After backlash, Plantation Bay setting up areas for guests with special needs

After backlash, Plantation Bay setting up areas for guests with special needs
This undated photo shows a view of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan, Cebu

MANILA, Philippines — In hot water over its mishandling of a guest, Plantation Bay is implementing a series of changes designed to improve handling, attention and leisure experience for guest with special needs including persons with disability and elderly.

The management of Plantation Bay, a Cebu-based luxury resort, said an initial series of enhancements includes modification of its booking and reservation procedures. The new process provides an interface allowing advanced notice should any guest have special needs.

“This will allow the resort to make preparations prior to the guests’ arrival and ensure a pleasant experience during their stay,” the resort said in a release.

To allow flexibility, general manager Cherry Allego said the resort will also reconfigure certain areas to make the establishment friendly to those with such needs.

Many of the resort’s clients, including the elderly and those with disability, prefer low noise levels. Allego said that to accommodate such senstivities, the resort is remodeling a freshwater swimming pool which will now be exempt from the resort’s general “low noise level policy” during scheduled times.

The pool is located in an enclosed and easy-to-monitor area for increased safety risks posed by high noise levels. The staff will provide snacks and beverage service in the area.

A 1,000 square-meter children’s play area will also be set aside “for more energetic children.” This includes wall-climbing, children’s bootcamp, gold, electric go-kart circuit features.

Aside from area improvements, the resort is planning to conduct learning sessions for management and staff which will cover inclusivity training for handling people with disabilities.

Allego expressed confidence that the resort will find other means of expanding its appeal to all kinds of clients including those with various disabilities.

“The resort is already regarded as a favorite by persons with mobility and sight impairments, because of its low-rise construction, level terrain, numerous resting places, and easy access to most facilities. For many years it has provided free electric wheelchairs and other amenities such as direct-to-room check-in upon request,” the resort said.

The implementation of changes in services and areas came weeks after its shareholder Manny Gonzalez drew flak for his harsh response to a mother of a child with autism.

Mai Pages, a resort guest and mother to a six-year-old child with autism, took to travel review website Trip Advisor to complain about experiencing discrimination at the resort. She said the place is "not an ideal place for a child with special needs."

Gonzalez, in a now-deleted response on the same platform, accused Pages to be “most likely deliberately lying” and asked the mother to verify this via Google.

This response caused online stir and prompted the Department of Tourism to launch an investigation with the Department of Justice.

Gonzalez issued an apology for his “error of judgment.” He then stepped down as resident shareholder of the resort on December 15.

“To protect our staff from further indignities, with sincere apologies for my error of judgment which led to so much trouble to many innocent people, I have decided to resign from the position of Resident Shareholder,” Gonzalez said.

The resort then vowed to assess current protocols in place and implement necessary changes.

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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