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Reviews of Heart of the Lakes, Ambleside

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Review by Mr Wand on 5th September, 2017

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We stayed at Annandale from Aug 19th Ė 26th. I just completed the survey you sent out, but felt it didnít give me the opportunity to really express how much we enjoyed our stay. The cottage was just perfect. It was such a lovely building, and in such an idyllic location. From the welcome pack, to the milk in the fridge, and all the guides left out Ė we felt welcome and prepared from the moment we walked in. I usually spend my holidays in a cottage popping out to get little things like toilet roll, or kitchen cleaner, or a potato peeler, but there wasnít anything we didnít have. And itís those little touches that really made our stay so easy and enjoyable. Itís so lovely to come back to a cottage after a long hike, knowing that you have everything you need. We also enjoyed our morning stroll to the Coop, to get all our food to make packed lunch, and to stock up for an evening meal on our return. And we knew we didnít need to worry about not having the necessary kitchen equipment to cook our evening meal. It was also really kind of you to let us make local calls. I couldnít get a signal from the cottage so that was really valuable to make a few calls to organise boat hire. Our favourite being a canoe ride on Derwentwater Ė the kids had always wanted to visit Herbert Island :) And never underestimate wifi. I stay in plenty of places without wifi. And whilst itís great to be offgrid for a bit, we used the evening to read the guides (you left) and research Ďonline,í so that we had all our plans ready for the next day. As said, we donít know the Lakes, so we really needed to be able to research what we should do the next day. The views were amazing to wake up to, and we enjoyed a walk from the cottage over to Grasmere, as well as a walk from the cottage up to Cold Pike. We also walked into Elterwater to enjoy a meal at the Britannia Inn Ė so plenty for us to do without having to get in the car. And when we did drive to Ullswater or Derwentwater, the location of the cottage made these really easy to get to. Iím so glad we didnít book in Ambleside (which we nearly did), as it was far too busy for our liking. Not only did we like the quiet of Chapel Stile, but we also loved staying in a Quarrymans cottage, with the disused quarry mines behind us. Itís such a lovely property. And as for the neighbourhood sheep Ė well, the kids loved having them pretty much on the doorstep.

Date visited: August 2017

Review by Tom on 11th August, 2017

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There's a theme with these reviews!! Don't book with these. Property was terrible and tried to blame me for the issues (stains etc) afterwards to get more money. They lmisrepresented the property in the descriptions and we suffered horrific noise from the surroundings from early in the morning until midnight everyday. When I voiced my complaints I was told that I was lying and they refused to listen. Terrible company, will lie, cheat and take more money from you, don't consider them.

Date visited: July 2017

Review by C. FISHER on 16th July, 2017

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We have just had the holiday from hell in Beech Cottage, Ambleside. We had not been informed that there was construction work of four new cottages being built out the back. If we had, we would not have booked. HOTL admit that they new about ithem after originally denying it. Along with the cottage construction work, the road backing on to the cottage was also dug up to lay pipes right up to the back fence. We even had the back gate blocked off by cones and digging. We had two weeks of lorries, delivering aggregates, stone walls built, compressors, drills, diggers, hammering. On the fourth day when we could stand the noise no longer we contacted HOTL as the last straw was a bulb blowing which cut off all lights upstairs and the showers. We were told to put it in to writing when we got home. However, this was not the end as the cooker was filthy and unusable. They sort of cleaned it but admitted that it needed a deep clean. Again I brought to their attention the relentless noise. They said that the could rehouse us but they would speak to the owner first. But then we had only four days to go. They did not speak to the owner nor did they offer us a change of accommodation in the whole two weeks. Their first excuse was that they hadn't realised that we were staying for two weeks AND NO ONE ELSE HAD COMPLAINED ABOUT THE BUILDING WORKS. Maybe they just wanted the holiday to finish and go home. Maybe they did complain and got the same couldn't care less we've got your money that we got.So basically they fobbed us off until we left. Not once could we sit outside because of construction vehicles and noise. When I complained they sent a £1OO voucher on a tack piece of paper for a discount off our next holiday with them. What arrogance makes them think that we would ever use them again? We also had to buy a new tin opener as the one in the drawer was dirty and rusty and new batteries for the t.v. remotes which may be small additions but put it all together and this was one holiday from hell. We are pensioner and just wanted a home from home with a bit of peace and quiet. I do not reccommend HOTL. They failed in all aspects of customer care right down to the hose pipes from the hot tub being sprawled right across the 'garden' which I tripped over. The contravened their own promises to customers to rehouse and even informed us that we had refused a move. THE NEVER ACTUALLY OFFERED ONE AND WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS WOULD STAY WITH ALL OF THAT NOISE GOING ON?

Date visited: June 17-July 1st 2017

Review by Lynda Welham on 31st August, 2016

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This week was booked as my birthday treat, through Heart of the Lakes. The property is Bield How and it cost over £700 for the week. When we arrived and walked up the path, outside the front door it was like an ashtray with cigarette ends strewn around, extending to a wide area by the door. The kitchen and the back bedroom stank of smoke. I opened a drawer in the twin back bedroom dresser and it fell out on my foot. Not a great start. I rang HOL and they did send someone out, who swept up the mess outside, agreed it was smelly with smoke, agreed the drawer was broken and left. On going to make a cup of tea, the mugs were brown stained and I washed all of them. There were no pint glasses in the house and no hoover or brush to even sweep the kitchen floor, which over the course of a week, needed it. No hand soap in either bathroom, no washing up liquid ... everyday things that one might realistically expect in a 4 star property. My son bought me flowers and we couldn't do anything with them as there wasn't a vase. It was interesting that in the visitor book another guest had commented that after years of booking cottages over Christmas, this house was the only one not decorated they had stayed in ... it just seemed very bare and stingy, mean spirited. Marie, General Manager of HOL, is the rudest person I have had the misfortune to deal with. (See other comments!). Completely unapologetic about the state of the house on arrival and lack of equipment In fact she started telling me about her own holiday and how it wasn't 100% perfect and that we can't expect that, etc. And no reply to an email. So I won't be using HOL again and I would strongly advise other holidaymakers to book through a company who cares about your holiday, aren't rude when things go wrong and who are not dismissive over concerns. For £700+ Bield How is most definitely not worth the money.

Date visited: 6-13th August 2016

Review by angela on 29th September, 2014

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Please, please do not consider using this company. I could not agree more wholeheartedly with the comments about the poor standard property and the musty smell. We stayed at 'Elterwater ' near Windermere as part of birthday celebrations and had a three night stay costing in excess of £300,and this was a discounted rate due to booking close to the time of stay. On arrival, the smell of deodoriser covering up such a stale smell was overwhelming. The property looked ok but on closer inspection the crockery was filthy, as if it had just been rinsed with food all over it, as was the cutlery and the glasses were filthy, rinsed out and smeared. The bedding itself was clean but the cushions and throw were covered in unmentionable stains which made me feel absolutely sick. It was too late for a call to heart of the lakes so emailed straight away. Heart of the lakes offered to send the same cleaner who failed to clean properly in he first place, and with what was effectively a two day stay, we were not prepared to stay in and wait for a cleaner or leave all our belongings in there while someone came in, orcrepack the car, so declined. We had chosen a very busy week to stay in the lakes and could find no immediate alternative accommodation, plus we did not want to pay out even money so had no choice but to stay. In terms of a complaint this was a grave mistake on our part. In saying no to the cleaner (i had cleaned everything i could by then) Heart of the lakes deem this as rejecting the offer to put it right and so will not entertain our complaint any further. I have written several emails and have been accused of adverse comments when telling them I would be writing a review of the utter lack of customer service, if they did not respond to my numerous emails, and that they would not be dealing with my complaint. We feel utterly ripped off. The property itself is totally over sold. It's as tiny as a student bedsit in the combined kitchen and living area. It looks ok to the eye (heart of the lakes only inspected the property AFTER it had been cleaned following our departure) but it is ingrained with the smell of stale skin and smelly feet and damp. The handling of our complaint by Julian cottell the quality manager, and the short dismissive letter from Marie Holland as general manager is nothing short of disgusting. This is the first time I have ever been compelled to write a review. We're a busy couple who have been to the lakes a lot and are just as happy around a campfire as a nice hotel. We work as hard as everyone else does to be able to spend money on holidays and birthdays and it makes me cry to think we wasted such previous time and money on this property through this cowboy company. I really do want to warn people about just how bad heart of the lakes are, and how underhand they are - really happy to take your money but do not care a jot if you have a complaint. Please, please do not choose to hand over your hard earned money to this company under any circumstances. I am sure there are many other companies in the lakes who care about your experience with the properties they offer.

Date visited: Angela.Nicholson@yahoo.co.uk

Review by Frank lan McGeechan on 19th June, 2014

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Hello Don't like to moan but felt on this occasion I had to say something. I recently stayed in Wren cottage in Ambleside, a quaint little cottage in the town centre of Ambleside. The week cost us just under £600 and as it was advertised as a 4 star plus accommodation we thought we would be safe enough, but not so.! On arrival we were met with a musty smell and put it down to the property not having been lived in forperhaps a week or 2, we took our bags to the bedroom and saw at the side of the bed a wooden slat which was stusticking out from under the bed, the slat had been broken and just left without any effort to even hide it, impossible to miss if you had just made the bed as claimed by HOW'S staff.the next day to be fair the bed was fixed. Whilst unpacking I notice the bedside lamps shades were on one side hanging to there wire support by a thread and on the other blistered and the material flaking off. The sofa covers although washable looked and felt dirty and just behind the sofa and adjacent to it the wallpaper was bubbling with what I pressume was moisture from underneath, hence the musty smell. We then noticed a large damp patch on the ceiling above the dining table. We contacted the company again about how any of this could have been missed if inspected and cleaned before we arrived, but it was obvious this accommodation had been changed over some weeks before. The bathroom and kitchen were nice and no problems there. on the day of leaving we returned the keys to the office to find a couple complaining to the girl in the office about a property they had rented for the 2nd time, on the the first occasion last year they had reported a leak and on returning a year later the leak had never been fixed.! We contacted HOTL on returning home and wrote an email to The manager Justin who's Curt reply implied that the accommodation was a okay before we arrived and despite having time stamped photos showing the items mentioned he still try to imply that the place had been inspected and was well worthy of ( in his opinion) it's four star + self appointed score by HOTL . The property at nest was 2 star + and we were disgusted not only by his implication but on replying to his email disputing it's rating he ignored our 2nd email. I will stick to Sykes cottage's or Cumbria cottages in future a far more reputable company independently reviewed.

Date visited: May 2014

Review by Tom Jones on 24th April, 2013

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I was a bit hesitant about writing this review, I always think these blogs are where people moan and those that have had a good time just get on with it, but on this occasion I feel that huge credit is due. We have used Heart of the Lakes many times and like others on here have had issues, but always sorted quickly and by polite staff, on one occasion we received compensation without asking for it...! This last holiday we have just returned from was simply outstanding, we could not believe that the owners would consider renting out this type or standard of property, we are glad they did though, Thrang End, in the Langdale valley is quite simply the best UK holiday destination we have ever had the pleasure of renting, we would highly recommend Heart of the Lakes and this property. Well done and Thank you to all involved.

Date visited: March 13

Review by Roger Thornhill on 7th October, 2012

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We Have used Heart of the Lakes several times over the last 15 years. This has been our worst experience. We stopped in the property called Grizedale in Keswick. When we arrived in the property we noticed the bathroom window was left open, this was to hide the obnoxious smell of damp and mould that was coming from under the Lino where the shower had sprayed onto the floor over the years. This smell made using the bathroom unpleasant. The heating was not working properly and it was cold in the bedrooms at night. At 10pm on Monday night the boiler and hot water packed in completely. Phoned the caretaker at 9 am Tuesday morning on her mobile, no reply went on to voicemail. Phoned Heart of the Lakes several times that morning for help in contacting the caretaker. I was met with indifference being told its only midday, it's early yet. The caretaker finally contacted me at 12.20 midday to tell me she had contacted British Gas who would come out on Wednesday morning between 8am and 1pm. After getting up early on Wednesday morning British Gas did a temporary repair and arranged to come back on Thursday afternoon to fit a new heat exchanger. They turned up on Thursday morning while we were still showering. In all we had no heating or hot water for showers for 36 hours. I complained twice by E Mail to heart of the Lakes during the week.. They could not be bothered to reply to either E Mail. This is a company who offers no customer care or support when things go wrong. Don't even think of compensation for a ruined stressful holiday, it is none existent. They are just a letting agency and are happy to take your money and sing their own praises. The cottage itself was showing signs of tiredness in the bathroom and kitchen where extra cleaning would not go a mis. Skirting boards were chipped and needed painting. Ovan and microwave needed more attention. The weakness seems to be the owner not living in the area and relying on a caretaker to keep things up to scratch. If the caretaker had come back to us when we first rung her at 9am on Tuesday morning there was a chance we could have hot water and heating 24 hours earlier.

Date visited: September 2012

Review by H. Hunter on 24th August, 2011

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A big thank you to Heart of the Lakes and the owners of the glorious lodge over at Hawkshead, what a fantastic place to spend exploring the delights of the Lake District. It is such a shame that the previous holiday maker found the staff lacking in customer care - we found them to be incredibly helpful and friendly. The lodge itself is wonderful, we really did not want to leave. We can't wait to book another holiday.

Date visited: August 2011

Review by alice warner on 17th August, 2011

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I visited a cottage just outside Ambleside. After unpacking it was clear that the water supply was turned off.The key to the outhouse which housed the cocktap was missing i therefore had to go into Ambleside as i could not get a signal on my phone in order to telephone the 'handyman'. He was very helpful and turned the water on using another key.When i returned my keys to the girl in the HOL office at the end of my holiday i mentioned what had occurred and the inconvenience involved.To be blunt she couldn't care less she simply said she would tell the owner.Clearly effective customer relations and good manners are not company policy for HOL.Displaying arrogance towards customers is not attractive, an apology when relevant would be more appropriate!!!

Date visited: may 2010

Review by Mary on 26th May, 2011

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Isn't it strange how we all have different guest experiences? My family and myself have been lucky enough to stay at Leethwaite Cottage and I must say we all loved it. It is quirky and cosy, we had a few minor issues but the agency were so helpful and were on hand to sort it out. Not everybody is perfect, and we wouldn't expect them to be - I do think saying avoid the agency like the plague is rather strong and not warranted, we to have stayed with them for the last 15 years and have some great memories, that is what holidays are all about. As far as my family are concerned they wouldn't book with anyone else! Keep up the good work :-)

Date visited: Feb 2011

Review by Gardner on 1st May, 2011

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Recently stayed at 'Leethwaite Cottage' in Thornthwaite, an 8 person cottage offered for holiday rental by 'Heart of The Lakes'. we have used them for the last 15 years but not again Avoid this company like the plague!! They clearly have lowered their their star rating standards. Leethwaite had a two showers not working, We spent the Saturday we arrived cleaning a dirty built-in oven, and the disgusting kitchen we had stained bed sheets and Pillows, rotting food under the kitchen cabinets dropped by previous occupants and not cleared up, vomit stained carpets by the beds, cobwebs hanging from the most corners and a vacuum cleaner that did not work. Since complaining to this company they have just decided to hide behind their contract and refused to offer any form of compensation. The Manager at the Keswick office of heart fo the lakes was just downright rude. Heart of the Lakes used to be brillinat without fail, they also used to leave welcome baskets on arrival with various goodies in, they do not do that any more either. If you are looking for a holiday rental in Cumbria go any where else but 'Heart of The Lakes' they care for very little for customer service.

Date visited: 23/04/2011

Review by Jo on 13th January, 2011

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As a holiday cottage owner, I couldn't help noting Jess's comments on everything that didn't work. Jess needs to realise that Heart of the Lakes is an agency not a property owner and they nudge owners all they can, but it is like leading a horse to water, you cannot make it drink hearby you cannot force the owners to buy or repair white goods so don't blame Heart of the Lakes. If they do find a cottages failing continuously they do and can refuse to let the cottages in future years because it reflects badly on the other cottages and ultimately on the agency. We do try our best to repair goods as quickly as possible or buy replacements but sometimes if guests fail to tell us before the change over day it is difficult to do it on change over day.

Date visited: 2010

Review by Maggie on 6th January, 2011

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Had a fabulous time despite the horrendous weather conditions, Heart of the Lakes did an amazing job of getting us to the property and defrosting the water pipes which decided to freeze just hours before our arrival - could not fault their customer services, they went well beyond the call of duty, we can not fault the way they dealt with us. The property was a delight - we shall book again - but think we will pick a week in Summer!! Thank you Heart of the Lakes for making Christmas magical

Date visited: Christmas 2010

Review by Suzie Dent on 15th October, 2010

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Just returned from a fabulous week in the Lake District, the weather was extremely kind to us, which was an absolute bonus. We were lucky enough to stay with Heart of the Lakes, the property suited us perfectly. We found the staff lovely when we first made our booking, and were very helpful when we kept ringing up and asking minor questions about the cottage and the area before we arrived neither were made to feel a nuisance, even when we had to phone during our stay because we were being a bit thick whilst trying to operate the dishwasher!! We will be booking with them again, and I can't recommend them highly enough. This is our 3rd visit with them, I can't wait to book for Spring now.

Date visited: 9th - 15th October 2010

Review by Mike James on 29th August, 2010

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From reading these reviews I'm not sure what some people expect in a property and a management company. We have used Heart of the Lakes for 8 years in different properties and found them helpful and friendly - they will spend hours helping you find the right property if your fist choice is booked and if you ask nicely they will let you view properties that you are interested in on change over day so that you can see more than just the brochure or website. As far as appliances go we have only had one that did not work well - a fridge that was on its last legs (known to HOTL) and the company rang on our first day to see if they could deliver its replacement whilst we were out. There are always work rounds for dishwashers (remeber hand washing up as our parents and grandparents did?) and washing machines in the short term (launderettes are mentioned by others) so don't let their absence upset your holidays - after all most people do not ocme away to carry on with full domestic duties. We own a holiday property in York and know that some guest will abuse and break appliances. It is then hard to get a replacement installed on change over day beause few tradesmen work on Saturdays and properties are often booked continuously in the season. If you do find something broken a polite request to the company will get things fixed on the first working day in our experience of HOTL and other companies.

Date visited: August 2010

Review by Ellen on 18th March, 2010

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Like Dawn, we have used Heart of the Lakes for years. We too have had things not work, and once an appliance no longer existed because of a realignment of walls! But we have never let that bug us. The flat was clean, and as described. I'm not there to keep house, I'm there to walk and eat. If a washer was broken, I would just scoot to a laundromat and have a latte while my wash ran. Big deal. We have never felt that HoTL didn't follow through as best they could. I do have to say that they are no fun to talk to-- they are so formal and businesslike that they sound totally disinterested. I hate calling them, even to book. But their properties and service are fine.

Date visited: May 2009

Review by sarah churchward on 4th March, 2010

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In answer to Charles and his comments - I think you will find that Dawn has not mentioned once the word complaint, but she uses the words grumble, there is a difference. I to have enjoyed several holidays with Heart of the Lakes, we have had a few 'niggles', but nothing to rant and rave about. Nobody is perfect neither are holiday cottages. We shall continue to use the agency and sample the different properties that they have.

Date visited: October 2009

Review by Jennifer on 2nd March, 2010

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Stayed at a heart of the lakes property last summer and also had problems with appliances not working and some issues with 'housekeeping'. The problems were not resolved and the company was not at all helpful. But like many people, we vote with our feet and have since moved on to other properties in the Lake District rented out by other companies.

Date visited: August 2009

Review by Charles on 1st March, 2010

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I have just read the review by Dawn and I cannot believe that she finds it strange that people resort to complaining. Wake up Dawn and 'smell the coffee' as younger folk say these days! I have only used heart of the lakes once before and they were OK, not particularly good but not too bad

Date visited: September 2009

Review by Emma Summerfield on 25th February, 2010

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We recently were lucky enough to enjoy the delights of the Lake District, we stayed a lovely property which we now wish to own!! We booked through Heart of the Lakes, who we found to be brilliant, my family have been using them for over 20 years and have found to be always friendly and professional. We will be back!

Review by Dawn Chadwick on 25th February, 2010

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We have just returned from a fantastic week in the Lake District. Our accommodation was great, for the last 20 years we have booked with Heart of the Lakes, I think we have stayed in nearly every one of their cottages, each having its own character and charm. I think over the years things have not worked as they should have done,namely washing machines and central heating systems - but the agents have a great system in place, and when we had cause a few years ago to ring their after hours number on a Sunday they saw that we were dealt with efficiently and had the central heating boiler up and running without to much hassle (far better than the service we get in our own home!!) I do think it a great shame that folk have cause to grumble over things, when something doesn't go quite right for them. Thankfully in our experience, we are more than happy with Heart of the Lakes as are many of our friends and family who we have recommended over the years. We have booked again for June and are thinking ahead towards October. A pat on the back to Heart of the Lakes, and thank you for giving us great memories of a truly magical place as the Lake District.

Date visited: 13th - 20th February 2010

Review by Paul Oakes on 22nd February, 2010

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Recently stayed at 'Lakeland View' in Ambleside, a flat offered for holiday rental by 'Heart of The Lakes'. Avoid this company like the plague!! They clearly use 'Estate Agent' hype to guild the lilly and where they get their star rating from I just do not know. Lakeland View had a dishwasher not working, a shower not working, a dirty built-in oven, a stained bed sheet fitted to the double bed....oh and yes, cheap laminate flooring that was described as 'oak'. Since complaining to this company they have just decided to hide behind their contract and refused to offer any form of compensation. How do some of these companies survive? If you are looking for a holiday rental in Cumbria go any where else by 'Heart of The Lakes' - you have been warned!

Date visited: 13th February 2010

Review by jess on 9th September, 2009

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Useless!!! Upon arriving at the cottage, we came across a letter stating the washing/dryer machine, (a necessity at the lakes) is broke and also, the dish-washer. These where due to be replaced during our stay. Nope. They wasn't. We expected a note or something or anything to say they had full intention of repairing or replacing the broken appliances. Nothing. They left a number to contact them on the letter if we had washing to be done. a) the cottage phone only receives incoming calls and b) there is no signal for cell phones. Having a bag of ever increasing washing we drove to the office were they apologised and we left them with our washing. They dropped off the washing at our cottage. I don't know how they managed it but, lost some of our washing. washing goes in, washing comes out. it ain 't rocket science. Reminding them about the useless phone number they left in the letter and couldn't contact them due to lack of signal/no working phone, "Welcome to the Lakes" is not a professional answer I wanted to hear. So, having paid out a sum of money to stay at a cottage that you would expect to have fully working facilities that you have paid for the use of, and not getting your monies worth, is a bit of a piss-take. We, and the people we spoke to, will not be booking with Heart of the Lakes again.

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