Professional Comment

Guests with Disabilities Should Not Be Overlooked

By Howard Lewis, General Manager of Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village hotel (

The Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village hotel is part of Liverpool’s vision to cement the city region as an international destination of significance for the healthcare and technology industries. As part of this is our commitment in making the hotel accessible for all guests, to be able to enjoy a stay in Liverpool and enjoy the luxuries of a modern hotel.

It’s estimated that there are over 250,000 people living in the UK who require help to get in and out of bed. However, in the whole of the UK, there are only 16 hotels that have bedrooms with adequate ceiling hoists, and for some disabled people, this could tip the balance between visiting Liverpool or not.

Indeed, at the Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village hotel, we are in a strong position to welcome more disabled guests, with 13 of our bedrooms wheelchair accessible, and one includes a state-of-the-art bed hoist.

In short, the team and I are extremely proud to have opened Liverpool’s first hotel room with a hoist thanks to our partnership with Liverpool city council.

I believe that operators are missing out by failing to accommodate disabled guests. To me, it seems hard to believe that such a market could be overlooked, notwithstanding the importance of providing an accessible space for all customers. With this in mind, Purple – a disabled user-led organisation – estimates that the hospitality sector could lose out on £1m to £2m per month by failing to support disabled guests.

It appears that a lot of operators have a long way to go when it comes to accommodating people with disabilities, which is why I am proud that the Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village hotel is making some steps in addressing this issue. In short, my team and I have tried to design an environment that is both practical, accessible, and elegant in equal measure to all our guests.

When we opened our doors back in July, one of our first visitors was a couple coming to celebrate their daughter’s graduation.When asked about our accessible rooms, the woman’s father, who is disabled, remarked on how ‘any parent with a son or daughter studying in Liverpool should be able to come and take them out for tea’ without having to concern themselves with where they are going to sleep. Hearing remarks like this is exactly why we want to continue to support disbaled people here at Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village.

Moreover, unique to Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village is its 39 long-stay, apartment-style accommodation – the first property in the UK to feature this new, modern concept – and designed in partnership with key health and education stakeholders in the Knowledge Quarter, specifically for patients, students and relatives attending the nearby hospitals and universities. What this highlights is my team’s commitment to both disability inclusion, but also the healthcare sector in general.

I want the Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village hotel to lead the way in helping disabled people feel more included, respected and supported by the hospitality sector. I only hope now that more hotel operators follow suit.