The First Blue Badge Style Awards Ceremony gave eleven awards to stylish hotels, restaurants and bars, which have made an effort to attract guests with disabilities. Plus one for the most ludicrous loo.
At a stylish cocktail party last night in Lutyens in Fleet Street, London, the German Gymnasium was the winner of the Blue Badge Style Best High End Restaurant, an award sponsored by Conran and Partners. It also won the Blue Badge Style Best Loo award.
Blue Badge Style Founder, Fiona Jarvis says:
“Too often people with disabilities don’t go out because they don’t know what to expect when they get there. Places like the German Gymnasium make it easy and elegant. They won the Best Loo award for having all the right facilities, but getting away from the clinical style of most disabled toilets. The design of their loo is as stylish as the rest of the restaurant and even has cool music and wallpaper!”
Winners span the country, with the Dakota Hotel in Glasgow winning Best Boutique Hotel and Bryn Williams in Cornwall winning Best Budget Restaurant. There were many triumphs for venues in listed buildings too. The Beaumont won the Blue Badge Style & Historic England Award for Best Listed Building for its combination of art deco and accessibility.
The award for the most ludicrous loo went to Tom’s Kitchen in London. Fiona Jarvis said, “this loo was a real disappointment. It is well-designed, but made totally unusable by being filled with chairs and boxes. It’s such as waste!”
And the winners are…
Blue Badge Style Best Budget Bar – No.1 Duke St., London
Judges said: “No.1 Duke St is accessible and in an old building. It has an exemplary disabled toilet, plus a lift installed for the upper floor”.
Blue Badge Style Award for Best High End Bar – Bellanger, London
Judges said: “The ramp into the Bellanger bar area and the low tables make whole place inclusive”.
Blue Badge Style Award for Best Budget Restaurant – Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias, Cornwall
Judges said: “It’s often difficult to find good facilities the further afield you go. But Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias has a well-designed disabled toilet and great access”.
Blue Badge Style & Conran and Partners Best High End Restaurant – German Gymnasium, London
Judges said: “The German Gymnasium is so easy to access and nowhere is out of bounds due to an internal lift in this listed building! Typically German, in the best possible way!”.
Blue Badge Style Award for Best Boutique Hotel – Dakota, Glasgow
Judges said: “The Dakota hotel in Glasgow has an accessible bedroom on each floor, which is unusual”.
Blue Badge Style Award for Best High End Hotel – South Place Hotel, London
Judges said: “South Place is stylish and exceptionally accessible, but the best bit is that you can see all of this by looking at their website”.
Blue Badge Style Award for Best Loo – German Gymnasium, London
Judges said: “The Grand Café, on the ground floor of the German Gymnasium, is the best area and close to the amazing disabled toilets. Far removed from the normal plain white clinical disabled loos the design of these loos is entirely in line with the rest of the restaurant”.
Blue Badge Style Award for Most Ludicrous Loo – Tom’s Kitchen, London
Judges said: “Competition was stiff for this award. There were loos which were just big rooms with no grab rails; loos where you needed to be an orangutan to use the rails and ones where the doorway was too narrow to allow a wheelchair in! By contrast, Tom’s Kitchen had all the right kit, in the right place. But the loo had been used as storage space, so it was impossible to use. If they only took the junk out and advertised that they had a decent loo, they might attract some guests with disabilities”.
Blue Badge Style & Historic England Award for Best Listed Building – The Beaumont, London
Judges said: “The Beaumont has maintained the style of this Grade II Listed art deco building and yet also made the whole place accessible”.
Blue Badge Style Best European Venue – Restaurant Steirereck
Judges said: “One of the best restaurants in Europe, the Steirereck combines style, beautiful architecture and accessibility brilliantly”.
Blue Badge Style Award for going Above and Beyond – Bank of England
Judges said: “In putting in a lift for employees and visitors at the iconic front steps, The Bank of England has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make this listed building accessible”.
Blue Badge Style Lifetime Achievement Award – Charlie Lyons, Sesame
“Charlie Lyons has designed elegant access into previously inaccessible buildings. By creating a lift that retracts stairs and magically transforms them into a wheelchair lift, he has benefitted countless people with disabilities”.
The Awards were judged by founder of Blue Badge Style, Fiona Jarvis, Tina Norden, Project Director at Conran and Partners, Christos Passas, Design Director at ZHA (Architects) and journalist, Alex Taylor.
Conran and Partners have designed of some of the most accessible places in the world and are sponsored the Best Restaurant Award. Historic England sponsored the Listed Building Award. The Blue Badge Style Awards are also supported by accessible bathroom maker HEWI, news organisation Thompson Reuters, and the PosAbility magazine team.