Holiday homes - tell me about your loves & hates

(195 Posts)
gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 13:28:43

Hello all!

So I'm in the middle of refurbishing my parent's old house for holiday lettings and I've just come across a slightly old thread (2009?) with mumsnetter's thoughts on the perfect holiday cottage. Which is incredibly helpful but I wondered if times might have moved on since then.

We're looking at an old (1760) house which should sleep 10 (6 beds, 3 baths). If you were looking for a family holiday in North Yorkshire, what would sell a house to you?

So far I've got on my list:

- good equipment for babies/toddlers (proper cot, highchair, stairgates, some toys)
- good beds! Nice linens. And enough sofas/dining room furniture for all
- a well equipped kitchen (not just the appliances but all the right glassware, cookware etc)
- Fireplaces/log burners with fuel and guards
- Wifi - as fast as we can make it given it's rural North Yorkshire
- MUST BE CLEAN. Properly clean.

Things I'm not so sure about:
- the house in the middle of a Capability Brown park. I could let visitors in there but there is a stream (about 100 meters from the house). How do people feel about open water and children?
- dogs. There is a secure garden and it would be a good place for a doggy holiday. But would it put you off if you're not a dog lover and you know there have been dogs there?
- spares. Yes, to foil, bulbs, firelighters, washing machine detergent, dishwasher etc. Anything else?
- bathrooms. Two upstairs and one (shower room) downstairs. I have the option to put an extra WC in downstairs? What do people think?

So what's your best and worst experiences in self catering? And how can I do better? I'd be so grateful for any ideas....

janethegirl2 Fri 27-Nov-15 13:32:15

Ensuite
Walk in shower suitable for people with mobility issues
Garden furniture incl BBQ
Near a pub
Reliable wifi

Thumbcat Fri 27-Nov-15 13:39:18

I like to have a dishwasher. I don't wash up at home so don't want to on holiday.

Some garden toys are handy for young children.

As long as it's clean I wouldn't mind that pets had been there, and the stream wouldn't be an issue as long as it was made clear before booking.

It's helpful to know which, if any, supermarkets would delivery a grocery shop and to have some menus for local takeaways and pubs.

I always appreciate the places where there's a bottle of wine waiting and a pint of milk in the fridge.

Seeline Fri 27-Nov-15 13:44:59

Ensuring that the cookware is big enough to cook for the number of guests - I hate having to cook for the family with a tiny frying pan and a saucepan that holds two potatoes!
Decent knives!
TV

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 13:45:29

Oh thank you folks.

Yes, garden furniture....got to get that sorted.

JaneTG2, that's a really good point about mobility issues! Sadly can't do ensuite without being hunted down by English Heritage but we do have a walk in shower room on the ground floor so something for those with limited mobility. If that's an issue are there other things to consider (like doorway width?).

Dishwasher, yes, yes. And washing machine - but how do people feel about tumble dryers?

Thumbcat, that's a great point about local supermarkets, I shall make sure that goes into the website.

Pico2 Fri 27-Nov-15 14:14:55

When I book a holiday cottage I look for:

Dishwasher (same reason as Thumbcat)

Super kingsize bed (we have one at home, anything else is small feeling). It can be useful for you to have a zip&link one so you can offer it as a twin.

No pets - DH is allergic

Wifi

When I'm there I appreciate having a few basics like dishwasher tablets and liquid hand soap in each loo. I also like decent kitchen equipment, often there aren't any sharp knives.

The best self catering place we've ever stayed in was the Bulebird in York. It was beautiful and so well thought out. Even down to the extra thick carpet underlay which made the carpets feel so soft.

Pico2 Fri 27-Nov-15 14:15:43

I'm not fussed about a tumble dryer as we don't normally do washing on holiday.

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 14:23:16

Pico that place is stunning. Real wow factor. And it's part of a scheme my dad worked on when he was an architect so added sentimental impact for me.

I'll see what I can pinch from their fixtures list ;-)

Re: super king beds. We will have two sets of zip links which will make up to super kings. They are 6'3" - do you ever wonder about length? (oo-eer).

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 14:24:11

And I know what you mean Seeline...I've stayed in holiday homes where it looks like the kitchen equipment is designed for another house entirely!

Pico2 Fri 27-Nov-15 15:01:16

Yes, DH is 6'4" so our super king is 6'6". But he can rough it for a few nights on a 6'3" bed wink.

One of the hardest things is actually finding out from a website whether a holiday let fits the bill. I've never seen one specify the bed length. Often the website doesn't tell you the size of the beds and larger search sites like cottages4you don't have the option to search for 'no dogs allowed' or bed size.

A really good website with full details of what's there and what is included would be really helpful. Even if it's just so I know to pack a pepper mill.

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 17:16:06

Actually I think you're onto something there, Pico. For example, I'm talking to English Country Cottages to act as a marketing agent for our place. Their site has a fixed format which doesn't go anywhere near the detail I think a lot of people need. But when I suggest that it links to my website, where I have all the space needed to go into excrutiating highly interesting detail about the house, they shy like startled horses.

I think they are worried I will accept bookings on my own account, which is totally not my intention!

Ferguson Fri 27-Nov-15 19:50:02

Pretty SAD that wifi is on people's list; I thought the whole POINT of a holiday was to get away from things like that!

The Landmark Trust - that has THE BEST holiday homes in the UK - deliberately doesn't have TV, so people can really 'get away'.

wannabestressfree Fri 27-Nov-15 19:56:14

We will trial it for you smile

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 20:09:23

Haha! Wannabestressfree, I'm already thinking about potential Guinea pigs, but funnily enough there always seems to be volunteers for that job grin

We could turn wifi off...I think it's important to remember that it is optional. And people don't have to use it for work - leisure options are availablesmile

seb1 Fri 27-Nov-15 20:10:10

Gizmo, we stayed recently in a holiday home with a super comfy bed so I had a look at the make, it was from here very comfy and looks good value HTH

AgentProvocateur Fri 27-Nov-15 20:14:40

I'd like a dishwasher, choice of feather/no feather bedding (allergies), a decent coffee machine - either a haggis or a pod one with plenty of pods. And I'm sorry, but I'd always go for a no dogs allowed property.

AgentProvocateur Fri 27-Nov-15 20:15:12

A gaggia, not a haggis!

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 20:21:33

...adds haggis to list...

hmm

magimedi Fri 27-Nov-15 20:29:30

I'm with Pico - DH is 6'6" so need to have a decent sized bed & need to know that it doesn't have a bottom rail (many do).

A comfortable bed is number one priority followed by towels that are not the size of a postage stamp. DH is tall & super skinny & I am reasonably tall & not super skinny. I want a decent sized bath towel that will wrap round my large norks & size 16 body & come down to my knees - not leave half my arse hanging out.

I am not bothered by knives as always take my own, even if decent knives are supplied they won't be sharp.

I like to have basic cleaning stuff so that I can leave the place looking reasaonable at the end of my stay. SO, J cloths, multi purpose cleaning spray, bleach, washing up liquid. And plenty of tea towels.

Not fussed about a coffee machine but a decent cafetiere is good to have.

I also love to have a flat top sheet for the bed, in case of the strange happening of some heat!

Fluffy24 Fri 27-Nov-15 20:35:13

I wouldn't worry about whether there had been dogs in the property per se, but I'd perceive a property that dogs were permitted might not be in as nice condition, I.e. the nice places wouldn't want dogs and the more tired-looking ones might not be so bothered IYSWIM

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 20:36:50

This is soooo interesting...I know beds are important but it's amazing how much difference the little details make!

Sounds as if I need to be able to offer a few bedding options, even if they are spares stored in baskets under beds or something.

Seb, I've been looking at Linx because they are known as very good contract beds but it's good to hear a vote of confidence.

I shall definitely be looking for big towels. And a good coffee machine (DH won't let me get away without one of those). Knives are trickier because people tend not to look after them very well and I don't think our cleaning team will have much time to spend sharpening them. But I guess if we buy good quality and try to do a mid season maintenance, they make make it.

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 20:37:57

Sorry, might make it.

RomComPhooey Fri 27-Nov-15 20:42:24

Sofas you can lie down on after the kids have gone to bed. It is an unspoken rule with DH that this is the mark of a comfortable cottage. Best to have washable covers (with spares for turnaround days), especially if you are going to allow dogs. We are sworn off cottages that allow dogs since the last 2 cottages we stayed in had 'doggy' smelling sofas.

If you have dogs, make sure the cleaning is deep and thorough as we ended up having to buy scented candles and air freshener in the last cottage we stayed in. We loved the property but won't return because of it - the doggy people won't notice, but the non-doggy people will.

A dryer is likely to be popular with families travelling with small children/babies or people who've flown in from abroad, as they may have limited baggage and need to 'recycle' outfits during their stay. The British weather is not guaranteed!

We love a proper roll top bath, but for Gods sake don't use coir on the floor like our last cottage did - nightmare when the kids were splashing around.

I have more but the kids need bathing - back later.

gizmo Fri 27-Nov-15 20:48:38

Can I just say I love your name!

The dog issue is obviously a serious one. I've not had one vote in favour so far. To be fair I'm confident in my cleaning team (not least 'cos I'm part of it!) and I could try to restrict dogs to the kitchen and one sitting room with tiled floors. So I wouldn't expect there to be residue, but that might not be good enough if you have allergies for example.

MyHouseToday Fri 27-Nov-15 20:50:37

Just as was said above about size of pots and pans, make sure there is sufficient crockery. So you don't have to run the dishwasher / wash up after a round of drinks. Stayed in a cottage last summer which had 4 of everything, that was a bit depressing hmm. Not helped by the worst and coldest Auggust weather on record, make sure you make a deal with the weather conditions grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now