I’m Suzanne, one of Accomable’s team members, I decided to really put Accomable to the test – after all, being a full time wheelchair user as a result of a spinal cord injury means that I am Accomable’s target audience.
I stayed at Heath View, a self-catering property in Ipswich, Suffolk. I studied the listing and read the detailed description about the property. The pictures were extremely helpful for me to see if the bathroom would be suitable, and the pictures of the garden also got me very excited for what would be an action-packed weekend!
I swapped a few emails with the owners about arrival times, direction and things to do in the area, but decided not to ask them any questions about the accessibility of the property as I felt the listing had informed me adequately. Usually when I stay somewhere new I have an array of questions about width of doorways, grabs rails etc, but Accomable is meant to answer all of these for you in the listing, so I trusted the process and relaxed – all I had to worry about was if the weather would be good!
The owners live next door to Heath View and were there to greet us as we were getting out of the car. They always welcome their guests to give them a quick tour, which is a nice personal touch, and shows just how proud they are of their property (and rightly so!). We were given a guided tour of the house, which had no steps and no large thresholds to get into any of the rooms. That was the first hurdle conquered.
The accessible bedroom, in my opinion is the nicest bedroom in the main house. It overlooks the garden, the bed was so comfortable and there was plenty of space for me to move around in my chair. The en suite bathroom was also spacious and had enough grab rails around the toilet and shower for my liking. As a wet room, it has a flexible shower and fixed hinged shower chair (a freestanding chair is available on request). The only thing that I did find was that both the bed and the fixed shower seat were quite high. As I transfer from my wheelchair I found them a little higher than I would have liked, but it was still manageable. The owners have a shower chair, commode and profiling bed to hire though so this problem can be overcome quite easily.
The other bedrooms and bathroom in the main house were also beautifully decorated. Each room has its own colour theme, which is a very nice touch and is also very useful when knowing which towel belongs where! The doors to these rooms haven’t been specifically widened, but all doors to communal areas and the accessible bedroom/en suite are wide enough for a wheelchair.
The kitchen was very functional with all appliances you would expect and a huge fridge/freezer with ice machine. It hasn’t been specifically adapted for wheelchair users, but I didn’t have any problems with it. Everything was very clean and ready to use, and we had been left a delicious welcome pack, which we tucked into immediately! The kitchen led on to the dining room and living room, both of which were spacious and homely.
The dining room led to the small conservatory, which was a perfect sun trap – the weather over the weekend was sunny, but still quite cold, so this room was perfect. The back door from the conservatory led out into the garden, and that’s where all the fun began!
Along the side of the house there is a fourth bedroom, which has an en suite toilet. There is a step to access this room, but it is ideal for anyone that wants some extra privacy or for a carer. Also along the side of the house is a mini marquee that houses a table tennis table and table football. We didn’t get round to playing as it was quite cold, but I’m sure an intense game would work up a sweat.
It’s hard to describe what else the garden has to offer because the list is long and it’s hard to believe that they have so much onsite! But here goes – grass tennis court/croquet lawn, sunken trampoline, basketball and netball hoops, sand pit, monkey bars, swings, children’s play area and wendy house, hot tub, and a small indoor swimming pool (kept at a very nice 32°C). There is also a chest full of all sorts of garden games, bats and balls.
For me, the garden really was the highlight of my stay – we tried out all of the various sporting activities and there was always something else to do outside. I’m a regular wheelchair tennis player so the tennis court was a great added bonus, and who doesn’t enjoy a glass of wine in a hot tub in the evening?! I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fresh air in one weekend.
Also in the garden there are some pigs and chickens. The chickens provide an abundance of fresh eggs that guests are welcome to enjoy – and they were absolutely delicious!
In terms of accessibility, I cannot fault Heath View in the slightest. The owners’ motivation for creating their property is through personal experience of renting places for holidays with their disabled daughter, and you can tell that they have thought of everything. It was probably the only holiday I’ve ever had where I could completely relax and be fully independent. I didn’t need any help getting up and down steps, or squeezing through doors that were only just wide enough.
As I mentioned before, the owners live next door, and some of the garden is shared with their house. This potential lack of privacy could be a concern for some, but they were extremely respectful and we felt fully relaxed. They are also a great source of knowledge for things to do in the area or places to eat that are wheelchair accessible.
Overall I highly recommend Heath View as an accessible holiday rental, and even more so, I think it is such a fantastic place for all ages, as there really is so much to do without having to drive anywhere.
Property notes: Heath View is a self-catering property located in Ipswich, Suffolk (UK). The property has 4 bedrooms, sleeping 8 people in total (plus a cot) and with 2 bathrooms (1 fully adapted). Book here