I recently got to spend one night in Scotland’s first Hampton by Hilton property in an accessible room. Our plans for the night involved attending a gig at the O2 ABC Glasgow to see the amazing Birdy, but due to the venue’s lift being broken we could not attend. Even though we couldn’t go to the gig, we continued with our plans to spend the night in Glasgow. The location of Hampton by Hilton Glasgow Central is ideal for anyone wanting to stay the night in the city when attending an event at the O2 ABC Glasgow due to its close proximity (a short 5 min walk).
Reservation and Check-in
As we approached the hotel, it was easy to see inside the stylish lobby/reception area from outside through the large windows. Once inside, you’ll find many comfortable seats to relax in while enjoying a drink from the bar or something to eat from the range of snacks available.
We were welcomed to the hotel by Damian, who directed us around to the lowered section of the reception desk which is suitable for wheelchair users (as you can see in the above right photo). Damian provided a thorough, but personal check-in that made us feel at ease.
Once checked-in, Damian went over my personal emergency evacuation plan, which I then signed and received a copy of. I was informed of the refuge point where I would wait to be evacuated from the building by the fire brigade as I’d be treated as a priority (in the event of a real fire or emergency). I would be in constant communication with staff at all times through the Refuge Intercom.
Wheelchair Accessible Room
We were allocated room 417, which isn’t far from the lift. Opening the room door could be a problem particularly for solo wheelchair users having to juggle inserting the keycard, reaching the door handle and then driving into the room through the cramped doorway.
Entering our wheelchair accessible room I couldn’t help notice how narrow the doorway entrance was. The door opened onto a wall in front which meant I had to immediately manoeuvre my wheelchair around the tight turn. I have a fairly narrow wheelchair that can manage smaller spaces, but I’m not sure how larger wheelchairs or scooters would cope.
The bathroom was directly in front of the doorway entrance. I felt the location of the room door also made leaving the room awkward for wheelchair users as there was no space to sit for the door to open.
The room itself was reasonably spacious with a queen size bed, sofa and desk area. Removing the sofa from the room would definitely improve the turning circle and provide more space for storing luggage or mobility equipment.
The bed was exactly what I expect from Hampton…comfortable and cosy. There was a lamp above each nightstand with the light switch within each reach. Each nightstand also had a power outlet, which came in handy for charging my power wheelchair and mobile phone. An emergency call button/cord was also located at the bed, but it was placed out of reach above the headboard rather than hanging freely.
Although the queen size bed provided me with a comfortable and restful sleep, I did find a few things that could be changed to improve accessibility. The bed was slightly on the high side, which can be difficult for transferring – it was a good few inches higher than my wheelchair.
The second thing being the lack of space at each side of the bed. There was a small channel, not wide enough for a wheelchair, between the bed and the wall on one side. The other side provided more space, but it was still tight due to the sofa being wedged against the nightstand. This makes transferring tricky especially when being manually lifted by a carer. There is a potential risk of someone being hurt while manoeuvring in the cramped space.
The heating control panel for the room is mounted on the wall (pictured in the above right photo). The control panel is not accessible to wheelchair users due to the small channel between the bed and wall.
However, if you travel with a portable hoist then you shouldn’t find any problem getting in and out of bed as there is plenty of space underneath the bed for the hoist to roll under.
Our accessible room had a nice desk area with a flat-screen TV and tea/coffee making facilities. The large mirror above the desk was at a good height to be able to see myself when getting ready in the morning. There was also a floor length mirror near the door for a last minute head-to-toe check before rolling out. Often hotels forget to position mirrors at a height for wheelchair users to actually see themselves and all too often I’m left struggling to see myself in my tiny travel mirror I take with me for those situations. Thankfully that wasn’t an issue at this Hampton hotel.
The bathroom, other than the bed is the most important part of an accessible hotel room for myself and many disabled travellers. If the bathroom fails to meet my accessibility needs, then it’s going to be a struggle and defeats the point of going away to relax or just enjoy myself. I don’t want to feel like I should have just stayed at home.
Unfortunately, the accessible bathroom in my Hampton by Hilton Glasgow hotel room failed to meet my access needs for a number of reasons.
The bathroom provided just enough space for my wheelchair with space on one side of the toilet for wheelchair transfers. There was grab bars, both fixed and fold-down around the toilet for extra support. However, I found the position of the toilet and sinks to be extremely unsuitable and showed a lack of understanding to the needs of wheelchair users.
The small sink was located directly next to the toilet and the lack of space made manual transfers a challenge for my partner to undertake. The sink encroached onto the toilet which meant we both hit our elbows off the sink every time I was lifted on and off the toilet. Our knees also knocked against the sink which made sitting straight on the toilet impossible. Using a portable hoist could also be difficult due to the layout of the toilet and sinks being positioned too close together.
The larger corner sink had space for my wheelchair to roll underneath, but the tap was positioned too far back for me to reach. I couldn’t roll under or get anywhere near the small sink to be able to properly use it.
The emergency pull cord, which must hang all the way to the floor, was tied up and placed on top of the towel shelf. If I was travelling on my own and happened to need help, I’d have no way of alerting someone because the cord was out of reach. The toilet roll holder was also awkwardly positioned and not within reach.
The roll-in shower had a nice wall-mounted seat. The fold-down seat was sturdy and wide which I liked for comfort and stability. The grab bars provided good support while showering. The floor length shower curtain and the rubber floor strip prevented water escaping from the shower and soaking the floor.
Food & Service
Don’t miss the lovely buffet breakfast, which is complimentary for all guests. There is a wide range of hot and cold food options available. The waffle maker was clearly a favourite with a constant stream of people queueing up to use it. I quickly snapped the photo below before the next stream of people began queuing up again.
The staff were very attentive and helpful, offering to get me a plate and cutlery and refill my empty glass. The staff member helping us at breakfast was friendly and we got talking about The Kelpies, which I happen to live very close to.
Snacks are also available 24/7 in the snack bar and you can enjoy a drink at any time during your stay in the lobby bar. The style of the hotel is very mid-century modern, which I absolutely love (even my home is mid-century modern).
Location & Transportation
As the name suggests, Hampton by Hilton Glasgow Central is a centrally located hotel in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre. Formerly an office building, the newly converted hotel opened its doors in May 2016. It’s within walking distance to the main shopping areas, restaurants, bars and public transport links. Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street are both a 5 and 10 min walk from the hotel. Although there is no on-site parking, the hotel can offer you a discount with a nearby car park.
I had high expectations for Hampton by Hilton Glasgow Central after my successful stay at their Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre. On the whole, we had a nice stay and couldn’t fault the service from the staff. The only downsides being the height of the bed and space around it, but most importantly the bathroom in our room. The layout was not practical or functional for wheelchair users, but I feel things could be improved on to make it a great accessible room for wheelchair users. There are a total of 5 accessible rooms in this hotel, so I would be very interested in seeing how they compare to the accessible room I stayed in. Do they have different layouts or are they all the same?
Before my stay, one of the managers seemed very keen to hear my feedback on the accessible facilities and whether there was anything that could be improved. I’ve since given my feedback and awaiting a response, but once I do, I’ll make sure to update you on the outcome.
Thank you very much to Hampton by Hilton Glasgow Central for hosting me during my stay in Glasgow.