We booked this holiday for ourselves and our three girls over a year in advance and it's fair to say the whole family was very excited at the prospect of staying at the gite where we knew we would only share the facilities with one other family.
The liaison with Rae (the owner) prior to our stay was good but we were surprised to have received an email one day before our arrival asking for a deposit of £150 to be paid by bank transfer, when in the booking terms we had already received, it stated a cheque would suffice.
The instructions provided on the location were good and we were greeted by Rae immediately upon arrival. We were shown to our 3 bedroom gite (La Dominique) where there was a nice welcome basket containing bread, wine, butter, milk, cheese, juice and a half bottle of Pineau.
We were shown the outside garden area and swimming pool and taken through the gite information folder. All the rules were printed in red.
Rae apologised for the shortage of drinking glasses and said more would be brought over to the gite but these never arrived. The glasses looked like something from a charity shop and only two small wine glasses matched. The plastic ones provided for use by the poolside were old and scratched and we just closed the cupboard door on them.
We were also told to be careful of water on the wooden work-surface as this could worsen a crack which had developed - where hot drinks are made. Perhaps a non-porous mat or tray would have been better placed beside the explosive gas cooker ( I burned all of the hairs off my right hand after trying to light one of the rings with a spark gadget after which my wife refused to make a cup of tea!) and the oh so noisy whistling (and very heavy) kettle.
On further inspection, the standards of cleanliness that confronted us from previous occupants left something to be desired. This ranged from old food on the cutlery (all of this we had to wash before we dared to use it), dried cereal on the breakfast bowls, old egg yolk on the egg cups, greasy and dirty dinner plates where the glazing had all cracked and were heavily stained, saucepans smelling of a foul onion odour, oven dishes you wouldn't feed our dog out of, a dirty oven door, an extractor fan that dripped yellow 'pus like' grease, cooker knobs encrusted with grime where they attached to the cooker, a sink that smelled along with the tap water, cupboards that smelled of damp....and a cutlery drawer that collapsed! There was a general greasy feel over almost every surface and this certainly disuaded us from cooking at the gite.
The other major problem were the flies. There were flies everywhere inside and out all of the time we were there. Our girls entered into the spirit of the holiday by having fly swatting competitions and counting the flies that had stuck to the fly papers we had to put up. This infestation unfortunately stopped us eating outside although there were only four place settings for the five of us and only 2 seat cushions. We had to buy several tins of fly spray. There were flies in the bedroom at night, in the kitchen in the morning and during every mealtime. I kept the fly swotter beside me and food even on the dinner table always had to be covered.
We had a change of bath towels once a week but the bed sheets were never changed, although of course we did put our own sheets through the washing machine which was on site.
The bathrooms were never cleaned during our stay and the stench from the shower enclosures especially in the en-suite bathroom was appauling. the drains were slow to deal with an average shower and we had to endure the water backing up and coveringour feet every time we showered (this was also the same in the other bathroom). We were told by Rae not to use any kind of bleach or other cleaner which could affect the balance of the septic tank! But we don't go on holiday to spend all of our time cleaning anyway as we would at home. The water pressure in the en-suite bathroom was virtually non-existent and a complete contrast to the torrent that spewed out of the taps in the other bathroom.
The lighting in our en-suite bathroom was poor and made my wife found it impossible to preen and apply make up etc. The lighting in the two upstairs bedrooms was also poor as was the lighting at night in the main living area unless you turned on the two main lights - which the flies loved - especially crawling up the greasy cables up to the ceiling.
Now for the really dangerous part... The girls who all slept upstairs had an almost imposssible task of getting to the downstairs bathroom at night as there was no light switch upstairs and the stairs themselves were so narrow and steep they bordered on being suicidal. Again, my wife refused to venture upstairs due to this. And don't let me forget the lack of the 'mind your head' sign or soft pad as you go down from the living area to the bathroom and bedroom. My wife who is 5 ft 11 almost knocked herself out bashing the top of her head on the low positioned wooden beam. I stubbed my toes several times on the stairs but that is another story...
It's a real pity we have to write all of this as the owners (Rae and JC) are lovely people and undoubtedly trying to make a success of this business which they have only been running for just over two years. They are kind and this was demonstarted when one of our children realised a new watch and a DS had been left behind and we only discovered this when we returned home. Rae and JC very kindly posted this back to us.
The location nr Soubran is ideal and we had many a good day venturing around the local towns and villages and enjoying the lovely weather, food and of course the vin rose.
But as things stand we would not want to return. The gite needs to be brought up to a much higher standard and new furniture, kitchen units/appliances, crockery, sanitary ware all installed. For example, the bed in the main downstairs bedroom collapsed twice as my wife got out of it as the slats were not fixed to the base. The pillows were lacking support and the mattress was wholly inadequate for the length of stay for two 6ft adults.
We are writing this, not in the hope of putting people off, but that Rae and JC will take note and work much harder on making the gites the kind of accomodation you would want to return to. There was little in the way of comfort; we couldn't sit and talk as a family in the living area as there were not enough seats for 5 let alone the 6 that could stay there. And thinking about it, there were only 4 matching chairs around the small kitchen table...
So if you want to enjoy this region of France and all it has to offer, then go. But if you have high standards of cleanliness and want to enjoy some home comforts whilst living abroad (and can see beyond the gloss of a swimming pool and some cleverly taken photographs), then this most definitely is not the holiday destination for you.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aug 29, 2013
I am both surprised and upset to hear how you felt about your stay with us. We always go out of our way to try and make our guests comfortable and happy, as we know how precious holidays are. One thing that is extremely important to us is cleanliness. We spend on average 3 hours or more in each gite and have a cleaner who comes and helps. However, although we check everything, it seems on this occasion we missed the cutlery drawer and can only apologise. We do rely on guests washing up and in future we will check this and the pan/dish cupboard more thoroughly. The gites aren't modern buildings and they are rustic, but we have updated certain features and everything works how it should and is properly cleaned. We have checked the oven and it is in perfect working order and is the standard gas oven you find in a lot of country gites here in france. We have also sorted the extractor fan. The 3 seater leather sofa is new, and the 2 easy chairs aren't old. The new wooden worktops were put in only last year to try and keep the rustic feel of the gite but give it a bit more of a modern feel, along with the sink and taps. Unfortunately we didn't think about the amount of use and how wood possibly wasn't the best thing to use for a rental. We put out plenty of heat resistant mats but only ask guests not to leave water sitting on the surfaces. I apologise for the shower, indeed, when we went in to clean after your stay we noticed straight away that it was blocked, but this was immediately fixed. I'm just sorry you didn't say something sooner as this could have been rectified immediately, and I can only assume this was the smell you were referring to as nobody can detect one now. We will look into the pressure in the bathrooms but they were working well last weekend, however we will check again. Sorry about the glasses, I did notice there had been a few breakages and was going to bring new ones but I completely forgot, however, if you'd have reminded me I would have brought them straight away. New ones have now gone in (new standard sized ones). In reference to the flies, this was annoying for everyone, we understand that. We had a fiercely hot July and they were out in force for a few weeks, more so than normal. We are going to fit fly curtains to the terrace doors for next year. All in all, we have taken your comments on board, we are just very sad that nothing was said beforehand and that you had such a miserable time. All we can do now is apologise.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.