The Sudima Hotel chain, has always been a favourite amongst organisations specialising in accessibility. This is because they embrace the journey to becoming accessible for all. The Sudima Hotel chain has welcomed accessibility advice from Be. Lab (formerly Be. Accessible) and also the newcomers on the block Accessibility Tick who specialise in access in employment.
Be. Lab awarded Sudima Auckland Airport with their GOLD status, PLATINUM being their highest accolade. They award access for the whole customer experience, advising on all areas of access need, not just mobility. They assess each business accordingly to how they perform in all areas.
A word of warning, what you might expect in terms of access for a GOLD rating is not necessarily what you might encounter.An accommodation might score high in some areas and low in mobility for example but still be awarded a GOLD rating. So for the end-user the rating can be misleading.
Surprise, surprise the Sudima Airport Hotel is only a 5-minute drive from Auckland Airport. Located at 18 Airport Drive. The airport being approximately a 40-minute drive from the CBD depending on traffic.
The majority of hotels servicing the airport use The Yellow Bus shuttle service. This service runs 24 hours and departs every 20-25 minutes from the bus stop outside Door 4 (Domestic Terminal) and Door 8 (International Terminal).
The entire fleet has kneel down suspension and boarding ramps to allow easy access for wheelchair users. All buses have a designated space where wheelchairs can be safely secured. Service dogs are welcome onboard.
If you find you are arriving late at night or you haven’t managed to pre-book your tickets. The hotel will be able to charge the transport costs to your room. Currently $6 per adult and $3 per child.
If coming from the CBD to Sudima Airport Hotel, for a flight the next day, the SkyBus also has wheelchair access.
Another form of transport is the fabulous Driving Miss Daisy franchise. Mangere Bridge – Driving Miss Daisy which services the airport area just won the inaugural Access Alliance People’s Choice Award for the Best Accessible Transport Category. They are a companion taxi service with wheelchair accessible transport.
There are plenty of mobility parks available close to the main entrance. The terrain is flat, tarmac, well marked and maintained. There is an undercover pull-up point to exit your vehicle if raining and taxis running regularly. They also have an electric vehicle charge up station.
A well lit, covered entrance takes you through automatic glass sliding doors into the lobby and reception. Lip-free and seamless travel.
On the left of the reception desk you will find a lowered counter for easier access with wheelchair. We found the reception staff accommodating and helpful. Comfortable seating is available opposite for meeting up with people for a chat.
Restaurant and Bar
The Visaya Restaurant & Bar offers in-house dining and an excellent selection of beverages.
The dining area has plenty of circulation space, it is well lit with most things placed in easy reach for access. This award-winning restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and evening meals.
Elevators and Foyer
Three elevators with braille on every button will take you up to each floor. There is one accessible room close to lift on each level.
Ground Floor Toilets
The accessible toilet is pretty standard for New Zealand. What made this a little different to the ones we usually view was the Braille on the door as you enter. This toilet would be used for the conference facilities as well as the dining.
“Something any guest would love to access is the hotel pool”Imagine the unique selling point a hotel would get if they provided a fully accessible pool for everyone to use?
Unfortunately, in New Zealand pool access in our visitor accommodation is rare. I would love to say this was accessible for all but having no ramp or hoist facility means no.
The changing facilities also offered restricted access.
The Access Rooms
The hotel has a total of seven king-size accessible rooms on offer, with the added bonus of six having an adjoining king-size room available for extra travelling companions. There are two accessible rooms on the ground floor and one accessible room servicing each of the floors via the lifts.
The room has good circulation for wheelchairs with a 140mm clearance space under the bed for a mobile hoist. Plenty of room either side of bed for transfers. The light switches and telephone are also both accessible from the bed. The television can be viewed and controlled from bed.
Standard tea and coffee making facilities at easy reach, with a safe to deposit all your important travel documents.
The door is a cavity slider with Cavi-lock lever handles, sliding across to give a gap of 800mm for entry.
The towels are at easy reach beside the sink. We noted there was no place to put soap or shampoo whilst in the shower. I also felt that more space between toilet and fold down seat would make for an easier transfer. We use a tilt-in-space shower commode and hoist, so space in a bathroom is always a plus, especially when factoring in a caregiver.
Happy to report that the sink had clearance for a wheelchair to pull into, and the mirror was accessible from sitting. The taps were a lever handle making them easier to use.