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Do you really want fluffy towels and new linens? What are your limits with country holiday lets?

(278 Posts)
cottageinthecountry Wed 19-Feb-14 22:00:16

I'm about to renovate a cottage for letting out for holidays. It's in a very rural position and can withstand a lot of wear and tear regarding mud and wildlife. I'm letting it out on Airbnb which has been great but I'm quickly getting drawn into the competitive linen game.

It's a great place for children and pets to charge about in the mud and I'm almost certain this will be brought into the house on a regular basis - it's rural position is its charm. But how do I market something so that people don't expect it to be spotless as a spa resort and give me bad ratings and disgruntled reviews?

I would be grateful if you could tell me what you prefer - a bit of mud and insect life or a spotless haven? What are your boundaries?

Capitola Wed 19-Feb-14 22:03:32

Weeeell - I would only rent somewhere that had flash bathrooms, high thread count linen and luxurious towels, with lots of photos to back it up.

Experience has taught me that if these details are OK, the rest of the place will be good too.

But I realise that I am fussy grin

TwelveLeggedWalk Wed 19-Feb-14 22:05:05

I would expect any mud and dirt brought into the property to be brought in by me and my family, and for it to be spotlessly clean on arrival. Even if things aren't my taste, I can't bear accommodation that feels grubby.

So hard floors that can be steam mopped between tenants, good dirt trapping door mats, boot racks and coat hooks to encourage people to keep the mud contained, and a thorough scrubbing between lets. Wipeable walls too if you welcome children and pets, maybe white so you can slosh some more paint up if you have to.

RE linen/towels I would say buy easy care cotton, either darker taupes that won't stain if a wet dog lands on it, or whites and get bleaching.

cottageinthecountry Wed 19-Feb-14 22:07:15

OK Capitola but as a customer using a place with high thread count linen etc, do you not ever feel overly concerned about messing it up? If the dcs are charging about in the mud will you ensure that they keep the place clean? I've had people say they sometimes prefer a more relaxed level of rustic charm as they can then relax themselves.

ChristmasAlreadyOver Wed 19-Feb-14 22:08:14

We are in a rural let this week. We expect it to be spotless. We arrive back each day with dirty boots which are removed in the porch and let on the racks provided.

We look for lets with a washing machine and dryer, lots of boot storage and a drying room.

But it MUST be spotless.

mousmous Wed 19-Feb-14 22:09:53

as long as the linen and towels can be boil washed between uses (100% cotton) I'm not too fussed.
ikea stuff is fine. plenty of it. especially during mud season.

cottageinthecountry Wed 19-Feb-14 22:11:05

Thanks Twelve. It's a very old rustic cottage that just looks grubby because it's old. I think I might laminate the dining are as the original boards are shot with woodworm. The main front room is old terracotta tiles, probably around 400 years old and they always look grubby/rustic.

TheDayOfMyDoctor Wed 19-Feb-14 22:11:08

I've stayed in a rustic, relaxed gite a few times, and it is always completely immaculate on arrival. The bathroom is pristine. If it wasn't I wouldn't have gone back.

Capitola Wed 19-Feb-14 22:11:56

Nope - we rent only naice places and we leave them totally gleaming. And we always get thankful feedback to that effect.

Rustic charm would undoubtedly be OK for some though, just not for me.

I think the nicer the place, the more care renters take with it.

pootlebug Wed 19-Feb-14 22:12:21

I expect somewhere I rent to be spotless when I arrive. Whether it is rural or city, hotel, B&B or cottage.

We've washed high thread count linen weekly for ages and it's fine - why would it be any different in a holiday cottage?

Thesebootsweremadeforwalking Wed 19-Feb-14 22:12:49

Rural should not mean grubby IMO. If I rented a dirty cottage with threadbare linen for my rare and hard-earned holiday I would not be impressed.

mousmous Wed 19-Feb-14 22:13:22

agree with posters above.
places must be spotless and the bedding must not smell of mothballs or damp cupboards.
go for hollow fibre bedding that can be washed. get matress protectors (and a fleece blanket to put over it so it doesn't feel sweaty and plasticky).

cottageinthecountry Wed 19-Feb-14 22:13:37

Mousmous when you say Ikea do you mean cheap Ikea or fluffy Ikea?

Roseformeplease Wed 19-Feb-14 22:13:51

We rent out a seaside beauty and get 45 weeks a year. We use "Out of Eden" who supply the hotel industry and their towels last 2/3 years. We use blue, not white.

But, it HAS to be spotless. No grime anywhere. Cooker clean and grease free. No dust. Bathrooms spotless. Beds made. No cracks, broken things, light bulbs blown. Everything perfect. It doesn't have to be the highest quality. We use a mix of IKEA, John Lewis and odd bits and pieces but it has to be clean. People arrive and go, "Aah, lovely" and then give you no trouble. If they arrive and find a pube in the shower, they will then work to uncover any other flaws.

Market it using rustic, rural, charming - not luxury, perfect...

Allow dogs (2 times the number of bookings) have a travel cot and high chair. Have a wood burner or open fire. All these make a difference. Listen to feedback, act on it. Immediately offer refunds / apologies etc as your reputation is everything.

Look for family bookings. Post photographs of every room.

However, people don't want a holiday cottage anything less than their own home: they don't want 8 people queuing for one loo. They want everyone to have a plate, knife, fork, seat in front of the telly, dining chair etc.

My advice would be to not go down the sleeps 4/6 with a sofa bed either. Make it a comfortable 4 rather than a squeeze for 6. People forget they have saved money when they get there and just notice the lack of space.

Pm me if you want more help. We have been in the game a long time. We also have a city centre place but have to have much more "boutique hotel" style furniture and fixtures and fittings - it is what is expected in the city.

Oh, and buy a really, really good Hoover.

cottageinthecountry Wed 19-Feb-14 22:16:00

This is very interesting. I had a conversation with someone originally from Crouch End recently who told me that they love going away to a place where the kitchen is really old, there is no central heating and they have to take their own towels. She said it's cheap but they wouldn't go anywhere 'posh' because they would feel nervous about messing it up.

AwfulMaureen Wed 19-Feb-14 22:16:20

I have children...and not a lot of budget. I do not want sheets that I'm afraid of. Cotton is a must but not posh ones please.

Procrastinating Wed 19-Feb-14 22:16:31

I stay in lots of cottages. I like old floors, walls etc - the more rustic the better. But the linens, towels, kitchenware etc have to be good quality and spotless. In an old cottage a laminate floor would be a shame.

I don't worry about messing it up, the dc are housetrained and we wouldn't wear shoes in any house.

mousmous Wed 19-Feb-14 22:16:37

I mean simple ikea.
that can be washed but doesn't hurt too much to replace. and they come in cheerful colours which is nice for children.

Indith Wed 19-Feb-14 22:17:50

I have 3 small children.

I want comfy bed. pref a king size as that is what I have at home and frankly I don't want to go on holiday and sleep worse than I do at home.

I want a comfy sofa and space to chill once small ones in bed.

I want a well equipped kitchen. including a few bits for baking especially somewhere aimed at walkers so we can make cakes etc to come home to. dishwasher is good. waking machine is vital.

If linens provided then yes I want decent quality but I also rent plenty of places that don't provide them at all.

I want it to be clean. But not full of stuff I'll be afraid to let the children near for fear of getting it dirty.

my general tactic is to go on owners direct and find the cheapest place that looks half decent so tbh I don't have high standards, I just expect a clean comfortable home really not a 5 star hotel.

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 19-Feb-14 22:19:58

Well, Crouch End...says it all really. Pfff - what can you expect? grin

Goldmandra Wed 19-Feb-14 22:20:26

I'm straying in a rural let as I type with three children and two dogs.

The bedding is all beiges and the lovely thick towels are numerous and dark brown. There's a washing machine and stumble dryer which have been used daily due to the amount of mud - we are in Somerset.

There's an enormous coat rack, large hall with a good big mat and room for wellies in an outside porch.

I think I would have been twitchy about white bedding/towels, especially in the downstairs toilet and bedrooms. This would have made me more stressy with the children, especially when they come in off the trampoline which is making their clothes pretty grubby.

The cottage was beautifully clean when we arrived but, five days in, the wooden floors are ready for a good mopping.

Decent mattresses, spare bedding and plenty of towels in a clean, well equipped cottage are far more important to me than sparkling white cotton bedding when I have children and dogs here.

I'd have loved the high thread counts and brilliant white furnishings before I had children or pets.

Grennie Wed 19-Feb-14 22:21:49

It is actually really hard to find a good country cottage. It has to be spotless, have an open fire or log burner, and comfortable sofas. I hate looking at photos of a beautiful cottage only to see conservatory type furniture in the living room for example. Also a table with enough chairs for everyone.

Rooble Wed 19-Feb-14 22:22:00

Rural doesn't mean dirty! I would expect cotton bedlinen (not that bothered about super high thread count, but hate polycotton), immaculate everything upon arrival. Had the worst trip ever to somewhere rural in Switzerland (tellingly English owned and run) where we had to clean everything and re wash bedlinen and towels before we could unpack. As someone up thread said - it makes you spend the entire rest of your holiday looking for faults AND makes you disinclined to care if you damage anything.
Welly racks by the door should mean the interior doesn't get too muddy - shouldn't it?

KristinaM Wed 19-Feb-14 22:24:31

I agree with everything rose said

And would add that laminate flooring in a 400 year old cottage sounds horrid.

If you are welcoming pets you should provide dog towels and blankets for the sofas.

BobaFetaCheese Wed 19-Feb-14 22:30:12

If we're not with the children, I'd agree with Crouch End person. Muddy, cobwebby, lovely!

With a toddler and baby, it has to be modern and every surface so clean it's lick-able.

We went away (with a 20m old and a 6week old) in Sept to a holiday rent, it was 'ok', a lightbulb was blown in the side lamp, they'd not left the heating on before we got in so it was cold for an hour (not great with a baby), one of the two sofas was really old and needed restuffing and some of the provided baby toys were really grubby.
I can recall the negatives quicker than the positives.
Minor things, that I don't care about in my own home but when we're paying £1k for a week away I don't want anyone's second best.

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