Lets start this review with stating it is not written to just be fussy.
We booked a holiday cottage with family and friends between the ages of 55 -78 years and knew it is also a working farm.
On arrival we found the cottage open and the keys on the table as arranged with the keeper. We had arrived with shopping for a week and started to unload and found the cottage appeared virtually as described with a lovely location and amazing views over Cumbria.
On entering there was an unpleasant smell which we found came from the flip bin and fridge, so checked the bin that had a fresh bin liner but underneath was filthy with old food etc, we then had to clean both with our cleaning materials, which some of our party had earlier joked we would not need as they had stayed in numerous lets (not Sykes) and every one had been perfectly clean or immaculate.
We boiled the kettle to have a cup of tea and the mug and glass shelf was dirty and dusty and so were the cups and glasses, we started to clean these.
This cottage sleeps 10 and there was barely enough utensils for 5 particularly glasses for wine/beer etc.
Looking around the cottage it is large and full of character and went to prepare the log burner for later, this was full of ash and old partially burned logs and needed to be cleaned out, when it was lit the glass doors were black and you could not see the fire, so they were taken out the next day and cleaned.
This made us look further and found the microwave dirty decided on principle then to not use or clean it. We looked for a folder book for info on the Hot tub, heating etc normally left on the table and not one anywhere. When needing advice on the Hot tub & heating I contacted the owner/manager who was in Rome on Holiday and to contact her husband, we did so and he did his best to assist but was a busy farmer and did not normally sort these issues.
Hot tubs should allegedly be checked for chemical/germ levels daily, to our knowledge this was not done.
We went to make a cooked breakfast the next day and the grill did not work so no grill on a Holiday!!!! .
The oven was also dirty, at this point we would have liked to have addressed these issues but she was away in Rome.
3 of our party have serious mobility/pain conditions and decided to try to make the most of it, 1 of the party only just made it with her health and was not coming until a few days before, she was quite upset considering she was still not well and the state of the place with the price and description in the brochure.
The more we looked the more we found, dirt & dust that had been there months or years, I appreciate this is a let that allows dogs, but there was no dog smell or related grime other than muddy paw prints on the outside of the back door, not ours.
We found the washing machine that only worked sometimes and just filled with water other times, a box of their numerous bottles of cleaning liquids which initially amused us as they were full or virtually full and mostly covered in dust themselves, the cloths and dusters with them were filthy and dry as if someone had cleaned an old garage out and left them for ages. We understand its a working farm, but it is not a working Farm inside the cottage.
After a few days we used the Hoover that once started made the most foul smell (Not Doggy) just sour and horrible, this smell went all around the cottage.
Other areas needed cleaning, the sink & the kitchen windows.
The cottage is old so naturally quite dark, some bulbs were out and we found replacement bulbs but not the correct type, the kitchen lights were greasy and sticky with layers of dust stuck to it.
The Mattresses? and pillows are old and tired so by now we didn?t dare look under the sheets.
There is no clear simple sign at the front to state this is a Holiday cottage/rental and we were disturbed several times by delivery men and campers. This had been mentioned in the guest book previously. A simple sign stating "Holiday Cottage Please do not disturb guests, farm next door ( Arrow Right) & Phone number".
It sounds like we are looking for things to complain about but we were not they stared you in the face wherever you looked, so later took some photos, there would have been many more had we have taken them from day one before cleaning many parts for us to stay, this was also mentioned in their own guest book outlining cleaning issues.
The last morning preparing to leave I looked behind the bathroom radiator as I thought I had dropped my tablets but had not and noticed years of dust, 3 old toothbrushes and a pair of pink Knickers.
We totally get this is a rural Holiday let on a working Farm, but with just a proper regular cleaning regime would transform this place.
It needs a deep clean, a lick of paint, new bedding and a cooker/ kitchen issues sorting and it could be very good, it is just unloved.
On return we filled out Sykes cottages review with their link with the above and had no response for several days, then had live chat with them and they stated they would E mail us, several more days and no reply so we completed a Feefo review not instigated but sent to us.
Eventually on the 8 th October 2017 Sykes rang us and asked for more info and the pictures, the delay was Sykes being so busy with other customer service issues, suprise suprise google Sykes customer reviews.
The reply from the cottage owner was it had been checked and everything was ok!!.
Pictures attached good and bad.
It is not acceptable to be in this condition when it is a Holiday let, we paid c ?750 a week, it is nearly £1000 in peak season. Other rentals visited by our party are normally very clean and organised.
Sykes mission statement read well:
"focused on the end result.
In an age of faster technology and expanding communication channels, customers are becoming more and more digitally connected, yet even more distanced from the brands they choose to support. SYKES supports the full Sykes :From the beginning, we?ve been customer lifecycle with its offerings, and strives to help people one caring interaction at a time, truly creating trust between brands and their customer base.
SYKES? differentiated end-to-end service platform effectively engages consumers at every touch point in their customer lifecycle,
We are a company of many perspectives unified by one goal: To help people, one caring interaction at a time. We believe everyone and every interaction matters. With an ?others first? mentality, we serve with thought"
BUT DELIVERED NOTHING.
Sykes telephoned their response on Saturday 15th October 2017.
Stating the owners were not on the same level, so read into that what you will.
The property owner did not wish to refund any money and as the owner took the majority of the money Sykes feel they cannot refund any of their percentage to us, on one review to Sykes IT states the property owner allegedly takes 56% of the fund.
Not even an apology from Sykes and the staff member Luke bumbled his way through telling us as quickly as possible to finalize the call.
Sykes had seen our photos and accepted it fell below standard yet they are still letting this property out and no offer of resolution.
We will not use this let or Sykes ever again.
The owners were extremely helpful and friendly both on the phone whilst arranging key collection and during our stay. The views of the countryside are stunning and the cottage was ample large enough for our party. My grandchildren loved the fact that they could watch the tractor, chickens and ducks from the window when it was a little too cold and wet to play outside.