Hotel bans ‘annoying’ Down syndrome kids

Spain's leading Down syndrome association has slammed a hotel for turning away a group of children with the condition 'in case they annoyed' other guests.

Hotel bans 'annoying' Down syndrome kids
"We do not admit groups of guests with mental disabilities," Hotel CaboGata Plaza Suites told Down España. Photo: ZT Hotels

A reservation for a group of children with Down syndrome, who were to celebrate an end-of-term trip, was refused by an Almeria hotel hotel on the grounds that "these kinds of people might annoy other guests".

Management of the Hotel CaboGata Plaza Suites, of the ZT Hotels group, have apologized for the gaffe but the case has now been passed to Almeria's public prosecutor according to Spanish daily El País.

A worker from Down España asked a travel agent to get prices from three nearby hotels in order to organize an end-of-term trip for the children, who attend a school run by the association.

One of them, CaboGata Plaza Suites,  responded by saying, "We do not admit groups of guests with mental disabilities," because, "this has happened before."

The association reported the incident to the public prosecutor because it felt that there was "a clear case of discrimination against disabled people that breaks the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by Spain."

The convention prohibits "all discrimination on the grounds of disability".

This is not the first case of its type in Spain, according to Down España.

A nightclub in Sabadell and a pub in Alicante have both been prosecuted in recent years for refusing access to people with Down syndrome.

In 2009 a parish priest refused to give First Communion to a girl in Barcelona, saying that she was already "one of God's angels".

"We haven't gone public with this incident to victimize anyone but to educate the public," said Agustín Matía, head of Down España.

Sources from the hotel have apologized to the association, saying that the incident had been "a misunderstanding" and claiming that hotel staff had believed they were dealing with a group of former hotel guests with a different mental disability whose visit had been "very confrontational".

Hotel management claim that staff have been "deeply affected" by the incident which has led to a wave of criticism on social media networks.

They added: "In 35 years of business we have never refused access to guests with Down syndrome," who they said, "have been, are, and always will be very welcome."

Down España advised that families encountering any type of discrimination should demand a complaint form to record the details before contacting the public prosecutor.

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IN PICS: Madrid’s newest rooftop terrace bar has the best views of the capital

Madrid has its fair share of swanky rooftop terraces offering views across the skyline of the capital.

IN PICS: Madrid's newest rooftop terrace bar has the best views of the capital
All Photos: Riu Plaza Hotel.

It’s where the young hip crowds go to drink cocktails at sundown, where professionals meet for an “afterwork” and where parents take their 18-year-olds to celebrate a graduation.

It started with Bellas Artes and Palacio de Cibeles with their unrivalled views up the Gran Via and soon every hotel worth its salt was converting their unloved space once full of air conditioning units and TV aerials into a Scandi-vibed lounger-filled rooftop terrace.

Some offer swimming pools, others tempt with late night DJs, and now anyone who has spent a summer in Madrid knows that there is no better place to catch the evening breeze.

READ ALSO:  Madrid's best rooftop bars

So who would have guessed that yet another lofty spot could create such a buzz?

If you’ve been at the bottom end of the Gran Via recently you’ll have seen the crowds of people lining up to gain entrance to the Riu Plaza Hotel, the newest 5-Star establishment in the city.

The hotel opened its doors in September after a massive renovation within the Edificio España, a polemic building that epitomises Francoist architecture.

When the Edificio España was opened in 1953 it was Spain’s tallest building at 25 floors and with a height of 117 m (384 ft). Designed by General Francisco Franco’s favourite architect Julián Otamendi and his brother in the Neo-baroque style it took five years to build and was considered a “symbol of prosperity” of the Franco-era.

It then became a symbol of the Spanish real estate market’s collapse in 2008. After being sold off to an investment fund just before the bubble burst and standing empty for more than decade, it was then bought by Chinese investor Dalian Wanda for a third of the price, who after wrangling with the city authorities over planning permission, sold it on to the RIU Hotel group.

The hotel has been fully restored to accommodate 583 rooms, some suites with private terraces overlooking the Gran Via, and a swimming pool for guests on the 21st floor. But the cherry on top is the Sky Bar and 360º bar.

Free for hotel guests but open to everyone with an entrance fee of €5 before 6pm rising to €10 after, a lift will take punters up to the top floors where there’s a choice of swanky bar/nightclub ‘De Madrid al cielo’ on the 26th floor below and the open air 360º on the 27th floor.

The views are the best you’ll find in Madrid from every angle. Take in the impressive fortress that is Conde Duque and gaze over the jumble of Malasaña rooftops on one side, while the other gives unrivalled views of the Royal Palace and Casa de Campo stretching beyond to the distant mountain horizon.

Plus there’s views up the Gran Via and stretching all the way to Madrid’s Four Towers up in the business district.

But what has people extra excited is the glass walkway stretching between two wings of the building that gives the sensation of walking in the air – and provides the ultimate location for an instagram snap.






A post shared by Riu Plaza España (@hotelriuplazaespana) on Nov 1, 2019 at 7:07am PDT

Check out these pictures of the view from the top: 

Conde Duque on the left of the image and the towers in the distance.