Sorry my blog is a little late this week! It has been an insanely busy week of travelling the UK. I thought I would use this as an opportunity to review some hotels and tell you how I got on with the public transport.
This has been the first full on travelling week since starting the business and I really enjoyed it!
To start with I went to the Liverpool Tattoo Convention with my boyfriend, this wasn’t necessarily work for me but it was for him as he is a trainee/apprentice tattooer. I drove to the convention in my drive from wheelchair car, as supplied by Sirus in 2011. It is always easier when I drive as there is no hassle of taking manual wheelchairs or getting on and off trains and in and out of taxis. I drive using a “normal-ish” set up. I drive an automatic car using my feet to control the pedals, my steering is slightly lightened and I have push buttons instead of a handbrake and gear stick. This is a picture of me driving on the motorway. Don’t worry, I didn’t take this myself ha ha.
We finally arrived in the centre of Liverpool. I hate driving around Liverpool as the one way systems are so annoying if you aren’t used to it. So you can imagine, I was so glad when I saw the NCP on Brownlow Hill, which is FREE for Blue badge holders! So we didn’t pay for parking all weekend, which is always a bonus. The tattoo convention was held at the Adelphi Britannia Hotel right opposite the NCP. The Adelphi is such an old building but to be fair to them they have kitted it out for wheelchair users. The rear entrance has a built in lift, which covers the 10 stairs to the entrance. It looks pretty unsightly so it’s great that a hotel are thinking about needs VS image for a change! The internal structure of the hotel is absolutely covered in stairs, but the Britannia have built little ramps and added stairlifts. They have really tried to make it fully accessible and seeing as its such an old structure it must have taken a lot of planning and work. I wouldn’t recommend that a disabled person goes to this hotel to stay over, only because it is a lot of effort. It’s a great location, within walking distance from Liverpool One and some good restaurants, however I would only stay in this hotel if you had a specific need to be there as there are better hotels, access wise near this area.
Following my day looking around the tattoo convention and watching my boyfriend get tattooed we drove to the hotel I had booked, The Holiday Inn Express in Hoylake. Now, I wasn’t expecting amazing things from this hotel as I think the plus about the Holiday Inn/Premier Inn/Travelodge hotels is that you know what you are getting, a clean, relatively comfortable not overly pricey room. However! I was SO surprised when I arrived in lovely Hoylake, it is such a cute little residential area around 20 minutes drive from Liverpool centre. It even has a beach at the end of the road.
Gorgeous isn’t it?, as you can see it was a stunning day!
We checked into the hotel room to see a huge room, perfectly kitted out for disabled people. I know that each disabled person has their own individual needs but I am sure that the Holiday Inn Express had a disabled consultant on board! There were just little things no one would normally notice, like two levels of hangers so a wheelchair user could hang up their own clothes. For once I could actually access every part of the room without crashing into a wall or knocking something over. It was great.
You even had a choice of firm or soft pillows!
I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, Hoylake for £89 Inc VAT and Breakfast! Which I thought was really impressive, seeing as there was a convention on in Central Liverpool and most of the average hotels were going for £130ish per night, room only. I am so glad I found this hotel, as it was really easy to get to and disabled parking was free!
The following day we went back into Liverpool and had a little walk to Liverpool One shopping centre, visiting our favourite treat restaurant, Gourmet Burger Kitchen on the way. If you haven’t been there you should definitely try it!
We came across this outside Liverpool One – Live Music and it was a stunning day, so understandably we sat for a while.
The Second part of my busy travelling week was London! This was for my business. Our train was booked for 8.50am with Virgin Trains and we had to arrive 30mins early due to the assistance booking we had made and the new layout at New St Station, which is amazing by the way. We had first class tickets to get into London so it was great sitting there with UNLIMITED COFFEE!
Here is a little picture of me and Jaz on the train, annoying the other passengers haha.. We aren’t your normal “FIRST CLASS” couple. haha.
Jaz came with me to London to get some of his art done and do some observational drawing whilst I was in business meetings so this worked really well. If I had a message to someone reading this, I would say… Don’t be discouraged to travel alone. The train staff are normally helpful and will even take you on to your taxi/bus/other form of transport at the other end of the journey. I always used to travel on my own backward and forwards from Watford and felt relatively confident that the staff would always be there to help when needed. You also have a panic button next to your space incase assistance is needed.
I arrived to London Euston and got in a taxi straight to a day of meetings. Although London is full of black cabs you often struggle to grab one! My advice for this particular issue is to BE PERSISTENT! If a cab driver says they don’t have a ramp/don’t know how to work a ramp then persist, maybe ask if they can call one of their colleagues to take you. As most of the time they are just lazy as sad as that is.
Following a LONG day of meetings, I went back to the hotel, The Kensington Close Hotel in Kensington. Unfortunately, I was rushing around so much I don’t have any pictures for you. We were upgraded to an Executive Club Room and it was nicely spacious with a relatively big lift up to our floor. The front of the hotel has steps but there are two side entrances and staff are more than happy to help you into the building and give you assistance with your bags. Our room had a wet room shower and plenty of rails so again, the bathroom was pretty well kitted out! I was able to freely roam the hotel and any steps in the reception area had a stair lift next to them so this was fine. Staff are happy to assist with the stair lift also.
On the evening we had a drinks reception at Archer Street Bar, Soho. It is stunning, but not overly big.. however it’s accessible. The only thing is they have NO TOILET! Their ladies and mens toilets are both upstairs!!!… So there was literally NO WHERE for me to go to the toilet, however.. one of the waitresses contacted the restaurant over the road for me to ask if I could use their disabled toilet. The restaurant was Bocca di Lupo right over the street, they were ridiculously helpful! They had just sat a table of ten right in front of the disabled toilet and even though they were totally packed they still moved the table to allow me to use the toilet. I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality as the group of dinners were not happy at all.
After a night of drinking and socialising, it was back to the hotel and then we were to start again the following day! It was a crazy week and it felt like we were constantly on the go!
Archer Street Bar, Soho.
Any questions regarding business travel or travel in general, comment below.