But they did give me a complimentary box of rhubarb and custard sweets, so it wasn’t all bad eh……….! 😆