Chatting with one of our regular guests, Pauleen MacDonald, and enjoying the view from The Midland on a perfectly clear, crisp winter’s morning over Morecambe Bay to the snow covered Lake District mountains in the background, it struck me that Pauleen’s enjoyment of The Midland had nothing to do with the spectacular view. Despite being born almost completely blind, Pauleen leads an active and independent life, traveling regularly from Leeds to Lancaster and Morecambe.
I asked why The Midland had become her regular ‘home from home’.
She explained that about three years ago after experiencing some particularly unhelpful customer care whilst booking an hotel room, which had made her feel awkward and drawn attention to her disability unnecessarily; she decided to do a survey of hotels in the area in order to find one that would cater for her particular requirements.
She prepared her survey of questions but got no further than her first ‘phone call which happened to be to Maria Walker, English Lakes Central Reservations Manager. “All my questions were answered positively and without my particular requests appearing anything less than normal. I didn’t have to make any further calls as I knew I had found an hotel where I would be looked after”. Pauleen has been staying at both Lancaster House and The Midland three or four times a year ever since.
The initial visits to the hotel were used to familiarise Pauleen with the route from the train station to the hotel, and from Reception to her room and to the restaurant. It was also important that the Housekeeping team place everything back in exactly the same position each time. The Midland team enjoys Pauleen’s company and is more than happy to lend a guiding arm. Recent visits have also included Pauleen’s beautiful golden retriever, Alex, who has also been trained to know the layout of The Midland and indeed the sea front of Morecambe.
Pauleen was particularly delighted at Christmas that Poppy from The Midland team went out of her way to send her a Braille Christmas card. She also enjoys the company of Joanna in Housekeeping who start her shift ten minutes early so that she can give Pauleen some Polish lessons. Pauleen’s Polish neighbours back home find it amusing and intriguing that each time Pauleen returns from a visit to Morecambe she can converse a little more fluently in their native language!
- Written by: +Tina Taylor