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Accessible Hotels: Not just for, but Run by People with a Disability
The 14 rooms of the Stadthaushotel, of which seven are wheelchair accessible, appeal not just to handicapped travellers. The hotel was founded by the parents of eight young men and women with various disabilities. The parents' plan worked out – they were able to provide their children with both adequate and satisfying jobs and a fair amount of independence.
The tasks are tailored to the abilities of each employee. Many of the disabled workers make use of the assisted living facilities in the up-stairs area of the hotel. They were trained for their jobs in a specific school and are supported by non-disabled co-workers and by Arezki Krim, an experienced hotel manager. He makes sure the service runs smoothly and the guests are comfortable. And the visitors and guests enjoy the cordiality and the surpassing commitment of the employees, of whom some have a learning disability.
But the hotel does not rely on mercy or a special 'disability bonus'. Both the hotel and Café MaxB, a coffee-house in the neighbourhood run jointly by people with a disability and former drug users, are projects by jugend hilft jugend e.V.. The Hamburg based non-profit association aims to provide safe job opportunities for handicapped people - by working cost-effective and efficient.
The Stadthaushotel is a special project, and has long been the only hotel of this kind across Europe. But in the last few years, similar efforts have been made elsewhere in Germany, for example the Hotel Lindenhof in the small town of Bethel or Berlin's Hotel Mit-Mensch. The integrative hotel INNdependence in Mainz has even won an award by the regional government last year.