Hospitality & Tourism

Published: June 8, 2022 | Updated: June 9, 2022

Hotel’s new ‘market-leading’ facilities win the praise of both incoming and outgoing Mayors

Bournemouth’s new Mayor Cllr Bob Lawton and Mayoress June Lawton (right) are joined by outgoing Mayor Cllr David Kelsey and a host of guests at the official opening of the Marsham Court Hotel’s new, £160k accessible facilities. Picture: Paul Collins/PC Visuals.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Bournemouth’s incoming and outgoing Mayors have heaped praise on a host of new accessible facilities installed by one of the resort’s leading hotels.

In a project costing £160k, the family-owned Marsham Court has become the first UK hotel to install a fully-equipped Changing Places toilet.

The hotel, on Bournemouth’s East Cliff, also has a new sensory room, wheelchair lift into the hotel, laundry facilities, swimming pool hoist and two new accessible guest rooms with wet rooms, specialist beds and ceiling hoists.

According to the national Changing Places Consortium, which campaigns for more Changing Places toilets, an estimated 250,000 people, children and adults in the UK would benefit from the use of a Changing Places toilet.

They include a hoist, an adult size changing bench and generous space for a disabled person and up to two carers.

Yet, as of 2020, there were just 1,500 in the UK – and only 16 in the whole of Dorset.

The Marsham Court secured a £70,000 grant from BCP Council’s post-covid Bounce Back Fund which it more than doubled to create its raft of accessible facilities.

Cutting the ribbon on the new wheelchair lift at the front of the hotel, recently-elected Bournemouth Mayor Cllr Bob Lawton called the provisions “market-leading”.

He added: “I would like to thank the family and staff at the Marsham Court who have worked tirelessly, both through the pandemic and afterwards, to provide such wonderful facilities, which have been received so well, both locally and nationally.

“I know the staff have also been involved in significant training to enable people with additional needs to make the most of these very special amenities.

“I would also like to thank Cllr Philip Broadhead and his team at BCP Council who have worked to ensure that grants such as this have been distributed to businesses within the BCP area to aid them in their recovery from the pandemic.

“And thanks also to the local building teams, suppliers, charities and accessible champions who have provided valuable input into the design and also helped publicise these provisions, both to the local community and potential visitors to the BCP area.”

Rosie Radwell, whose family have owned the Marsham Court Hotel for over 30 years, said: “We are incredibly proud of our new facilities, which are already proving very popular with our guests and also the many local people who regularly enjoy the hotel as a place to meet work colleagues, attend events and spend time with friends and family.

“Accessibility and the way in which we cater for all our guests – including those who need carers for their personal needs – is vital and was made painfully clear to us when our mother Jennie Deavin was in the final stages of her battle with cancer.

“Sadly, for many people with additional needs, memorable holidays with their families seem impossible.

“We want to make sure people can come to Bournemouth knowing their comfort and needs have been considered, from the toilets they use, to the bed they sleep in, to specialist laundry services they might require and even the chance to join their families in the pool.”

Outgoing Bournemouth Mayor, Cllr David Kelsey, who is now the Deputy Mayor, added: “I live very close to the Marsham Court and am a regular visitor, so I have had the pleasure of watching these amazing plans become a reality.

“This has got to be the most accessible and inclusive independent hotel on the south coast, if not the whole country and I am very proud that it is here in Bournemouth.”

Cllr Broadhead, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Development, Growth and Regeneration at BCP Council, said: “Over the course of the pandemic we issued over £250m of support to businesses across the BCP region – and our focus was always to try and ensure that we all bounced back better than before, and not just survived.

“The work that the team at the Marsham Court have done, helped by some of our Bounce Back Challenge funding, is the very epitome of what we were aiming for: coming back stronger than ever and now offering one of the most accessible hotels in the whole country.

“It really is incredible to see and they deserve all the success they are now having.”

The Marsham Court Hotel’s new accessible facilities have already been shortlisted for the Accessibility Award in the top British hotel awards, The Cateys, which will be held at The Grosvenor Hotel in London on July 5.

  • All pictures by Paul Collins/PC Visuals.