The contentious issue of mobility scooters has once again been raised after one of the resorts biggest hotel groups here in Benidorm issued a statement “that as of 1st May Servigroup will no longer allow mobility scooters on hotel premises”. Social media and travel forums have been going into overdrive, with holidaymakers that had bookings at one of the nine hotels here unsure what to do – and questioning if they can even do it. Well the answer is yes they can and they have.
Most of the Servigroup hotels are in the Rincon area – the most popular location with visiting Brits and consist of; Castilla, Calypso, Orange, Rialto, Venus, Diplomatic, Nereo, Pueblo and Torre Dorada – the last of which is in La Cala.
Yesterday I spoke to Xavier Gil, Operations Director at Servigroup to clarify the situation.
Firstly, he wanted to reiterate that Servigroup have nothing against people with disabilities and that all hotels are adapted to accommodate people who are less mobile. All public areas are accessible, with ramps leading to the bars, restaurants and pool areas in addition to specially adapted rooms for disabled guests.
However, the situation with regards to mobility scooters has got totally out of hand and they have had to take action following numerous complaints from other guests - primarily for safety reasons. The sheer volume of scooters left in the lobby and reception areas are causing serious problems for both staff and guests, with anywhere in the region of 25 scooters obstructing passageways and exits. There have been countless accidents, with glass panes broken and furniture frequently damaged – and they are running out of room.
Xavier stated that wheelchairs WILL be allowed for those guests that have mobility issues, which can be taken and stored in their own rooms. The only alternative for those that still want an electric mobility scooter within a Servigroup hotel is to return it to the rental company to be stored and recharged at the end of each day.
I have noticed that as of this morning there is still no mention of this new policy on their website. If you are booked at a Servigroup hotel and genuinely need a mobility scooter to get around your only option will be a combination of wheelchair inside and scooter off hotel premises. But everywhere you walk there are randomly abandoned scooters clogging up the pavements, so you can understand the hotels point of view, where space really is restricted.
I then spoke to Antonio Mayor, President of HOSBEC – the Hoteliers Association on his stance of the situation. HOSBEC represents 88% of the hotels in Benidorm and it is interesting to note that Servigroup are NOT part of the association. I asked whether he thinks that other hotels will follow Servigroups example and he replied “NO! I don’t think so. We will open our hands out to those guests as it is a necessity for many”. So there you have it….
For genuine users it saddens me that that you will have to suffer due to the selfishness of the lazy, who hire them as a cheap mode of transport. In many cases it is the fault of the rental companies, who despite a local bylaw which forbids them from hiring out to under 55’s with no disabilities, they are obviously flouting this.
Both Amigo 24 and Easyhire have notices stating this and I have been present when they have turned people away. But the police do not appear to checking or enforcing it either – only this weekend I saw so many young able bodied joyriding on them. I can testify that there was nothing wrong with one pair of lads, as I saw them jumping off and on a double scooter, which was not from either of the aforementioned companies I might add!
But it is not just the young, the over 55’s are just as guilty – and unfortunately have no restrictions placed on them. I have had to walk onto the road many a time to pass as they have been parked up outside bars and cafes, clogging up the pavements. Benidorm seems to be unique in having this issue - I wonder whether Madge has something to answer for?