Hotel Review: Bond Hotel Blackpool

ScoliosisNutty were invited to review The Bond Hotel in Blackpool as part of the new service we are providing to people with a disability, worldwide. This is our first review and we hope we can do many more in the near future. In conjunction with the Disability Directory we will be adding disability hotels for our members to view. Our lovely Laura Campbell is our resident journalist so she was the most appropriate member of our team to send for a free holiday and report back on her stay with The Bond Hotel. Her review is below, we look forward to your comments.

Walking into the reception of The Bond Hotel on that rainy Friday, I have to admit that I didn't know quite what to expect, but I knew I was interested in spending time in a hotel that provides accessible holidays especially for people who have disabilities and special needs. I've had my fair share of spinal surgeries and have suffered through all sorts of associated pain and problems, but thankfully I've only ever been temporarily disabled by my condition and so I've never had to face what must be the incredibly daunting battle of going on holiday when you have special requirements. So I was compelled to see for myself a specialised, tailor made, disabled establishment.

However, my experience turned out to be a mixed one.

Catching a taxi from Blackpool North train station, we were driven through the bustling bright lights of Blackpool town - past fish and chip shops, brightly coloured arcades, the infamous tower and the re-vamped trams running along the seafront. We also spotted several hen and stag parties stumbling around - a reflection on the town's renowned status as a modern party hotspot.
The further south we drove, the quieter things became and also, unfortunately, the more run-down things started to look. A 10 minute taxi ride and £8 later, we finally arrived at a rather tired looking Bond Hotel. Our stomachs sank.

Despite our first impressions, we were in fact greeted very warmly and the management were more than accommodating, providing us with sandwiches because we arrived after the evening meals had ended. This lovely welcome was extended for the rest of our stay and we were well looked after by friendly, helpful and talkative staff, in particular Graham who made us laugh and made our evening there very entertaining.

However, our tired room reflected the tired exterior of The Bond Hotel - it had unfortunately seen better days and we both felt that this was a big let down. When we opened the door, we were greeted by a small blue room crammed with a double bed and single bed, the wardrobe was a hole in the wall with a tired looking curtain pulled across it, the bathroom door was rather battered and did not lock, the TV did not work and the neglected d├ęcor sadly matched the rest of the hotel.
Because nowadays my back is mostly made out of metal, a comfy bed is vital so that I can keep on top of my pain but sadly the bed I slept in was rock solid and I suffered a bit the next day. We were also disappointed with our view; a peeling exterior wall, looking out onto the smoking area, above the kitchen, which, added to the extremely creaky, squeaky floors and neighbouring corridors, made sure we were awake at 6am.We had tea and coffee making facilities and soap but apart from that there were no extras. If we were staying for a week's holiday, as most of the guests were, I'm not sure we could've coped!

However, we did see a positive side to the hotel. As far as disabled accessibility is concerned, I was very impressed with the equipment throughout the hotel; wide corridors; a fully functioning lift; hoists; en suite wet rooms; non-slip floors; shower seats and handles around the toilets, to name but a few. In fact, if I had half of this equipment in my house following my surgeries I think my life (and the lives of those looking after me!) would've been a great deal easier!

As far as food is concerned, it was all pretty basic but nevertheless decent traditional British favourites. Breakfast offered a choice of cereals, fruit juice, tea and coffee and buffet style English breakfasts, and evening meals comprised three generous courses, also served buffet style.

So putting aside the poor quality and comfort of the room, we decided to embrace the whole experience and spent our evening in the hotel function room, getting to know the staff, chatting to guests and taking part in the evening's entertainment. The bar area, which opens up into an equally nice dining area, was well kitted out with themed pictures and decorations, a variety of different chairs to suit everyone's comfort, lights and a dance floor. All staff were first aid trained and had the patience, local knowledge, courtesy and friendliness to be able relate to all guests and their carers and try to include them safely in the evenings entertainment, no matter what mental or physical difficulties they had. And it was this dedication that I think is the hotel's strongest plus point.

So all in all, even though we felt that personally the standard of the room left a lot to be desired and the hotel may not be to everyone's taste or standard, the fact that guests and carers come back year after year is a testament to the management's dedication to provide safe, fun accessible holidays for everyone. The evening we spent there was full of friendly banter and laughter and guests loved the tailored entertainment that was laid on – a variety of cabaret, singing, a disco and party games such as bingo which really got everyone involved; after a glass or two of wine even we were doing the hokey-cokey and shaking it all about!

Come and join in the discussions and share your thoughts on disability hotels around the world on our Facebook page, maybe you have some highs and lows to share too?

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