"Teething problems took the edge off expensive visit"


In fairness to Center Parcs my experience is unlikely to be mirrored by too many....I hope. The rating reflects how teething problems spoiled our break - and it is possible I would return when issues have been resolved. Loved the site but what should have been a 60th birthday treat weigh children and grandchildren was tarnished by the comings and goings of, admittedly, lovely, charming people to sort glitches in our less than cheap executive lodge with games room and sauna.

We arrived to a pungent smell throughout ground floor of our lodge which it is hard to believe wasn't picked up during cleaning. Smelt like human excrement. Vile. Turned out the kitchen sink was blocked and once maintenance removed it the stink disappeared soon afterwards. Unfortunately the lodge was very cold and despite efforts to manipulate the thermo we couldn't raise the temps beyond 60f. Again maintenance looked at it but we had to resort to buying £10 pack of logs from the parc shop to keep us warm while we waited in vain for the underfloor heating to kick in.

By the morning the 6 month old and two year old were shivering as the temp again refused to rise above 60f, in the downstairs area. Cue woolies - and that was for indoors. Once more logs and the fire were needed. This time the workmen adjusted the thermo to manual so we could finally get comfortable. They also replaced the trap under the sink. This is all in just 24 hours - and it didn't end there. The new trap starting leaking first time of use - cue mop up operation as water poured through. We were getting pretty fed up by now, having had numerous visits and there was the issue of the bedroom patio door that was off its roller and wouldn't shut.. So cold air coming through an open door. That too was sorted at some stage.

The theory is the heating hasn't really been tested because of the clement weather - and of course the accommodation is new. Scant consolation to us, though CP acknowledged the issues with a £50 eating out voucher which we accepted and used in the Sports Cafe (more later). Such a shame really, we were thrilled with the parc and the smaller swim dome eclipsed those at other Center Parcs. Attractions in the pool area were top notch and fair to say the staff and guest services employees everywhere were generally different class.

We spent £140 to eat lunch in the massively over-priced Sports Cafe - but the experience was underwhelming. We had to clear some of the many dirty tables ourselves then bits and bobs of our order turned up at various times and my own meal came cold.They took it away and it came back lukewarm. Doh. At the other end of the scale the fish fingers were ...burnt. Finally I got hot food at the third attempt - by which time the vegetables seemed microwaved to death. It wasn't busy but we had to ask three times for the kids' ice creams. Tiresome. Tedious. Poor service.

By the time we left, all problems were resolved but at the expense of marring our special family occasion. Who needs hassle? And at a such a high price? This is around my 50th review and I like to be fair and benevolent - check me out - but overall I struggled towards three stars for a very expensive experience that could actually have been first class. I like holidays where there is no need for contact with customer services. Center Parcs need to look at themselves - people won't put up with this. New site or not. Happy to answer any questions.

See the review on Tripadvisor.

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