Advertised as a 'luxury' cottage and after speaking to the owner to confirm it was toddler friendly we decided to part with £725 + £100 refundable security deposit (more than we would usually pay) for a week holidaying in this lovely part of Yorkshire. We obviously had high expectations of this 'luxurious' cottage. It looked clean and spacious on the photographs and the outside area was also made to look very spacious and ideal for somewhere to sit out with a glass of wine and let the kids run around; may be even have a barbeque.
On our arrival we were welcomed by a bottle of wine which was a nice touch but we were quite surprised to see that the inside appeared to be quite dark with not much inlet of light. There was also a large square solid wood low table right in the middle of the floor, which was totally unnecessary and just the right height for little ones to run into. To avoid any trips to the local A&E department we proceeded to move the table and stood it up against the kitchen wall (managing not to put our backs out in the process!)
The upstairs area was very spacious with 3 good sized bedrooms and a big bathroom. However, I was quite appalled at the state of the shower and shower head. It obviously hadn't been cleaned properly for a period of time. (I've watched 'The Hotel Inspector and I know that shower heads are a breeding ground for germs...). I'm by no means a clean freak and my own home definitely does not sparkle from top to bottom but I believe there are certain standards to expect, especially when staying in what is described as a 'luxury' holiday cottage.
My 4 year old little girl was very excited about playing outisde in the lovely big spacious garden......., except we were disappointed to see it wasn't how it looked on the photographs. Instantly gone were the visions of barbeques in the afternoon. The area was very small and the garden very overgrown obviously as a result of mother nature and the significant amount of rainfall. Even so this should be the responsibility of the owner to maintain the garden at all times. Also it wasn't safe for our 15 month old little girl as it was uneven and filled full of pebbles.
We spent 2 days sitting on broken toilet seats, which apparently the owner was aware they were broke but as she was going on holiday herself she didn't have time to fix them. They were however replaced as soon as she came back off her hols and for our inconvenience the owner left us a bottle of wine and box of chocs, which we thought was a nice gesture.
As the one and only can opener was broke we knocked on the cottage next door to ask to borrow hers, whch she kindly let us, although it was very old and rusty with not much life left and that one also broke when we were using it! I apologised to the neighbour and offered to buy her a new one.
After a couple of weeks on returning home we still hadn't received our £100 security deposit so we contacted the owner who said that she had sent a £70 cheque in the post (which we still are yet to receive). She had deducted £30 for 'extra cleaning' and replacing her neighbour with a can opener. I found this hard to believe as not only had I cleaned the shower and shower head, I also vacuumed and mopped the floors and cleaned the cutlery drawer out. We left the cottage clean and tidy on our departure. Apparently the extra cleaning costs were because we had put the crockery out of order in the cupboards and drawer and also the fact that she felt the need to buy her neighbour a new can opener and a bunch of flowers due to us breaking her 'Noah's Ark' can opener! After a lengthy discussion and reminding the owner that broken toilet seats and other issues are not what one would expect from luxury accommodation, she realised the cottage's shortcomings and agreed to refund us the full £100.
All in all we had a pleasant stay in a comfortable cottage but unfortunately it did not live up to our expectations. If it hadn't been advertised as a 'luxury' cottage we wouldn't have had these high expectations and the price of £725 for one week certainly didn't reflect the standards. However, we must point out that the owner was very accommodating and helpful and nothing seemed like too much trouble for her. She appeared genuinely concerned that we were enjoying our stay in Bankwell and showed much kindness and consideration to us and our two girls .
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