Written on: 12/11/2010
Once again Center Parcs Elvenden has sadly failed to live up to expectations. We were confident that this time would be different given that the concerns we catalogued after a previous visit had supposedly been noted. And given that we purposely upgraded to a newly refurbished Woodland Lodge, supposedly a better class of accommodation, to avoid the tired and grubby, so called, Comfort Lodges.
But it was not to be; where to start?
. The kitchen cupboard doors were hanging off at various angles some barely attached by a single hinge
. A kitchen knife with a large sharp serrated blade was found under the coffee table, luckily by and adult and not our 3 year old or our friends 2 year old. I am sure I do not need to spell out the potential hazards
. The kettle was disgusting, furred up with calcium carbonate deposit, which made the water taste foul, inducing nausea
. The shower was nothing more than a pathetic dribble since most of the water seeped from the join between the shower hose and head
. The bath water was very slow to drain, leaving scummy water to linger, not very hygienic or aesthetically appealing
. The mantle shelf to the back of the basin and toilet was not secured and consequently flipped over pitching the cosmetics that had been placed on it into the basin and toilet pan below
. The toilet became blocked easily, again not very pleasant to deal with especially whilst on holiday
. There was only one bedside table in the twin room
. Some of the sofa cushion covers were split
. The woodland mural on the sitting area wall was ripped and badly stuck down with sticky tape.
. The rug was filthy dirty
. The fridge did not work properly. Food placed on the top shelf remained warm whilst that placed on the bottom froze
. The Jacuzzi hot tub in the Sub-tropical Paradise was bubble-less and when we enquired as to why we were told it was temperamental. Not particularly helpful.
. The country club bar and restaurant stank like dog faeces was on the menu. The stench was unbearable and hit like a blast of heat from a furnace as soon as the entrance door was opened. Further, the children's toilet adjacent to the play area stank of human excrement. Again the stench was unbearable and induced an involuntary gagging reflex.
. The dining out experience was particularly poor. The lamb in my Vindaloo was gristly and chewy, and the sauce was bland; I've had much better from a processed pre-prepared ASDA meal. The children's meals were also of very poor quality and so over cooked they resembled cardboard. To add insult to injury the restaurant's prices were comparable to those in top high street establishments, only they do not have the gall to charge £0.75 for a single poppadom.
Any one of these issues would perhaps have been forgivable but the collective toll was intolerable. In the case of our accommodation I would have asked to be moved, as was the situation during our last visit. But the upheaval and waste of time we experienced then gave me pause for thought, as did the fact that collectively our friends and ourselves had paid an extra £40 to be placed next door to one another; and I did not want to subject them to the same misery we'd experienced previously.
Moreover, judging by the state of our lodge there would be no guarantees that we would have faired any better in another one (assuming one would have been available) especially since ours was supposed to have been refurbished recently.
I am not, however, at a loss to understand why Center Parcs could get it so wrong a second time; I have my own thoughts as to why. At this juncture I could wax lyrical about business models and the balance between compromising the present for the sake of the future, or about corporate greed and/or mismanagement etc etc. But all this aside, whatever the reason our accommodation was not up to standard by a long chalk and, our holiday experience suffered accordingly.
Overall the accommodation was of a very poor standard; generally grubby and badly maintained and my wife and I are extremely disappointed especially after spending substantially more money for what we reasonably expected to be a better class of accommodation, which it was not.
In actual fact we feel that not only did it fail to live up to our expectations but we paid for accommodation that was not fit for purpose and will be very interested to discover what Trading Standards has to say about it all.
I have since read several customer reviews on Holiday Watchdog.Com and was not surprised to discover that many recent visitors to Center Parcs have had similar experiences. Therefore, I will have to think long and hard before visiting Center Parcs again, if ever at all.
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