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Thursday, 8 September 2011

CoLJ 14 - The Conifers is O.T.T.

During our trip to the United Kingdom we stayed in The Conifers, in Broadholme, near Lincoln for two one week periods, interspersed by our visits to Herefordshire and the Yorkshire Dales. We needed to visit Lincoln twice for business reasons.

As a **** rated accommodation the property was clean, except for the crumbs left in the electric toaster, and contained all the facilities that one would expect. In fact it contained far more equipment than needed for a holiday rental cottage and I doubt if much of the excess was actually used.

The interior space was smaller than anticipated to the point of giving the feeling of being cramped. Although the cottage website makes reference to the steep stairs to the upper floor nothing can prepare visitors for exactly how steep the staircase is and how narrow the step treads are. Parts of the fabric of the building are looking tired and in need of attention. There is a considerable sign of the effects of damp to the paintwork on one of the walls in the bedroom, and a small amount in the lounge.

Not only is there the unnecessary amount of kitchen equipment but there is an unnecessary quantity of instructions of dos and do nots in each of the rooms. So many in our (Natalie and I) opinion to the point of being non-user friendly in so much as it felt we were an inconvenience by using the property.

I've mentioned the bread crumbs left in the electric toaster which is ironic because there is an instruction that after using the toaster the tea towel found on top of it is to be replaced after each time the toaster is used. It seems it doesn't matter if it is full of old crumbs as long as the tea towel is in position when the toaster is not in use.

When we first entered the cottage the blinds on the lounge and kitchen windows were pulled down, and the curtains in the bedroom and the bathroom were drawn making the interior even dark than it already is with them open, to protect the furnishings from the sun. As can be seen in the notice on the lounge window sill it is permissible to open the blinds when inside the cottage, that's good to know

In the lounge there are several other 'Polite Notice' including one referring to the use of the dinning table. Perhaps it would be better not to have put a "William Bartlett Strongbow mahogany dining table (retailing in excess of £600)" in a holiday rental property. It would save having another laminated notice.

On a similar line of thought perhaps it might have been better not to have installed an antique looking and fragile “classy French style console hand basin”, that the owners are so concerned may get damaged, that yet another notice is printed, laminated and prominently displayed. Only our desire to maintain our personal hygiene persuaded us to tempt fate and use the sink. Unfortunately the glass fibre bath alongside doesn't quite match the image created by the delicate basin.

Too much of the limited storage space in the cramped cottage was taken up by items of the owners for ongoing storage. In the bedroom the result being that we could not unpack the majority of our clothes from our suitcases. There was no drawer space in the bedroom and of the two wardrobe spaces one was completely full of owners items.

Overall our experience at 'The Conifers' was not satisfactory. This was because of the lack of space and we felt the owners, with the deluge number of polite notices throughout the property made the atmosphere feel non-user friendly. We felt uncomfortable in the cottage. Had we not already reserved and paid for our second week stay, and needed to be in the vicinity of Lincoln, we would have chosen an alternative location for the last week of our UK visit.

In my opinion the owners of 'The Conifers' have gone over the top, with the amount of polite notices and the unnecessary excess of equipment and owner storage in the cottage, to the detriment of customer comfort. The continual use of the expression "Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation" becomes galling!

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