Isle of Man
The Sefton Hotel is a 4**** hotel located on the promenade in Douglas, Isle Of Man, next door to the Gaiety Theatre. If you are arriving from the airport or ferry port there are buses that stop right outside at the Gaiety Theatre bus stop; from the ferry port it is even close enough to walk if you don’t have lots of luggage with you. There are steps up to the front entrance but there is a ramp to the left of them at a good angle, not too steep as I managed it with ease with my heavy backpack on my wheelchair. The reception desk is immediately in front of you when you enter and to the right it has a low section so you can easily sign in from wheelchair height, and pay your account when you leave.
The hotel has three fully accessible rooms. My room was on the Mezzanine floor and was a good size with plenty of room to move around in a wheelchair. It had a comfortable sofa (couch) and a balcony facing indoors to the atrium garden, I have never seen an indoor balcony before but have been told they are a common feature of the original seafront hotels in Douglas. If you are visiting in winter it also had the biggest radiator I have ever seen in a hotel room!
There was a big comfortable double bed in the room with lots of soft pillows. Beneath the bed there is a bit of space but I’m unsure if it is enough if you need to bring your hoist with you, I don’t use such and am not aware how much space is required for them.
In the room there was also two desks, a tv, tea and coffee making facilities (with a kettle that could be easily used unlike most of the hotels I stayed last year where it was fixed to a shelf far too high for wheelchair users) and a wardrobe. In the cupboard under the tv is a mini fridge; I didn’t discover this until I went to reception to request milk and teabags!
The bathroom was large enough to move a wheelchair around in. The toilet had space to transfer to it to your left and has a handrail on the left hand side. There is a roll in shower with a drop down seat fixed to the wall. In addition there was a bath tub with a handrail on the wall. The bath tub also had a handheld shower too.
On the wall facing the toilet and shower was a wash basin and mirror. Here was the only small problem I encountered in the hotel, the wash basin was situated a bit low and I could not get my knees under it without sitting on the edge of my wheelchair seat and putting my feet on the floor. I didn’t find it a major issue but did mention it to the lady on the reception desk.
The breakfast room was on the front of the first floor with a lovely view over the whole promenade and Douglas Bay. There was a choice of cooked breakfast or continental from the buffet. You could also order kippers to be cooked, the Isle of Man is famous for its kippers and they didn’t disappoint.
Within the hotel is the Harbour Lights restaurant, and Sir Norman’s bar, named after the English comedy actor Sir Norman Wisdom. I did not visit the Harbour Lights but spent a few hours in Sir Norman’s having something to eat and a couple of halves of the locally brewed Bushey’s Manx Ale that went down very well. There is a separate entrance to Sir Norman’s from the street (as well as an entrance in the hotel reception) where there is a statue of him sitting on a bench. Many people walking by stop here to have their photograph taken with him.
My room at the Sefton cost me £120 (approx. US$150) for bed and breakfast and was good value for money, the next time I visit the Isle of Man I am sure I will stay at the Sefton again.