Wheelchair-bound holidaymaker John Roberts is putting facilities for disabled travellers to the test on a month-long trip – and you can follow his progress exclusively in Travel Weekly.
Here John reports on his stay in Cairns and the Shangri-La Hotel The Marina.
After the trauma of the Qantas flight to Cairns it was nice to see a smile and someone ready to lend a hand. Liam promptly gathered our luggage together and helped us into an air-conditioned vehicle.
A nice drive brought us to the Shangri-La Hotel The Marina. We were escorted to our room on the Horizon floor and checked in.
Everything was easily accessible. There was a ramp up to the level of our room, but with irritating little studs at the top and bottom. These are required by law, and while they clearly help those with visual difficulties, for wheelchair users they are a nightmare as you feel every ripple over them, in my case resulting in pain!
They also present a bit of a hazard at the top and bottom of ramps. They cause wheels to lose traction and can easily cause a sudden slip or change in direction. Ladies in heels also slipped on them. Rubber studs would probably be a better option.
Shangri-La The Marina is a great hotel. It offers exceptional adapted rooms with well-designed roll-in showers that look like wet room showers rather than disabled facilities. There was good space in the room but not much drawer space – though the manager told us they could help with that if required.
The next day we met the general manager, Rob Weeden, who had a genuine desire to encourage travellers with disabilities to the hotel. He was happy for any potential traveller to contact the hotel for help and advice. I have no doubt that if you stay here you will get a great room, excellent food and service and a warm welcome from Rob and his team.
Cairns as a location is pretty flat and easy to get around. Although some shops and restaurants are up a few steps, many have access and are happy to help. The people are warm and friendly, you feel safe moving around and the choice of dining locations is amazing. I think every country is represented here in Cairns.
We managed our tour to Kuranda but couldn’t make the Big Cat Green Island cruise due to bad weather. They were willing to help, but let’s face it – we are all held to ransom with the weather.
Would we go back to Cairns? You bet. Would we stay at the Shangri-La? Without a doubt, as soon as we can!
John Roberts is a pseudonym. The writer wishes to remain anonymous while he travels.
- Follow John’s progress at travelweekly.co.uk/travelchallenge
John’s photos from the Shangri-La The Marina
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