Gransnet forums

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

Jaye53 Mon 10-Jul-23 14:39:35

Sorry Annsixty for getting your name wrong. We are going to Prestatyn.wonder if it's same one lol.

MayBee70 Mon 10-Jul-23 14:42:52

Primrose53

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.

I’m obsessed with non tea stained cups. I keep dishwasher soap specifically for cleaning stains off mugs. I leave it on the sill next to the sink with its label next to it so people know it isn’t to wash your hands with. But it’s gone. I’ve turned the place upside down looking for it but it’s nowhere to be seen! I don’t expect people to spend their holiday keeping the mugs pristine clean but I object to them moving ( or possibly throwing away) my special soap!. People always seem to move the drinking glasses from the kitchen into the utility room and moving glasses from the utility room into the kitchen. I’m looking at the pictures I spend ages choosing, having framed and putting in the wall now and thinking that I didn’t do a very good job!

FishandChips15 Mon 10-Jul-23 14:49:27

We stayed in a chalet once. It was not possible to close the toilet door as incredibly small. In the photo there was a flower bed outside which in actual fact turned out to be some over grown cabbages. The TV was the size of a bag of sugar!

Another time we stayed in a newly built block of flats that the owners had furnished with items that had obviously come from a skip or the tip. It was disgusting so we moved on.

Shantygirly Mon 10-Jul-23 14:55:10

We once booked a cottage described as 'quirky' .... we will never trust 'quirky' again and if we see it in the details of any self-catering establishment we would run a mile.

The place in question was in a lovely seaside town we went to for the folk festival they hold. The front garden had a wheelie bin parked in the middle that would not close as it had so many bags stuffed into it. There was rubbish piled up in the side passageway which the foxes had great fun with outisde our bedroom window each night. The 'delightful' garden was overgrown and the garden furniture we were supposed to be able to use was broken and dirty. The kitchen was filthy and there were ancient cobwebs everywhere! We had to stay for two nights then managed to get into a B & B for the rest of our stay. Never trust 'quirky'!! We were very lucky to get a refund, but only for the days we didn't stay.

annsixty Mon 10-Jul-23 14:57:09

Jaye 4 miles inland from Abergele so not the same.
It is a beautiful area, my H and I had a static caravan nearby for many years.
Excited to be going back.

Primrose53 Mon 10-Jul-23 15:01:06

We had a woman and adult daughter who slept together in the double bed. She left a note in the Visitors book to say they had really enjoyed their stay and loved the house apart from “the poor mattress and pillows”. I thought had she even stayed at our place because we have had people say the bed is so comfy they don’t want to get up!

I was mystified as the mattress was a Silent Night anti roll, edge to edge support one in pristine condition. It has two mattress covers on which are changed every changeover. Nobody has ever complained about the pillows either and they are pristine also with pillow protectors. I can only think that sleeping with her adult daughter was not the norm and maybe she couldn’t relax with her in the bed!

HannahLoisLuke Mon 10-Jul-23 15:03:00

We’ve stayed in some horrors in the past too, both in the UK andFrance.
The worst was a farmhouse in Wales booked through The Lady. It was New Year and we were a party of ten. The only heating was the Rayburn in the kitchen plus one fan heater for the whole house! Showers were those dangerous gas things installed over the bath and didn’t work. Whole place was filthy, doors wouldn’t close and our bedroom was the crowing glory. On the top floor in the eaves, the ceiling came down to the floor, the bed was a damp mattress in the floor and above our heads was a beam across the ceiling that had come away and was stuffed with newspaper to block up the cracks. During the night we were showered with plaster, bugs and cobwebs,and frozen. It was in the area of Wales where the tv programme Tumbleweed (?) about the Falklands War was filmed and was totally isolated. We and our friends put up with it for the four days we were there and didn’t even ask for a refund, we were younger then!

AreWeThereYet Mon 10-Jul-23 15:05:46

We read the reviews about the last cottage we booked and were a little concerned but as we didn't have a choice we booked it anyway. Weirdly the things people complained about, like the beds, didn't bother us at all. But no one had mentioned the fact that it smelled so mouldy, which did bother us.

There are some beautiful cottages around, kept by lovely owners who put a lot of effort into keeping them well. Sadly I think those are in the minority now that so many people see it as an easy way of getting a second income and a safe way of investing their money.

LadyGracie Mon 10-Jul-23 15:06:53

We’ve just got back from a week in a holiday cottage not far from Llandrindod Wells, it was clean but tired.
It needed new saucepans and a coat of paint and a bit of love.
The worst thing was the bedding, there were plastic covers on the mattress and duvet!

SunnySusie Mon 10-Jul-23 15:08:49

We must be lucky because we have never had a duff self-catering place and we have rented them for years (touch wood). Indeed some of them have been considerably higher quality than our actual house - which is by no means a tip, but it is well 'lived-in', clean but not smart in any way. Hotel rooms and B&Bs is a different matter. Years ago we stayed in an old style B&B with notices pinned to just about everything in the room, mostly starting with the words DO NOT. We had to book a time for a shower or bath and there was a mark painted on the tub with instructions not to fill above the line. It was however clean. Fairly recently I stayed in a hotel and when I glanced up whilst having a shower I realised the ceiling was black with mould and lumps were flaking off onto my head! Horrendous. The bed was fairly dry but stank of wee and when I dropped a hair grip on the floor I had a horrid view of the underneath of the beds and furniture. Reception was closed and it was very late at night so I had to lay all the towels on top of the suspect mattress and sleep with the stink. Needless to say I wont be going back!

Romola Mon 10-Jul-23 15:12:08

DD and family have just returned from a week in an historic European capital, AirBnB. The flat was in a building undergoing restoration, so that they had to go through an area marked No Entry (in the language there) to get to the flat. They were woken at 7 am every morning by the builders. The place was covered in dust, the dishwasher still had dirty mugs in it. There was no "starter supply" of coffee etc. and the supply of basic kitchen equipment was inadequate.
SiL is at peak career and can be very forceful. I hope they get some compensation - not just a discount on a future holiday.

Jaxjacky Mon 10-Jul-23 15:13:17

In 2018 we rented a French house for 6 months, in a village we knew, but sight unseen, all done over the internet. It was lovely and became our ‘summer home’ for three years, we’ve stayed in contact with the French family who own it.

tinad42 Mon 10-Jul-23 15:24:10

We had several issues with a villa that we hired in Minorca. We had hired it through a reputable company. I took photos and wrote a letter detailing all of the problems. They were brilliant and most upset that the place wasn’t up to scratch. As the villa was still habitual and we still enjoyed our hols, they returned have the rental.
I feel you should take the matter up with the company, as you contracted the property through them.

Luckygirl3 Mon 10-Jul-23 15:32:57

I have been in that situation. It was a private hire from a local person advertising in the parish mag. It was disgusting: the beds were so filthy even our teenagers slept on the floor in preference!; the cooker was caked in grease and the oven filled with spiders' webs; all the pans were pockmarked and unhygienic; there were silverfish running around the carpets at night.

We left and found a caravan to hire. It was a nightmare as I was just getting over a hysterectomy and this was supposed to be a rest.

I was so shocked that a local person should do this - we complained but got no money back - we did not pursue it as the owner was a solicitor and we thought he might try and take us to the cleaners.

mrsgreenfingers56 Mon 10-Jul-23 15:48:36

Well I am glad this just hasn't happened to me. I have also had problems with a very well known cottage lettings company who I don't think I can name and several bookings with them. The first cottage we nearly came home within half an hour even though we had travelled all the way to Scotland. The rug was in the lounge was full of fur, feathers, dust and grass, the fridge had orange gung in it, cooking oil bottle in the kitchen had insects crawling around the screw top, the screen on the TV was so thick with dust I wrote my name on it. Cobwebs hanging everywhere, when I complained on the day I was told I must have very high standards of cleaning and shouldn't let it spoil my holiday! And cobwebs were a sign of being in the country, my reply was lack of cleaning and houswork.
If I had a rental cottage it would be cleaner than my own home as people are PAYING you and you need to provide a good service and receive further repeat bookings.

Similiar experience with another cottage booked with same company, am I allowed to say S. C's? If you get my drift and told to take photo's which we did but husband dropped his phone with pics on on our stream crossing on the walking holiday. So no proof.

I had one cottage in Ireland and dear me would have put whiskers on you as my Grandma would have said. It was just awful but you are usually a long way from home, tired from the journey and you don't make the same fuss.

Another cottage and the owner 'phoned me directly within an hour of arriving asking was everthing OK and my reply was well no, when was this place last cleaned and she said two days ago and my reply was well you have given it a cat lick, her husband came on telling me not to ring their number again and put the 'phone down on me!

So fed up with this we have given up with SC accommodation now.

homefarm Mon 10-Jul-23 15:57:53

Some of this sounds very familiar.
One we rented in Cornwall was terrible, not only dirty but the toilet was in the kitchen and a myriad of other problems.
However the one we rented in Northumberland was terrific, warm, welcoming - perfect. A wonderful retreat.
You never can tell!

Sago Mon 10-Jul-23 16:04:02

Regarding Trip Advisor reviews, the link supplied is a dreadful place we booked in Dubrovnik, the location was incredible the place itself was dank and dirty, we stayed some years ago and I checked the reviews first, they were all fine.
What I didn’t do was check the dates, the most recent reviews were from a year previously, this is the same currently nobody has reviewed in 16 months, this is because people tend not to leave bad reviews.

www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiLkc62s4SAAxW8iP0HHcbcDz0QFnoECDgQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.co.uk%2FHotel_Review-g295371-d13119858-Reviews-Art_House_Dubrovnik-Dubrovnik_Dubrovnik_Neretva_County_Dalmatia.html&usg=AOvVaw3KJtiCNDsw4j0JNQ8zjTTm&opi=89978449

Witzend Mon 10-Jul-23 16:07:17

Primrose53

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.

I did say ‘some’, Primrose53!

Plunger Mon 10-Jul-23 16:21:34

Stayed at a holiday home in Cornwall. The pictures of the huge kitchen dining area were amazing as was the rest of the ground floor. The further you went up the property the worse it got! By the time you got to the 2nd floor it was worse than a student squat. The 'child friendly ' garden had a 15 foot drop cordoned off with a piece of flimsy chicken wire. The upstairs windows opened in such a way that a 20 stone person could fall out easily let alone an 18month old toddler. Cupboards had DIY equipment eg scalpels, paint tns etc easily accessible to young children. I could go on. We took photos and complained, we got a refund of 10% of what we paid

Bijou Mon 10-Jul-23 16:51:11

That is why we had our own caravan. Never stayed in a let or hotel until after my husband died then took my own pillow and bedding.

knspol Mon 10-Jul-23 17:15:11

Post all your photos and comments on Facebook, Twitter, the company's website etc. Inform the owners and the company beforehand and wait to see what happens. We had a complaint with a company once and after several weeks were getting nowhere until DH posted details on Twitter and the next day the problem was solved with a full refund. Worth a try!

Lizbethann55 Mon 10-Jul-23 17:38:12

Primrose53, your properties sound wonderful. Much loved and well cared for. Please tell us where they are!!!

Lizbethann55 Mon 10-Jul-23 18:21:33

My son recently got married. In his speech he related the tale of their first holiday together. DS was in charge of finding and booking the accommodation. Using a well known Lake District holiday cottage booking site, he found a small cottage for two on a working farm with a farm shop across the road. It sounded ideal. The reality was that the "cottage" was a converted garage attached to the farm house. The farm shop did exist but it had it's own abbatoir. DS and his girlfriend spent the weekend with the windows shut to keep out the flies and listening to the washing machine in the farmhouse which was just the other side of a not very thick wall.
The good thing was that they found Aira Force waterfall which they absolutely loved. DS's girlfriend obviously forgave him and a couple of years later DS chose Aira Force as his proposal location.
Their recent wedding was beautiful.

albertina Mon 10-Jul-23 18:21:53

I have recently been looking at holiday cottages. From reading what has been written here, I won't bother. Thanks for the warning.

Cabbie21 Mon 10-Jul-23 18:44:18

It is a shame if bad places put people off using self catering cottages. Every British one I have stayed in has been excellent as I am sure the majority are. But it is the bad ones you hear about most.
My worst experiences have been in hotels and BnBs, not in self catering.