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It was just one of the establishments I looked at as part of a Mail on Sunday investigation into the true state of accessibility for disabled people in Britain today. I couldn’t book a suite as I wouldn’t be able to navigate my chair around one.

A permanent ramp made entrance easy through the wide front door.An extraordinary – and appalling – 31 hotels charge more for the privilege of not being able to walk. Aren’t there laws about this sort of thing, I hear you ask? Chapter 7 of the 2010 Equality Act states that there is a ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people in relation to services to the public, public functions and associations’. According to Disability Rights UK, there are 11 million people in the UK with disabilities or long-term health conditions. And this doesn’t cover the millions more who are perhaps recovering from an operation on a hip or leg that means they might have reduced mobility.‘If you add in the six million carers, and then friends and family, who will all be involved, it adds up to over 50 per cent of the whole population,’ says Philip Connolly, policy and communications manager at the charity. We believe a truly five-star hotel should offer all of these things. No permanent disabled front entrance – a temporary ramp must be put in place. Advised that wheelchairs don’t always fit in the lift. After we pushed for more information, it appeared that there IS a wheelchair ramp and that one could also get in through the back door.This is because wheelchair access requires larger rooms. And Wendy Hewitt, legal director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, says: ‘It’s disgraceful.’ She calls my experience at the Ritz, as charming as they were about it, discrimination. Two fully accessible rooms for £340, compared with £310 for a standard room. Only one room suitable – a suite at £720 rather than a room at £358. London: Cafe Royal Hotel, Claridge’s, Four Seasons Canary Wharf, Inter Continental London Westminster, Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, Hotel Verta, London Syon Park, Jumeirah Carlton Tower, St Ermin’s Hotel, Park Tower Knightsbridge.‘Venues have an anticipatory duty,’ points out Wendy, meaning that you shouldn’t have to warn them of your arrival. This often refers to the assumption that in the event of a fire, I wouldn’t be able to get out fast enough via stairs.‘But fire regulations refer to the responsible person in the building needing to have a plan for the evacuation of vulnerable people in the event of a fire,’ says Wendy.We were relying on the knowledge of the receptionists, many of whom had to put us on hold while they checked the facts with colleagues.On this basis, out of 65 we called (we disqualified the Lanesborough in London as it is being refurbished), only 12 could claim to be fully and permanently accessible. A further point was given for hotels that had permanent disabled access via the front entrance, and not an alternative entrance to the one offered to all other guests, or a temporary one that has to be put up and taken down. Initially told that disabled can’t even get into the hotel as it is ‘up some steps’.

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