Wheeling Málaga – The Hotel

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We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song
Like the seasons have all gone
We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song
Like the seasons have all gone

Terry Jacks

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Best view in Málaga is from the rooftop bar at AC Hotel Málaga Palacio

Well, only some of it is true to be honest. The wine and the song we still have (as long as it lasts). But the joy and the fun in the sun seems a little bit distant at the moment. In many parts of the world, disabled people are stuck in quarantines and lockdowns with deep fear of getting the dreaded COVID-19, also known as the Corona-virus. Media and social media are full of chaos, fear, recession, germs, viruses, panic and tragedy. Because of my poor lung capacity, I am a member of the risk group community. I therefore self isolate, blog and look back at our seasons in the sun…

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Harbor area in Málaga has marble surface and is very easy to wheel

Our winter holiday this year was spent in Málaga, a southern Spanish city we had not checked out before. With direct flights (3,5 hours) from Oslo it is a popular destination for Norwegians, but more in late spring. Originally our plan was to go to Singapore, but we were too slow to decide and to book, and we didn’t really have enough free days for the long trip to Asia. Dubai came up as an alternative, because the flight was shorter. But we kind of didn’t feel like the Middle East either.

So we booked a trip to Málaga from February 9th – 16th, a city we had heard positive things about regarding wheelchair access. It was a bit of a gamble weather wise, because Málaga in early February can be everything from 13c and rain to 23c and bright lovely sunshine (equivalent to a good Norwegian summer). I guess we were lucky! We spent 7 sunny days in Málaga in temperatures between 17c and 23c with no raindrops and hardly any clouds.

And the the rumors turned out to be true. Málaga is a very nice and easy place to visit. Most of the city is flat and easy to wheel, there are plenty of things to see and do, and it was easy to find accessible restaurants and bars of good quality. Actually I read that the town had adopted d a special policy to “reward” businesses who made their places accessible for wheelchair users. And even if there were also places that were not accessible, there were plenty to choose from.

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Blossom Patagonia had only 3 tables inside, but very good alternative tapas (Feb 14th)

When I was searching hotels, I did my personal classic mistake again. I sorted the hotels according to reviews, and I immediately fell in love with this newly refurbished boutique hotel, in what seemed as the perfect location. Room Mate Valeria Hotel was centrally located between the old town city centre and the harbor area with a fantastic rooftop bar. The only problem was, it was a little bit too expensive for a week. So I continued my search. I found some airbnbs that seemed ok, some conference hotels which seemed accessible, but boring, and some more reasonable hotels who did not bother to answer my questions on access. The Room Mate Valeria Hotel answered all my control questions in a quick and positive manner. And then it was settled. With a relatively cheap air ticket from Norwegian since Málaga was still off season, we booked at Room Mate Valeria. Something we did not regret.

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Breakfast room in Room Mate Valeria

The breakfast buffet was also relatively expensive, so we decided to book without breakfast. We often oversleep anyway and there was a lot of coffee shops in the area. This also turned out to be a good choice. Even if the breakfast buffet at Valeria was open until 11.00, we found some really nice coffee places within 5-10 minutes wheeling distance. So we only tried the hotel buffet on our last day. In the photo below you see our favorite coffee bar Santa Canela in the SoHo district. The coffee was amazing and the crepes were also very tasty.

Besides the price – I would say that Room Mate Valeria Hotel was close to perfection unless you hate the colors green and blue. If you do – you should probably stay away. Our room was an explosion in dark grassy green, and it had no window to the outside – only to an atrium with light from above. But in spite of the lack of view, I really liked it.

I was especially happy with the bathroom in the wheelchair accessible room on the 1st floor. Usually in bathrooms supposed to be accessible, they always do something wrong. Here more or less everything was in place:

  • Wheel-in shower
  • Shower chair we had asked for was in place – no need to nag
  • Low sink, which was easy to wheel under
  • Low mirror – where I could see myself for a change
  • Low towel holder – how many times does that happen…?
  • Grab bars next to the toilet
  • Movable drawer to use the space as much as possible

The bathroom would probably be a bit small for a power chair, but could be doable. The room itself would also be small for a large power chair, but we managed completely fine with two manual wheelchairs and a big suitcase.

Next to the room itself – the rooftop bar was the best feature of Room Mate Valeria. The rooftop had a big bar with a great view to the fortress and the entire harbor area. The bar seemed like a popular place for both guests and hip locals. It had sun from morning to evening and umbrellas if the sun become too strong. Compared to other bars in the area it was expensive, but their cocktails were good. Even the cosmo was approved.

On the left side of the rooftop they had a large number of comfortable sun beds with real thick mattresses (and some thin uncomfortable ones). There was also a small pool, which even had a hoist to get in! There was a disabled friendly toilet up there, but it turned out to be kind of awkward to use. So we just used the toilet in our room instead. The sun bed area was reserved for guests and they stuck to the rule.

It was kind of interesting to watch the dress code up there. Or in Málaga in general. We were in shorts and t-shirts most of the day, and we even met some Finnish people in bikinis! But when the locals arrived, they were wearing winter coats, thick jackets, scarves and even fur coats! They dressed according to the calendar. We dressed as a Norwegian summer day with a small breeze. Lovely!

But the nights were cold. And when we were sitting at outdoor restaurants I was happy that I brought my scarf and winter boots.

Other things I liked about the Room Mate Valeria:

  • The wheelchair access – besides the disabled toilet on the rooftop, there was little to complain about
  • The smell in the reception (they even sold it)
  • The decor – it was a bit like The Great Gatsby with a modern twist (but you have to like green and blue)
  • The service was always friendly
  • The breakfast – we only tried it once, but it was nice
  • The bed was comfortable…too often the beds in Spain are hard
  • The location could not be more perfect

Things I did not like? The price? Besides that we cannot think of much.
I feel pretty sure we will be back to visit.

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We want to come back to Hotel Room Mate Valeria

Because even if we really liked the hotel, we did not spend the whole week inside our hotel room or at the rooftop. We did some sightseeing and eating & drinking as well. But I’ll leave that for another blogpost.

Stay safe everyone! And wash your hands…

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Museo de la imaginación was fun, silly and wheelchair accessible

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