Generally good, some areas not accessible to wheelchair users
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Powerchair
This branch of Waterstones is generally good, though I did have problems with accessing some bookshelves and the toilet. The shop is spread over three floors and two of them have a café and large seating areas with tables and chairs.
Transport & Parking
Several bus routes will drop you off nearby. There are no step-free stations nearby, though if you are patient you could wait for Tottenham Court Road Station to become step-free, c. 2017.
The entrance is step free and there is a modern lift to all floors. The lift is surprisingly cramped and there is no room for a wheelchair user to turn around inside it - you may want to roll in backwards to make your exit easier. The lift is also agonisingly slow: if there were prizes for lift slowness, this one would be a winner. The book display tables are arranged very inconsiderately for wheelchair users. They are so close together, and close to shelving, that many sections of the bookshop cannot be reached in a wheelchair - the gaps are too narrow. Because the tables are heavily stacked with books, it's not possible to shove them out of the way.
There is one customer toilet. It's wheelchair-accessible and well designed, but staff have thoughtlessly put a large waste-bin in the wheelchair transfer area. They do not understand that this area is NOT free space but is required by a wheelchair user for parking when transferring to the toilet. Toilet paper is not replenished frequently enough.
Three things have contributed to this low, two-star rating. (1) The inconsiderate cramming together of tables and bookshelves, leaving many areas of the shop inaccessible to wheelchair users because the gaps between tables and shelves are too small. (2) The thoughtless placement of a large waste bin in the wheelchair transfer area of the toilet. (3) Failure to keep adequate toilet paper supplies in the toilet. A customer in the toilet sent a message to staff (via another customer in the toilet queue) for more toilet paper. After several minutes, no one had brought any. Very sloppy.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I'm luke-warm about recommending this branch of Waterstones to wheelchair users. Whilst it has a good stock, two cafés and agreeable areas to hang out in drinking coffee with friends, there are quite a few annoyances to deal with.