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Center Parcs Elveden

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Center Parcs Elveden

I have just returned from this nasty place. Here is the letter I have just sent to the manager:


I have just returned from Center Parcs in Elveden Forest.

I am still reeling from this horrific experience which was a complete and utter nightmare for the following reasons:

We stayed in a 'Comfort Villa'. This is the biggest misnomer ever. It was so ugly and used and grotty that the last thing it was was comfortable. And a villa?? Is this a joke? They are terribly old, ugly, concrete bunker shacks that looked like they had been built as emergency housing in a developing country 40 years ago.

The 'villa' stank of cat wee. I'm not sure if it was cat wee but if it wasn't, god only knows what it was that made it smell like that.

It was built from breeze blocks so either freezing cold or boiling hot - the quality of building was appalling. The radiators were not working properly so we had to call the Guest 'Services' - another misnomer as they were engaged for an hour and a half so I had to call the emergency line which the woman who answered berated me for. She then didn't believe me that the other line was engaged so called it herself to check which was such a cheek - I am the client, as if I'd lie! I hardly WANT to be calling Guest Services because the radiators don't work in my tremendously expensive 'holiday home'. She finally dealt with my situation. The men who came to fix the radiators were also exceedingly rude and unhelpful and spoke to me as if I was stupid although the truth of the matter is it is they who must be stupid as they are fixing radiators for a living.

The heating system was equally antique - the thermostat is in the living room which contains two huge radiators which means that as soon as the room is hot (5 minutes), all the radiators go off, leaving the bedrooms freezing. The only way to get round this problem is to sleep with all the bedroom doors open - ridiculous when you are sharing a 'villa' - or leave the window open in the living room overnight so the boiler had to continue working to heat the bedrooms. The radiators are all fitted with timers so even if you want the heating on at night, it is switched off automatically, which meant that my 3 month old baby woke up both nights freezing cold and then, in the middle of the night, I had to try and sort out the heating system as above. I do not take kindly to being treated as a child and having my heating turned off for me by a higher power. I am PAYING THROUGH THE NOSE and if I want (or in actual face, need, for my baby) the heating on, I want/need it on. It is absolutely ABSURD and like some kind of horrific boarding school. And although it is sold as being for environmental reasons, it only takes a second to realise it is a money-saving exercise, as is everything else at Center Parcs that is not a money-making exercise.

The decor was absolutely foul - from the early 80s and ugly even for that era with swirly puke-coloured curtains and carpet - and so old that the dirt was ingrained and I couldn't put my baby down anywhere for the foulness of the carpets and sofas.

There were no mattress covers which is horribly unhygienic.

The patio was unswept, uncleaned and disgusting.

The takeaway we ordered was completely cold.

The TV was also huge and ancient with only 8 channels - I would have thought the least we could expect is to have some kind of freeview (it is, as its name states FREE) rather than being stuck in the 90s. I'm surprised they actually had channel 5. Primitive is not the word.

Also, there is one guest services folder for all so the Comfort Villa ones contained irrelevant information on the sauna, games room, dishwasher, bbq etc that only exist in the Executive Villas. Is this because the Comfort Villa Guest Services folder would only contain instructions on how to turn on the heating as there is nothing else? And even that would be useless as the heating doesn't work.

You are told that you must book your activities before you arrive which is extremely inconvenient and is not even true - you can book them when you arrive as well. I felt completely misled.

We had to walk absolutely miles to the 'villa' from the car park and vice versa - which was awful for us with a baby and young children but especially awful for our day guests who had to bring bags and had to walk to car at night - my 62 year old mother had to find her way back to her car with all her bags at 9.30pm. I agree that cars should not be driving around the complex but surely there is a better solution than this hike to arrive and hike to leave for our guests.

Bikes, which are almost completely necessary are 15 POUNDS A DAY to hire. This is blind robbery.

We wanted to leave on the Saturday but managed to wait until 11am on Sunday morning before we finally just had to get out of that stinky hovel.

I am also horrified at the ridiculous price - we paid 539 pounds for a weekend (not including the over-priced activities including 60 POUNDS for a massage) and this is what we got. I would have been better off going for a bike ride near where I live and going to the local pool for a fraction of the cost and at least had the luxury of a non-smelly house to come home to.

I saw the Manager guy on Watchdog the other evening and he said that it is a Premium Short Break place. PREMIUM????? Is he joking??? And a 95% return rate?? Are people absolutely mad???

Are you aware of the statistic saying that each unsatisfied customer tells 9 other people? And I have in fact heard that, because of the internet, this figure has increased hugely.

I look forward to hearing your comments and to your suggestions as to compensation for this horrendous waste of my time and money and saddened that what I expected to be so amazing was such an obvious and terrible money-making exercise.

34 replies to this topic
London, United...
Level Contributor
24 posts
70 reviews
21. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

I agree with everybody that this letter is a complete joke. Not clear what is expected, subjective views (and wrong in many user's opinions) pepper it, insults to employees as well (as someone said, hope you are aiming for PM of whichever planet you live in)

Of course I do not work for CP, but I have been and know that they take good care to make sure people know which experience they are paying for.

Most accommodation is not brand new but you get a nice holiday away from TV, cars, etc. Very enjoyable and in many respects much greener than other options.

Hope you found a way to provide value to the trip advisor community.

Hertford, United...
1 post
22. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

We have also stayed numerous times at center parcs and from time to time have been concerned about the state of villas especially ones around main lake area,at Elveden, which do appear well-used and in need of some T.L.C However be warned on last visit 5/07/2010 we were burgled during night whilst family sound asleep.Money and a much beloved I-Pod stolen,plus our sense of security was shattered. Following visit from the Police, statements were taken and whole family fingerprinted to eliminate our prints on patio doors.My husband had to insist we were moved to another villa and one was eventually found ,we then repacked and moved to new villa which was no where near the area we had paid the extra £40 to stay, and an older style villa.We were determined to make the best of our stay and not let this event spoil our well earned break.What is upsetting is following the incident we had no contact or follow-up from Center parcs and it feels to me like a total lack of care on their part.Sadly this will be our last visit due to this event and from what information I was able to find out from the Police ,several other families were targetted the same night as us, and I would imagine these are not isolated incidences

Level Contributor
1 post
15 reviews
23. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

Very interesting thread! I have just returned from a weekend break at Elvedon booked by cousin's husband for cousin, her two grown up daughters and me to celebrate her birthday. I've been to Longleat many times but not here before. While I think the letter at the start of the thread is ridiculous, I have to say I was very disappointed with Elvedon.

We had a comfort plus villa which was very down at heel - dirty carpets, mould round the bath, mucky shower curtain, a ridiculously placed loo which meant you had to have the arms of a gorilla to reach the loo roll, and generally quite smelly. The patio was filthy - I know everyone feeds the geese and duck; this is encouraged and therefore they should regularly clean the patios; had I had small children with me I could not have possibly let them play there and I am by no means fastidious!

A broken corner of the bathroom tiling was covered with gaffer tape which had clearly been there quite a long time and the TV remote was broken and held together with more tape. The 'maid service' was rudimentary and the beds were not even made properly. I have stayed in I think every variety of CP accommodation at Longleat and I have to say, standards there are far higher.

At Longleat there is, of course, far more space, but the standards of the public areas are also far higher. At Elvedon, the Sports Hall reminds me of the Sergeants' Mess in Colchester Barracks in the 1970s and the sub tropical swimming pool is far smaller and again rather grubby. The Aqua Sana spa is good but the Ladies Changing and lavatory was unpleasantly hot and smelly. The food is the three restaurants we tried was expensive (as always at CP - Elvedon is not alone there) - and, with the exception of Cafe Rouge where we were served a good meal by a charming and helpful waitress on what must have been one of the busiest Saturday nights of their year - uniformally awful - I have to say the food in the Pancake house was just about the worst I have ever eaten and even when we were among only about 10 people in the restaurant, they managed to get our drinks order wrong!

Shops were cluttered and dull and the Parcmarket (yes, very expensive but I had expected that) had a poor selection of low quality goods. At Longleat I have accustomed myself to taking a lot of food with me and then going to the Parcmarket for a few expensive treats - nothing like that to be had at Elvedon!

Expecting to be able to run central heating 24/7 in a resort that prides itself on its green credentials is ridiculous but I do think Elvedon needs to clean up its act - I certainly won't be returning and I a a good Centre Parcs customer!

1 post
24. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

OMG What is wrong with people? You are SO entitled to air your FACTUAL based opinions about your break!! Unfortunately i have already booked and i have serious concerns - hence reading reviews! ???????

Bodmin, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall, Santa Ponsa
Level Contributor
12,355 posts
81 reviews
25. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

Maybe a better idea to read reviews BEFORE booking?

London, United...
Level Contributor
757 posts
10 reviews
26. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

Dear Sir,

It is very apparent that you never enjoyed your stay at Centre Parcs, and I read your comments with interest. Whilst we all have the right to complain, I feel you let yourself down by making personal comments regarding the people who came out to fix your radiators. These men may have been rude, but to say they are "stupid" for doing their job (which may not be as well paid or executive as yours) is very wrong and disrespectful, and by the sound of you, you should know better.

Portrush, United...
Level Contributor
340 posts
94 reviews
27. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

I had to check that this post wasn't first submitted on April first, its got to be a wind up, surely no one could be as rude as the original posters replies!!

looks to me like someone lit the touch paper and has sat back to read everyone getting so annoyed! love it better than Facebook, and if they were for real OMG theres some terrible people out there!

4 posts
1 review
28. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

This may be an old review but your a complete moron! Thanks for making me laugh I'm glad you won't be there when I go next week for the 20th+ time! Maybe i like it because I can afford the decent villa???

4 posts
1 review
29. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

Lol again

Edited: 4:37 pm, May 01, 2013
Level Contributor
1 post
4 reviews
30. Re: Center Parcs Elveden

This is hilarious!! Ignoring the completely ignorant, rude, stuck up original post. I have visited Center Parcs about 5 times now for week long trips, in fact I write this post from my comfortable bed at Elveden right this moment!

Do not fear future visitors, it's not all as bad as previous posts might suggest! I will agree that the Comfort Villas are not 'the best' but they are liveable. I have only ever stayed in those but this trip we booked a woodland villa, unfortunately when we arrived we found a bees nest above the entrance. I phoned through to Guest Services, and yes it did take me about half an hour to get through, but within 10 minutes of doing so a member of the staff were there to assess the situation.

Luckily for us we were moved to another villa, with an upgrade :-)) obviously I realise this would not happen every stay but it has made me sure that as a family we will pay the extra pennies next visit to stay in an executive woodland lodge. They are much more modern and generally more comfortable, plus the maid service is great with fresh towel bundles, tidy up etc every other day.

All staff are overly helpful and the maintence staff are certainly NOT stupid!

The restaurants and supermarket are quite pricey but if you use them as a treat or for general bits and bobs its fine. We brought a car full of groceries with us and have cooked each day to save on spends.

I hope anyone visiting soon or considering a visit are not put off by irrational posts.

Make of it what you will, if you don't like it then you surely won't return, but I hope you have as much fun as we are having this week :-))

I don't want to go home :-((

Edited: 6:57 pm, June 26, 2013
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