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“Should be shut down - immediately!”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Chateau de Fretay

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Chateau de Fretay
Surrey
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Should be shut down - immediately!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2006

I went to the Chateau as part of an extended family group to celebrate a siginificant family anniversary - explaining why we parted with large sums of money (thousands) for the idyllic surroundings and rare accomodation that could fit a family of 15.

As with all the reviews here - on arrival we were wowed by the view and surroundings - a beautiful place! However, the second we got out of the car to unload our bags in to the chateau, you could tell we were better off getting back in the car and leaving straight away.

The building should be condemned. It's shameful that not only do this couple take money from un-suspecting guests for the misery of staying here, but that they have ruined such a stunning estate.

I notice one of the reviews on this site is from a family staying in this same building a couple of weeks before us. All the compalints that they had, we had too. I can only assume that when the owner took away the kitchen cupboard doors to fix them before the next guests arrived, that he must have been sloshed for the weeks in between - as he put them back on the cupboards (still broken and un-closing) before we got there.

Our family ranged from 2 years old to 60-something. The whole estate was a death-trap for even the fittest and hardiest of travellers. Maggots crawling out of the sink, toilets that don't flush, mould everywhere, bed linen that clearly has not been washed (a sheet wrapped around a quilt instead of a duvet and duvet cover - the owner told us that you can't get duvet covers in France...is he mad??!). That is only the start of the list.

None of the external doors had a lock, either from the inside or outside. We pointed out that we were not comfortable going to sleep with children in the house when anyone could wander in and out. Not only that, but our travel insurance was null and void if we left any belongings in un-locked accomodation. The owner was simply not interested. At least any lurking burglars probaly fell down the unmarked wells!

Throw in; the private pool that was unusable (to be fair though I wouldn't have wanted to take my chances with it even if it was usable), the horses that were basically starving to death, the restaurant you wouldn't let animals eat in, the ceilings that poured water in to the beds of the children (we still have issues getting her to let go of her mother when it's raining now), and the array of furniture so broken and stained it was only good for kindling - had it not been so damp).

Our mantra to the children was "do not touch anything - it's dirty". It was a real battle even getting the kids to agree to get in to the beds as they were so suspect.

While we were there, the family in the adjoining part of the building complained to the owners as they had similar conditions in their house. The owner was drunk at the time and flew in to a rage (when being asked to turn the hot water back on - he had turned it off as he said the guests were using too much). He then marched the couple and their young children back to the house and forced them to pack their things. He threw them out and told them not to return - sleeping in the car that night was probably preferable to staying at the shiteau.

We too would have left, had we been able to find any alternative accomodation for a family of 15 in mid August.

I can not put in to words how disgusting this estate is. The owners are visbly drunk most of the time and have let the place fall in to a state of complete disrepair and filth. It is not an exageration to to say I am thankful that we made it out unharmed. The scariest things are the ones you can not see - would you want to take the risk that there is no asbestos or carbon monoxide leaks in this place?

I wait with baited-breath to see when the authorities finally condemn the place. If heatlth and safety don't get them for the state of it, building authorities will. And I only hope the French-equivalent of the RSPCA can save those poor animals before any more drop dead.

  • Liked — Leaving
  • Disliked — See review - the list is endless
  • Tips/Secrets — Youn don't want to be the headline in the tabloids - go somewhere else.
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank SurreyS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    1.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    2 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    1.5 of 5 bubbles
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
SOMERSET
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2006

we had searched the web sites for ages looking for the perfect holiday that would suit my husband, myself, brother and three teenagers. Chateau de fretay looked gorgeous, with fishing, swimming, clay pigeon shooting, go-karting, golf, cycling and a sports hall. The place seemed like it was going to fufil everyones needs.
After e-mailing Robert and Joanne Hall and also talking to them on the phone we booked a weeks holiday in the converted chapel which stood close to one of the fishing lakes. Everyone was so excited and so looking forward to the holiday.
We loaded up our hired mini-bus with fishing gear and all the usual holiday equipment and we were off. After a long tiring journey we reached the big wrought iron gates and on entering the drive we were all taken aback with with beautiful rhododendrons that were out in bloom. But our joy soon turn to a bit of uneasiness when we turned the corner and there to face us was a half sumerged boat in the fishing lake.
Robert and Joanne Hall came to greet us and led us to the restaurant and gave us a drink. A glance around the place told us that we would not be eating any meals there. We were then told we would not be staying in the chapel as it was not ready, but we could stay in the Corsaire (which was meant to be be £100 more) without having to pay anymore.
Our teenagers went exploring, Hubby and brother went out to check out the lake and I checked out the house.
The house was filthy. Thick black cob-webs hung every where. Dead flies and filth lay around the kitchen sink and work top. The carpet and chairs were stained and full of old food particles. The french doors that you could supposedly walk out of, onto a patio area, would not open because there was ivy vines growing through them and they were covered in ants. Ants were all over the floor. We could not see a patio area as the grass came up at least knee high. The sink upstairs looked like someone had been sick in it. The house had a dampish smell to it and looked so unkempt. Nothing like the warm cosy look that was shown on the web site.
Our kids came in to say that they had found a dead carcase of a goat moving around because loads of rats were running about in side it. They also said that we could'nt go go-karting because the circuit was totally overgrown. The sports hall was just a dirty old barn with next to nothing in.
My husband and brother came in dissapointed when after plumbing the depth of the lake found that it was only about three foot deep rather than eight foot like they were told. Also that the swimming pool was not to be used because the water was green. The poly tunnel (which housed the swimming pool) was tattered and torn. My husband went off to complain.
Robert Hall assured my husband that the house had been cleaned by two professional cleaners that day, but still his wife and daughter came in to give it a quick hoover through.He busied himself outside with ant powder. All our excitment about the holiday was now dashed. Off to bed we went.
Next morning, after a sleepless night in the smelly rooms and beds we all decided that we did'nt want to share our holiday with rodents running around the place. Also the fact that we could not do any of the activities that brought us to this place, we decided to leave. But before doing so my husband walked up to the chapel and looked in the window. He found it to be in an absolutely disgusting state.
My husband went to see Mr Hall and told him what he had portrayed on his web site was utter bo--ocks to what the houses and the activities were actually like, and demanded a refund. Robert Hall gave him a cheque in euros which after a few weeks eventually cleared. Taking out what he probably considered to be a fair price to stay there the night.
Chateau de fretay is in an idyllic location and in the right hands we are sure would be the perfect place for a lovely holiday. Robert and Joanne Hall, as pleasant as they may be, in our opinion, just do'nt have what it takes to run a successful holiday business. I just wished we could have have found trip advisor before we had booked our holiday. Sorry we have no photos to show you. We never stayed long enough to get the camera out of our suitcase.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — The fact it was so unkempt and unhealthy
  • Tips/Secrets — Check the web sites to see if the place is under new undership. Then go. Otherwise dont bother
  • Stayed May 2004, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
15 Thank FLOSSYFLOSS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Fougeres hotels

WEst Sussex, UK
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 7, 2006

This is a report on our experiences during a one week stay at Chateau de Fretay from 21 July to 27th July 2006.The accommodation was booked in the “Chateau” for a family party of 11 at a cost of £2800 plus additional items. The decision to book was mostly based on the web site presentation, see [--]

On entering the “Chateau”, the expected vista is initially good, but soon marred by the appearance of a vast “bone yard” collection of farm and contractors vehicles (including JCB’s) that just lay about to the north of the accommodation, and in full view of everyone. First impressions last just once!

Things did not improve as soon as we entered the “Chateau” accommodation, which is actually a converted coach house.

This was the state of the entrance hall, behind the door:-

Not much cleaning here then.
However the hall wall later revealed a real shocker:-

Exposed electrical wires with a switch ON and LIVE.

Slight reassurance came from seeing a fire extinguisher in the hall (unfortunately not wall mounted, just propping open the inner door) but only until the inspection label certificate was examined, it expired in 2003.
That was the only fire protection in situ. No fire alarms, no smoke detectors, no fire escape stairs, no evacuation guides, absolutely nothing else to protect each room, and their occupants, including two upper levels.

To confirm what was in store, this was the downstairs toilet, serving the hall and the dining room:-


Cramped, cluttered and dirty but at least it worked.
A first trip to the courtyard swimming pool revealed:-


A warning, yes, but a critical door (off the lounge) without a functioning lock and without a child proof chain lock. It took four days for the owner to fit a makeshift hook and eye, but this broke off when the door was given a strong pull.
So to maintain child safety, the nearest lounge sofa was pushed into position to block the door. Would you believe the back fell off the first time it we moved it. (Fortunately for us a lot better than it falling off whilst you tried to sit back in it):-
The owners said they would remove and replace, but nothing happened, and we did need the chair put against the door for safety reasons in any case.

The visit to the courtyard pool also revealed:-

A flimsy wire fire guard plus plastic bin lid protecting a deep drain inspection trap.


A long standing leak with yet another bodged-up solution to the problem!

Just off the poolside, some flimsy string netting over a doorway, hiding but not guarding against a dangerous drop into a cellar acting as a workshop.
So it is not just the danger of a pool to children that the owner was warning us about.
It got no better with our first visit to the outside “covered” pool:


Without the cover, the pool is accessible from anywhere by any child, so the sliding lockable doors at either end are uselessly ineffective. Also the owner told me not to allow my grandson to retrieve his ball that bounced into the nearby well area as it could be “quite dangerous”. No warning sign here for the innocent young adventurer either.
Off to our room. The en-suite was a disaster. The flush never worked with the cistern cover on, and it squealed at night unless I tied the valve up with a belt. The bottom door hinge was broken so the door jammed against the carpet when more than half open. The shower door did not close properly against the base so it leaked when used. (The large old stain beneath on the lounge ceiling was testament to a long running problem here ;-)

It took the owner all week to fix the shower door and to do something with the toilet flush, though the nightly cistern leakage and squealing remained, and so did the “belt it up” routine. The door was never repaired.
Next door bedroom was not much better. The shower door leaked (another stain in a different area on the lounge ceiling) and the en suite was pretty shabby. Have a look at the grubby ceiling lights! Have a look at the decorative standard around the radiators. There was also a large hole in the wall covered by two “lean to” pieces of wood which fell down in a wind to reveal plumbing repairs.



The third bedroom had the under mattress and sheet changed because they were unclean. It also had the shower curtain missing, but it was found next day and replaced (by the guests)
A fourth bedroom on the first floor had an incomplete en suite. It was only half finished and still full of plumber’s tools. Consequently, it was locked up for the entire week so the guests here had to use the downstairs shower next to the hall.
A fifth bedroom on the upper floor caused an accident (badly cut finger) when a cracked pane of window glass gave way against a completely rotten sill when the guest tried to open it, unfortunately it was jammed because of damp:-

The lack of attention to detail continued in the lounge, look at the pre-cleaning standard here:-


Finally the entire kitchen needed a thorough clean and degrease, which we did. Unfortunately, the cupboard doors were bowed so they never closed and got in everyone’s way. The owner took them off on the very last night, presumably to repair them for the next guests into the “chateau”.


A further safety issue was the cooker and gas bottle. The igniter was disconnected and not working, so matches had to be used, WITHOUT any clue on the knobs as to which controlled what. Hence lots of gas smells and risk of explosion, particularly with the main oven. Furthermore, the cover to the gas bottle compartment did not close, so it was accessible to children until we put on a safety wire as a temporary fix.

Oh and the sink had no plug, so we bought one next day.


Now for more outside.

There was a decrepit old jetty to the lake just off the main drive. As usual, no warning signs, no lifebuoy around, just don’t stand on it, and don’t let your children near!


Just in the grass off the patio/parking area, this is the cover to a deep water filled pit:-


Once more, no warning, of course.
Here is another one close by, no warnings as usual here:-


Loose electric cables just lie about, with no safety covers and no electricity warnings.
This one is almost on the patio, presumably for outside lights:-


We hired 6 bikes for the week and were assured by the owner that they had been fully serviced just two weeks before by his dad who was a cycling professional. Fortunately, two in our party were real cycling enthusiasts, so before they were used, they were made roadworthy and safe by repair or replacement of such items as non functional brakes, missing wheel spokes, in-operable gears sets, slow punctures, and misaligned or buckled wheels. Innocent users however would have been exposed to significant risk and real personal danger had they gone out on the French lanes with bikes such as supplied.
There was no hand pump on any of the bikes, and the owner failed to turn up as promised with a compressor. So prior to purchasing one (which we did next day), we searched for one in the building where they were all stored.

This was what confronted us as we searched the indoor court building:-


Obviously, you do not go in here.

However, do not go in here either, although this is not as obvious as there is no similar warning sign or barrier to entry:-


Just behind the door were real working shotguns and live ammunition, just lying on the floor and totally unprotected!!! . (The owner offers a clay shoot session for his guests) No proper locked and protected cupboards for firearms just pick them up and go if you wanted to.

There were other wells and pits about the premises and grounds, all without warnings, (observed but not photographed). There were also exposed electrical wires (unsheathed) elsewhere in our accommodation, and in other areas accessible to guests.

Two of our party, with our grandchildren, took a decision on the second day to leave and find safer accommodation in Fougeres, which they did. It was not practical for the rest of our large party to move out, so we persevered despite what was encountered.

Not surprisingly, such experiences were reported by other guests we met that week. One family had to endure no water and no hot water. Another family had no electricity supply. A third family had to endure live bats in the eaves each night.
Clearly, in the UK, a visit by a health and safety inspector would probably lead to closure of the whole site, as unfit for purpose for not meeting standards and regulations. It remains to be seen whether the French Authorities will act in a similar way.

The owners, Robert and Joanne Hall clearly do not deploy adequate resources to operate and maintain their business at Fretay. Nor do they appear to have experience of what is required of them to maintain safety and security, or to comply with regulations.
It is such a pity, as the setting could eventually live up to that glowingly portrayed on their website.
The reality right now is regretfully something far worse, and needs drastic remedial action. Until then, our experiences say DON’T GO THERE.

  • Liked — The good views of the estate
  • Disliked — Unacceptable lack of safety,cleanliness and redress of too many problems encountered
  • Tips/Secrets — Avoid
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
15 Thank jonkil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NC, USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2006

The chateu De Fretay was not what it was advertised to be. The heated covered swimming pool was not covered & not heated and the water level was not high enough to reach the filters. The pool was freezing & dirty enough to be unusable. The chateu itself has a very poor standard of accomodation. The carpets were filthy and stained. The plumbing leaked, most of the toilets were loose. The showers had an unhealthy growth of mold. The roof leaked on the first night we were there through onto my daughters be (with her in it). The horses were badly kept and allowed to roam anywhere, including around the pool and allowed to eat out of the dumpster. We had a taod living in the downstairs fireplace next to the damp and muddy foot stool. All furniture in the living room was stained and smelled terrible. THe pictures were falling off the wall - some held together by staples. The kitchen cupboards wouldn't stay closed. The dishwasher and washing machine worked intermittently. The tiles around the kitchen were loose, there was trash stuffed down the back of the sink from which maggots hatched on evening when I was doing the washing up. None of the doors to the property locked - some of them didn't even close. The owners solution was to nail all but one shut. The owner is fully aware of the problems, but doesn't do anything about them as long as he still receives the money. Don't go!

  • Liked — leaving
  • Disliked — the frog and maggots
  • Tips/Secrets — don't go - check with the tourist office at Fougeres
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank teknanny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ireland
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2006

We booked here in February, after accessing their website, and exchanging a number of e-mails and phone calls. We were told the website was 4 years out of date, thus to expect even more facilities, including 3 extra pools (one being indoor and heated), a 9 hole golf course, tennis courts, excellant fishing from 3 lakes, a restaurant open daily. Our accommodation was described as a 16century converted chapel. It may have been, however it was very very shabby: lino on the floor, showers leaked, water was often off all day, so no showers or flushing toilets. Bat droppings on our beds, and bats FLYING around our room at night. Door handles came away in our hands (one of our sons got locked in his room - we thought he has having a lie-in!). Our "private" pool was a raised, plastic tub (naturally it had to be cleaned). We had decking - wobbly in places - around it; other accomm had no decking around their raised tub - access was via a stepladder. We could only find 3 holes for golf, no tennis court, the general pool was similar design to ours, and was next to a cesspit covered in tarpaulin and brambles to deter little people. There was no indoor or heated pool, and only one of the lakes was accessible for fishing. The restaurant was not open a single night we were there. We were told by the owner when we complained that "we just didn't get it". We didnt have a barbeque as advertised, nor a tv (Fine by me - but thats not the point). The hot water, when it was running, was too hot to use, and the showers would become boiling every few seconds when the water pump kicked in; showers thus had to be supervised - we have 5 children so this was no joke. Oh yes, dead goat in the defunct go-kart "stadium". Barn was full of rusty machinery and old cars, a shut gun and live ammunition were agains the wall. Cupboards and doors wouldnt close, sofa was a length of yellow sponge with white cotton tacked around it. When I asked the owners before we booked what to expect in the way of activities I was informed 'we are not centre parc but we do our best' - I immediately thought they must be a 'centre parc' type of place. I was even told I would be e-mailed a schedule of activities, including friendly tournaments etc. (there are only about 6 dwellings on the site, and not all were being used, little chance of any tournaments). We arrived back one evening to find clay pigeon shooting (for adults only) in progress - we knew nothing about this (wow! a event!!). Another night there was a barbeque and treasure hunt - can you believe that one of the clues was actually placed next to an open well hole unseen from a foot away - what if a child had got there first? And that was the some total of events. This could be a lovely place. The setting is idyllic, and even the lack of organised activities was fine - we could use the games room (until it was closed for 2 days) to play badminton and ride the very rusty bikes around (until they were taken away). However the marketing of it on the website implied more going on, and a larger, busier complex. The accomm was marketed as being upto standard of expected holiday accom - which it certainly wasnt. It was like student accomm. We have a special needs son and didnt want a huge, very busy place. We wanted somewhere we could dip into and out of with our own private pool (we pictured a sunken pool with tiles, etc..!!??), a barbeque, and a restaurant, with safe terrain for our children to explore. The owners I think are probably very nice, however they are out of their depth. I dont know whether its fair to say this but in my opinion they are both alcoholics. Oh and finally, the original chateau was demolished in 1970s - the current 'chateau' is a converted stable block...

Helpful?
28 Thank Irishfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chateau de Fretay

Property: Chateau de Fretay
Address: 35133 Domaine De Fretay | Le Chatellier, Fougeres, France
Location: France > Brittany > Ille-et-Vilaine > Fougeres
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Fougeres
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 33
Also Known As:
Chateau De Fretay Hotel Fougeres

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