How accessible is Fuengirola really? Sunshine & Shower Seats, a personal view.

Fuengirola-Bathroom-chair-1We set off on the morning of the 7th of September to Knock airport. Journey was no problem but when we arrived there was no wheelchair accessible parking available. We were fortunate that there were 2 airport staff in the car park and they found somewhere it was possible for us to park the car. They subsequently assisted us into the airport and all assistance there was excellent. The only thing we’re unsure about is whether or not the assistance call button outside the airport building is working or not as the last two times we’ve been there it wasn’t. Because we got the assistance from the staff we met in the car park we bypassed the need to use the call button.

We checked in and went to get something to eat and all assistance again was faultless.  I also used the “wheelchair accessible toilet” but it is far from ideal as it is only possible to transfer from wheelchair from one side of the toilet. We got assistance from waiting area to boarding the aircraft and again this was faultless apart from the chair they use to board you which I’m never keen on. The flight was excellent and again the assistance on arrival at Fuengirola was perfect. Our prearranged transfer was waiting for us and he couldn’t have been more helpful.

Fuengirola-Bathroom-chair-2We arrived at hotel and the taxi driver assisted us with our luggage. Check in at the hotel was smooth and the staff said they would bring our luggage to our room. How accessible is Fuengirola – time to find out.

Meanwhile, we decided to get something to eat in the bar as it was almost 10.00 pm and we hadn’t eaten since Knock airport.

We then went to our room and as usual the first thing I did was check out the bathroom facilities. I immediately said to Pauline “this is not going to work” as I could see that the shower seat was an accident waiting to happen.  Luckily, we had our showers before leaving home so didn’t need to use it that night. When going for breakfast the next morning we informed reception staff of the danger of the shower seat. They didn’t know if they had anything more suitable but said “we’ll see what we can do”.  We then met the man delivering our mobility scooters and this was excellent as he was there on time and the handover was well explained and we were in no doubt that we would have no problems in this regard as their back up service was just a phone call away. The company name is mobility abroad.

We went out and about to find our way around and had a lovely first day where we found the area to be very accessible however we found out that it would not be possible for us to do any of the tours without getting an accessible taxi each as tour buses were not accessible.  We did however find out that the local buses were accessible. On returning to the hotel and going to our room to get ready for dinner that evening  we discovered that the same shower seat was still there.

As the shower seat was not changed we reluctantly used it in the meantime as we obviously needed to shower. Apart from the shower seat issue our room including the bathroom were very spacious and we were able to bring mobility scooters to room and charge them there at night time. The room however was difficult to get wheelchair up alongside bed to transfer. We found this difficult but still having scooters in our room was the best option because although there was a room on the ground floor for charging scooters often times the following morning we would discover one or both scooters had been disconnected at some point overnight.

The elevator was very close to our room and was easily able to fit a scooter in it. The hotel generally was relatively accessible however the breakfast room was extremely small particularly if you required a mobility scooter. In comparison with other hotels we’ve stayed in, in Spain or the Canary Islands the public toilets were very spacious and you don’t have the danger of the lights intermittently going off.
The food & beverage staff in the hotel were very helpful and willing to assist when required, unfortunately the same could not be said for some of the other staff.
We found many nice places to eat which were accessible particularly given that we enjoyed sitting outside to eat. Given a recent debate here in Donegal it was interesting on one day when we were sitting outside a bar called Los Brothers and beside there, was a Casino, bookies & bingo hall. This complex had about 10 steps down into it and therefore on first impression seemed completely inaccessible. However we seen a man using a wheelchair who approached the complex and lo & behold a member of staff came out and activated a lift from the side wall which you’d never have known was there. Clearly the gaming industry in Fuengirola are not going to miss out on any potential customers and seem to have thought of everything.
Back in the Hotel we continued to use the shower seat until I unfortunately had a fall on the Wednesday morning of our first week. Again we went to reception and informed them of what happened. Thankfully on this occasion I was not hurt. They said they would try to find something more suitable. We again went out and about for the day and again finding new areas all of which were very accessible. We did just as a matter of interest for this blog try to find out if renting a car with hand controls is possible but as in any other destination where we’ve checked it doesn’t seem to be possible. One of our favorite areas in Fuengirola turned out to be “Fish Alley” a place with a huge number of restaurants basically with any cuisine you fancied. Most places here again had good accessibility particularly as we were happy to sit outside when eating.
The issue of the shower seat was far from resolved at this point so look out for part 3 of the blog which will follow shortly.