Imagine staying in an accessible resort where a phone interview is conducted prior to check-in to tailor your accommodation to your needs. A place where you have a choice of mattress, a ceiling hoist in your bedroom, height adjustable features, a range of accessible recreational equipment to try and educational opportunities. Not only that, these facilities are delivered in a stylish modern beachside resort. I’m not on a flight of fancy, I visited such a place and it’s called Sargood on Collaroy.
Sargood on Collaroy has only been open for a few weeks but be assured, when word gets out, I predict it will be fully booked 365 days a year – it’s that good. Word has already spread with Runar a guest from Norway, booking in for his Sydney stay. When I asked Runar what he liked about Sargood he said, “It’s the perfect mix of recreation and keeping my health.” He said he’s travelled overseas before but Sargood is “the most accessible place I’ve stayed” adding that Sargood “takes it to another level.” And I couldn’t agree more.
Sargood on Collaroy is operated by Royal Rehab and was funded by the community, private benefactors and iCare, costing in the region of $20 million to build. The investment of funds is evident in the detail and facilities which are now on offer to guests with a spinal cord injury.
James, the Resort Manager, was on hand to give us a tour and kindly didn’t make me feel like a weirdo as I exclaimed over the facilities including the bathrooms. He even seemed pleased to see my delight over the buttons, gadgets and gizmos on offer.
Walking into Sargood we were immediately impressed by the light, spacious and modern feel to the property. The design of the building takes full advantage of the beachside position with the ocean in view from all the common areas. Although this resort has been purpose built to provide varying levels of support for people with a spinal injury, there’s nothing hospital-like about it.
“Wow” was what Hubby and I said in unison as we walked into the accessible room, and that was before we were shown its features. The accommodation is spacious and incredibly well appointed for people with varying needs. There’s the opportunity for families to stay together in one room with a pull-out sofa bed or there are interconnecting rooms available.
Although equipped with accessible features, they don’t dominate the room. I noted a ceiling hoist track but couldn’t see the hoist. That’s because it was discreetly tucked into a cupboard until needed. The beds are height adjustable and as I previously mentioned, guests can choose the mattress type which best suits their needs.
Controlling your environment is by touch control. The television, windows and blinds can all be operated via an iPad. Even if a guest has a visitor arrive they can buzz them in via the controls on the iPad.
The bathroom is fitted with a Pressalit flexible bathroom system allowing for a range of seating, rails and height adjustments according to a guest’s needs. This means a room can be individualised for the guest.
The wheelchair accessible sink is also height adjustable meaning guests don’t need to ‘make do’ for their stay, it can be set just right. The bathrooms have heated floors and towelling rails installed ensuring the spacious bathroom doesn’t get chilly.
For anyone with restricted hand movement, or those who like a bit of magic, the toilet buttons are touch-free. A simple wave is all that’s needed for a royal flush!
Rooms come with their own kitchenette but guests are also welcome to use the large dreamy kitchen in the common area. Once again, the kitchenette can be customised on check-in for guests. Staff will remove items a guest won’t use to allow more room, put items which will be frequently used in a more convenient location and groceries can be ordered before arrival.
A pull-out kitchen cupboard makes access easy for guests.
A kettle which tips rather than lifts makes tea and coffee making easier.
Large switches are fitted to all kitchen power outlets, The stove-top is wheelchair accessible and has lever switches for lighting.
There’s 17 rooms in the resort, including ocean view. Yes, you read right, an accessible room with a view. A rarity in the hotel game.
To see the full range of accommodation and rates check the Sargood website here.
RECREATION AT SARGOOD ON COLLAROY
Booking an accessible hotel is important but we believe having a good range of accessible activities within easy reach is the difference between a good or great stay. Sargood has a range of accessible facilities onsite.
I don’t usually include resort gyms in my reviews because they are never accessible, however at Sargood the gym is fully accessible with the equipment made for wheelchair users. A program can be designed for guests by staff who are on hand to assist, encourage and support guests. $130,000 worth of equipment has been donated by the Cauliflower Club and The Primary Club.
It was fantastic to watch Runar do his workout and see exactly how accessible the equipment is in the Sargood gym. People with a spinal cord injury not staying at Sargood are welcome to join the gym on a monthly basis (fee applicable).
The walls are lined with positive images of wheelchair athletes competing in a range of sports. A great reminder to those working out of the sporting opportunities open to wheelchair users.
While staying at Sargood guests have a range of recreational equipment available to try and use. Unlike Club Med, guests won’t be pressured into giving things a go but there’s support and people at the ready to help people learn new skills while staying at Sargood. The beachfront has a level pathway perfect to try cycling one of the many choices of bikes.
With Collaroy beach as a front yard, most guests take the chance to take a swim. We were thrilled to find such a variety of ways for guests to enjoy the beach or the ocean baths. Four beach wheelchairs are available from the supportive Mobi Chair which floats in the surf, to self-propelling beach chairs.
A Wavejet board gives guests the chance to enjoy the surf without needing to paddle out to catch the waves.
Even Segway chairs can be trialled and used around the resort.
For guests wanting less active options the Live and Learn Hub has a range of board games, books, video games and the latest resources on living with a spinal injury.
CHILLING AT SARGOOD
Even at full occupancy there’s so much space at Sargood there would be somewhere to chill quietly but there’s also plenty of opportunity to socialise in the many areas indoors or out.
Beautiful photographs of Collaroy and beach images are enlarged on canvas prints around the resort. All images chosen are within wheeling distance of Sargood.
I love the variety of spaces the designers have incorporated into what is generally an open-plan design. One of my favourites is a play-house complete with ramp access for kids visiting or staying at the resort.
Food brings people together and it was lovely to hear how the guests at Sargood often share meals and chat in the communal kitchen. When travelling it’s always enjoyable to swap stories and share holiday finds. I imagine at Sargood it’s fantastic to learn from fellow guests on many aspects of living with a spinal cord injury.
Height adjustable benches are installed in the communal kitchen and the kitchenettes. See demo below.
Even if visitors don’t have an ocean-view room there’s the opportunity to enjoy the views of Collaroy Beach from many vantage points.
You can read more about the facilities at Sargood here.
Sargood offers a variety of courses for guests which you can read about here.
Sargood have a high chair and porta cot available for guests staying with young families. We visited the storeroom and there are various options of shower chairs, a shower bed and commodes of varying styles available for guest use.
Guests are welcome to bring their own support workers or hire staff through Sargood for personal care.
TRANSPORT & PARKING
Secure parking is available under the Sargood building with three wheelchair accessible parking bays. A Sargood accessible van is also available to assist guests.
Operated by Royal Rehab, a registered provider of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), recreational activities and educational courses at Sargood on Collaroy can be included as part of your plan. These peer-based support programs and services are offered to promote independence and resilience following spinal injury.
For details and up-to-date information about NDIS funding please contact us at [email protected].
Lifetime Care and Support Scheme participants can request support from icare lifetime care for their stay at Sargood on Collaroy. Scheme participants need to speak with their Case Manager or Coordinator for more information. Once approved, the participant will be allocated a code to use when booking on the Sargood on Collaroy website.
I’ve previously written about Collaroy Beach (you can read more here) and the reason we like it as a picnic spot. The playground has a wheelchair accessible swing, carousel and features which can be accessed from wheelchair height.
The beachfront at Collaroy is wheelchair accessible with beach wheelchairs available to borrow for free from the lifeguards.
As regulars at Collaroy Beach we’ve watched the building progress of Sargood over time and we were keen to see the end result. Visiting the finished product we were blown away by the vision which has been realised. What an absolute world-class facility it is. The land on which Sargood on Collaroy sits was generously donated back in 1918, just after the War ended, by Frederick Sargood. It has been through several changes over the years but something tells me Frederick Sargood would be very happy indeed with the latest development.
To book a stay or read more about Sargood on Collaroy check their website here.
This is not a sponsored post, just me sharing an absolute gem of a resort. Please pass it on. It’s rare to find a property so good.
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