by Richard Lee

It’s April 2022. Two years of Covid and lockdowns are behind us. I am a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, but pretty active and strong. 

My partner and I are invited to a wedding in Adelaide. We feel it may be a welcome toe-in-the-water back into travel, so we decide on a week’s holiday in the city of churches (and the surrounding wine districts).

I do a little internet research, and find Mayfair Hotel as the top result for five star, wheelchair accessible hotels in Adelaide. Situated in the heart of Adelaide – we think it looks good. I go further and call the hotel to enquire about the accessible room and fittings. It seems fine, so I book the room. 

The days prior to travel, I read the information sent by the hotel and learn that the set-down area is around the corner from the front of the hotel. When we arrived, we found that the set-down area was a piece of road with the hotel name painted on it. It also had a full height gutter. And there wasn’t anybody there to help us. 

The street we were on is a narrow but very busy street in the heart of Adelaide. There was no space to park out a little way to get the wheelchair beside the passenger-side door to get me out, without causing a complete traffic jam. 

Deciding it was too dangerous there, we continued fifty metres down the street to the parking house where the hotel had an arrangement. It turned out to be a very old carpark where the disabled spots were so tight that, once again, you could not fit the wheelchair beside the car to get me out. 

The only alternative was to find an end spot where we could not be parked out. We found one, but it was at the very top of the building. Having ridden down in the rickety lift to the ground floor, we arrived at what was more like a mezzanine about three metres above street level. 

We were then confronted with a ramp that justified the writing of all Australian Standards. 

It was so steep that I had to hang on to the railing for grim death to stop falling out frontwards. Later, when we came back to pick up our car each time, it was impossible for me to push up. My partner had to push while I pulled up the railings. (Did I mention I was a strong, active wheelchair user?) 

When we finally got to the hotel, with my partner wrangling two suitcases and her backpack, the room itself was very good: practical and easy to use. But without a manned set down area, and no valet parking, I was scratching my head about the five star rating.

If you are a fully wheelchair-bound person, then I could not possibly recommend the Mayfair Hotel. It’s not only the room that has to be good, but the whole package must be there to help people with disabilities.

 When we arrived home, there was the “How did you enjoy your stay at the Mayfair?” email on my computer. I sat down and took the trouble to write out the problems encountered, even suggesting possible remedies. And what did I hear back from them? 

Not a word.

  • July 11, 2023

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