Here at Can Be Done, we take our role as a tour operator specialising in disabled holidays very seriously. We like to get in the field and visit different destinations and hotels first hand; this allows us to offer advice and tips to make your trip relaxing, fun and valuable. |
Recently, my colleague and I visited the beautiful and sunny coastal city of Paphos, on the southwest coast of Cyprus. This ancient town is a popular holiday destination that features a picturesque coastline, sandy beaches, ancient ruins and a modern downtown region where you will find the harbour and a selection of lively bars, cafes and restaurants.
We were there to assess the accessibility standards of a few hotels in Paphos, and although not everywhere scored highly, we did find three great resorts that did – and consequently were added to our portfolio of accessible hotels.
Olympic Lagoon Resort (5*)
This luxury, all-inclusive resort was impressive for a number of different reasons. It features many superb facilities like you would expect from a 5* resort, but this one made the cut due to its forward-thinking features and the staff.
Two types of room have been adapted for disabled guests, which include walk in showers with a seat and hand rails. Every room also comes with great views and luxury facilities. The accessibility extends to other areas of the hotel, where you can benefit from lifts, disabled toilets, ramps and equipment available for hire. The main lagoon pool is equipped with a pool hoist, so that disabled guests are able to enjoy the water (it is, unfortunately, a rarity to find these hoists).
Of course, it is not just the facilities that are important when it comes to disabled holidays - you will also want to feel looked after. Former guests with special needs found that the staff here are very friendly, supportive and eager to help at any opportunity; this will help to alleviate any stress or anxiety.
Alexander the Great Hotel (4*)
The Alexander the Great Hotel has the advantage of directly overlooking a ‘Blue Flag’ beach – this enables you quick and easy access to the beach each day. Disabled guests can descend and ascend with the use of a lift, and the hotel is also just a short trip from the harbour and surrounding tourist attractions.
All of the 202 rooms come with a balcony, TV, mini-bar, sofa bed and everything else you would expect, but they also all have walk-in showers and grab rails next to the toilets. Lifts and ramps make it straightforward to get around the hotel and to enjoy the 5 restaurants and leisure facilities. The hotel gets bonus points for offering airport transfers in wheelchair adapted vehicles, making it simple to reach your accommodation from Paphos Airport.
Again, it was the staff that really makes the difference here. Guests with physical challenges can confirm that they make you feel very welcome as soon as you arrive and will drop everything to assist you as best they can.
Athena Beach Hotel (4*)
The Athena Beach Hotel is also located near the harbour (and can be reached by taxi or by the bus stop directly outside the hotel), but it also has enough onsite to keep you entertained. This includes 5 restaurants, 6 swimming pools, Jacuzzis and a spa.
There are rooms that have been adapted for accessibility - conveniently located on the ground floor near the reception - which come with walk-in showers and pull down seats. Every restaurant is wheelchair accessible and features disabled toilets, whilst other areas of the resort can be reached due to the network of ramps throughout.
We found that the employees, and particularly restaurant staff, are very accommodating to guests of any ability level and have an approachable and friendly demeanour.
Back in England
We are back in gloomy England now but have more work ahead which you will want to hear about. My colleagues and I have been asked to exhibit at the upcoming Destinations: The Holiday Travel Show, where we will be talking to people about disabled holidays and how to get the most out of your trip. The Destinations Show is taking place at Olympia London between the 2nd and 5th of February - come along and see how we can advice you on the topic!
Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator specialising in disabled holidays across the world for individuals and groups who are travelling with a handicap. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks for disabled travellers, Philip has built a reputation for helping his clients select hotels and accommodation that offer high standards of accessibility to ensure that those with special needs can experience truly relaxing and carefree holidays.
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