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“Pretty Average”

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Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park
Reviewed October 17, 2013

We were at the Las Vegas Legends weekend and luckily went with a crew of 8 in total. Overall it was pretty good. The entertainers were very reasonable, Tom Jones being the favourite but the Blue Coats left a fair bit to be desired, especially the embarrassing game on the last evening when one of them behaved like a spoilt child!

The cheap bar was ok but generally understaffed although the Guys and Girls behind the bar worked really hard and were very friendly. The facilities were ok with snooker tables free of charge and some delapidated table tennis bats for hire again free of charge.

Food was better than we expected but still pretty average and not always that warm. Reasonable choices but annoyingly they closed all but one of the food serving areas half way through each evening and the queues became fairly long very quickly.

Rooms need some updating. Ours was very small and smelled a bit damp. Shower was fine but you do need to keep pressing the button to get it going properly. The bathroom was way too large for what was in there and could have been made smaller to make the room bigger. TV was old with no remote and the beds were very soft with springs sticking up all over the place.

The main bar was good but when the 99p deal was off they had 2 beers on special offer, neither of which were available and there was no-one about to change the barrell, how convenient!

All in all we had a good time with a trip to the Broads to hire a boat down the river and plenty to drink as well a dance and some good company. On our own it might have been a different story. The place had a generally down market feel to it and we won't be rushing back. For a cheapish weekend away with friends to celebrate a special occasion it did the job.

Room Tip: They are all pretty much the same but at least ours were a distance from everything and were quiet a...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank GrandadSouthEast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,124 - 1,130 of 1,526 reviews

Reviewed October 16, 2013

We booked a 3 night self-catering stay, however, we stayed for less than 24 hours and left at Saturday tea-time, as we couldn't stand to stay a moment longer in the accommodation. With a five-hour journey back home (with a 2 year old and 5 year old) we did not make this decision lightly. When dropping the keys off in reception we made it clear to the receptionist that we were leaving early and requested a complaints form. At no point did he ask if we had enjoyed our stay or why we were leaving early, or what we wished to complain about.....there was no effort made to even ask what our concerns were, never mind trying to rectify them.

It began with wet linen provided on arrival (at additional cost to us, and with the expectation that guests make their own bed - speaking with an elderly couple in reception they told me they had spent over an hour struggling to do this!). The service centre did replace the wet linen but without any word of apology. The service centre consisted of three women sat round drinking tea just staring at me. I witnessed no customer service or helpfulness at all. In fact, I do not recall any of the staff talking to me, they just discussed my problems between themselves before dumping a fresh set of bedding on the counter for me. I couldn't understand how these people could sit round drinking tea when there were chalets in the condition that ours was in. We saw that ours was by no means the only dirty chalet as looking through the windows of other (both unoccupied and occupied) chalets you could see the dirt and grime.

The 'self catering' facilities were completely inadequate with only a kettle, toaster, fridge and microwave provided. No cooker, oven or grill. No kitchen to speak of just a small sink and tiny worktop. This is totally unsuitable for a family of four staying for 3 nights and shouldn't be advertised as self catering. As a result we were forced to eat out which was not budgeted for. We were never clear what accommodation we were getting from the website or even after phoning to seek clarity. We certainly didn't expect two bedrooms with no living room or kitchen.

Our chalet was filthy with dust, dirt, mould and mildew throughout, in every room. It was disgusting. We even had to clean the mugs before having a cup of tea. The bathroom smelt musty and damp and this smell permeated the rest of the accommodation. The cupboard door to the shower electrics was hanging open and the sink taps in the bathroom had parts missing. The TV was a tiny portable with no remote control (so I suspect it was over 20 years old). The only lighting was the big main lights - not great for relaxing with a book before bedtime or for lighting a room with a 2 year old and five year old at night-time.

Other issues with our stay:
o Restrictive meal times - shouldn't have affected us as self caterers but it did - we ended up eating at Morrisons on Friday evening.
o Restrictive pool times (closing at 4.45pm)
o Terrible pool changing room facilities - all our towels and clothes were soaked due to the wet floor and there being insufficient benches/cubicles in both male & female changing rooms.
o Poor welcome pack with a lack of useful info about the park facilities (one leaflet has two different breakfast times listed...and both are incorrect!) In fact, all communications are poor as their feedback form tells me I can email my complaint whereas the website says that any emailed complaints will not be responded to! Which is it? Aaahhh!!!!
o Outdated furniture, décor, bars, facilities - not just out of fashion but completely past the 'sell by' date.
o Faded, chipped and tired paintwork everywhere, inside and out....the whole site is tired (and it was only re-released back in 2011!)

We have stayed at similar kinds of resorts before (in mobile homes and camping, both in the UK and Europe) and never experienced anything as dreadful as Pakefield. As a point of comparison, I stayed at Butlins on several occasions 20 years ago and have to say that Butlins from the early 1990s was massively better in every respect (accommodation, food, facilities, cleanliness, customer service and general upkeep) than Pontins Pakefield is in 2013. My point here is: we were not expecting 5 star luxury; we know what to expect from a UK holiday park and Pakefield is a long, long way from being able to meet these fair and realistic expectations. We paid over £200 for this trip (significantly more if you count the additional meals eaten out and fuel costs), so although not expensive it isn't what I would call all that cheap. Personally, I would bulldoze the whole site, it was built in another era for another era and it just doesn't cut it in the modern day. Updating here and there, refurbishing chalets or paying for a new paint job is not going to change the fundamental truth that it has had it's day as a holiday resort.

The only plus points about our stay were:
1. The friendliness of the other guests who frequently fussed over our two
boys and took time to chat (more often than not to moan about some of things mentioned here), however, I don't think Pontins can really take credit for this. It is just a shame that this attitude wasn't reflected in their own staff (although, I do have some sympathy here, as I imagine it must be difficult to care and take pride in working somewhere so run-down, dirty and outdated).
2. Breakfast on Saturday morning just about met our expectations, however,
even then there were issues: we only ate at the SS Victoria because we had no facilities to cook our own bacon, egg and sausages, not opening until 8.30am delayed the start to our day as our kids were up from 6.15am, the fried eggs were rock solid and cup of tea was awful.

We made a formal complaint and the response was pretty appalling, even blaming the poor self catering facilities on the designers. No response was received from head office at all. There was no adequate apology or any offer of compensation or refund (staggering bearing in mind we only stayed for one night but paid for three nights!)

Please go elsewhere and save yourself a lot of heartache. Also please be aware that Pakefiled actively request positive feedback to be left on Trip advisor whilst discouraging negative feedback - I suspect this goes some way to explaining some of the 5 star reviews!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank BDCYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2013

We have just returned from a long weekend at this site. We used our sun tokens, so the weekend only cost £9.50 per person, but to be honest we wouldn't have paid any more than this.

The entertainment team were very nice and the children enjoyed themselves, but I felt like we were in a 1950 s holiday camp. The swimming pool was ok, but the slide was rarely on which was ashame. Everything is close by and it's easy to find your way around.

The room were very basic and dated, we were told upon arrival there were just microwaves, but we were moved to a chalet with a cooker as we had bought our food with us. The chalet was small with a double bed in the 'lounge/diner' area so we had to eat our food sitting on the bed a there was no sofa, inky a couple of chairs between us. The bed was smaller than a double mattress which meant you had to sleep in the middle or roll off!

I can see reviews in here about a refurbishment and the park also mentions it, but this had certainly not happened in the chalet we were in.

The location if the park is easy to find and right in the beach. We didn't try the food as we had our own.

Don't expect anything fabulous and you will be fine.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank 81_Rebecca_81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2013

Just returned from a fantastic weekend. Tom Jones and Rat Pack Tributes were very good. Elvis could have been better!! Our GN host Hayley was fantastic, very professional. This was our second break with GN at Pontins and will definatly be returning.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Debc0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2013

We have just returned from 4 nights at Pontins Pakefield. It was with trepidation, after reading some reviews, that we used our Groupon Voucher which cost us £99 for 4 nights dinner, bed and breakfast for the two of us. However we need not have worried. We were very impressed by the overall appearance of the site, and the cleanliness everywhere. Our apartment (number 216) was really lovely; everything being very new and tidy right down to the duvet and pillows. It really was a pleasure to relax in there in the evening and watch the television. It was a bonus to be able to make ourselves late night and early morning drinks using the small kitchenette and fridge.
Having read some damning reviews about the food I can honestly say we enjoyed every meal. There were many choices and the food was always piping hot. The staff were polite and courteous and happy to engage in conversation if invited.
We didn't go to any of the entertainment, but I swam every day. I have mobility issues and the young lifeguards were more than helpful in putting me down into the water with the hoist and lifting me out again. Very caring and anxious to please.
We shall return, probably with grandchildren as there seemed to be plenty of activities to keep them active.
Thank you Pontins. We enjoyed our Autumn break with you.

Room Tip: Room 216 was good for two of us and all the apartments in the same block seem to be of the same high...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jancallow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2013 via mobile

We booked this on a groupon deal as having completely renovated our house this year, money ran out before we got round to a holiday. We paid £99 for two of us, to spend 4 nights here including food, which we felt would be too good to be true. After booking we had a bit of a shock after reading reviews on here. We really were expecting hell on earth, and had even discussed coming home early if necessary!! We are both used to high quality holidays, having recently gone 5* all inclusive and to Las Vegas, so we are not easily pleased.
When we arrived we were very impressed with check in, we waited literally minutes and staff were helpful in showing us where was best to park for our chalet. We were in the last block along, by the coastguard station, which was a bonus for us, right by the beach, nice a quiet and out of the way, we noticed they put disabled guests in more accessible areas, which was great. I opened the chalet door with some trepidation, expecting all sorts of disgusting things inside (based on reviews), but we were pleasantly surprised. The room was spotless, and had obviously recently been renovated. Yes the floors are hard with no carpet...take slippers...job done!! There was a nice little kitchen, and the bathroom was also new. The TV was tiny, but you get what you pay for!! The 5 channels were enough for what we needed, and we took a laptop for watching DVD's on.
We had paid for the sheets before reading reviews, so granted they were pretty poor, but again they were £8 for a double set, what did we expect!! We took extra pillows as we like our own, and also a throw for the bed, just for added comfort!
The one issue we came across was the smell, although it was of bleach, which for most wouldn't be an issue, I'm just hyper sensitive, and at least it was clean! :) again, we overcame this as I'd taken a scented candle which we lit (only when awake in the room!!) and a bottle of febreeze with us which I just sprayed round as we left the room each time.
The only mirror in the room was in the bathroom, making it difficult for 2 people to get ready, especially with hair straighteners etc. A cheap full length mirror stuck on the wall would be a great addition. Also a coat rack/hook on the wall is needed, as there's nowhere to hang coats etc. Finally for the chalet, somewhere to hang towels, as aside from the hand towel hoop, we had to hang bath sheets over to shower curtain rail.
All in all the chalets just need small tweaks. We took anti-bac and a sponge just in case, but didn't need to use these! :)
The food was again much better than we expected. There was a good choice and most of it was well cooked. It was obvious that sometimes quantity did prevail over quality, but my boyfriend is a chef and he said that some small
Changes and extra attention to detail would've sorted the problems, and made the food nicer. We never went hungry, and always found something. Two stand out problems were the sausages and toast at breakfast, although conversely two of the stars of the show were the chocolate tart and the battered fish, which were lovely! :) the drinks were a big poor at dinner, just some very fake and sweet tasting cordial stuff, but you can spend a quid or two and take in a coke or beer :) booze prices were good, especially In happy hour. We also Got a free bottle of wine with our groupon which when we collected it, scanned at £8 a bottle, so not cheap plonk either! ;)
We only used the entertainment on one night, and to be fair it was a little depressing, but the camp was quite empty, it was school time and was mainly older visitors, so it was never going to be rocking out socks off!! ;)
We used the on-site free activities including bowls, crazy golf, darts, ping pong etc, and we're impressed with most of it. The beach is lovely, although it is stony, which didn't bother us for walking, but might not be best for summer visitors. Although we visited Great Yarmouth, not far away an with great beaches. The amusements were OK, but a little run down. It seems pontins are missing a trick to make more money from these :)
The park in general was also a bit shabby, although it's clear they're taking steps to improve (a new play park is going in currently!). Rome wasn't built in a day! Some more lighting would be good round the chalets and to light signage, it can be a bit eerie at night and not great for waking round on your own :/
We didn't have much to do with blue coats etc. But the staff we did see we're pleasant and helpful :)
I think some reviewers are being far too harsh, there are some niggles but we were overall very happy with our extremely cheap and fun week away! :)
Finally, I thought it might be useful to list the things we took/didn't take which would make the best of the facilities!
* candle/ air freshner
* anti-bac and sponge
* bottle opener
* laptop
* pillows/throw
* slippers
* nicer tea/coffee (welcome pack not great!)
* towels (we took a spare hand towel to use as a bathmat)
* own sheets if you haven't already paid for theirs!
* wine glasses (if you like more than a thimble at a time!)
* bottled water (we couldn't for the life of us get cold water from any tap, it was all tepid!)
* a small vanity mirror if you're that way inclined

I know it sounds a lot, but If you're driving, the extra couple of bags you take Will make it much more comfortable! :) go in with an open mind and expecting basic and you will be pleasantly surprised! :)

Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Rhi B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2013 via mobile

chalet smelt - old damp dirty room - bathroom was worst smell had to buy room deodorizer try to get rid of foul smell which eventually tainted our clothes it was awful - water very hot shower had to press button for 5 seconds for water to run try washing your hair like that!! food was awful fried and almost cold -soup was the same each night just a different colour. staff handling food with bare hands - chef has a surplus of spicy chicken mix which he uses on all meat offered - but worst of all we talked to people who paid £49 each for the same break as us we paid £125 each and had to pay extra for a wristband to allow us entry to 60'S break but no-one we spoke to had paid for this how unfair pakefield charges what it likes and we were told no-one needs a wristband when we checked in as everyone was there for the same break WHAT A CON we certainly will not return had much better breaks with Richardsons or Haven its your loss pakfield

  • Stayed: September 2013
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3  Thank jilly-howard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park

Address: London Road Pakefield, Lowestoft NR33 7PF, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > East Anglia > Suffolk > Lowestoft
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Lowestoft
Price Range: $60 - $92 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park 2*
Number of rooms: 513
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Long established, friendly holiday park with many amenities for both young and young at heart. please note all rooms are non smoking for our guests' comfort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pontins Pakefield Hotel Lowestoft
Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park Lowestoft, Suffolk

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