I am compelled to write this as a warning to others about the hopeless deposit system at this Chateau.
We booked Chateau de Rodie for one week in July on the basis of hiring the whole house, which was listed as accommodating up to 30 people. They do an alternative arrangement in the off-season where the house operates more like a bed & breakfast: this is not what we did, so I cannot comment on that service. We were a group of 12 adults plus some babies and infants.
The issue with the deposit was that the owners did not repay any of it! Instead, they presented us with a list of items of things that they claimed we stole, lost or broke. Bear in mind that we have had 7 Chateau holidays before and never once had any issues with deposits. Furthermore, THEY DO NOT TAKE AN INVENTORY, but piecemeal check items over the following two weeks after your departure!
Among the items they claimed against were two pool umbrellas. We found that there were only two full umbrellas at the Chateau when we arrived but they claimed there were two more, and we had taken them (or somehow disposed of them - I never understood what we were supposed to have done to them). This despite photos (which we showed them) of us using only using two umbrellas.
Despite us putting all broken glasses and crockery in the bin provided for counting, they charged us for further crockery from the stacks in the cupboards. They charged us for two broken chairs, a broken table from an area we did not use, apartment keys that we did not know existed, and missing cutlery and cushions. In all, they claimed EUR 929 of damage, of which we agreed with about EUR 200 - caused by an infant knocking over a bedside table with a loose marble top.
We wrote lengthy emails explaining what we knew, but they ignored the photos and our information and simply restated the missing items. We tried to call them to discuss each item in turn, but the owner shouted at us, accusing us of accusing him of lying, and discussion was not possible. We did consider suing them, but chose not to due to the difficult process of taking it through their local court in French.
If you are considering hiring Chateau de Rodie, I advise you to (i) get the owners to agree that the deposit be put in an independent deposit scheme, (ii) make sure they take an inventory when you arrive, (iii) to take an inventory and photos upon arrival yourself. Otherwise I would count the deposit as a sunk cost.
Other than the issue of deposits the main positive and negative points are:
- Swimming pool is quite large
- Thick walls - a proper castle – giving good sound isolation
- Rare breed farm animals on site
- Good sized sitting room
- Professional kitchen
- Significant mouse problem. It was usual to see 2 or 3 mice scurrying under sofas when entering the sitting room.
- Although the property is listed as housing 30 people, I don't think it could realistically hold more than 8-10 couples requiring double beds due to the room configurations. The configuration better suits the bed & breakfast function (as a collection of apartments) rather than group bookings for the whole house.
- The kitchen does not open out into another room or space, so it is quite unsociable for whoever is cooking.
- The place is a little rough round the edges including a dirty kitchen, which we cleaned on arrival.
- Owners are on site - not a major issue but I find it slightly less relaxing knowing that there is not absolute privacy.
- The grounds are hilly and part of the farm – there is no open space to play cricket, for instance.
On those counts alone, I would give the place 3 1/2 stars. It was the 8th Chateau we as a group have been to, and I would say it was about average based on the points above.
Taking account of the deposit issue, I give it 1 star for what was, in aggregate, a drag on my life, time and money.