We go away a lot and are fairly savvy when choosing places, we've stayed anywhere from bunk houses to 5*. We use TA for all bookings but have never felt so compelled to write a review before!
We stayed in the self catering element of Hawthorn Farm called Lavender Cottage with four friends over New Year.
We were very happy when we first found it and were keen to book despite only a handful of reviews. We were aware that the accommodation slept 6 we were 6 adults and a 10 month old baby. This appeared to be a real issue for the owner, I'm not sure why but that put a damper on things.
In the accommodations blurb the owners comment on how much time and effort they have spent doing up the accommodation. They might want to spend an afternoon tidying up the courtyard. At the moment it looks like a scrap merchants yard complete with broken down 4x4 with flat tyres, scabby caravan and car with mis-matching panels. Add to this overflowing bins in direct view, dozens of empty plant pots and render falling off all the buildings and you wonder where the work has been done.
The accommodation is quaint and it is always nice to stay in really old, historic buildings, they have their own downsides though, small rooms and curious layouts and this is no exception down stairs makes the most of the space with two en suite bedrooms with quite nice features. Nice bedding on the beds and a modern bathroom. However cheap mattresses made the bed uncomfortable. The shower is electric, not a mains power shower. So it is desperately lacking in power. It is a shower over bath protected by a shower curtain, I think glass screens are much more practical and elegant.
In the bedroom to the left there is only one window and it doesn't look outside but in to the entrance hall of the neighboring property. As the window is single glazed and doesn't fit the frame very well you can hear everything that goes on in there, to the extent that we could hear someone breathing!
In both downstairs bedrooms there s a serious lack of soundproofing from the upstairs living areas. I woke our friends slicing bread in the kitchen as the hollow, hard wood floors amplify everything like a giant speaker.
The upstairs bedroom is really nice, much more spacious than the other two with a lovely roll top bath. no shower but if you're with friends, sharing the other showers is not a problem and it looks lovely all the same!
The upstairs living accommodation is fine, but the furniture is not in keeping and is like something out of your nan's living room.
there are lots of nice touches like a good DVD collection, CD player/DVD player and a nintendo wii. The kitchen is well equipped and everything works.
It was raining when we arrived and we knocked at the house to get the keys, we weren't invited in to the house but left on the doorstep, in the rain, while the owner went to get the keys. As the house is part of the B&B I don't know why we couldn't stand inside!
Some other little things that put a downer on things were that we had to pay a £100 security deposit, which is fine and quite expected but instead of it being asked for at the time of booking or being asked to bring it with us, it was only mentioned when I needed something from the owners. I asked for the dongle for the internet and was told: "you haven't paid the deposit so you can't have it until you do." so I had to get the money there and then, which felt a bit odd. It would have been more polite if the owners put in the info that the dongle is available on payment of £100 deposit, or if we had been asked to have it with us on arrival, so you know what you are getting in to rather than being made to feel like you couldn't be trusted.
Also the reception is rubbish on the dongle if you sit on the window ledge you just about get enough connection to browse but not to watch video/stream music etc.
Getting the deposit back was a bit off too. We told the owners we were leaving and returned the dongle they said thanks and started backing inside so I stepped forward thinking I would be permitted to wait inside for the return of the deposit, but the door was half closed in my face and I was told they would be over in a minute to check the place over, which was frustrating as we wanted to get off. 10 minutes later there was no sign of them so I had to go back to the house, knock again and say we want to go now.
A few minutes more and they turned up to inspect the place, we advised that nothing had been broken, eventually I got the £100 deposit back, but I have never had to wait for a place to be inspected before and was exactly the kind of ending to a rubbish stay that we expected.
It was only bareable because we have the best friends in the world and there is a waitrose and m&s nearby!
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