This beautiful property has been let down by its owner and letting agent. On the surface it is very nice. Once you live in it for a few hours you begin to see under the surface and realise that it is not ready to receive holiday guests.
It has so much potential, however in the condition that we visited, I would not return or recommend anyone else to pay to stay here. I have asked for a refund.
There is significant dust and cobwebs in most places, albeit some in high places and on top of pictures/mirrors etc but dust is evident on most regularly used surfaces in bedrooms and communal areas.
The house therefore smells of dust. There was a leak under one sink, which had clearly been there for a long time, and had caused significant water damage along with a damp smell. There is a locked door leading to an adjoining property, (I assume on a long term rental basis) whose tenants smoke. The smell of cigarettes comes into Clarence Grey House. These smells, combined with the beautiful but aging property did not make a good first impression.
The owner visited and shared some personal information which went some way to explaining why there is so many personal items clogging up every surface and cupboard in the property. He has emotional connections with the property which means he does not want to sell it, neither could he live here. Therefore, renting as a holiday let is his solution.
I will emphasise that this is a beautiful property. It is decorated well. The pictures and ornaments are well suited to the property. The towels are large. The beds are comfortable. 1 Bath, 2 showers & 4 toilets are more than adequate.
How to improve the property (my opinion)
• Remove a significant amount of the ornaments and personal items (This will help the cleaners to clean and will make the property less cluttered).
• Purchase sufficient matching Crockery, Cutlery, glassware and ceramics for 8 guests.
• Purchase sufficient amounts and sizes of Kitchen utensils to enable meals to be cooked for 8 guests.
• Empty the cupboards of paint pots, brushes, DIY equipment, hot water bottle, rags, batteries and all unnecessary stuff to enable 8 guests to store their food for the duration of their stay.
• Provide a folder of information, including "How To" guides or original manuals for the appliances in the property and any other helpful information about the house. e.g. The AGA takes at least 3 hours to heat up!
• Landscape the jungle garden so that it is usable and pleasing to the eye.
• Have 8 chairs for the garden table.
• Either fix or remove the BBQ (this is not listed for the property but there is a permanent BBQ structure in the garden).
• Have a deep clean of the property, removing the thick dust and old cobwebs from mirrors, pictures, above doors, picture rails, windows etc. Clean the soot and ash from all fires and clean the fireplaces.
• Employ decent cleaners who will work hard for their money and do a good job.
I admit that we did have a bad experience. On arrival there was:
- a broken table upside down on the floor.
- a dirty microwave and fridge.
- a window that would not close due to a broken handle.
- Shower head bracket falling away from the wall.
- a broken glass candle holder.
- several cigarette stubs in a flower pot in the garden.
- a mug half empty on the garden table.
- a leak under one sink.
- dust thick enough to write in on multiple surfaces.
- smells of damp, dust and smoke.
- a broken BBQ.
- fireplaces full of Ash.
- broken glasses & cups in the Kitchen.
We complained to Sykes but they could not reach the owner.
The owner randomly arrived at the property. We informed him of the issues. He contacted the cleaners and also the maintenance guy, Paul (see business card in the hall).
Paul was amazing. He understood our frustration. He fixed the leak, window, table and shower. When we left, we gave him a list of additional items that need attention.
The cleaner visited but did not resolve any of the issues with dirt, dust and cobwebs.