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What do you look for in a holiday cottage?

(112 Posts)
WetAugust Sat 27-Jul-13 19:56:13

What do you look for when booking a holiday cottage?

Old / new building?

How important is parking directly outside?

How far would you travel to a beach?

Rural or in a town?

Garden or walled courtyard?

Is downstairs bathroom acceptable?

Minimum number of bedrooms?

Stylish interior or would basic be acceptable?

Anything else?

Location for me is everything. I’m thinking of Cornwall (west / north coast) or Pembrokeshire – probably a bucket and spade holiday if you have children.

It’s not about booking a ‘dream cottage’ just about separating the must haves from the desirables - the sort of cottage you have booked or would book.

Thank you.

FriskyHenderson Sat 27-Jul-13 21:03:53

Off street parking
Enclosed garden
Dishwasher and washing machine
Downstairs toilet
Upstairs bathroom
All bedrooms on same floor
On Tesco delivery route.

I hate carpets in bathrooms and lots of niknaks on shelves/ornaments on tables.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Jul-13 21:07:06

I'm surprised at the "no pets allowed" been so important for people. Is this due to allergies or worry about the cottage been smelly?

I hate to tell you but a lot of cottages that say "no pets allowed" if you ring up and ask nicely if you can bring one small, well behaved dog that won't be allowed on the furniture they agree to it. Normally charge a bit extra for "extra" cleaning.

NotGoodNotBad Sat 27-Jul-13 21:07:51

No smoking.

Washing machine.

If it's more than a couple of days I like separate bedrooms for the kids rather than a twin room, even if it means small bedrooms. And as someone else said, no sofa beds.

Stylish. Doesn't have to be expensive but I hate nylon floral bedding. Not wild about laminate floors with leather sofas either. Cosy is nicer.

Somewhere to eat (having stayed in one with a kitchen/living room where the only place to eat was sitting on the sofa).

Quiet, so we prefer house to flat.

Don't care if it's right by the beach or not, but we're not great beach people.

Parking somewhere, doesn't have to be off-road.

Once we took bikes and having somewhere we could put them securely was essential.


Enough kitchen equipment - it's a bit miserly to have just 4 knives, 4 forks etc. if the house is for 4 people. You end up washing up constantly.

starfishmummy Sat 27-Jul-13 21:09:50

Yes yes to the loo rolls!! We arrived last year to find only an almost empty roll, luckily I had one with us.

SpringyReframed Sat 27-Jul-13 21:10:28

Good quality, comfortable beds. I once went to a cottage that had a bed in the master bedroom so bad I ended up sleeping in a chair all night and we left early. I really dont know how you would check this out in advance though. It put me off cottages in the UK for life!

Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 21:11:55

We rent a cottage every year, usually in Devon. At least 50% of the time we travel with either my mother or my inlaws. So we need at least 4 bedrooms and have rented 5 before.

A good fitted kitchen is a must. With dishwasher and large fridge. If you are staying with 5-7 people, you need a large fridge! I will not rent a place without a washing machine, and try very hard to not rent one without a dryer. We travel by train and there is no way to take enough clothes with us.

Wifi is a must for any place we rent, and we expect at least a basic sky package. There must be at least two bathrooms for the number of people we bring. Preferably three. We would never rent a place with only one.

These are the must haves.

The thing that would make us chose one similar place over another would be location. For us, that means accessible by train. Walkable to beach and local shops. But this will vary for everyone.

Bonus for us is a garden, a good coffee maker, and not having to bring our own towels.

thegraduand Sat 27-Jul-13 21:13:40

We book a lot of holiday cottages, essentials are:
- off street parking
- garden for DD to play in
- dishwasher, and decent quality (i.e. all clean and functional) kitchen
- walking distance of somewhere to buy milk and bread, walking distance from put a bonus
- if we are going somewhere coastal like Devon I like to be as near to the beach as possible, clearly less of an issue in the Yorkshire Dales
- would want TV, preferably DVD player as well

JollyHolidayGiant Sat 27-Jul-13 21:15:08

Yup, Viva , due to allergies. The best I can do to prevent allergies is to look for places with no pets allowed, and as you say even that is not guaranteed to help.

valiumredhead Sat 27-Jul-13 21:16:08

I end up just googling 5 star cottages, seems to tick all our boxes.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sat 27-Jul-13 21:19:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thechildrensparkle Sat 27-Jul-13 21:19:39

Surely the basics are:

decent tv with decent reception
good beds
good reception area
well equipped kitchen
dishwasher, washing machine, barbecue area
heating outside season
bathroom per two bedrooms and an additional bog
safe garden with no rivers, water features, etc.
good security
parking space
spotless on arrival

We make sure there are a couple of dishwasher tablets, a new bog roll in every bog, a hand soap, a mini washing up liquid and there have never been any complaints. We aren't on site and have stopped providing towels because sadly, even in top end properties, they disappear. Sadly so do other items which is why a deposit and an inventory check are essential. The odd teaspoon is irrelevant but it really irks me if there are 60 dishwasher tablets in the store and after a 14 day holiday there are two left. the occupants didn't do a lot of washing-up they were petty thieves. I wouldn't mind if they tried to nick something decent but to stoop so low.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sat 27-Jul-13 21:19:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thefemaleJoshLyman Sat 27-Jul-13 21:20:26

We have just come back from a cottage, my requirements are in the front of my mind.

washing machine
spotlessly clean
comfy decent sofas
parking for 2 cars - off road
walking distance of shops, pub, beach
toilet rolls - went to one once where we travelled by public transport and could not carry our own, none in the cottage and late so all shops closed.
decent shower
towels and sheets provided

double and twin
bath and decent shower
decent bath mats!
bathroom with window
high chair, potties, small range of toys/books
stair gates on dangerous staircases

Could go on...

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sat 27-Jul-13 21:20:38

Dishwasher, washing machine and wifi are nn. Comfortable sofas and wideish beds are also big issues (nothing worse than standard doubles- I'd rather be in twins).

Ideally not the stairs that are more like a ladder as my kids are toddlers.

Ideally a separate shower but shower over bath also okay. Washing hair with hand held thing over feature freestanding bath = tiresome.

Not bothered about parking off road so long as I can park easily.

Decent kitchen equipment. Really pees me off when all the knives are blunt and there's no sieve.

Cremolafoam Sat 27-Jul-13 21:21:50

We pretty much always stay in Apartmemts on city breaks and my must have list is:
Proper curtains that actually close and block out light
A balcony
A cafetiere or some way of making decent coffee.( deal breaker )
A kettle( often not found in France )
A supermarket within waking distance
No more that 10 mins on public transport to centre or interesting bit of city.
Easy access to airport or collect at airport service( they are good at this in Italy and Eastern Europe)
Ability to pay for appt via PayPal .

For rural properties:
No requirement to drive everywhere
A pub within walking distance that does food
An open fire
A minimum of personal 'stuff' ( ornaments and quirky shit)
Warm in winter
Cool in summer
Lack of owners close by( I hate the feeling if being watched)
A viewgrin

Thurlow Sat 27-Jul-13 21:23:40

Not bunkbeds - I'm sure for most families that writes a whole bed off.

Not too many nick-nacks and ornaments, just something homely, clean and a little modern. A decent kitchen too.


A bit of a garden.

And at the moment, very close to the beach and a shop.

Amazing how hard it is to put into words, but then you end up looking through hundreds of homes and none of them are right!

MousyMouse Sat 27-Jul-13 21:26:54

pet free
secure garden with patio
bedding and linen that doesn't smell of damp
in walking distance of a corner shop/farmshop
no ornaments, simple easy to clean design
proper beds (not the upholsterynonesense)
dishwasher/microwave/washing mashine/clothes airer
off street parking close by
beach/town/points of interest in walking distance
heating that works

MousyMouse Sat 27-Jul-13 21:28:26

yep, no bunkbeds. too dangerous for many dc.
wifi is nice but mobile phone reception more important.

cece Sat 27-Jul-13 21:30:36

These are the things I look for when I am looking for somewhere to book. No particular order.

parking near property - prefer off road
washing machine
no. of beds to suit my party
location - able to walk to pub and beach - or short drive to beach acceptable
enclosed garden or outside space for kids to play in
price - within budget

I would say most of those are essentials, although I might compromise on one if all the others are in place.

Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 21:31:03

Adding to my previous list.

Another not negotiable for us is f the place only has double beds. I have three kids and I am putting them (even two of them) in the same bed. A mixture of bed types is most useful. And after a bad experience, we will never agin rent a place with metal framed bunkbeds. My kids like bunkbeds, but cheap metal framed ones squeak terribly. In the end we had to take the mattresses off and put the kids on the floor. Another bugbear with bunk beds is when they have a double at the bottom and a single on top and that is counted a three beds. Totally useless unless your kids share a bed.

And adding something said by others.......I would kiss the feet of the cottage owner that put in proper blackout curtains or black out blinds in the bedrooms and would probably come back year after year. We have yet to rent a place anywhere that did not have paper thin curtains, even in really expensive 5 star places. W have invested in and carry with us portable black out blinds but it is a total pain in the behind.

cece Sat 27-Jul-13 21:32:11

Oh and I would never knowingly hire a cottage with electricity meters.

mistlethrush Sat 27-Jul-13 21:35:01

You can get twins that zip up to create a large double - which adds flexibility in terms of accommodation. We would push a cottage with a king size or twins that are combinable (or even not combinable) above one with a standard sized bed.

dIshwasher very welcome
Washing machine nearly always used.

WiFi very useful.

Dogs allowed - no problem with restrictions on where they can go though.


Somewhere sunny to sit - garden doesn't need to be big as long as there's a sunny spot for tea drinking

Walking distance to pubs / tearooms /beach ideal but not essential.

Polyethyl Sat 27-Jul-13 21:35:54

This is reassuring to read. I've got a cottage in Pembrokeshire that ticks most of your lists (except we don't provide towels). I'd love to link to its website but that would probably be a breach of advertising etiquette.

I must say though - some tenants are bonkers about what they consider a well stocked kitchen. One lot demanded their entire money back because the kitchen lacked a garlic press. Another lot smashed every plate in the cottage and objected when we kept their deposit - aparantly a child rollerskating indoors into the welsh dresser constitutes fair wear and tear!

BoffinMum Sat 27-Jul-13 21:37:37

How would everyone feel about a cottage that ticked many boxes but had the master bedroom on the ground floor and two twins upstairs?

cece Sat 27-Jul-13 21:39:18

1 pint glasses - really annoys me when there are only small glasses.

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