Recently I discovered a hotel in Newcastle which is a wonderful surprise package with a distinct advantage over many places I’ve reviewed. Not only does it have a waterfront location but it has accessible accommodation with a view! Yes, you read right, accessible rooms with a view! I barely even dare to hope for the combination of a good accessible room and a view after being disappointed so often.
I was visiting Newcastle to present at the Just Live! Hunter Disability Expo and wanted a hotel in a location with easy access for my Mum who was accompanying me on the trip. I was busy during the day and she was without a car so I wanted her to be within reach of shopping and attractions and the Crowne Plaza Newcastle ticked all those boxes.
Mum and I didn’t close the curtains for the 3 days we were in the room. We loved our front row seats to the busy waterway traffic of Newcastle Harbour. From the pilot boats guiding the large cargo ships into port, the trawlers returning with a trail of seagulls eyeing off their catch to the squads of rowers hitting a cracking pace, the harbour was ever-changing and kept us entertained.
To say I was thrilled to learn that 6 of the 7 accessible rooms have a view would be an understatement. The only difference between the suite I was staying in and the accessible suite is the bathroom.
Sliding doors allow guests to close off the bedroom from the kitchen and living area of the suite. There’s room on one side of the bed to transfer from a wheelchair.
Luggage racks and shelving allow guests to store their bags out of the way making room for greater circulation space for wheelchair users.
I always enjoy having a separate lounge area to relax and read or watch television. A small kitchenette is handy for making a snack and appliances and crockery are at a good height for a wheelchair user.
The accessible suite also features an interconnecting room if you are looking to travel as a family or with friends.
The accessible bathroom features a roll-in shower, flip-down shower seat, height adjustable shower head and lever taps.
The bathroom has grab rails throughout, lowered light switches and amenities making for easy access.
The suite Mum and I shared was next door to the accessible room I viewed.
It was great having the sliding doors so when I snuck out of bed to see sunrise I could shut the doors so as not to disturb Mum with the clicking of the camera.
We enjoyed sitting with a glass of wine, chatting and taking in the view. For those liking fresh air, the windows do open and when closed the room is incredibly quiet despite the number of people and boats passing by.
Sadly I was too rushed to have a soak in the tub this time.
Mum and I were tired on the night of our arrival and were pleased to have the ease of dining in Seasalt, the hotel’s restaurant. We were immediately taken by the friendly staff who had great knowledge of the menu. The food was divine. Mum convinced me to join her in ordering the lamb telling me dinner was her shout – gotta love travelling with Mum! The lamb delivered the hearty tasty meal I was craving and we enjoyed people and boat watching from the floor to ceiling glass windows in the restaurant.
The next morning I was ready to tackle the extensive breakfast buffet. I had a big day ahead at the expo and knew I needed to be well fuelled to last the day.
I enjoy the help-yourself element to a buffet but being chief cook in our house there’s nothing more indulgent than having someone cook me something fresh and made to order. So, I was very happy to see a menu of items available to order as part of our included breakfast. Although we had access to the breads, muffins, fruits, cereals and hot items I couldn’t wait to order a freshly cooked omelette. I indulged in a Mediterranean omelette with smoked salmon, rocket and Spanish onions. It was exactly what I needed for my busy day ahead. Mum had the Australian omelette which consisted of ham, cheese and tomato. Other options on the menu included fresh fruit, porridge, eggs benedict and waffles which was popular with the kids dining in the restaurant.
The Seasalt Bar offers a menu including sandwiches and light meals during the day.
An accessible restroom and baby change table is available near the bar and restaurant.
There was no time for swimming while I was at the hotel but the pool is accessed via a ramp from the reception level of the hotel. Even if you don’t fancy a swim, this is a lovely area to sit, read and order poolside service. Food and drinks are just a phone call away.
We had an absolutely lovely stay and you can read more about Crowne Plaza Newcastle here.
I’m often asked what I look for in a hotel. Obviously access within a hotel is essential but I really aim for a hotel in a location with attractions and level walks within easy reach. I love nothing more than leaving the car behind and walking or wheeling out the door and enjoying our surrounds. The Crowne Plaza Newcastle has kilometres of level concrete pathway which runs along the harbour right out front. Mum and I had an effortless walk one evening and while I was at the expo Mum enjoyed this access as it made exploring the city so easy.
Just behind the hotel is the Newcastle Museum which gave us a couple of hours of entertainment when we travelled to the area as a family.
The museum is small but has good access and lots of hands-on activities for the kids at a good height for wheelchair users.
NEWCASTLE TO STOCKTON BEACH FERRY
BJ loved catching the ferry from Stockton Beach to Newcastle when we stayed at Stockton Beach but this time it was my Mum catching the ferry from Newcastle to Stockton Beach. On recommendation she hopped on the ferry and then took a walk along the break wall at Stockton.
Like us, Mum was amazed at how close she came to a cargo ship as it was guided into the Harbour.
We loved the walk along the break wall because of the views it offers of Stockton Beach, Newcastle and the variety of bird life we spied along the way.
The ferry is a 10 minute walk from the hotel and has wheelchair access.
NEWCASTLE’S FAMOUS TRAM
At check-in Erin enthusiastically suggested activities Mum could do while I was at the expo. Mum fancied the idea of a tour on Newcastle’s Famous Tram which is an hour long tour of the city. Built from scratch in 1994, the tram is a genuine replica of the original Newcastle working tram, which was in service in 1923.
The tour proved a great way of Mum seeing quite a lot of the Newcastle area with little effort. The tram stop was within a 10 minute walk of the hotel and Mum enjoyed learning more about the area. The tram has steps so requires mobility to access. The tram schedule changes regularly so please check the Newcastle’s Famous Tram website for details and times.
HONEYSUCKLE WATERFRONT DINING
Right next door to the Crowne Plaza Hotel is a row of restaurants and cafes adding to the variety of dining options within easy reach. Although very happy to eat at the hotel again we decided to spread our wings and walk the short distance to Honeysuckle and try somewhere different on our second night.
We ended up dining alfresco at Silo Lounge and had a lovely dinner with a deconstructed pavlova for dessert which Mum and I still drool over as we talk about it now. Once again we found the wait staff extremely friendly and knowledgeable and it made us wonder if the hospitality training in Newcastle isn’t something a little special. We found the young guys and girls (makes me sound like an old lady) so engaged and friendly it really added to our experience.
Newcastle Harbour is industrial which may not appeal to everyone but we found it fascinating. I felt I was privy to a whole world which I’m usually oblivious to in my suburban lifestyle. It also looked pretty spectacular at sunrise and sunset each day.
I have a list of accessible experiences in the Newcastle area from our family stay here.
Mum and I stayed as guests of Crowne Plaza Newcastle. All other expenses were paid by us, meaning Mum! All opinions are our own and my glowing review comes from a joyous stay in a wonderful location and accessible hotel.