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Extracted from my EBook, Barcelona, a Wheelchair Users Guide.


Extracted from my EBook, Barcelona, a Wheelchair Users Guide.
"Barcelona Hotels
Hotels with rooms that are adapted can be found in most locations within Barcelona city centre and surrounding localities, most with roll-in showers, a big plus for the majority of wheelchair users. A common grumble about roll-in showers in Barcelona hotels (and elsewhere I’m sure) is the positioning of the showerhead (almost always too high for comfort) and position of a shelf for shampoo bottles and soap (awkward to reach or turn to from a shower chair). Adjustable beds are a rarity and standards vary across the city in respect to access, one major hotel for instance has four rooms suitable for wheelchair users (as do most 4 star hotels) however there's a few niggles to deal with such as a pole with a hook that has to be used to hang clothes in the wardrobe (standard fittings are used), mirrors are too high to be of any use for wheelchair users in the bathroom, in all other respects its a great hotel, ramped access everywhere, Braille on all access points, lift numbers etc. and some of the most helpful staff you will find in Barcelona. I've yet to find a hotel that has the concept of 'access' for wheelchair users buttoned down to a tee but overall the standards are good. USA visitors sometimes comment on how small rooms are but this can be said of all rooms in general where Europe is concerned in comparison with many USA hotel rooms. One point to note if using a power chair, check with the hotel before confirming and paying for a reservation that your chair can fit into the lift if required as many hotels don’t have what might be termed full sized lifts, and don’t forget to check that you have a charger that can be used in Europe.

Following on from the above comments it is nice to be able to comment that after visiting more than 50 hotels in Barcelona many have taken steps to introduce more user friendly facilities and the SB Hotel Group is one of them so do check their website for room prices as I do highly recommend them to you.

A downside in booking hotel rooms is that few hotels or chains offer accessible room reservation facilities on-line and the use of the wheelchair friendly symbol can basically mean anything from ramp access into the hotel only, to a fully disabled friendly hotel that’s suitable for all kinds of disabilities. A call to the hotel reservation service is generally required, itself not an easy process when trying to describe what a roll-in shower is, but fun if you have a sense of humour and lots of patience! In reality its always best to contact a hotels reception directly and ask to speak to the reception manager if possible, firstly because the staff always speak English and secondly reception staff generally know what you're talking about! When asking about a roll-in shower it is imperative that you ask if a shower chair is available as standard as many hotels charge for the hire of a chair and if you don't ask for one when booking you will have the hassle of trying to get one upon arrival.

Apartments
Buyers beware has been the mantra in retail for decades and it certainly applies in Barcelona when reserving accessible apartments for as many visitors have discovered for themselves these ‘accessible’ apartments are anything but accessible. It is wise to check all access claims by asking for photographic evidence starting with access from the street. The majority of buildings in the centre of Barcelona have high entrance steps which is an immediate barrier to access. Next ask for the opening width of the lift if the apartment is on the ground level, the minimum opening should be 80 cm, most old style lifts are rarely more than 74 cm which will impede access for most wheelchair users. The rest is standard, photos of the roll-in shower, bedrooms, etc making sure that internal doors are a minimum of 80 cm wide. Check also where household rubbish has to go as even if by luck an apartment is accessible where the rubbish has to go may well not be!

From 2014 you need have no fear of falling foul of spurious claims by apartment owners in regards to accessibility as there are now two apartment services available in Barcelona with apartments fitted and adapted to extremely high standards, the first is Mic Sant Jordi. Essentially a rehabilitation centre Mic Sant Jordi offers more than 30 apartments for short term lets (location may be an issue for many as it is not located in the City centre), the second is MH Apartments who opened a new centrally located apartment block in January 2014 that includes a two bedroom fully accessible apartment with roll-in shower.
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