The view from the rooms at Sargood on Collaroy is worth more than a million dollars, but for the guests who stay here, this resort is priceless.
Sargood is Australia and the world’s only purpose-built resort for people living with spinal injuries and their families.
The hotel overlooks Collaroy Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches. Every doorway is wide enough to fit a wheelchair through. And not one barrier stops the guests from moving onto the patio to soak up the view.
In the shared kitchen space every benchtop and be lowered or raised at the touch of a button. The windows are set at a height that allows everyone to see the view and the lift opens both ways so guests don’t have to turn their wheelchair around to get out.
Each guest room is arranged bespoke according to individual needs. Mattress types, commode preferences, hoist and bed height – everything has been thought of. Even the cupboards have ample storage space down low.
Inside the resort, we spoke with a woman named Sarah, who’s young boy Jake is a Sargood regular.
“What we love about coming to Sargood is that it is easy, “Sarah. We don’t have to lug all of his equipment along, we don’t have to bring commodes and mattresses and everything that we would have to take everywhere else. We have been to other places and we have literally had to take trailers with us to get all his stuff there.”
“We love it here.”
Free from fussing over the details, guests can then relax. They can focus on actually having a holiday together as a family. And they can try activities they once loved, or have never tried before.
This is a place of firsts. At Sargood if you want to try something the staff will find a way to make it happen. They have cut legs iff chairs and fitted them into kayaks, they have several different types of beach wheelchairs to allow their guests to get down on the sand. Bush trails? They have done it, bike riding, that’s possible, surfing? Absolutelty.
“Last year we had our first experience at Sargood at Christmas, Jake got to go snorkelling with the team her by himself at Christmas and he absolutely loved it,” Sarah says.
In the recreation room, a custom built pool table, a golf putting matt and archery set are in high-rotation with many of the adults.
“The kids spend a lot of time on the Xbox,” one of the staff tells me.
The kids also love the tech room. Sargood modified the gaming controllers to allow anyone of any ability to play – even using breath control. Virtual reality headsets allow families to play games and escape into magical worlds together.
This resort truly has thought of everything. Sarah and the other guests all tell me of their sadness at having to leave Sargood at the end of their holiday.
Sargood has faced some criticism from the disability community for only being accessible to guests with a spinal injury. The staff, however, say that Sargood was purpose-built for those with spinal cord injuries and it is what they specialise in. They hope other organisations will look to Sargood on Collaroy as the inspiration to create similar properties and that every hotel will be accessible. So do we.