Wheelies in Polis
By Jill Campbell Mackay- Cyprus Sunday Mail 15.8.2004

 C & A Hotel Apartments
P.O. Box 66258
Polis 8831, 
Cyprus


Tel:
   ++ 357 99498515    
++ 357 99647669
Fax:
++ 357 26322856

 

E-Mail:
info@ca-hotel-apts.com

 

ARCHWAYS of dripping bougainvillea petals greet visitors when they open the garden gate and step, or wheel, themselves into this quite unique tourist resort.

C and A Tourist Apartments in Polis boast the first ever tourist accommodation in Cyprus designed to cater for less able-bodied folk. Chris Neophytou, along with his mother and father, has worked hard to convert this quiet residential property into a first class holiday centre for those with a disability.

The very first thing Chris wanted to stress was that this was not a grim form of medical parking place for the handicapped. He didn’t need to say this: it’s clear from the whoops and shrieks that emanate from the swimming pool that C and A Apartments are anything but grim; they do not emit a single sniff of institutional living. Here, both able bodied and those with differing levels of disabilities can get together to enjoy a super holiday. The only immediate difference you spot is the hoist beside the swimming pool to allow to those who need it safe access to the pool. All the rooms are large and airy with plenty of space for a swift wheelie in the bedroom. There’s a small kitchen area, again with room for a wheelchair to roll into a recess beside the sink, so there’s no excuse for not washing the supper dishes.

Each bathroom is completely kitted out to give that all essential level of independence to those unable to cope with the physical demands of showering and the like. They come fully equipped with rails, special shower seats, and there is a roll in roll out shower stall for wheelchair users.

Chris says these are just some of the changes that have been made to make holidaying here for wheelchair bound tourists both safe and pleasant.
“There are raised sun-beds, so one can with ease get from a wheelchair onto the bed without dropping down that fearful few centimeters and run the risk of falling. The nine studio bedrooms plus one large three-bedroom apartment, which sleeps six, all have this facility. Then we have wheelchair access ramps all around the complex.

“We also have a specially adapted minibus so we can collect our guests from the airport. We can also use this for special day trips to places of interest all over the island.”

Chris then showed me the guest book full of praise on everything from the friendliness of the staff, right down to one German guest who wrote that he had “experienced the swiftest repair job ever” when both wheels on his chair broke. Chris was able to have this mended within 10 minutes.
 


 

“That’s vitally important for all wheelchair users,” he explained. “If your chair is out of action even for a short time then you lose that all-essential bit of independence. We also rent wheelchairs, and power scooters, as well as other equipment needed by our guests, so they don’t have to worry about bringing all the paraphernalia with them in order to make their stay comfortable. We have everything they will need here in our store room, and if we haven’t, we can certainly get it for them.”

The reason C and A Apartments are so successful is because they have been designed by Chris, himself a wheelchair user.

He explains the philosophy behind the project. “Regardless of whether you are disabled, you still need a holiday away from your usual surroundings, and to be honest so do your carers, so finding a place that caters for the special needs of the disabled and able bodied together is almost impossible here in Cyprus. OK they may have the odd ramp or a guard rail in the toilet, but the majority of holiday complexes are designed solely with the able bodied in mind.

“Here, I can swim every day, getting in and out of the pool with only a little bit of help. Seeing the pleasure on some kids’ faces when they are in the pool for the first time is tremendous.”

Chris says there soon develops a special bonding between able-bodied and disabled guests.

“Everyone gets on really well, our able-bodied guests make friends with those less able, and often this friendly mixing of different abilities goes a long way to making people more relaxed about life. They seem to relish their holiday even more. It’s always a question of ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ and it’s especially true when we enjoy the company of the many young people who come here who have been permanently damaged through some form of accident.

“We also have a huge range of age groups and from all over the world. Last year we even had a chap from Alaska who came with his Peruvian wife for two weeks holiday, but in the main we cater to the English, and my mother makes a real English breakfast spread every morning. Eggs, bacon the whole works. Recently, more and more, we are welcoming guests from Germany and Holland, and they also love the breakfasts. Even nicer are the repeat customers. Now that’s the solid proof of any success story, no matter what official star rating an establishment may have.”

Chris has also been instrumental in pushing Polis municipality to lay down special duck-boarding on the beach so that wheel chair users gain easy access to the sea. These were put in place this season. He has also persuaded some restaurants in the area to raise their table heights to accommodate wheelchair patrons, and one of his friends who runs excursions around the Akamas bay area has now fitted a special hoist so wheel chair users can also enjoy a boat trip. There’s even para-sailing on offer to the guests and Chris proudly boasts that he was one of the first to give this rather overly exhilarating activity a try.

“Well, I may be permanently contained in this wheel chair but I still want to soar like a bird, that’s why I so love para-sailing.”

C&A Tourist Apartments, Polis. 26-321881, 99-647669, fax 26-322856

Website: www.ca-tourist-apts.com.cy

 

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