Advantages Helpful before you arrive
Disadvantages Unhelpful when a dispute needs resolving. Must have honest reviews on the Sykes Cottages website.
We booked Dragon Hill Barn in Brassington in Derbyshire over the Christmas period last year. The listing and pictures seemed fine until we got there. Everything was as stated EXCEPT there was NO mobile reception in the village or landline in the cottage. A basic yet essential requirement in any emergency, in my opinion. Sykes seemed to disagree and said that it wasn't a legal requirement to declare this on the website listing. However seeing as most people own a mobile phone yet there was no reception, I feel that the owner should at least provide a payphone or some emergency information in the cottage handbook. In addition to this we had problems with the storage heaters. One was faulty and the others hadn't been switched on in advance of our arrival. The housekeeper had left fresh flowers and a box of biscuits but hadn't thought of switching on the heaters despite us providing them with a time of arrival. Needless to say the cottage didn't warm up until the next morning so our first evening was extremely cold and uncomfortable. The woodburning stove had enough wood to last us that first night. Extra wood had to be purchased. We complained the next day and the owner refused to believe we had such an experience. He would not even give a partial refund. Sykes stepped out of the dispute did nothing, simply advising us to resolve the matter direct with the owner. So instead of a week, we packed up and left after just one day. Our Christmas was spoilt and Sykes the cottage owner pocketed the remaining money. To this day I'm totally disgusted that neither Sykes nor the owner had done anything to rectify the situation. We left an honest review on the Sykes website and as we expected, it was never published so don't be fooled by the rave reviews...they're only a handpicked selection. If you book with Sykes, check and check again. It's easy to assume such facilities are in place, after all they're a basic requirement but I wouldn't want anyone to go through a similar experience.
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