A picture of Maja Reichard.

“I do not need to say anything; it just works automatically for the staff.”

My name is Maja Reichard and I am an elite swimmer. I am also blind. When I lost my eyesight I could have just crawled into a corner, but instead I chose to accept the challenge, and that’s why today I have several European and world championship medals as well as a Paralympic gold medal.

As someone who is visually impaired, the most important thing is the services that are available – that there are people around – and to know that I am welcome to ask for help. For example, it is important to feel that I can travel to a hotel without having to bring anyone else with me. I might go to a hotel for work or just to relax and feel independent. The hardest thing for me when I come into a hotel environment that I don’t know is to find that first point of contact, in this case the reception. I really appreciate when the staff recognize you – that they can see that there’s someone standing in the entrance perhaps looking a little bit lost, that they come up and ask if they can help.

A very telling experience that I’ve had at a Scandic Hotel was when I had dinner in their restaurant. I was there with my family, and when we were served the food the waitress told me that “at three o’ clock you have the potatoes, at six o’ clock is the salad” and then kept describing the whole dish to me. She told me afterwards that she had seen my folded-up blind stick under the table.

It was so great that I didn’t need to say anything; it just works automatically for the staff at Scandic. They know their stuff!

Read more about how the Scandic Hotels Group has developed a comprehensive approach to accessibility by reading the factsheet.