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The evil that men do

 
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davhill



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Kendal, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:15 pm    Post subject: The evil that men do Reply with quote

Hello all,

I've just had three less than welcome guests in my Lake District cottage.

The first party was OK but in keeping with Cumbrian Cottage's rules I had two LED array-type torches, one for each bed. Or I used to have. Come departure day, the double bedroom torch was gone. So rather than £11 array torches, my guests now have 9-LED pound shop items. Two duvet covers have gone missing too.

The next lot left a whingeing review. The chap came and moaned that the local pub/restaurant wouldn't serve...on Saturday night, third week in August and no booking? Quel surprise. In their review, they moaned about 'personal effects' in the lounge Er, ornaments, board games, playing cards.

Lastly, the most recent left a 4/10 review, which I've put in below.

NB: The only grains of truth are yes, I forgot to put milk in the fridge, and blackout curtains are being made as I type.

I then emerged the day after they left to find my two-year old Motability car wearing a two-foot long scratch in the paint on the tailgate. Of course, I can prove nothing but the timescale/opportunity match perfectly.

No names, no pack drill but awareness helps...

The cottage was ideally situated for visiting the area around Windemere - particularly with the railway station only yards away (though there was no trouble with noise). However, whilst the kitchen was well equipped it was not very clean - particularly the fridge - and the carpets in the sitting room and bedroom were very dirty. I could not find a vacuum cleaner so was not able to clean them myself. The bathroom also needed a good clean before we felt comfortable using it. Half of the drawers in the bedroom were filled with personal effects so storage of clothes was a problem. There were also some dodgy looking wires associated with the wi fi hub. The bedroom curtain was very thin and it was difficult to sleep with the street light shining in all night.

There was an unpleasant smell in the cottage and unfortunately all the windows were locked so we could not get any fresh air into the cottage.

The local shop was very run down and poorly stocked but Kendal was not too far away for supplies. We have stayed in probably 30 cottages around the country over recent years and there has always been tea, coffee and milk supplied to settle you in after a potential long journey -there was nothing provided at Melmore stables apart from some Kendal mint cake and fudge.

It was quite disconcerting to hear the proprietor moving around in the room upstairs and yet not coming down to introduce himself. We actually left a day early as we had completed most of our planned trips and were not really comfortable in the cottage. This is the first time we have made any negative comments about any of the places we have stayed in before.
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Property owner in Burneside, Kendal, Cumbria
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1470
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That review is damning, I agree. Even if only half of it were true, I would feel insulted. From the list of complaints, what struck me particularly was the claim that the personal effects of others were found in the bedroom drawers. As a potential 'guest' reading the review, it would put me right off.

I think you will need to ask yourself how much of the review (if any of it) is true and put such faults concerning the accommodation right for the future. Personally, I don't think that review was intentionally malevolent.
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1778
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do say quite clearly on your website what you are providing, so the guests should not have been surprised.

Personally, as a guest, I could be quite concerned about the safety of the property as it appears that it is not an official conversion but rather doors have been had bolts put on and the two areas unofficially separated. Apart from the problem of noise between the floors, a locked door on a staircase appears to be removing an exit in the event of fire.
If it has been officially sanctioned, then it should be mentioned on your website to put guest's mind at ease.
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 1163
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the thing about reviews is the context. Is a poor review sandwiched in between very recent and dated good reviews which address the issues raised in the poor review?

If a matter is raised more than once, then it should be taken seriously. This is particularly true if it is about cleaning (I donít mean the sort of comments you see on 4 in a bed, when they get on a step ladder to run a finger along the ceiling light, but obvious cleaning issues)
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Drax



Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 132
Location: Yorkshire Dales

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ideally, from an owners point of view, it would be best if guests would leave any negative comments in a written note or email to the owner rather than leave them in the Visitors Comments Book for all to see. However having a Comments Book in our holiday cottages is a 'warts and all' risk we all take. I must admit after every time our guests have left, the first thing we look at is the comments book to check their reviews.
Reading this guest's comments is pretty damning, you do need to go through his list of complaints regarding your cottage and if they are correct then rectify them ASAP.
I also note that they state the windows were locked. Is there a need to keep windows locked? (Apart from anything else I am thinking of fire regulations.)
Perhaps you should also contact this guest, apologise for the faults they have listed and state that they have now been rectified.
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gardenboy



Joined: 02 Jul 2011
Posts: 281

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh dear, that review will kill your bookings. I looked at buying a cottage in windermere to let but I think the lakes is massively overpriced for what it is.

We had a family party in a classic lakes hotel, lovely but v expensive. Anyway garden girl on arrival immediately inspected bathroom and was straight onto reception re offending hair in bath.

Just address the reviews in a positive way.
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davhill



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Kendal, Cumbria

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your comments.

The essence of this review is that it was becoming personal and has ony two elements of truth in it.

Tea and coffeee were provided, the window lock key was
on the kitchen windowsill, the vacuum cleaner was in the living room (the one with the new carpet) and the bedroom carpet
was cleaned with a pro wet vac a month ago. I personally cleaned the bathroom - it was not in any way dirty - and the so-called personal effects were guest towels. This left two full width drawers, two half drawers and the whole of the single wardrobe for storage.

yes, for once, I forgot the milk. Someone else had complained about the curtains admitting light - they're being blackout lined as I type.

And what difference does my not introducing myself make? My car lives right in front of the house and I used it every day during the guests' stay. I also take no responsibility for the state of the local shop. It's a corner shop and there are two huge supermarkets within three miles.

As was said, the arrangements are made utterly clear on my website and on Cumbrian Cottages. In my view, this reveiw is malicious and what happened to my car was rather too coincidental.

In any case, I'll be letting long term for the winter and reopening for holidaymakers in May.
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CSE



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 4243
Location: Galicia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to ask this. But what is it with the Brits and carpeted bathrooms? Mildew, mould and many other types of harmful bacteria can build up as a result of prolonged moisture exposure in a bathroom.
Introducing ones self is normal. Unless you live off site.
If you have no partition between yourself and the guests. Maybe consider adding one before re-letting.
Are personal items normally found in the let?. If so why not invest in a shed or more cupboards in your own section to store these items?
In the end it is your business and more reviews like that, truthful or not will see your income dive.
Hope your winter let goes well for you.
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davhill



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Kendal, Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

casasantoestevo wrote:
Sorry to ask this. But what is it with the Brits and carpeted bathrooms? Mildew, mould and many other types of harmful bacteria can build up as a result of prolonged moisture exposure in a bathroom.
Introducing ones self is normal. Unless you live off site.
If you have no partition between yourself and the guests. Maybe consider adding one before re-letting.
Are personal items normally found in the let?. If so why not invest in a shed or more cupboards in your own section to store these items?
In the end it is your business and more reviews like that, truthful or not will see your income dive.
Hope your winter let goes well for you.


Thank you for your thoughts Ian &Irene.

The shower room used to be carpeted but I put Vinyl flooring in last May.

I live on site and went past the ground floor every day. Do I blame my guests for not saying hello to me?

The separation between the upper and lower floors is like this. I live on the first floor above the lounge. The kitchen, bedroom and shower room are in the other half of the ground floor, beyond an 18-inch thick internal stone wall. There's a doorway to the porch/front door and another to the kitchen. In the corner of the lounge is a spiral staicase, with an exhibition rope and 'Private' plaque. At the top of the staircase, the door to my room is bolted. A partition is an impossibility without serously compromising the lounge space. In the 13 other lets this year, nobody else has complained about hearing me.

The guests considered their towels as 'personal effects'. In the lounge, there are ornaments, and books, games and playing cards for guests to use. I could store these in the loft.
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1778
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

davhill wrote:
Tthe window lock key was
on the kitchen windowsill


Do you just have one key for all the windows? If so, I would suggest you get more cut so that there is one in each room where there is a locked window. In the event of fire at night, your guests might need to escape via the bedroom windows.

If all the windows are kept closed, the property is likely to smell musty unless there are trickle vents. Is your property in a high crime area so that it is necessary for guests to lock the windows using window locks when they go out? I know insurers like window locks, but from experience, burglars just destroy the window frame and cause far more damage to the property if you have a window lock.
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7271
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an owner who lives in site I would suggest you meet your guests at some point, if only to say hello. People are curious and having a 'stranger' above them may be disconserting for some. It also adds the personal touch. As you are there constantly, then they could speak with you over any issues they have.

If you don't want to do a formal meet n greet then just let them know you'll give them a knock on your way past to say hello....and also say, if they'd prefer, you could leave them alone but supply your number for emergencies. Are you on whatsapp? That then allows you to filter out the people who prefer to know you.

To be honest, and this is just me, I like to feel ive met our guests so when they see me out and about they know who I am.

Mousie
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AppletreeGlamping



Joined: 26 Aug 2018
Posts: 18
Location: Wales

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just in terms of the window key complaint. I have cup hooks screwed into the edge of the window frame with a key on and have at least one in each room.

Makes things simple and are easy to remove and touch over the hole with a bit of glue if needed in the future
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AppletreeGlamping



Joined: 26 Aug 2018
Posts: 18
Location: Wales

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh and I would remove any ornaments and put a little card on or in the drawer that says towels for guest use, or similarly worded so its clear they can be used
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