The Powder Room

The latest lotions, most perfect potions, hottest hairdos and salon secrets from The Lady magazine's beauty bloggers

Spa for All

Posted by The powder room
The powder room
The powder room has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 30 July 2012

“We would sooner just stay away from it all” – read the email. Coming from a venue she enjoys a long standing working relationship with, it was a shock that spurred Director, Abi Wright on in her belief that a spa break option for people with disabilities was long overdue.

Now are set to launch Spa for All, in September. A two tier initiative to highlight special access facilities alongside Carer Goes Free packages.

Having worked in the spa and hotel industries for more than ten years, Ms Wright became acutely aware that for all the wonderful things that they offer, their major shortcoming has been their own unwillingness to be universally accessible, particularly in the case of special access and disabled facilities in spas.

Of course, there are venues who are extremely well-equipped for dealing with a whole range of disabilities in a very specialised way - Menzies Welcombe Hotel Spa & Golf Club in Stratford Upon Avon include a hoist into the pool amongst their facilities; Spa6 in Gloucestershire offers pillows that vibrate in their hotel during an emergency evacuation for anyone who cannot hear; and many others offer special access treatment rooms, bedrooms, ramps and changing facilities.

However, for the most part, even where there are basic facilities, the chance to visit is still not made easy. Resolving to find a solution, Ms Wright perceived that there were two main practical areas of concern – firstly making it clear which facilities are available, and secondly addressing the extra cost implications of having to take a carer or friend along.

“Disabilities tend to be put into one category, but it can be anything from a speech impediment, to problems with sight, hearing, and mobility – it could be temporary or permanent, and simply by making it clear what facilities are available, people are given the freedom and independence to organise their leisure time in the same way as someone looking for family friendly facilities or special dietary requirements,” says Ms Wright.

One of the things Ms Wright is keen to highlight, is that her Spa for All initiative is not supposed to be divisive or involve venues that only offer specialised facilities because not everyone needs the same thing.

“In the 21st century special requirements are the rule, not the exception – it is about catering to the individual – Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa in Sussex is a Medieval building that would be tricky for anyone with a wheelchair, but their customer service is really personal and nothing is too much trouble – they have a returning customer who can’t see and they always ensure they open the pool early for him and staff are on hand to help him around – that’s really important."

Significantly, Ms Wright feels that spas are in a powerful position to open themselves up to a much wider market, and she is supported in that belief by Claire Lomas who made headlines this year when she completed the London Marathon in a bionic suit despite being paralysed from the chest down.

Claire is now an actively involved ambassador for the Spa for All campaign saying: “I am a huge spa break fan ... I love it and feel it is something I can still enjoy so much despite my injury."

Of course, Ms Wright is nothing if not practical, and she is aware that with the best will in the world, cost is always an issue, which is where the Carer Goes Free packages come in.

“If you are going to a spa and you have to pay for two of you out of necessity rather than choice, the price implications can really put people off or make it impossible to enjoy, so with select venues we have created packages where a carer or a friend can go along and use the facilities free of charge.”

Ultimately, Ms Wright hopes her initiative will have a twofold impact – firstly to encourage people with any particular requirement to go on a break and ask about available facilities rather than being put off by cost or the worry that it is going to be difficult to arrange; but secondly she hopes that it can help to reduce the attitude that this is a market or issue that should be avoided because of a potential PR faux pas or a blanket refusal to see where you can help people to enjoy time out rather than where you can’t.

“All I want to do is help create spaces and opportunities where people can relax and be themselves, and I hope Spa for All will go some way to achieving that for a much wider audience,” she concludes.

Words by Bonnie Friend

0 votes
  • Print

Recent posts

3 of the best... Sunscreens

The sun's out… block the burn with our great selection 1 Supergoop! Save Face Serum is light, chemical-free and favoured by celebs. £16: www.spacen...

Forgot your password?
Click to read our digital edition

Boarders Dormitory Master-Mistress
We are looking to appoint a Dormitory Mistress/Master for 5 nights per week, weekday evenings and nights only, term time. (35 weeks). [...]


Housekeeper to Headmaster
We have an opportunity for an experienced live-out housekeeper. You will provide a cleaning and hospitality service for the Headmaster and his guests and help to ensure the household runs efficiently. [...]


Full Time Housekeeper, Nanny
We are looking for a full time, live-out housekeeper/nanny. We are a relaxed young couple living in a large country house, and will have one newborn baby. [...]


Experienced Carer, Companion, Housekeeper needed
Our elderly mother needs a live in carer/companion on a part time basis. Must be warm hearted, calm & compassionate, with a good sense of humour. [...]


Cook, Housekeeper wanted
Good cooking skills required to cater for light meals for the Principal and a small staff, as well as occasional lunch/dinner parties. [...]




What the stars have in store for you this week.2017

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter