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“Great for children, perfect for relaxing”
Review of La Garenne

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La Garenne
Northam, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great for children, perfect for relaxing”
Reviewed September 6, 2012

La Garenne is designed perfectly for the children - from the trampoline in the front garden to the lovely pool and not forgetting the other children. It was lovely to be able to open the doors to the Gite and let the kids out to play with their new found friends without having to worry about where they were or what they were doing. If the kids are happy, that's more than half the battle.

La Garenne is situated conveniently for places such as La Rochelle and Cognac, but it is far enough away to be completely rural and for you to not feel pressured into going anywhere if you don't want to. There are lovely walks in the local area around the sunflower fields and vineyards, and a 10 minute drive to the local village for a great Sunday market and lovely boulangeries for croissants and baguettes.

Dorte and Richard were lovely hosts, we had Dorte's cooked meals on a couple of occasions which were very nice.

We all had a great time and came back after two weeks feeling completely relaxed.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Al H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
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English first
n2
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2012

we have just got back from a lovely fortnight in this very nice complex of gites. we stayed in la maison belle, which has been refurbished to a very high standard and was large and comfortable. there was plenty of space for our family of 5. the complex has a nice little pool, and a garden with swing set and table tennis table, as well as a little play house. the owners are very welcoming and helpful, and always available for advice and help if needed. our kids (10,7, and 2) made friends and had a fabulous time. we enjoyed staying on the site, and having barbeques on our little terrace, and also travelling around to nearby villages to eat. the nearest town is around 10 mins away by car, and has a supermarket
there is plenty to do in the surrounding area, including a swimming lake, little zoo in a forest, and a trip to cognac, which has a great park with a splash pool. la rochelle is an hour away and well worth visiting. beaches are around an hour away, but the roads are very empty so it doesnt feel like a slog
many of the visitors were there for repeat visits, and i can really see why. i would highly recommend it.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank londonmumn2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bramley, null, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed August 8, 2012

We stayed in La Maison Belle which was in immaculate condition, spacious and very comfortable. We were travelling with younger children (3&1) and it was a very safe and welcoming environment for them. We especially liked the provision of baby equipment for our youngest and loved that they could provide a proper cot and mattress rather than our daughter having to sleep in a travel cot.

Richard, Dorte and their boys were fantastic hosts. They made us feel very at home the whole time we were with them. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the playground, swimming pool and toys that were provided. Our eldest also had a great time at the kids club both weeks we stayed. The weekly BBQ was also very enjoyable. It was great to socialise with the other families and the food was fantastic. Even though we did not order the delivered to your door meals the menus looked very tasty and good value for money.

We stayed for two weeks and there was plenty to do in the area. Particular highlights for us were the aquarium in La Rochelle, the zoo at La Palmyre, Ile de Aix and the miniature boats. Richard and Dorte also had lots of recommendations for days out and local parks for the children.

We were looking for a holiday for the whole family with shared facilities so the kids could have the opportunity to make friends. La Garenne more than met our expectations and we couldn't reccomend it more highly.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Domismyname
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2012

We had a fab 2 weeks at la garenne. Richard and dorte are so welcoming and charming. Our gite was really cute, decorated in shabby chic grey painted furniture. The wild flowers are plentiful and beautiful. It's like a magazine advert for rural french style.
The garden is a great size for plenty of play, safety and has lots of toys. Our kids (9 and 7) were towards the older end of ages there but still had a great time and were sad to leave. the pool is heated and entertained them for hours, even in the rain one day!
There is a fun BBQ where we all got to socialise with the other families whilst wine flowed.
We drive and took bikes which was great for all. The surrounding country roads are nice and flat. Perfect for a family cycle.
Some of the negative comments are a bit unfair in my view. If you are looking fur a 5 star hotel this is not it but it is pretty, well done out and delightful to stay.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank TildaFlo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2011

As with many of the previous reviews, I spent a long time looking for the perfect place to take our 5 year old on holiday. We wanted somewhere clean, safe, comfortable and somewhere our son could make friends as he is an only child. Going by reviews and the website, La Garenne looked perfect.

I'll start with the negatives:
We made the mistake of agreeing to book the oldest gite as it was the last one left, Maison Blanche. Dorte said that the fact that it was not refurbished was the reason for the price difference. In my opinion 200 euros difference does not equate to just how much worse it was than the other refurbished gites.
It was an awful disappointment. We weren't expecting 5 star luxury but the gite was dark and had grapevines hanging over the front door so you had to duck everytime you wanted to go inside or out.
The sofa in the lounge looked like it wasn't good enough for a charity shop. It should have at least had a throw or something over it.
The mattress on the main bed was so awful. It had springs poking out and left me with bruised thighs.
The outside furniture was adequate but the gite was on the wrong side of the garden because it got the sun in the morning and shade in the late afternoon. We would have liked nothing more than to sit out in the setting sun drinking a glass of wine, but it was so shady and cool that we ended up back inside the dark cold gite.
On our first morning we went to make a coffee and discovered only 1 mug. When I approached Dorte about it, she responded by saying things go missing all the time because the families in the different gites end up leaving glasses and mugs round at each others gites. This should really be checked before the change over, I thought. She then said that Richard had found a mug in the garden and she ran into her house to get it and gave it to me... a dirty mug which I then had to wash. I was a bit dumbstruck. Not even an apology.
We arrived late on Saturday and discovered there wasn't any toilet paper. We had to make do with kitchen roll that we had brought with us until we could get to the shops. When i emailed Dorte after the holiday she said that there should have been toilet paper and that it was a mistake.
There were no instructions on how to use the oven which was gas. It nearly took our eyebrows off until we could get the hang of it.
There wasn't anywhere comfortable to sit and read a book. The little wrought iron chairs provided are not meant for lounging on and the only comfortable seating was around the pool on a sun lounger. I would have loved to have taken one back to the gite to have somewhere comfortable to sit and read but I should have asked.
We went to buy wine glasses because there weren't any in the gite.
The worst thing of all was the en-suite bathroom. It was so awful that we closed the door on it and tried not to use it. Refurbished or not... something should have been done about that bathroom.

Now for the positive:
The garden was lovely. The toys were old and well used but that didn't stop the children playing with them. The pool was cold but very nice and overlooked the garden. Our son made a wonderful friend and would be gone for hours at a time playing with her. The arrival meal was great and certainly took the pressure off cooking something when we got there. The other refurbished gites are wonderful. They get the afternoon sun and are a lovely characterful, rustic but fresh decor. The location is very rural and quiet.

With a bit of work it will be amazing. I don't want my review to necessarily put people off but what I would say is, "do not stay in Maison Blanche until it is refurbished and you want shade in the afternoon". The rest of La Garenne is wonderful. And we spoke to the other guests while we were there and apparently their mattresses were fine. It was just the old one in Maison Blanche. The only thing they moaned about was the price of the welcome BBQ because the food was very limited. That didn't bother us so much, we thought it was rather nice.

Room Tip: Choose any gite except Maison Blanche.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank UKSJP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2011

We are just back from a lovely week in La Garenne. I searched the whole internet (literally!) in my search for the perfect holiday in France for us and our 3 kids (aged 5, 3 and 1). I had read all the reviews here and on other sites, and although overall the reports are glowing, I was a touch concerned with the couple of negative reports on Tripadvisor, but I was so glad we went to La Garenne. In my opinion, you can't get better for an easy, relaxed, and safe family holiday with young children. We stayed in La Maison Belle. The decor is charming, in a 'rustic chic' style, and our gite had its own private garden as well as front seating area. The whole place is a walled enclosure, with the gites surrounding the garden, which is gated (as is the pool), so the kids can play safely and enclosed. Ofcourse you will have to supervise very small kids, but that's inevitable wherever you go, but my 3 and 5yr olds bombed off happy as larry as i peeked on them occasionally.

Richard and Dorte are so helpful and welcoming. Dorte puts out a rug with toys which the kids loved, and the garden swings and slides were a big hit. Richard immediately fitted a window lock on the kids bedroom when i expressed my concern they might try to leap out (they didn't, neurotic mother alert!) The pool is good too, as the kids pool is heated and the kids just played with the toy boats and inflatables provided as I lounged in the sun beside them. The kids loved the animals - chickens and little chicks, and lovely friendly Meg the dog and a very tolerant cat! I agree the trampoline is not safe for small kids as it has no sides, but it is outside the main area so the kids couldn't get to it.

The welcome bbq is great to chat with everyone, and the welcome dinner makes it so easy when you arrive. There is Sky TV for a bit of CBeebies when you need it, and we found the garden toys well used - yes, but good fun - yes! You get to meet the other families in gites, but you each have your own space too, so no endless small talk ;) In fact, it was very easy - you are all in the same boat - holidaying with small kids, so i fact it was lovely having others to have a quick chat to, and for the kids to play with other kids.

If i am to nitpick, then ofcourse the place isn't perfect (where is?), and i would have loved to have the option to hire towels (as we flew - not a prob if you drive as you can fill the car), and the glass in the doors is a bit thin so a slam from a grumpy toddler could easily smash it (though my boisterous bunch didn't manage to - proof in itself this is another neurotic-mother-worry!). Sure there are plenty of flies, but then this is rural France, and the local town is basic in its facilities and not much choice re. nice restaurants nearby (but again, this is rural France!).

The gite was immaculately clean and well eqipped. The weather was uttely fab too. We didn't go out and about much, but the other familes did alot, and there's plenty of day trips to do.

This really is a fab holiday for families. If you are looking for a pristine, 5 star fluffy shiny gite complex then stop looking - it doesn't exist! These are lovely, old historic buildings sympathetically restored, providing everything you could need, all done with alot of love and charm. We can't wait to return for a longer stay!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank XmasHoliday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Selby, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed January 7, 2011

We first stayed at La Garenne for 1 wk in 2009 after I read a recommendation on the internet. We liked it so much we came back for 2 weeks in 2010 and brought friends along too. We are so glad we did. The kids (age 3 and 5) had a ball again and we managed to have a relaxing holiday again! La Garenne is very well run by Dorte and Richard who treat you like friends. They are always on hand to answer any questions and to offer suggestions for days out in the area. We enjoyed it so much that we booked again for next year!! I wouldn't hesitate in recommend it to others!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Vict0riaW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about La Garenne

Property: La Garenne
Address: 6 impasse de la Garenne, 17470 Saint-Mande-sur-Bredoire, France
Location: France > Nouvelle-Aquitaine > Charente-Maritime > Saint-Mande-sur-Bredoire
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Saint-Mande-sur-Bredoire
Number of rooms: 5

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