Six Continents alters disabled rooms policy
13 Jun 2002Â*Â*00:00

Six Continents Hotels has changed its policy on rooms for disabled people following the settlement of a disability discrimination dispute through the Disability Rights Commission.

The dispute arose when Carl Ford, a disability consultant from Shropshire who himself has to use a wheelchair, tried to book a twin room for himself and his helper in a London Express by Holiday Inn last November.

Although the hotel had rooms adapted for the disabled, they all contained one double bed rather than two singles, so Ford was forced to pay for two adjoining rooms.

As this breached the Disability Discrimination Act by offering a lesser service to disabled people, Ford took the case to the Disability Rights Commission after failing to solve the problem locally. The commission tries to resolve discrimination rows out of court.

Ford, who was awarded undisclosed compensation, said the talks had been "very constructive" and that Six Continents Hotels had proved "approachable and open" to the issues.

Under the new policy, all UK hotels in the Six Continents group will now give disabled customers and their helpers access to a second room at no extra cost if twin rooms are unavailable.

A spokeswoman said that future hotel projects will include twin rooms for disabled guests and their companions, as well as the current layout with adapted bathrooms, double beds and plenty of turning room.

The spokeswoman added that the problem experienced by Ford applied primarily to Express by Holiday Inns, the group's budget brand.

by Angela Frewin