Disabled Guest Feedback section
“Wheel meet again - not very likely”
Management Note: This review from a disabled person is informative (if you are using a wheelchair) as it most comprehensively explains what is required to get around the castle, for a disabled person.
A disabled person can get pretty well anywhere, but for the person pushing the wheelchair, the diversions involved means there is a lot of wheeling about!
The castle is a long building on different levels. You can get into the lower levels down ramps (e.g. the Theatre and the Conservatory are ramped invidually) but to get into the main building you need to use the main entrance and to get into any of the lower rooms from the main building, a disabled person has to go out of the main entrance again, and enter via separate ramps into the lower rooms, from the courtyards.
To simplify things and reduce the wheeling about, if you have guests using wheelchairs, please allocate room AB11 in preference to any other, as it is (a) very large, (b) right outside the Banqueting room, so the disabled person can use their own room's loo at least during the Wedding Breakfast (c) it has separate double door access so you can easily get in and out of it (the below guest may not have realised this). Guests using this room only have about 4 yards to walk from the Conservatory to the disabled loo in their room. There is a neighbouring disabled room, AB12; this should only be used as a second preference as it is much smaller.
This guest actually had AB11 and for easier access, could have gone in and out via the separate double door entrance to the room to avoid the need to go via the hallway as described below.
Due to Grade Two Star and Grade One listings on parts of the building, we have not been allowed to put a permanent disabled ramp near the front entrance. So we use a purpose built ramp that we erect when required. We do have to leave the front doors open to accommodate its size. Provided the disabled guest stays in AB11 (or AB12) the amount of wheeling about can be reduced - they certainly do not need to use the spa loo!
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 8 December 2014
Well quite a lot to say on this one and a mixed bag of points to raise. This review is from a disabled person point of view so please receive it as such and rely on other reviews for able bodied persons.
This is LONG so get a coffee and read on.
This was a family wedding at a Welsh Castle – as about as romantic as they come! My wife being wheelchair bound (and this being a Castle) our first question was ‘do they cater for disabled’ – yes came the reply, there were two adapted rooms both on the ground floor! Brilliant!
Now first the good points – the wedding was fantastic – the Castle itself is wonderful, the ceremony took place in an integral Theatre with oodles of history, the wedding breakfast was in a HUGE conservatory, the food wonderful, the atmosphere great, cake unbeatable and everything about the wedding was first class! Nothing to moan about in THAT department.
Now the not so great bits.
We arrived at the Castle to find a quite small Car Park outside the entrance, but if there were disabled bays then we either couldn’t find them or they were not very well marked. So we just parked in front of a Fountain and out came the wheelchair.
1st problem, there were 2 small steps up to the front door – not that bad, I can get the wheelchair up two steps and through the front door. Trouble was after 3 or 4 feet of flat ground inside the door there were another 8 steps or so up to reception.
Leaving my wife downstairs in her chair I went up to find a queue of people checking in and no-one in reception. One of the people moaned that there was only 1 person serving and after she checked in a room in she then had to show them to their room leaving the reception unattended. Now to be fair, we were booking in earlier than we were supposed to so perhaps under manning wasn’t really their fault
When the receptionist returned I quickly asked if there was another route that we should use to get to reception with a wheelchair – answer was no, but ‘she’ll get the boys to get the ramp out’. I couldn’t believe the contraption that was assembled before our eyes. We were expecting a pair of ramps up the 8 steps but noooo. What appeared – almost like a scaffolding project was something like an agility set at a dog show – The 1st couple of steps into the front had its own pair of ramps, this joined to a flat platform across the level bit inside the door and then another pair of ramps completed the ‘set’ to the tops of the stairs! So this arrangement started on the outside of the building and went up, across and up again to the 1st floor reception level! It stuck out the front door so they couldn’t be closed and was so wide as to block any pedestrian access so just about every able bodied person had to use it as well!
Now as well as reception, the lounge, bar area, and breakfast dining room (where the evening reception was held) were all on this level so there was no avoiding having to use the ramp to get in! Pushing a fully laden wheelchair up a long steep ramp was no easy task but I was man for the job!
We booked in. Payment on check in rather than check out – a bit unusual but we paid up as instructed. £150 for B & B, very expensive for Wales but this was an historic Castle so we’ll skip a debate on the cost!
Our room on the ground floor proved to be back down the ramp, across the courtyard, under an arch and in one of a collection of buildings outside the castle. Now apart from being very cold it was a nice room once you managed to get through the front door which served as access to our room and a staircase to another room upstairs. It was a squeeze to get in the door, allow it to shut and then open the door to our actual room! It was a well equipped room with a double and a single bed, large adapted bathroom, loads of tea/coffee supplies, 2 phones and a decent TV. The wardrobe was tiny which was fine a staying a night or two but useless for a longer stay. We unpacked and got dressed for the wedding! Then it was back UP the ramp to the lounge where we gathered until the ceremony (in the Theatre). Ok – next problem, the theatre is along the corridor, through the bar area, past the dining area and down a load of stairs, but for us it was back down the ramp through the car park where they opened some fire doors and it was down a ramp into the theatre for us!.
The ceremony was wonderful. The Theatre was cold but again – old and historic etc., bite your tongue!
After the ceremony it was back to the lounge for welcome drinks and yes you guessed it, out through the doors of the Theatre and back up the ramp into the Lounge and welcome drinks.
Then came the time for the Wedding breakfast – I checked it out and it seemed to be down 3 small stairs from the lounge, through an ante room and then through a door (which was locked) so I thought I’d better check with reception – suspicions were well founded, through the door was a long staircase DOWN to the ground floor so WE had to go back DOWN the ramp, across the courtyard, through the arch – wave at our room on the way past - through another set of doors which was a fire exit (actually it is the main entrance from the inner courtyard to the room! - Ed) to the Conservatory and the Wedding Breakfast which was a wonderful affair!
Now after all this time a trip to the loo was needed – where is the disabled loo? We found the mens and the ladies but no disabled loo – most of the staff were there just for the waiting of tables so no-one knew. Eventually someone did and asked us to wait while they obtained the keys! (Why was the disabled loo locked you may ask?) Well as it turned out the loo WASN’T locked! Read on….
“Follow me” she said and took us back out the fire door into the courtyard – along a path – waved at our room as we passed it - and then through a door which she unlocked – she then had to move a load of tables stored on end in a long corridor and we faithfully followed her round a long path – knocking a few tables as they reduced the width of the corridor to barely enough room to get past – and then we entered the GYM where the disabled toilet was located! ????? I have no idea why anyone though the best position for a disabled toilet was at the far end of a gym!
Anyway we did what we came for and found our way back to the conservatory for dessert!
After the wedding breakfast everyone went back up the stairs to the lounge so for US it was back out through the fire exit, back under the arch (quick wave to our room), back through the courtyard and UP THE RAMP into the lounge! Lovely roaring fire with an endless supply of logs.
We chatted, drank coffee and whiled away a couple of hours before the evening disco.
Loo time again, so back out to reception and asked then where the disabled loo was in THIS part of the castle – answer – you guessed it, there wasn’t one, in fact the one in the gym was the ONLY one this big, huge, massive castle had. So it was back down the ramp and we didn’t bother waving at our room this time – we went in and used our own one – it was much nearer than the gym!
..and so it went on, you MUST get the picture by now. After we went back UP the ramp and enjoyed the evening disco it was back DOWN the ramp to go to bed, back UP the ramp for breakfast and back DOWN the ramp to pack the car.
Finally I left my wife in the car and WALKED up the ramp without having to push anything, handed the keys back and told them that we would no longer be needing this ramp which was in place for JUST my wife’s wheelchair and inconvenienced every other guest in the Castle!
So in summary, if you are planning a wedding in this Castle it will be amazing for all your able bodied guests but not for the infirm (loads of stairs to most rooms) or disabled. Also, book in warmer weather as cold and inclement doesn’t mix well with many trips in the Castle grounds just to go to and from your rooms. (There are rooms INSIDE but my brother moaned his was 4 flights up!.
Room Tip: Ask for a room IN the Castle itself.
Stayed December 2014
Management Comment: While not specific to a wedding, and the next two reviews were not wedding guests, I felt it might be useful to put in another disabled person's review for this section:
“First impressions aren't always right”
5 of 5 starsReviewed 11 September 2014
We arrived at the castle weary after our journey and were horrified to see all the steps up to reception. My husband needs a wheelchair to get about. Wevwerevshown our room in the Antrim block. A big comfortable room with a fully disabled bathroom. I had trouble negotiating the Chair through the two doors and was ready to cut our losses and come home. We went across to the bar for a drink and struggled up the steps. I complained to the young waitress and within minutes she had alerted the correct person who immediately put ramps over the steps and cut door jams to keep the doors open for easy action.
The attentention to our every need was exceptional. Whenever we wanted to go up into the hotel there was always someone there to push and likewise coming down. The food was delicious and had we been more mobile the walks were superb. Dogs were treated as one of the guests and as such all behaved well. We only wish we had discovered Craig y Nos earlier when we were younger and more mobile. A definite for a return visit.
Room Tip: Be open minded but if disabled in any way room 11 in the Antrim is good.
See more room tips
Stayed September 2014
“A dog and wheelchair friendly gem!!!”
5 of 5 starsReviewed 24 October 2015
So many plus points, above all, finding a hotel that took both dogs and disability in its stride, so welcoming and obvious attention to detail. Historic buildings inevitably have access issues, so main entrance to a castle, flight of stone steps ( I fully expected to be entering through a service door at the back) but no, there appeared the most impressive ramp we have seen which remained throughout our stay giving me easy, independent access at all times. The same standard of design applied to our room with easy manoeuvrability between the furniture,and an excellent wet room. Charming and attentive staff, good food and a friendly atmosphere made it special. Not forgetting our dogs, two retrievers, father and son, the 10month old in training to be my third Assistance Dog!! Their reward for good behaviour in the dining area was the adjacent Country Park which was 'doggy heaven!!' Clear, fast- flowing stream, acres of woodland to explore and surfaced paths so we enjoyed long walks altogether, surrounded by wonderful scenery, skyline of sunlit mountains with all the Autumn colours. We will definitely return!
Stayed October 2015