I’m on holiday in Spain with Jess Mabel Jones, AKA Chopin. We arrived today and we’ll be here for five days of relaxation, swimming and sun.
I decided to go on holiday at the last minute so I used accessible travel agent Enable Holidays because they’d helped Fran and me book our break last year. Using a specialist travel agent meant I was confident that the access would be good – but I didn’t realise quite how good.
It was not until we arrived at the Ilunion Hotel in Fuengirola that we realised that not only was it accessible but it’s also run by disabled people.
Ilunion is a chain with 26 hotels. 40% of all employees are disabled and at some hotels is this is as high as 70%. Right away we could feel the difference this made.
We were warmly welcomed, and we noticed that lots of other disabled people were checking in too. Our room was brilliant, with a roll-in shower, mirrors at accessible heights and even clothes hangers with extra long handles which meant that I could hang up my clothes myself for the first time in years – something I can’t even do at home.
When we went for dinner I noticed a mysterious soft cube on some of the tables. It turned out that these tables, near the buffet, were reserved for wheelchair users. They had a chair already removed from one side to make enough room without any extra hassle. It was small touches like this that demonstrated to me that access was fully understood.
At dinner we also noticed that three of the team of waiters were D/deaf and communicating with deaf patrons in their first language. The atmosphere is brilliantly inclusive and the hotel is full of disabled and non-disabled people enjoying a break. It’s not surprising to me that Ilunion are the first Spanish company to receive the Ethics Award from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for their work in the field of accessible tourism.
I hope more businesses understand that investing in access and in disabled staff makes sense, socially, ethically and financially.