Accessible Derbyshire Holiday Cottage | COVID Safe Travel
Looking for a wheelchair accessible holiday cottage with COVID safety measures in place? In today’s #SafeAccessibleTravel interview I chat with Steve from Croft Bungalow, an accessible self-catering holiday cottage in Derbyshire.
Can you tell us a little bit about Croft Bungalow?
Croft Bungalow is a self-catering 2 bedroomed cottage in the Peak District. It was specifically adapted in 2016 to provide holiday accommodation for parties travelling with guests who have extra access requirements.
It has level access with extra-wide doorways throughout. It has contrasting door frames to assist guests with a visual impairment and an electric profile bed, mobile hoist and wheeled shower chair commode that guests are free to borrow. There is a roll in wet room.
It has a ramp to access the garden - which has been landscaped with wheelchairs and scooters in mind. There is a level 1.3metre wide flagstone path winding its way through a sensory garden. The sensory garden has tactile statues, a fabulous water feature - set at about a metre high so it's the right height for wheelchair users to put their fingers under the running water, and areas of colour and scent. The garden is south facing and a fabulous private suntrap. There is private off-road parking with plenty of surrounding space right outside the property.
Accessibility is not a marketing twist or an add on for us. We cater specifically to parties/families with accessibility requirements. Our guests are typically; couples - where one has accessibility needs, families with a child or parent with a disability, parties from care homes consisting of service users and carers, and on occasion we have helped soldiers returning from overseas with life-changing injuries - on their journey back to the world, adjusting to their new way of life.
Read More: My accessibility review of Croft Bungalow
How has COVID-19 affected your business?
We had to close down along with every other accommodation provider. We did receive some help with a grant from the government but we had to cancel or reschedule all our bookings between March and June so it will take us until the end of 2021 to fully recover financially. We have revisited all our turnround and cleaning procedures post-COVID to adapt to the new world.
Croft Bungalow provides dedicated accessible facilities for disabled guests. How has the accessibility been affected by any changes you’ve had to make?
We take small family units or parties travelling together so social distancing between guests once they are checked in is not a problem for us. Before the pandemic, when guests arrived, we liked to meet them and make sure that they are settled in and everything was satisfactory before leaving them to enjoy their holiday. However, in the post COVID world we now offer guests the option of either arriving on their own without meeting us, (the property is ready for them and the doors unlocked) or being met but with maintaining social distance with our staff. Facemasks are a problem for people who lip read - so we are happy to wear a visor instead of a facemask if guests prefer.
If guests required assistance with bags or any furniture rearranging on their arrival, we would do this wearing PPE to fully protect our guests. We have tried very hard to ensure that we have not reduced our accessible offering with our updated post COVID turnround and cleaning policies, though we have had to remove some of the non-essential items in the bungalow.
Have you taken any extra training to ensure that Croft Bungalow is COVID safe?
Yes, we have completed the COVID-19 Holiday Let cleaning course - as recommended by the SSCA (Scottish self-caterers association) and the PASC-UK (Professional Association of Self Caterers - UK). We have also got the VisitEngland ‘We Are Good to Go’ mark for COVID Awareness.
Can you tell us about the cleaning procedures you’ve put in place?
We have completely rewritten our cleaning policy following the training course that we undertook - and now we clean - then disinfect the entire cottage room by room between guests following government guidelines and the various professional associations' recommendations.
Extra care is taken to clean high touchpoints such as door handles, drawers, grab rails and transition bars, taps, tv remote and any area where there is likely to have been a high occurrence of touch. We have also reduced the amount of non-essential items in the cottage to allow for everything to be cleaned between guests. All crockery, cutlery and pans are run through the dishwasher to ensure that everything is clean for incoming guests. All mattress covers and pillow protectors are changed for fresh replacements between bookings, and all soft furnishings and curtains are mist sprayed with a Virucidal / Bactericidal disinfectant.
All disinfecting is done with a disinfectant with a log kill 5 (kills 99.999%) and classified to British Standard EN14476 & EN1276. All bedding, towel and linen is hot washed (above 70 degrees).
Have you adjusted check-in and check-out times and procedures?
Yes, we have delayed our check-in time by an hour to give us extra time for the new cleaning regime. Though if we don't have a same day turnround we will always be flexible to allow guests extra time if they require it.
Are you offering extra flexibility for bookings?
We encourage all guests to have holiday insurance in case they need to cancel through illness - but we are also offering a no quibble full money back or reschedule (their choice) guarantee to all guests in the event that they cannot travel due to a new government lockdown due to COVID (or any other pandemic - Heaven forbid).
As you reopen, roughly how many people will be on-site at any one time?
We sleep up to 4, all from the same party.
Eating and drinking – will supermarkets deliver to Croft Bungalow? Are there local, safe options for takeaways and/or eating out?
Yes, supermarkets deliver to Croft Bungalow. Our fantastic local pub is just over the road and they are doing takeaways - and they deliver to Croft Bungalow. There are lots of other restaurants and takeaways that will deliver and we keep a list of these in our information pack for guests.
For guests who wish to get out and about, are there accessible activities or places to visit nearby with social distancing measures in place?
Oh yes - the Peak District is actively gearing up for visitors and there is news of more venues reopening every few days. For an up to date list look at the Visit Peak District website. We also provide a weekly update to guests staying with us - adding new venues as they announce they are opening.
An important thing to consider when getting out and about is the availability of accessible toilets. Are you aware of local accessible toilets which are open at the moment?
Yes, we leave an updated weekly (from the Peak District National Park website) list in the cottage.
Are you able to provide information about nearby hospitals?
Yes, full details including A & E, Minor A & E, and Doctor’s surgeries are in our information pack.
Have you made any changes that we haven’t already covered?
We are in the process of making lots of short videos that may be useful to guests including how to reset the Freesat TV, how to use the washing machine, and a virtual handover for new guests (who prefer not to be met) and we will be putting them on a private YouTube channel for guests to be able to view as they need. They will be given the password and login details for the videos with their joining instructions.
Where can people find out more about Croft Bungalow?
The best place is our website www.croftbungalow.co.uk. We have photos, floorplans, measurements and descriptions and will very shortly have a 360degree virtual tour too. Also, people are invited to get in touch via our Contact us page and ask for a brochure.
A huge thank you to Steve for taking the time to answer my questions! I’ve stayed at Croft Bungalow three times, most recently in 2018.
If you’re planning future wheelchair accessible travels, I have some blog posts which may help.
Read More: #SafeAccessibleTravel Interviews