Recently a trip to North London was required and an overnight stay was booked at the Borehamwood Travelodge, for my son and me.

When making the booking I requested a twin bed room for two adults, and ticked the box to say I would accept a disabled room. I am not a wheelchair user, but having reduced mobility prefer a room that doesn’t require climbing lots of stairs.

On arriving we were allocated the requested disabled room, made up with a double bed and one set of towels; back to reception. The receptionist couldn’t have been more helpful, separating the double bed into two singles, and providing a second set of towels.

A cup of tea was brewed and we settled down to watch TV. A press of the tacky ‘pound shop’ remote illuminated a red light but the TV stayed steadfastly dead. Yes, it was plugged in and switched on, we pressed every button on the remote, we tried it in DVD mode, VCR mode, Satellite mode, TV mode and any other mode it was capable of. The TV continued to be unimpressed.

Being mounted on the wall about head height,the TV was an impressive model with manual controls along the top. Presumably there was some indication as to what each of these controls did, but being less than 9 foot tall this information remained a mystery so we pushed buttons until, Hey Presto it sprung into life.

In this age of multi-channel TV a remote control is an essential piece of equipment as one valiantly moves from channel to channel to find something vaguely interesting, that hasn’t been shown a hundred times before. However, most of us can get up and change channel if we have to, but this one was in a room for disabled/wheelchair users!

Borehamwood Travelodge (1)Imagine the scenario, we have a flashy new TV, we have controls on the top of the TV eight foot off the ground, we have a person in a wheelchair whose head is lower than the bottom of the TV screen. Are we to imagine even the most patient of reception staff is going to be happy popping along to the room each time the channel needs changing, I think not. Are we then to expect the wheelchair user to hop up and change channel manually.

 

I have stayed in a number of budget hotel rooms over the years and a broken or inoperative remote is not uncommon. But this is a disabled room for pity’s sake, is it too much to ask that the staff ensure the TV and remote work when they are preparing the room, and why does the TV have to be so high up the wall anyway? I once stayed in a tiny hotel room in Manchester and the TV was on top of the wardrobe, but that, as they say, is another story.

Final note: the mental image of granny balancing in her wheelchair whilst trying to work the TV kept me amused all weekend.

Borehamwood Travelodge (2)

Sorry, don’t have a picture of that mental image (shame) so I took one of my son instead