A FAMILY-run hotel has won a national award and been described as a “trailblazer” for its efforts to welcome people with disabilities.

Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel beat hundreds of entries to win the Accessibility Award at the Cateys, run by the Caterer magazine, in London.

The hotel, on the East Cliff, has invested £160,000 in improvements to make it accessible to people with additional needs.

Judge Michael McGrath, founder and chief executive of Muscle Help Foundation, said it was “so good to see this independent family business with the resources it has, putting accessibility at the heart of its operations”.

Fellow judge Ross Calladine, from VisitEngland, said the Marsham Court was set to become “a go-to holiday destination for people with accessibility requirements.”

The work at the Marsham Court, inspired by the owners’ personal experiences, included adaptations and additions to existing spaces plus new facilities including an accessible toilet and shower.

It is the first hotel in the UK to install a Changing Places toilet – part of a national network of registered facilities with the space and equipment for people with the most serious disabilities. As well as being open to hotel guests, it can be booked by external visitors.

The hotel has also installed a sensory room with soft furnishings, an illuminated bubble tube, colour-changing lights, and music. The room offers a calm space where people with a variety of requirements, including neurodiverse individuals and those with mental health needs, can relax.

It has four accessible bedrooms, one of which has a connecting room for a carer or family members. The hotel has installed a wheelchair lift at the front of the building and created level access across almost the entire ground floor.

Rosie Radwell, whose family have owned the Marsham Court Hotel for more than 30 years, said: “We are incredibly proud of our new facilities which are already making a difference to our guests and the many local people who visit the hotel for work and social events, and it feels absolutely fantastic to have been recognised with this prestigious national award.

“This project has been driven by our family’s passion to make our facilities truly accessible after we saw for ourselves how vital these adaptations are when our mother was in the final stages of her battle with cancer.

“We know that many people with additional needs are missing out on memorable holidays with their families – and we wanted to make it possible for them. They can come to us knowing their comfort and needs have been considered in every aspect of their stay.”

The hotel won a £70,000 grant from BCP Council’s bounce back funding. It has more than doubled that investment itself.