Good location but...

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AE9876's review of Vilamoura, Villa Canto

★★★☆☆

“Good location but...”

Written on: 27/07/2016 by AE9876 (1 review written)

Okay we knew from the price we paid for the location and space in July (2016) that this would be a bit basic but we had 4 rooms and 4 bathrooms and our own pool. Two of us with our 4 teenagers, we booked late in the year and were struggling to find anywhere that was within walking distance of the resort. I have stayed in 3 star apartments before..as long as it is comfortable and clean and provides what you need that is all that matters and that was what I was expecting. Booked with Monarch though this was immediately confusing. No sooner had I paid them £1000 I was told I would receive a detailed email regarding the villa and its location 2 weeks before our holiday. Oh and despite paying Monarch, my confirmation email advised me that the contract was with the owner or their agent so lord knows who I booked with (think Vilamoura Villas are the agent). We had flights to book 3 of us from the north, 3 of us from the south as well as transfers to arrange.I made a number of phonecalls and found that check in was either 3pm or 4pm & checkout either 10am or 11am. The key would either be in a keysafe at the property or pick up from the office. There would be a E200 cash deposit to pay directly to the owner which might be returned at the airport. So I set about booking a very early flight just in case I had to roam around Vilamoura on Saturday looking for an office which of course presented us with a problem about hanging around till check in and with our baggage. Well one week before the trip we got an email telling us that the property has a key safe and check in is 4pm and check out strictly 10am. Ho hum. So a lot of hanging round at the airport in store. I emailed back with a number of questions and the concierge advised that we would be able to drop our baggage off at the villa and either base ourselves round the pool or explore the area but we musn't get in the way of cleaners. This was great news. On arrival our transfer driver (Yellowfish - highly recommend this local company) could not find it. Villa Canto is not showing anywhere on the property - a rummage through the papers and the no 37B20 enabled him to find it. Well the arrival was a bit worrying. Washing hanging on an airer, people in the pool, doors open... have we been double booked? The cleaner was there. We rang through to Monarch who did not know what was going on. The cleaner rang someone who told us that the previous guests had arranged a later checkout. The previous guests came to see us and said they had paid to stay until 2pm We decided to take our chances and leave our baggage under the stairs and head off. We asked how the occupants had found their stay and a lady said they had had a few issues (they had booked with Thomson). She showed me the cutlery draw that contained black things. I screamed thinking they were insects. A discussion ensued that decided they were droppings from vermin. However the lady did say considering they were surrounded by greenery they had not been bothered by insects at all. We found the same and all my repellants were unnecessary and unused (and forgotten - left them in a kitchen drawer). We came back later and everyone had left and we used the keysafe to access the villa. Well we had a look round. The living room was lovely (a few modern prints from Ikea would make this a very contemporary room but they have gone with gilt framed bird pictures. The kitchen a bit shabby. Very modern dishwasher with a filthy filter that I cleaned myself (I had taken a dishwasher cleaner along). The pool however was filthy. The bottom right corner near the green looked like it had an oil slick on it. You could not see the bottom and it was covered in greenery. We called Monarch who arranged for the cleaner to come. Apparently he had been earlier but was unable to clean it due to the previous guests still using it! I checked the kitchen drawers. The black things were gone but most of them were covered in crumbs. The next occupants after me should have found the kitche n as clean as it is ever going to be. I spent ages cleaning them all out with the dettox wipes I had brought along. A groove in the marble worktop, I cleaned out with my nails and the wipes. I then put all the cutlery in the dishwasher. In all honesty I do not think the black things were to do with vermin. Probably some kind of seed but it was a shaky start. The pool cleaner came back and removed some greenery and stuck a hosepipe in the pool. Suddenly he was gone. It did not look any better. We were back on the phone again. To be honest all hell broke lose. My partner was getting fobbed off on the phone. The agents rep came and tried to tell us the pool was fine when it looked like pond water. The pool cleaner came 3 times in all. I think eventually he put a load of chlorine in it. I do not know if the previous guests had virtually doused it in sun oil and used it as a toilet or if it had not really been properly cleaned for ages. I can tell you that by the next day and when we left a week later it was pristine. The way to check is go upstairs to the balcony of the front bedroom and compare next doors pool to this one. This villa is semi detached not detached. We could hear a baby crying at night when it was occupied but that does not bother me. If you had other noisy neighbours anytime might be an issue. So it took a full day to sort the pool so we could not use it till morning. Monarch refunded us one day of our holiday for this as we kicked up so much fuss that our kids should have been able to use the pool from 4pm. Oh and the mouse droppings, filthy drawers, dishwasher and black mould on the kitchen wall which the cleaner came back and simply wiped off. There are 2 twin rooms and a double upstairs each with a bathroom. The twin rooms were pleasant as were the bathrooms with actual baths. The upstairs double has a terrace. No table or chairs. A concrete bench covered in bird muck and round the corner a wooden seat but sometimes the aircon drips on you there. Previous guests had left a beer bottle with fag butts in it that the cleaner clearly missed. There is also a washing line here and a good drying area. The bathroom of the upstairs double was very unorthodox. The toilet behind the basin is very hard to get too. The shower has a high step and a shabby curtain, white but yellowing at the bottom and some chipped tiles on the corner near where you have to squeeze through to reach the loo. The shower has a built in bidet. Not something I have seen before and we did not use it this way. The pillows on this bed were awful little square hard things. So uncomfortable. Ended up taking some from the downstairs bedroom which were much better. Bedroom curtains were ugly but effective. Navy blue bedspread had a pink stain on it - could have been bleach not really sure. Sheets were white and pristine. All 4 bedrooms had aircon. I often used the shower in the downstairs bedroom which was over the bath. Bath slightly narrow when standing in it, another shabby curtain and a lot of water went onto the floor. On the first night we had plenty of hot water but with six of us showering in the morning and evening sometimes we ran out of an evening. Not sure if it was solar or a boiler but it was very hot weather so not a big deal. The terrace by the pool was nice. Plenty of sun loungers. A little plastic table or 2 by these would not have gone amiss. There was minimal information in the villa. Nothing about the resort, no instructions about anything includng the pool eg. let your sun lotion dry and take a quick shower before using it. The shower by the pool covered in ivy as others have mentioned. Cleaner came randomly eg the second day then 2 days later usually between 9 and 10 when we were not up. Still I had cleaned the important things. Towels wafer thin - one actually had worn down to holes. No more toilet roll was provided and we had to ask for new towels. The fridge was not great. Not to the point of worry but it was very hot there (40) so to get drinks properly chilled it was best to put them in the freezer first.

We were only provided with one set of keys. The only notice about the house is about losing the keys and the E50 charge. Well what did we go and do. Teenager decides to use the loo just as we are leaving and closes the door with the key in it. When I ring Monarch (lucky they were in my phone already due to initial problems or I don't quite know who we would have called as all the info is indoors) well we were told that if the key is in the door the maintenance people may have to break in and we will be charged for the damage. He came within 15 minutes and although the key was in the door he was able to open it with his. Phew. And he would not take any money. I cannot fault Monarch and once the pool was cleaned (and other things I did myself) we enjoyed our stay but our initial impressions were really bad.

I found the rubbish and recycling point very handily located straight over the road.

As I said the location is great and you have hopefully paid somewhat less than average to stay here. If the pool is clean along with the other things I mention, you will find the place to be fine. It reminded me in many ways of many average Turkish homes, I have lived in a few in my life when formerly married.

What is a real shame is that it would only take a few little touches to bring the place up to scratch.

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