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Australia's Best Accessible Accommodation 2009
  • Accessibility is key

Have your say in the ‘people’s choice’ voting on the best Accessible Holiday Accommodation in Australia

The 2009 state winners have been chosen for the leading holiday rentals across Australia with guests rating their favouritehotelsmotelshostels, B&Bs and accommodation parks
TakeABreak.com.au, Australia’s only independent boutique accommodation website, is presenting the “Best Places to Stay” awards for the tourism industry, which recognise outstanding service in specialist segment categories. 
State winners were selected via an exhaustive process from over 13,000 properties in 1400 localities and 39 accommodation types. National winners will be announced in early November. For now you too can vote for the ‘People's Choice’ national winner for each of the specialist categories. 
18 categories were judged in total with winners awarded in segments such as BeachBudgetEco-friendlyGroup,Romantic and Pet-friendly accommodation

TakeABreak Accessible Accommodation State Winners

Riverview Homestead, ACT Region

A purpose-built B&B keeping people with disabilities in mind.  Wheelchair access from carpark, along the path and into the B&B.  There is flexibility to be able to change the interior to the specific needs of the guest e.g. rearrange furniture, remove unnecessary furniture, install disability aids, etc. The B&B is made up of 2 large rooms, one is the living area/kitchenette/dining area and the other is the queen bedroom/ensuite, allowing plenty of room for a wheelchair. Wheelchair access throughout B&B.  Large, beautiful ensuite, wheelchair access into shower and under vanity, large shower with no door.  Wheelchair access into reception area and into garden.

A warm friendly welcome on arrival.  Riverview Homestead has a breathtaking location, set in a pastoral valley overlooking the Murrumbidgee River, just 20 minutes from Canberra city.  Hospitality, which says "We looked forward to you coming and we are delighted to see you enjoying our beautiful B&B".  Being available to meet guests' needs wherever possible.  Comfortable and immaculately presented B&B.

Judges notes:

  • Good wheelchair accessibility. Purpose-built.

Belmadar Rose Cottage, NSW

This 2 bedroom cottage has been designed (using the operator’s experience with 2 disabled children) to be as accessible to disabled people as possible.  The verandah allows undercover access to the cottage from the carport.  The carport is designed so that there is room to unload a wheelchair from the roof of the car, and big enough to unload from a van.  In the bathroom, everything is arranged to be fully accessible.  Hobless shower, grab rails in the shower and beside the toilet, a hand basin and mirror at accessible height.  There is also a hair dryer and washing machine. 

The operators understand the hassles of travelling or holidaying for the disabled; so they have a standard commode/shower chair, electric hoist and electric Hi-lo bed.  All towels and bed linen are supplied.  The kitchen is fully equipped with wheelchair height benches and no under-bench cupboards for full access.  There are no steps either in the cottage or on the property.  They have recently constructed a pathway into a small bush area.

This cottage among the gum trees has been built with special people in mind. Non-disabled people can fit in almost anywhere but disabled people require extra attention so that they can enjoy their stay without any hassles.  The operators believe they have created the ideal situation.

Friendly and helpful staff, immaculate presentation, with attention to small details and privacy.  The cottage has a very welcoming, homely and relaxed atmosphere, complete with a jar of homemade cookies.  The area is very peaceful and quiet; guests are often seen relaxing on the verandah.  We regularly have guests return, because they have enjoyed the peace and quiet in accommodation  near enough to Singleton to be town, but far enough away to be country.

Judges notes:

  • Purpose-built, all facilities available
  • Lots of the guest comments relate to accessibility, the images on their TakeABreak page support this.

Cream Gables, QLD

Cream Gables provides a room suitable for use by a wheelchair user.   There is space for a hoist if one is required and the bed can be lifted for the use of the hoist.  Switches and power points are lowered and the bathroom is accessible for a chair or power chair, with wider doorways and wheel in/wheel out shower, hand-held shower rose, hand and grab rails to shower area and toilet, and shower and toilet chairs are available.  The guest lounge and kitchen areas are on the same level as the room and accessible drawers etc available. Ramps are available at front and back door for one small step.   Courtyard and garden area is accessible to a chair and full cooked breakfasts can be served either outside in the garden or inside.

The host has good knowledge of accessible tourist areas and can guide guests to make sure they enjoy their stay and also provide mobility maps.

Comments from guests:
Thanks Anne – had a great time.  Access great too – will tell others.  Thanks for all your trips up and down the stairs.”  Suzanne & Greg.  South Australia Feb 09

“Many thanks for the extra challenges you took on with the hoist etc. for Jill.  Your hospitality and thoughtfulness were fantastic.  We had a wonderful, relaxing stay.  The local area with all it offered suited us beautifully.  Will be recommending you!!”  Barbara & Jillian.  VIC.  11/08 

“Fabulous accommodation, very friendly hospitality and excellent service.  Wheelchair-friendly for my client. Peaceful surroundings and so accessible. Thank you, Anne.” *****+ Rose, Seaford VIC 11/08 

“Thank you so much for sharing your home, your knowledge and your yummy breakfasts with us. A real find on the internet and a million times better than a motel.  Love that you’re wheelie accessible and have taken time to research access in Brisbane.” – Big thanks from Liz and Jo,  England 02/08 

Our aim is to have as much local knowledge of accessible tourist attractions, public transport and so on to advise our guests and also to provide as much accessible equipment and touches to allow guests with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of staying in a hosted, friendly environment.

Judges notes:

  • Love the extra information on accessible tourism
  • Looks to have all required facilities

LaViv, SA

Totally disabled/wheelchair-friendly. Built to the specifications that are necessary for this type of living.  Wide doorways, lowered beds, railings in the shower/toilet and hallway, all kitchen facilities for wheelchair access, level area throughout the house and outside, easy access through all doors.

This property is built so a family can enjoy a holiday if someone has a disability, parents are happy and so are the children. Its artistic uniqueness makes it a different experience. Its open living and its ecologically sustainable principles encompass the whole experience for the disabled.

The home is bursting with craftsmanship, artistic flair and positive energy. It is very welcoming when you open the door, simplicity with character, home away from home. The operators believe in excellent communication with the client.
Judges notes:

  • Wheelchair-friendly purpose built.
  • Pictures on TakeABreak listing depict accessibility
  • They have done an exceptional job making an accessible property with oodles of character

Arthur Riverfront and Sea Lodge, TAS

The smaller, two bedroom apartment has been designed for guests with disabilities. It is wheelchair accessible and the kitchen and living area enable wheelchair circulation. Most kitchen cupboards and the microwave and convection oven are below bench level. The bathroom shower, toilet, hand basin and dimensions comply with design criteria for use by guests with disabilities that limit mobility. There are no internal steps in this apartment. An internal door provides easy access to the larger three bedroom apartment as required, if the whole house is rented for a large group. The living area of the three bedroom apartment is ideal for wheelchair access and circulation, but the bathroom and bedrooms are not suitable for wheelchairs.

Accommodation for disabled guests is very rare in NW Tasmania. This apartment gives this, yet also looks out on ‘dress circle’ views of the river and Southern Ocean. Reverse cycle air-conditioning makes it easy for guests to keep warm or cool. The extensive patio and lawn between the house and river are ideal for guests whose mobility is limited. The apartment has modern furniture and decor. The living/dining area is lofty and spacious.

A property that is special to stay in because of its design, space, facilities, decor, cleanliness, comfort and outlook in an area that is scenically splendid and unspoilt.

Judges comments:

  • Good accessible information on listing
  • Good information as to what is, and what is not accessible

Akiva, VIC

Akiva is all on one level, with ramp access to and all around the house for wheel chair access. Electricity plugs are also higher and switches are 5x5cm which make it easier for access by guests with impairments.  Bathrooms and kitchen have lever taps so they can be turned on and off more easily than conventional taps.  Main bathroom contains an open wet shower (for wheelchair access) with angled railings in the shower and toilet. A shower chair is also available, the showerhead is movable and there is a low mirror over the vanity. All internal doors are wider than normal and have sliding doors for easy access by persons using a wheelchair. The house was actually designed and lived in by a person who used a wheelchair. Department of Human Services Carers who take their clients to Akiva stay with us free of charge (FOC), to give back to the community who support us.

Full-sized open plan entertaining kitchen. Open plan living room. Akiva also has a self-contained laundry with washer and dryer, ironing board, iron and clothes basket.  Akiva has two bathrooms one with a wheelchair accessible wet shower.  Akiva has three bedrooms, two have a king-size bed, which can be split into king singles and one has a queen-size bed. Each bedroom also contains a portable 5 fin oil heater, spare blankets, clothes hangers, pillows etc.  Reading lamps, side tables and alarm clocks are located in each bedroom, and a turn down chocolate (Ferrero Rocher) is given to all guests.  Guests are provided with full linen service, and two bath sheets, a face washer and hand towels per guest.  Guests are also given ‘Kudos Platinum’ range guest amenities of shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, body lotion, hand and bath soaps. Akiva is truly a home away from home.   

The essence of good guest service starts from the initial contact. Operators aim to reply to guest enquiries within two hours maximum, but normally within the hour. Given Akiva's excellent features and modern open plan living, it is excellent value for money for our guests.  We pride ourselves on the cleanliness of the property, and don't believe in compromising on quality where their guests are concerned.  Just take a look at our feedback for the 'wow' factor.

Judges comments:

  • Purpose-built accessible property with larger power switches, lots of room, ramps, mobility stuff.
  • Good accessible information on listing.

Loose Goose Chalets, WA

The operators have modified a chalet to cater for wheelchair guests, installed a ramp and widened the door frames. The bathroom has been modified to include assorted grab rails, wheelchair-friendly toilet area, open shower, and wheelchair friendly wash basin. There is also a commode and shower chair available, which has been used especially by children with disabilities.  They have also built a mobile wheelchair ramp that is easily attachable to the other chalet verandahs, and allows easy access between chalets for visits. They have modified a three-sided machinery shed into a well-equipped function centre which can be used for recreation/conferences/retreats and is specifically designed to allow easy mobility and dignity for disabled guests. This includes a purpose-built ablution area with shower, toilet, and basins. There is a massage bench often used for children who need treatment such as physio when on a camp or holiday.  The area around the property is flat, easily accessible and if preferred, all areas are accessible by car including a drive across the paddock to see the birds on the water. The operators find guests who use walking aids, and young parents with prams also welcome these features.

The operators believe they provide excellent service to guests and have been recently rewarded with the Disability Services Commission 2008 'Count Us In' Award for Business, The 2009 SW Small Business Award for Social Responsibility, and the Telstra WA 2009 Microbusiness Award. They provide quality holiday accommodation for those with a disability, and are family and pet-friendly, which is rare in the area. The chalets are located 100 metres from the house but not within view, with bush between allowing privacy for guests. Chalets are well-appointed and spacious and tariffs are affordable for families and groups. The operators often have carers and clients stay, and the accommodation is ideally suited to provide a safe environment with minimum stress for the carers. One of the operators is a Registered Nurse who is available to assist if required.

The operators believe in treating everyone as an individual, listening to their needs and providing personal service to make their stay as enjoyable as possible. They always want to give guests a pleasant surprise… something they are not expecting, such as the paper on their doorstep and late checkouts on Sundays, or treats with their tea/coffee supply such as fresh muffins or Tim Tams. They firmly believe that having a disability should not be a hindrance to having a great and relaxing holiday

Judges comments:

  • Excellent submission and followed-through on listing.
  • Love the passion and commitment that comes through in the submission.

National winners will be announced in early November. But for now you too can vote for the ‘People's Choice’ national winner for each of the specialist categories.

About the author
Find out more about Penny at http://bit.ly/h_experts

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