Premier Inn apologise after Cardiff wheelchair user speaks of 'nightmare' experience at hotel

  • Joshua says he "hoped for a dream, but it ended up being a Freddy Krueger nightmare".

A wheelchair user claims he was told to "sleep in his chair" by staff at a major hotel chain after he says the company failed to provide him with an accessible room with the right equipment.

Joshua Reeves from Leckwith in Cardiff said he booked a room which was advertised as having a ceiling host at a Premier Inn in Archway, London on 7 February after seeing "amazing accessible reviews online".

The 26-year-old said finding a hotel with this type of access was like "winning a golden ticket" and described it as a "positive and exciting experience at first".

He says he rang the hotel prior to the stay and was reassured by staff that a room with a hoist would be available and that he would only need to bring a sling to help him move from the machine to his bed.

Joshua went as far as to praise Premier Inn online for accommodating people with disabilities ahead of his stay, with a social media response from the company to say they were "delighted" to welcome him.

Joshua said the comments by hotel staff made him feel "embarrassed". Credit: Joshua Reeves

However, upon his arrival following a three-and-a-half-hour journey, Joshua said he was told that no rooms with ceiling hoists were available.

He said staff tried to try to make contact with the guest using a room with a hoist, but could not get hold of them. Meanwhile, Joshua said he tried to contact private companies to hire a hoist, but had no luck.

When Joshua asked for a solution, he claims a member of staff asked: "Can you sleep in your chair?"

The hotel refutes the claim Mr Reeves was asked so sleep in his chair but apologised over the confusion and said staff tried hard to resolve the issue of the hoist.

Joshua has scoliosis and cerebral palsy and cannot bear any weight. He relies on a hoist to get in and out of bed every night.

He explained that he usually has to pay £80 or more for one night to hire a private hoist for hotel rooms, in addition to the room cost.

  • Joshua explains what he experienced to his Twitter followers.

Joshua said he told staff he would not be sleeping in his chair and added: "I pay all this money to come to your hotel, you should have great customer service, you should treat me as an individual who has paid for your service."

Asked how the situation made him feel, he said he felt "embarrassed" and like "he was living in the 1980s": "It made me feel like 'did you really ask me that, am I not a human right now?'

"That's what made me upset. The fact that I get treated lower down all the time due to my disability, but I felt even lower."

He added: "I feel really shocked, very upset and annoyed."

Joshua stressed that more disability awareness training is needed within organisations. Credit: Joshua Reeves

Joshua was visiting London for his away day with disability company Leonard Cheshire where he works as a campaigns support officer.

  • Joshua's tweet praising the hotel chain ahead of his stay.

"It's a social issue. There will probably be times where you can't please everyone, you can't get everyone's piece of equipment, but for someone that can't bear weight that's just awful. That's my only way into bed and I'm getting told by a hotel to stay in my chair.

"I was hoping for it to be a dream, but it ended up being a Freddy Krueger nightmare", Joshua explained.

In a statement, Premier Inn hotels said, "We are so sorry for the issue Mr Reeves encountered at our London Archway hotel, which has arisen from confusion over the availability of specific facilities in the accessible room he booked.

"Upon the hotel being informed of the need for a hoist, and the obvious problem not having one would cause, our team tried hard to resolve it, including by exploring whether any other guests could switch rooms –(unfortunately none were free) and whether a private hoist was a possibility.

"The team of course profusely apologised at the time and proactively sought Mr Reeves out the next morning to check on the stay. It is important to note that at no point did they suggest he should sleep in his chair.

"We do hope we are able to welcome Mr Reeves back to Archway in more positive circumstances and are reaching out to him through Leonard Cheshire."