This group were pleasant guests throughout their stay with us. As they were leaving they were telling us that they had a great time and were very keen to book for next year and we were even discussing dates and talking about our kids writing to each other.
Regrettably, they caused damage which they tried to conceal and then got upset when we discovered the damage and told them that they would have to pay for it. This has led to them leaving this spiteful and inaccurate review. We could leave it there, but some of what they have stated needs to be addressed so that readers can draw their own conclusions:
Starting with the Ryanair comparison, the only additional fees that we charge for are all made clear in our Terms and Conditions which can be found on our TripAdvisor page and on our own website. These are:
• Towel Hire = £5 per set, payable when booking (free when staying for 7 nights or more)
• Loss of keys = £100
• Rubbish and Recycling not taken to main bins on check out = £30
• Babysitting services = £variable hourly rate
These guests checked in at 4pm. On arrival, I specifically asked them (as I do with all guests, post Covid) if they would like me to wear a mask whilst I briefly showed them around the apartment. They said not to bother. They also say that they didn’t see me wearing a mask again. Why would I? I was outside in the open air!
Works to our new pool house had been delayed due to the Covid pandemic but our contractors worked until 6pm on the Friday evening of a Bank Holiday weekend at our request to ensure that the exterior was all complete and that there were no health and safety issues for our guests. The work that they were carrying out was to the rear of the new building, out of sight and in no way affecting anyone. The contractors then returned at around 9:30am on the Tuesday morning to set up inside the new building, just as this group were checking out at 10am. Therefore, our contractors were only on site for 2.5 hours during these guests’ entire stay.
The weather preceding their arrival and during their stay was glorious and we had turned the central heating off for the building, some weeks before. However, they told us after the first night that they were a little cold, so we happily turned it back on for them.
It is true that the fire alarm went off at around 8am one morning and after a quick scout around the building, it transpired that guests in another of our apartments had burned their toast causing the alarm to sound. On ensuring that there was no danger, I silenced and reset the alarm, then popped down to this group to apologise and explained what had happened. They were sitting on the terrace having breakfast and cheerfully remarked “at least we know the system works”
The pool rota is sent to guests in advance of their stay to enable them to plan their holiday around the pool use, if they so wish. The rota allows for the guests in each apartment to have a private, two hour session in the swimming pool/pool area every day. When these guests booked in September last year, did anyone think that social distancing would still be in force in May 2021? If we had, we might have issued the rota when booking.
The pool rota was developed last summer so that we were compliant with Covid 19 rules, demonstrating to the Local Authority that we have considered social distancing to enable us to open the pool. All other establishments with shared facilities would have needed to follow a similar policy and most would have given an allocation of less than two hours per day.
I really don’t know what to say about a tendency to watching guests from my window upstairs. I actually spend most of my time in the office which is at the front of the building overlooking the car park. However, during the course of living and working here, I will invariably walk past guests, see them or catch their eye. I tend to say “hi” or something similarly friendly, rather than ignore people.
I am very pleased that my skill to be able “to appear out of nowhere” is really coming along. I might put this skill to good use and become a magician if this review causes people not to stay with us and we are forced to close our doors.
I recall chatting with this group on several occasions over the course of their stay and they even invited our children to share a session in the swimming pool with their kids as they had become friendly over the short time they were with us. For them to now say that I somehow made them feel uncomfortable would actually be a bit upsetting, if it was true.
If ever we see guests not following the house rules, we politely remind them. I have only ever yelled at a guest once and this was an unsupervised child who was about to hurt herself. My yelling alerted the parent of the child who then gratefully retrieved her child.
At check-out we had a good chat discussing them potentially returning next year. At this point they told us that a door handle had “fallen off the door”. We told them not to worry about it and although it took us over an hour to make the repair, we did not charge them. Our door handles have never spontaneously fallen off before in any of our apartments, or in any other house I have ever lived in. They could have made us aware of the other items of damage at this juncture, but they chose not to.
After they left, it transpired that some of the sheets that they had helpfully stripped from the beds were covered in florescent paint/make up. They also failed to tell us that they had wrecked our microwave and broken the hinges on one of our rattan footstools, making it unsafe for use. Both the microwave and the footstool were less than a year old and were in perfect condition.
In line with our Terms and Conditions, we wrote to them straight away advising that we would regrettably have to charge them for damage they had made and the towel hire that they hadn’t paid for. At this stage it wasn’t clear if we were going to be able to remove the stains from our sheets.
When they arrived, they said that they would like to hire towel sets. They had not asked for them at any time prior to arrival and it was fortunate that we had sufficient quantities ready to go. Our fees for towel hire are made clear early in the booking process, so I am at a loss as to why they thought that they would get them for free.
Their initial response regarding the damage to our sheets, microwave and footstool was “it wasn’t us”.
When it was pointed out to them that they were our first guests of the season and prior to their arrival the apartment was thoroughly spring cleaned and all items had been checked for damage, their response changed to “well you should see it as fair wear and tear and refund the deposit in full regardless.”
After additional treatments over the next couple of days, we managed to remove the stains from the sheets and they were not charged for this. We withheld £125 of their deposit to pay for a replacement microwave and the repair to our footstool. We also withheld a further £40 for the towel hire and refunded the rest of their deposit.
We do not like having to write to guests informing them that we need to withhold any of their deposit. Fortunately, this is only the third time that we have made a claim on a deposit in the seven years that we have been here. Therefore, we know that we are fair about things and only ever make a claim when it is definitive that the damage has been caused by a particular group of guests.
Having got to know these guests quite well over their stay with us, we were surprised and disappointed that they thought that we should pick up the cost for damage that they caused.
We could have swallowed the £125 for the damage that they caused and I’m sure that we would have got a great review with these guests wanting to return. But where do you draw the line and how much is too much to pay to avoid a negative TripAdvisor review?
If anyone is still reading, I’ll leave that for you to decide.