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“Cosy cottage with a gypsy carvan in the garden and plenty to do in the surrounding area.”
Review of Roulotte Retreat

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Roulotte Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 3, 2011

We spent October half term in the cottage with our 3 kids & had great weather nearly all week. We let Avril know when we'd be arriving and they gave us directions as it was so dark when we arrived we missed all the landmarks to get us there! Avril & Alan gave us a warm welcome andhad even put on the heating in the bowtop Ruby so we could have stayed in her that night. We didn't but the kids & I spent 2 nights in her during our stay (It was so cosy and comfy inspite of heavy rain). The kids loved the 4 dogs, chickens & even the geese. There was loads of interesting places to visit in the surrounding area and Edinburgh was only an hour away too. It was a lovely family holiday and we are looking forward to returning and staying in the roulotte that sleeps4 and is currently being renovated.

  • Stayed: October 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank JoDandCo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avril333, Owner at Roulotte Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded June 6, 2012

I am sorry it has taken so long to respond to your wonderful review of Horseshoe Cottage but I have only just found out about responding online on Trip Advisor. We really appreciate you taking the time to write this and so glad you all enjoyed your time with us here at Roulotte Retreat. We look forward to seeing you here again soon!
with kind regards,
Avril
Roulotte Retreat

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Reviewed September 18, 2011

We originally booked for just my wife and me when we were expecting our first child, but the snows in November 2010 caused us to have to postpone, finally arriving in Sept 2011 with our 5 month old son. The Roulotte's are simply brilliant. Incredible workmanship, wonderful detail and genuine comfort - i'm 6'3'' and the only irritation was reminding myself that i didn't have to duck! The meadow is a lovely setting with views of the surrounding geography, and what impressive geography the area contains. Would defo recommend a car to really get the most from the scottish borders area, which is filled with wonder - stunning ruins and human history contained within incredibal scenary. We wouldn't recommend the Roulottes for toddlers (rightly, neither would the owners), but it was great for the 3 of us. The owners are lovely, you feel you have all the help and advice you need, while also being affoded the privacy and seclusion that is such an important part of any camping or glamping trip. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend, and will certainly hope to get back there one day.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank TeamKerrigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avril333, Owner at Roulotte Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded June 6, 2012

First of all sorry for the delayed response to your wonderful review of your stay with us at Roulotte Retreat! I have only just found out how to respond online on Trip Advisor! We really value you taking the time to write a review and do hope you all come back again soon. Please say hello to your family from us, it was wonderful having you all here.
with kind regards,
Avril

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2011

My husband and I stayed here for a long weekend in July. We weren't sure what to expect as we normally stay in hotels and fancied something a little different. The whole experience was magical! We didn't leave our roloutte as we wanted to fully relax, and we did! With no distractions from tv's we could sit and read, play board games and listen to the radio.
We brought a selection of food and drink with us and made the most of being together.
Getting back to nature in chic romantic settings was exactly what we needed! I almost wanted it to rain so we had no reason to go out and get the firs burning!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank biztraveldude2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avril333, Owner at Roulotte Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded June 6, 2012

I am sorry it has taken me so long to thank you for your review but I have only just found out how to respond online on Trip Advisor! We really do appreciate and value you taking the time to write a lovely review for us! Yes it is lovely here when it rains too, it really does give you the excuse not to go anywhere and the pressure is off for going long walks! I do hope you visit us again soon.
with kind regards,
Avril

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2011

In brief:
Clean.
Pretty.
Unusual.
A good retreat for nature lovers.
A 6'3" guy could sleep comfortably in the bed and had to duck no more than usual.
You need a car to do the area justice.

In full:
My boyfriend and I had been looking to go abroad this summer, but after waiting for a last minute deal only to be offered a string of holidays in Malia or Zante we decided to look for somewhere in the UK. We stumbled accross the Roulotte Retreat on Canopy & Stars and were very glad we did. The Roulottes (or gypsy style caravans) are nestled under the Eildon Hills in a meadow that has been kept quite wild, with trees, grasses and wild flowers. This attracted lots of wildlife and added to the rustic feel. There was a Lochan (pond) in the middle and geese and chickens roaming the grounds. We could watch swallows soaring over head or diving to the Lochan for food.

The Roulotte itself (Karlotta) was gorgeous, so much attention to detail and lovely little touches such as candles in the bedroom, a shabby chic tea set and (solar powered) fairy lights outside. The kitchen area was well kitted out with cutlery, crockery and cookware. The wood burning stove was a brilliant feature, as not only did it fight against the typical Scottish temperatures, it added to the romantic ambience too. (the eco fuel was not as good as plain old wood, go for the latter if you want to stay warm!) The chez lounge was a little creaky, but who spends all their time sitting inside on a holiday in the country? There was a bbq and a fire pit out by the Lochan for everyone to use and Karlotta had her own patio furniture.

The WC was full size and fully functional, not like being in a caravan at all! The shower was quite luxurious too, housed in a stainless steel cubical, powerful and fully ajustable height wise. The bedroom was comfortable, with pretty linen, cushions and throws. I slept like log. There was ample storage too, loads of drawers, a huge cupboard under the bed and a little wardrobe. There was even a hair dryer.

The owners, Alan and Avril, were very hospitable; Avril went out of her way to provide a sumptuous breakfast hamper of local produce, fresh eggs and home grown strawberries on the boyfriend's birthday and both were friendly and happy to make suggestions as to where to go/what to see/where to eat. Their daughter was equally as helpful and was there to greet us on arrival.

A new Roulotte had just arrived and was having a deck built. The ground was a little churned up but this didn't affect us at all, aside from avoiding some mud. I believe more Roulottes are in the pipeline, so you could say the site is a work in progress, but it didn't feel like it. The caravans aren't too close together either, just enough privacy, without feeling isolated. You do have to go up a muddy drive to get to the parking, but it's in the country, what do you expect? =] (The same goes for the goose poo I'm afraid, they clean up every day but they're animals. In the country. Don't go and stay in the country if you're expecting everywhere to be immaculate!)

In all we had an excellent stay, helped even more by the weather holding out for us! I would definitely recommend the Roulotte Retreat.

Room Tip: Go for a Roulotte, the meadow is very pretty. The cottage and romany caravan are not on the meadow.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Beth H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avril333, Owner at Roulotte Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded June 6, 2012

First of all I am so sorry for taking so long to respond. I have only just found out about responding to reviews online on Trip Advisor. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a positive review, we really value and appreciate this tremendously. We now have 5 roulottes on site and the meadow is looking stunning with lots of yellow, pink, purple and white wildflowers everywhere. I do hope you visit us again soon.
with kind regards,
Avril
Roulotte Retreat

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2011

We stayed in the cottage and the Bow Top (not the caravans nb - they do look rather fun).

We were all looking forward to the experience, especially as although we all weekend away often, we dont together so after careful research into where to go

Although the Scottish weather, which you can never bank on, was pretty awful, we all came away feeling disappointed.

Our main point was that the accommodation provided by the cottage was not to the standard expected for the price that we paid, or the ‘comfort’ and ‘tranquillity’ suggested by the website. On entering the "retreat" we want to abandon any thoughts of everyday life etc - it was somewhat strange that there was an abandoned car at the rear of the house.

The hugely overgrown trees blocked out any sunlight that would have come into ‘the bright sitting room’, which had to be lit the entire time – contrary to what the website says “Offering a spacious, bright sitting room with a view of the Eildon Hills” (no view) .

Our first impressions on arrival were coloured by the neglected leaf and moss covered trampoline and the amount of chicken waste on the ground.

Inside, the cottage did not appear to have been cleaned. On entering the house I suffered a dust allergy, so much so we had to leave on the Sunday. The carpets were thick with dust, infact it was visible everywhere.

In the double bedroom – there was no chest of drawers and the closet was ‘fusty’ so you certainly wouldn’t want to hang clothes in there.

In the kitchen, the cooker grill didn’t work.

A rubbish bin, kitchen roll, hand towel and a second tea towel should have been also been supplied.

The bathroom was not a pleasant place to be. The shower mat was unwashed. There was only 1 and a half toilet rolls – more had to be bought on the second day, which we didn’t expect to have to do.

The towels (1 towel each - no second towel) were stale - not fresh, and there was no soap in the bathroom.

The lounge was dark and gloomy, the TV small. The ‘leather’ sofa was plastic and the wood burning stove would not stay alight with the provided fuel. In fact, we discovered there was a wire/ paper Chinese lantern which had been burnt, in the wood burner as well as enough wood to allow us fire for about 30 mins maximum.

Not great on a rainy, cold weekend The cottage was also littered with cobwebs and moths. Despite having a lantern in the accommodation I was a little surprised there were no tea lights either. The cottage was nothing like described on the website.

Generally the decoration and furnishings were very basic, the place didn’t look or feel clean and smelled and felt damp. Floor coverings were basic. This was a more like a bothy than the boutique level of accommodation suggested by the website. – In short we felt mis-sold. We felt no magic and tranquillity. It was certainly not worth £485 for 3 nights!

I did sent back an overview of feedback but the response I recieved was ill considered and rather huffy which was a real shame as this place, with more money injected into it, could be a so great.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
12  Thank Shapes_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avril333, Owner at Roulotte Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded June 6, 2012

Dear Suzie,
First of all thank you for your email and taking the time to write so fully about your stay. I am sorry about the delayed ‘public’ response on Trip Advisor as I have only just found out that I can respond to your comments publicly online. As you know I responded immediately by email to you and offered you feedback from our point of view and a discount on your next stay. I have read your comments and have responded to each of them below so that you can appreciate our feedback too. I apologise for the lengthy reply but I do feel your review requires sufficient response.
With regard to your arrival and the trampoline, this is for our children and is in our private garden and has absolutely nothing to do with the cottage. You must have driven up to our house instead of following the signs to the carpark for Roulotte Retreat. The trampoline has nothing to do with Roulotte Retreat, and we do not allow guests to use it due to the fact that trampolines can be so dangerous if not supervised.
The ‘abandoned car’ is in the carpark, again nothing to do with the cottage and it belongs to our son., It is not part of the Cottage garden but in a car parking space at the edge of the carpark.
With regard to the trees we had been waiting for a clear couple of days to have the trees trimmed. As beautiful as they are we do know they can block out light so we had organised to have this done but due to rainy weather and guests always in the cottage it was impossible to do this. We managed to get this done immediately you left when the weather changed and was glorious all day so it is very light and bright both in the woodland garden and in the cottage now. I would imagine the dark skies would have also contributed to the lack of light this weekend.
Yes, we do have a handful of roaming chickens which most guests find wonderful but unfortunately when they are not penned in to cages but are completely free range then they tend to also leave their calling cards! We do a ‘poop patrol’ every day but guests tend to love the friendliness of the chickens and do feed them, sometimes near to the cottage, which is why they find staying here so charming. We do ask guests to feed them elsewhere as chickens being chickens will remember the guests who give them tidbits and keep returning, not realizing the guests have changed!
The cottage is thoroughly cleaned after every guest. Due to the surrounding trees and enjoying a woodland garden however spiders move in almost immediately the place has been cleaned and having a wood burning stove can create more dust. The ‘dust’ could also be an allergy to tree pollen or of course, in the woodland garden, the meadow over the fence is full of wild grasses and wildflowers and the adjacent farm property. The ‘monsoon rains’ we had that weekend would also have thrown up more pollen than usual too. Guests leaving windows open and lights on has also attracted moths in. We use essential oils to keep them at bay as mothballs have a very fusty smell.
I have double checked the cupboard and I could not see or smell any evidence of the 'fustiness' you mentioned, perhaps someone had left mothballs?Most guests find the hanging cupboard with additional shelves adequate for a few days holiday.
Re kitchen comments: The oven was checked and the grill does work, so I’m not sure about this comment. One simple knock on the door or phone call would have satisfied this and we could have shown you how to work the grill. With regard to rubbish, we go through the recycling policy with each and every guest. There is a rubbish bin, complete with 3 bags for recycling. These should then be put outside in the big bins so there is no need to have rubbish left in the kitchen. There is also a tea towel in the kitchen and extra kept in the linen cupboard. We also have a kitchen drainer which we find is much more hygienic.
Bathroom comments: The bath mat, sheets and towels are all thoroughly washed on 90 degrees after each guest’s stay. In ‘sea green’ eco paint which is environmentally friendly most guests find the bathroom to be very warm and inviting. The radiator also creates lots of warmth in the bathroom too.
When guests are here for 2 nights only 1 bath towel each tends to be enough with a shared hand towel in the bathroom. We used to supply 2 towels each but they tended to be left unused. There were more towels in the linen cupboard if you had wished more. As you were booked in for 3 nights you would have been given more but you chose to leave without saying anything or even saying goodbye. All towels are washed and aired outside in the fresh air – so much nicer than in a tumble dryer we feel. With regard to soap, due to allergies and as everyone prefers to chose and supply their own soap we stopped issuing it but in recent months I have sourced some excellent natural soap so we do supply this in all our accommodation. It would have been better if you could have aired your views when you were here and we could have had a chance to remedy things immediately, we were only 4 mins walk away!
“The lounge was dark and gloomy”, - due to the trees as already explained above, it was also the worst weather we had had in months with monsoon rain so I think anywhere would have been gloomy under these dark skies the weekend you were here.
“The TV ridiculously small” – we hope that guests coming to Roulotte Retreat want to get away from the norm at home and don’t wish to watch tv when they are in the countryside. Many guests don’t even use the tv but we feel it is nice to have one in the cottage just in case and we wanted it to be as unobtrusive as possible. We made it a tv/dvd combi so that guests could bring their own movies to watch. This is popular with children.
“The ‘leather’ sofa was plastic” – it certainly isn’t plastic, it is a leather sofa bed of excellent quality, only bought last year so that guests can have occasional guests staying over if arranged previously with us.
Re fuel - we provide guests with plenty of fuel, both eco fuel, kindling and newspaper, when they require more they ask. In many establishments which we have visited you have to pay every day for an eco log. We prefer not to charge extra but willingly and freely give the fuel to guests. I’m not sure if you are used to wood burning stoves but we have never had any complaints about the stove before if it is lit and managed properly.
“Not great on a rainy, cold weekend” - it was such dreadful weather when you were here wasn’t it, but I’m afraid we cannot help the weather. We had other guests the same weekend staying in the roulottes and they were out and about all weekend, walking up the Eildon Hills, out taking photographs and then sketching inside. They had a ball, even although it was terrible rain all weekend. Scotland does have mixed weather and unfortunately it was very rainy when you were here. If only you had stayed the final day you would have found it to be gloriously sunny, it was such a shame you left before the sun came out. In actual fact many of our guests have said they prefer when it does rain as it gives them the excuse not to go out but to cosy up by the stove.
“Despite having a lantern in the accommodation I was a little surprised there were no tea lights either”. We usually do have a stock of these in the laundry cupboard, perhaps you missed them or perhaps previous guests used them all up. You only needed to ask for more as we keep a stock of these in our store. Again a simple thing which could have been dealt with so easily.
“The cottage was nothing like described on the website” – interestingly enough most guests say that it is much better and bigger and the website doesn’t do it justice, but you are of course entitled to your opinion.
“Generally the decoration and furnishings were very basic, the place didn’t look or feel clean and smelled and felt damp.” The cottage was recently decorated with all the natural, yet bright colours and painted in both eco paints and clay paint for breathability both for the building and for guests. Any damp you were smelling I can suggest was due to the excessive monsoon weather weekend when you were here.
“Floor coverings were basic.” With wool carpets, stripped wooden floors and cork tile bathroom and kitchen floor coverings, we feel this is completely in keeping with a self catering cottage with a huge number of guests passing through.
“This was a more like a bothy than the boutique level of accommodation suggested by your website. In short we feel mis-sold. We felt no magic and tranquillity.”
With regard to your last comments, I am sorry you felt it was like a bothy, you felt you were mis-sold and you felt no magic and tranquility. We have had hundreds of bookings and everyone has been absolutely delighted with their stay and enjoyed being here. It is such a shame that you had such terrible weather, this would certainly not have improved your mood at all as it is disappointing when you go on holiday with high expectations of bbq’s outside, happy family time together and the weather puts such a damper on everything. When you first arrived you were very animated and excited about being here and I remember you saying your daughter was just going to love staying in the bowtop and cottage. We have been running our cottage for 10 years and our guests have been very pleased to come and stay here, in fact we have had many repeat guests over the years, some families coming year after year and often several times in the same year.
But we do need to also address the fact that other guests staying that same weekend have already signed up to come back and thoroughly enjoyed their stay, irrespective of the rain and the gloomy weather. The magic and tranquility most guests experience is a sense of peace and calmness, getting away from it all and their busy lives.
We also have a saying at Roulotte Retreat – that we invite guests with a sense of adventure to step out from their normal lives and get back to nature and enjoy a more simple life. To look around the countryside, enjoy our meadow, watch the birds. I am so sorry that you were not able to enjoy Roulotte Retreat as the ingredients are all there for a peaceful stay.
We are also sorry you were disappointed but why oh why didn’t you talk to us when you were here instead of leaving early? You left in such a hurry and when I called to you through your car window you said it was because of the weather which we could understand but the next day was beautiful, guests were out barbequeing, playing guitars and enjoying al fresco meals, it’s a pity you missed this opportunity.
We do appreciate your comments and of course we do take on board about the trees which were dealt with immediately we got the opportunity to do so, in fact the day you left. As you can imagine it is not good practice to be having trees trimmed with all the noise and mess that goes along with that either during a guest's stay or in wild rainy weather.
If I may also give some feedback since we are being so frank. Many things were moved around and broken in the cottage and bowtop during your stay, which we weren’t going to mention but I thought you would like to know.
My husband did come over immediately you wished bulbs replaced in the lamps but the bulbs were already there but had been moved by your husband! The lamp in the bowtop caravan was broken and oddly, the windows were left wide open in the monsoon rain with the bedcover hitched up onto the curtain rail? All the lace around the bed was discarded and left lying around the floor too. The secondary glazing had been removed from the windows and left on the floor in the twin bedded room in the cottage.
You rushed down the drive in your car without even opening the window to say goodbye. We always like to say goodbye properly to guests, find out about their stay and also to give them a small gift from us at Roulotte Retreat. We only wished you had talked to us.
As I have said we are disappointed that you were disappointed and as a goodwill gesture we immediately responded to your email inviting you to come back to Roulotte Retreat, offering you a discount on your next stay to see if you could capture the magic and tranquillity like all the previous guests before you have experienced but sadly you never replied!
with kind regards,
Avril Berry
Roulotte Retreat

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Additional Information about Roulotte Retreat

Address: Bowden Mill, Melrose TD6 0SU, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Borders > Melrose
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Melrose
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Roulotte Retreat Melrose, Scotland

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