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Travel

Hell hole of a holiday cottage

(104 Posts)
Bella23 Sun 09-Jul-23 13:07:30

2 weeks booked with a reputable firm in a cottage. On Wednesday night, we decided to come home.
Access had briars, weeds, nettles by the picnic table , and grass growing out of it, the window was obscured by a large tree.
Inside curtains in the bedroom hanging from too few hooks. No washer/dryer, washing line or clothes airer. Ironing board no iron. No dishwasher tablet. A cupboard full of scraps of food people had left.No instruction book
The owner of the cottage came with prospective buyers on the first morning. We could have said no but were shell-shocked from the long journey.
On Friday I phoned the company to complain and was told the first line of complaint was with the owner. He refuses to reimburse any money when contacted by them.
I m writing because it could be you.Don't believe what the brochure says or photographs. Have a good look around and read the company's instructions asap. In small print, it said to contact the owner with complaints. Take photo evidence which we were too thick to do.We both feel like such fools.blush

Bella23 Sun 09-Jul-23 22:09:18

We did pay with a credit card but it seems we broke the contract by not contacting the owner first with our problems. Which was in very small print, I told the agency that they should check the cottages they have on their books regularly and asked when ours had been last checked they could not answer me.
They did seem surprised when I said it was advertised with two other agencies and as an Air B&B and was actually on the market for sale.
I have had similar experiences before, once in my own county, you could smell the drains from outside and a wasps nest was propping a window open .DH complained to the company as we never even let the DDs in. They told him Cumbria smelt like that and he told them he was from there and he certainly did not smell as far as he knew. They completely refunded our money.

We also had a Gite in the Dordogne that was a semi. We kept saying "IT could only happen to us", then after arriving home "Absolutely Fabulous", did an episode which was our experiences exactly. We wondered why our DDs never complained until one confessed that a very rampant couple next door could be heard through the bedroom wall and proved very enlightening entertainment when they went to bed.smile

V3ra Sun 09-Jul-23 22:32:51

Many years ago, 35 easily, we went to Cornwall with three young children to a holiday lodge. I had to clean the washbasin before we could even clean our teeth ☹️

After that we bought our own touring caravan which served us very well for many years in the UK and France 🙂

Nowadays we holiday in self-catering apartments through our timeshare: home from home standards and the same beds, linens, kitchen equipment etc wherever we go. Stress free holidays and very nice too 😊

Calipso Mon 10-Jul-23 06:44:26

This has only once happened to us in many years of cottage holidays large and small. Unfortunately it was a big get together over Christmas week. We all left after one night and were lucky enough to find a similar large property through Rural Retreats though in a location much further away. We lodged a detailed complaint with the original booking company (also one of the big names) We were refunded in full.

annsixty Mon 10-Jul-23 07:20:04

I can’t tell you how concerned I am now after reading this thread.
My D, GC and I are off in two weeks to a rented house in North Wales.
My D booked it and it is far from cheap.
She payed by debit card not credit card as she doesn’t use one.
We have had only good experiences so far but….

MrsKen33 Mon 10-Jul-23 07:24:26

We once went to a holiday home which was exceedingly grubby. Loose covers on the furniture were black with dirt in places. We complained and the owner came to see us. He wa absolutely furious that we had had the temerity to complain and was quit abusive. We left, and we got a paltry £100 returned. He had quite a few holiday cottages in the are , some in extremely lovely locations, but we have never returned.

Cabbie21 Mon 10-Jul-23 08:39:40

We have had some disappointing experiences in the past, especially in France, but not in recent years. There is so much information now online. Read the reviews across several platforms, contact the owner, ask questions.
Above all, contact the owner as soon as possible if there is something wrong.

Our strangest booking was in the middle of rural Normandy,, hard to find as there were two places of the same name. We were expecting managers to be available in the main house on site, with various central facilities, laundry, etc. When we got there, there was nobody there. Our cottage was the only one habitable( just). The rest were empty empty and semi- derelict.

Fortunately there were temporary managers on another site who did their best to make us comfortable. They brought us a radio( the tv had gone), provided a bottle opener and wine and other treats, did our laundry, and were so kind. It turns out the previous managers had “ done a bunk” , making off with TVs and anything they could take with them! Unbelievable. The owner was aware and was trying to sell the site.

Joseann Mon 10-Jul-23 09:01:03

Several posters here have mentioned French gîtes. I agree the standards are usually basic, sometimes poor even, so homework really needs to be done. The best way is friends' recommendations.

annsixty Mon 10-Jul-23 09:21:27

I have just got the details of our holiday home and it looks very nice.
Time will tell.

Joseann Mon 10-Jul-23 09:26:52

Fingers crossed annsixty, I'm sure it will be lovely.
Many holiday home owners go to great lengths.

aggie Mon 10-Jul-23 09:29:19

Last year my DD invited me to join her and the girls in a holiday cottage in Connemara , it was beautiful ! Clean and anything we needed was there
The owner was away abroad , we had a slight problem about the hot water , DD rang the number and he talked her through the solution , all was well , but he had rung a neighbour who came down to check on us .
He gave us top marks for cleaning up before we left 🤣🤣

Cabbie21 Mon 10-Jul-23 09:30:24

Just to encourage.... here is the latest review of my daughter' s holiday let.
"Spotless. Lovely quality sheets, towels, bathroom products. Host left quality fresh juices, a bottle of fizz, home grown egss and even a cake for our arrival. Kitchen was well appointed and had all pots, pans, tea, coffee, sugar etc. Host clearly thought everything through, even down to fresh-cut flowers on outside dining table, inside table and around the house. A really lovely property."
It can be done.

Primrose53 Mon 10-Jul-23 10:20:22

I let out a small property for holidays and get comments like “we have stayed in lots of properties but this is the best”, “we have everything we could possibly want here.” “A real home from home and we will come again.” “We loved the welcome pack. Each time we visit we have fab weather.”

Sago Mon 10-Jul-23 12:34:35

I’m with Cabbie and Primrose the majority of holiday let’s are good, we are inspected by the holiday company annually they ensure everything is properly maintained, the cleaning between guests costs us £120 but is worth every penny.

We go every few months and do a deep clean.

Most guests are great, we did have one family that rearranged the cupboards and furniture and another that called me every day with some dippy request, she called me on her return home to tell me she had accidentally taken some cutlery and did we want it returned, I had assumed it was from a picnic hamper we leave…. no it was from the kitchen!

Here is our latest review…. I’m showing off but I’m really proud of the lovely haven we have created!

nanna8 Mon 10-Jul-23 12:42:03

We’ve never had a bad one here or in the South Pacific area and we always clean up and leave them as clean and tidy as we find them. These days we often stay in cabins in campsites with others who are in caravans and they are always pristine. People are afraid of bad reviews so I don’t think it happens often. Funny enough, the worst one we have had recently was a Hilton hotel where the room looked as though it needed a coat of paint and the built in robe wouldn’t open. We told them!

Witzend Mon 10-Jul-23 12:54:10

The worst we ever had was a very old, lumpy mattress, with springs coming through.

Luckily there was an extra bed to use. The letting co. was a major one in the area, and my comment after we left evoked no satisfactory response.
From the info they left, it was evidently the first time the owners had let what had been their own holiday home for many years. Presumably they reasoned that what was good enough for them, was good enough for anyone else, even when they were paying ££££. 🤬

Why are some holiday let owners so bloody stingy?? A pet peeve of mine is any old duvet, regardless of the season - and too often a synthetic one so ancient, it’s flat as a pancake.

PinkCosmos Mon 10-Jul-23 12:58:24

I would have thought that the hell holes would be weeded out by negative reviews online these days

Having said that, we once booked a deluxe room with sea view in a hotel. The room turned out to be in the loft which was tiny and with very little headroom for my tall DH. It was certainly not deluxe and there was no sea view at all, just a view of the backyard and the bins. We mentioned it to the owner and he blamed the booking company for getting the details wrong on the website.

I didn't read the reviews beforehand as we had stayed in the same hotel before. Unknown to us, it had changed hands since our last visit. I should have known about the lack of sea view but the hotel was near to the sea so I assumed maybe the rooms at the back did have a sea view.

I checked the reviews - after the event angry and there were several other people with the same complaint about the rooms not being what was advertised.

I always read reviews now. Granted, there will always be some complaints even for the most perfect accommodation. Some people just like to complain about anything. You can generally get a good idea by the balance of good and bad reviews.

AreWeThereYet Mon 10-Jul-23 13:49:16

We've been staying in cottages 3 or 4 times a year for over 10 years and have noticed that standards have gone down quite a lot, despite prices rising quite dramatically. Mainly I think since lock down. There are 4 or 5 that we and the rest of the family use consistently. The owners are lovely, and they mostly do their own cleaning so we know everything will be spotless when we arrive.

We've just got back from one cottage that smelled very mouldy - we would have left if we could as it's not healthy. We stayed in one that had a very iffy lock on the front door and it took us about five minutes each time to get it to work. We got drenched one day trying to get in. We left the owner a message, assuming she didn't know, but the following year it was just the same. We've since found out she's never even been there and relies on a local cleaner. Won't be going back there. In many cottages we wash all the crockery and cutlery before we use them because they are greasy - not the owners fault some of their guests are pretty disgusting but obviously no one is checking them.

MayBee70 Mon 10-Jul-23 13:55:51

Just out of interest and without going into great detail,would anyone rearrange things in a holiday cottage eg pictures on walls and, believe it or not, a log store….confused?

AreWeThereYet Mon 10-Jul-23 14:02:46

We sometimes rearrange things but everything is put back where we found it before we leave. Not pictures on walls though, and never been anywhere with logs.

Joseann Mon 10-Jul-23 14:16:00

Rearranging pictures on walls is a weird one, but we found people were obsessed with logs. Piling them up, wheelbarrowing them around etc!

Pjcpjc77 Mon 10-Jul-23 14:20:32

Feel really sorry for you.
My partner and I rented a villa in Spain two years ago with a reputable holiday company Jet 2 . The villa was disgusting and not cheap. The bathrooms stunk and the showers were a death trap, add to that the filthy outdoor swimming pool, which the pool man came to clean the day before we left. We did take photos and we did complain, here's the problem the likes of Jet 2 and other holiday brands is you don't stand a chance of an recompence, because they have an army of liars, excuses and lawyers on their payroll whereas the likes of you and I just fork out our hard earned cash and much needed holiday in the hope that what is written about the property is the truth and not a stack of lies!

Primrose53 Mon 10-Jul-23 14:31:29

Witzend

The worst we ever had was a very old, lumpy mattress, with springs coming through.

Luckily there was an extra bed to use. The letting co. was a major one in the area, and my comment after we left evoked no satisfactory response.
From the info they left, it was evidently the first time the owners had let what had been their own holiday home for many years. Presumably they reasoned that what was good enough for them, was good enough for anyone else, even when they were paying ££££. 🤬

Why are some holiday let owners so bloody stingy?? A pet peeve of mine is any old duvet, regardless of the season - and too often a synthetic one so ancient, it’s flat as a pancake.

Regarding your last para and stingy owners. I buy good quality bedding, furniture, cutlery, crockery etc.

The first job I do when I clean the kitchen is get all the teaspoons out and soak them in a cup of bleachy water. people always leave them standing in mugs and they get stained brown. Then I go to the mug cupboard where I have about a dozen bone china mugs. People always hide their tea stained mugs right at the back and put the clean ones at the front. So I get those out and bleach them too.

We charge extra for a small -medium dog. It’s not suitable for a large dog. One woman didn’t pay for a dog but turned up with a large Pointer and said she couldn’t see how to add a dog! She messaged me most days asking questions about local places, tide times etc but there were leaflets galore in the house.

When she left she left behind her phone charger. i always check the bedroom drawers and she had taken two very nice brand new throws which I leave for guests in case they need extra. I messaged her to ask what she wanted me to do about the charger and was it possible she had taken the throws by mistake. She never replied. I messaged again and no reply again. Then I realised she had also taken two pairs of good kitchen scissors. I hope karma gets her!!

Every single changeover I check everything is there and she is the first person to have nicked anything.

Kate1949 Mon 10-Jul-23 14:31:49

annsixty You'll be fine. We've stayed in many, many self catering places over the years and that French one was the only bad one. We've recently stayed in a beautiful one in Filey.

MayBee70 Mon 10-Jul-23 14:32:54

Joseann

Rearranging pictures on walls is a weird one, but we found people were obsessed with logs. Piling them up, wheelbarrowing them around etc!

Whole log store has been lifted and moved to another area…and everything has been moved away from the area it was moved to!

Jaye53 Mon 10-Jul-23 14:36:32

Annuity me too ,Prestatyn actually