Casa Del Lago Holidays
Update, their website has gone for 2016.
During the 26 years I spent working in the UK supporting children and adults with a wide variety of disabilities, I found that trying to find suitable holiday accommodation was almost impossible, especially for those individuals who were unable to leave their wheelchairs without the use of equipment such as hoists, hydraulic bed, etc.
Or were in need of more than the token gesture of a handrail by the loo, which some providers seemed to think entitled them to advertise their facility as 'disabled accessible'. As a service manager I was all too aware of the health and safety implications regarding handling and moving in relation to support staff and enablers. I have lost count of the times I have accompanied a person on holiday to a 'fully wheelchair accessible apartment' only to find the doors weren't wide enough or the bathroom was almost completely in accessible.
I also found it really difficult to find accessible or suitable activities for the people I supported to do whilst on holiday. There really is only so much walking along the prom a person can tolerate!
' How hard can it be, why doesn't someone open a holiday facility which is completely designed and fully equipped to meet the needs of people with disabilities, and provide some worthwhile activities for people to take part in?' I would moan to my colleagues.
'Why don't YOU do it then?' came the reply.
So out of sheer frustration the seed of an idea was formed. That seed has now grown to fruition, and I have achieved what I set out to do. To provide a high quality holiday venue for people who have a disability what ever it may be, with a wide variety of accessible activities to suit a wide range of tastes.
On a visit to the wonderful inland Andalusian countryside we found the perfect place. A house large enough to accommodate our family with enough space to convert one wing into the perfect apartment. Only an hour from Malaga airport, and 45 minutes from the coast. The house is set in a peaceful, traditional whitewashed country village only a 10 minute drive from the absolutely breathtaking Ardarles Lakes.
A couple of traditional Spanish small grocery stores and bars together with the traditionally warm Mediterranean welcome we received from the villagers sealed our fate. We put our offer in there and then and within 4 months we moved in. We spent the next 8 months converting part of the house into a fantastic apartment, specifically designed to accommodate wheelchair users, and equipped to UK standards with handling and moving equipment to meet the requirements of all the health and safety regulations.
We wanted to be able to accommodate guests who may travel with a carer, or enabler, and guests who may wish to travel independently.
The doors were all widened to more than a metre, the shower room was converted to a fully accessible wet room, and a kitchen was installed with wheelchair accessible worktops. We then equipped the apartment with a fully hydraulic bed with pressure relieving mattress, a manual hoist which can be used in the shower, for those unable to use the mobile shower seat. Hand rails were fitted to the toilet and shower areas, and bathroom fitments fitted at wheelchair height.
We installed an above ground pool and pool hoist, and ramps to the pool side area and garden, which ensures that the whole area is fully wheelchair accessible.
Finally the building work was complete, and we had a fantastic apartment, with a large double/twin bedroom with en-suite wet room, a lounge with a double sofa bed, sky tv and a cupboard full of dvds, cds, toys and games to suit both adults and children. A full fitted kitchen with full size fridge and cooker and all the usual kitchen equipment including blender, non slip mats, adapted cutlery etc, and wheelchair accessible work tops. Guests also have the use of a barbeque.
Whilst all the building work was being done we set about finding out what was available locally, and we found that there was quite a lot. The area has a plethora of activities, lots of which are wheelchair accessible. We were introduced to a whole bunch of people who were really keen to be involved in our venture.
We found a quad bike treking company who had quads designed for wheel chair users, A riding stable who already provided riding for the disabled for the local Spanish Day Centre and School. A local artist was keen to provide painting classes, and a local aroma therapist and a beautician were also eager to offer their services in house here at the apartment. For fishing enthusiasts the Ardarles Lakes provide a wonderful opportunity to fish in the most breathtaking setting imaginable, and for all those interested in wildlife the bird watching is second to none. For those who are physically able the area is renowned for all sorts of sports, cycling, mountain biking, climbing, par ascending and hiking to name but a few.
For those who prefer a different kind of holiday, the Costa Del Sol is less than an hour away with all it has to offer, beaches, theme parks, dolphin park, zoo, restaurants, bars etc. etc. etc. the choices are endless.
Having found the perfect place, had it converted and equipped to an excellent standard, we were finally in a position to put our whole package together. Our sole aim is to provide tailor made packages to meet the individual needs of all our guests, their families and carers, and to be able to give whole families a holiday to remember. We are able to offer individual care packages provided by fully qualified UK nursing and care staff to support those guests who wish to travel independently, or to provide supplementary care for those who travel with either family or paid carers.
We especially wanted to encourage families who have young people who care for a family member. We are able to provide friendly, professional support for the individual, and a whole host of great activities for the young person to enjoy, without having to worry about their responsibilities. At last parents who are in need of support can have a family holiday in the certain knowledge that they will be well cared for and their kids can have a fantastic time, recharge their batteries and enjoy a holiday with their parents and not have their parent in respite care etc.
We also provide catering packages which can be arranged as a full package or agreed locally on a daily basis. What better than to have a great day out and return home to relax by the pool with a great book while someone else prepares your meal which you can enjoy on the poolside terrace and you don't even have to bother getting all dressed up if you don't want to.
To complete the package and ensure that our guests holidays are as stress free as possible we include airport transfers from and to Malaga in our costs in a fully wheelchair adapted minibus which is large enough to seat 5 passengers, driver and wheelchair. This minibus is also available to hire either with our driver or for self drive.
We can purchase continence supplies locally to cut down on luggage weight, or do your grocery shopping to be here on your arrival, you just provide the list. We understand how much extra luggage our guests may need to bring, and remembering how when I supported individuals on holiday in the past we tried to remember everything we might need, we also supply waterproof bedding for those who may need it. We have baby equipment including booster seats, cot, sterilizer etc for use free of charge. We even have a limited supply of beach towels.
As our aim is to provide a great holiday for guests who may not be able to access mainstream venues we thought it was imperative not to charge exorbitant amounts for our apartment, and that is exactly what we do. Our apartment is no more expensive than a mainstream apartment, we charge a flat rate for the apartment, with no under or over occupancy charges, in fact out of season we may be able to offer a discount if only 2 people are travelling.
At last! We are finally done and we are looking forward to our first guests arriving in 3 weeks. We know we wont have thought of everything, but we will actively encourage our guests to give us their honest feedback so we can build on our successes and remedy our faults.
We look forward to seeing you.
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