I recently had a horrible stay at a place and have written what I think is a measured review considering what happened. I've rewritten it twice to match Tripadvisor guidelines but they have just refused it again. Can someone help as to why? (The owner of the place has been contesting every review written by the any of the party that was staying during that time.)
I'm afraid it's a rather long review... Thanks for your help!
This is what I got from Tripadvisor:
Dear TripAdvisor Member,
Thank you for taking the time to write a review of Chateau du Puits es Pratx on TripAdvisor.
We value your contribution, and would like to be able to post it to our website. However, we are unable to publish your review because it violated the following guideline(s):
*First-hand and Written by Actual Travelers
We accept reviews that detail first-hand experiences with the facilities or services of an establishment. General discussion that does not detail a substantial experience will not be posted. No second-hand information or hearsay (unverified information, rumors or quotations from other sources or the reported opinions/experience of others).
No reviews written by ownership or management; including past employees, volunteers or anyone associated with/related to employees of the property with which they are affiliated. No reviews written by vendors employed by the property. Individuals affiliated with a property may not review other properties of the same type (accommodation, restaurant, or attraction) within the same city or town, or within 10 miles of that property.
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If you'd be willing to edit and resubmit your review, we'd really appreciate it, and so will your fellow travelers! Your original review is included below so you can easily copy and paste it into the review form and make the necessary edits. You may view a comprehensive list of our guidelines here: tripadvisor.com/help/our_guidelines_for_trav…
TripAdvisor Support Team
Subject: Chateau du Puits es Pratx
Title: This is very long but you should read this.
Dear prospective wedding couple: ---DON'T DO IT! ---
People wanting to remember weddings often get wonderfully warm and fuzzy to make the day special and ignore the issues at hand. This was the wedding of dear friends and a personal holiday for me and my girlfriend and I need to make sure that what happened to us doesn't happen again.
Let's start with a few basics which I would like you to have heard before considering this place as a location. Then below, if you wish, read what happened to me and my girlfriend.
Food: Despite numbers given and two people not showing up, at the wedding they ran out of starter and certain selections of the main courses. The night before they started halving portions of the tarte almond. The price of ��2 is about average for a place in that region that has the 'wedding' tag attached to it but oh dear you're not getting the quality that the region is so famous for. Also: Asking for dietary options or "a little more of..." at a buffet gets met with a similar reaction Oliver got. My suggestion: The restaurants by the Canal du Midi are wonderful and certainly won't halve your plate.
Short Staffed: They are so horribly short staffed that the best men, the groom and several of the wedding party had to move tables and sweep the floor after dinner. There was one man to clear 80 plates. During this time it was impossible to get served as he was also the barman.
Attitude towards the guests: After the wedding dinner Tim, the owner, was berating the guests on the suspicion that they had brought alcohol from the self-catered apartments. Previously people had been told to be more discreet when people brought shopping from the cars and a bottle of wine was seen. It was the joke of the evening.
Curfew: On three evenings we were told when to go to bed. All three instances around 1 am.
Attitude towards the bride and groom: The bride didn't want flowers and had to have long and intense conversations with the owners as they wanted to sell her 'the package'.
Professionalism: Travel arrangements made through the Chateau weren't met (more below).
The way money works at the chateau: As recompense for the horrible experience my girlfriend and I had (the painful details below) Tim gave us ���0 with the words "If any of this lands on Tripadvisor it will get back to the bride and groom". He subsequently charged the same sum off the deposit of the wedding couple which we have of course, being friends, returned to them.
So that for starters may give you an idea that I didn't have the best time there (if you read on you will see just how unbelievable this experience was for me and my girlfriend) but that I believe the items I am describing are not just a personal experience.
The place itself is nice, the area is great and a few of the rooms are good. Most of them are more like family bungalows the like of which you would get in resorts in the North Sea and about the quality of Greece (communal showers, self-catering, etc.). Definitely rent a car!
The one sole problem with Chateau du Puits es Pratx is the owner Tim Hazael.
My personal experience with this man was vindictive, unrelenting, unempathetic, with a sole aim for your pocket. Here is why:
The setup is quite genius: Tim and Sasha Hazael give the venue to the wedding couple. The wedding couple then organises the wedding from abroad together with a wedding planner that the chateau recommends and has an office on site.
Sounds straight forward (and I'm sure works when everything goes well) but here is what happened in our case, when it didn't go well:
We were put up (and paid full price) on a fold out bed in the kitchen of a bungalow in which another married couple had the bedroom. In order to go to the bathroom, shower or brush our teeth we had to walk through their bedroom and as there was no door, just a spiral staircase, there was no privacy. None. We could hear them whispering.
The first night we had no bedding. The second night we were still waiting for pillows.
As much as we knew the other couple, the situation was untenable. We talked to the wedding planner, then Tim.
Tim immediately said it has nothing to do with him, it was the wedding couple's business, he had told the wedding couple not to do it and they were putting us up. If we wanted to move to a place outside we would have to ask the money from the wedding couple. He certainly wasn't refunding it.
So just to get this absolutely clear: Tim charges the wedding couple full price for a fold out bed placed into a kitchen, they then get the guests to pay the wedding couple (who don't know the place that well) and if there is a problem with it the bride and groom have to sort it a few days before the wedding.
Obviously we were left awkwardly in the middle, by now it was midday, we didn't know the area or have a car.
The wedding couple via the wedding planner organised a room in a house outside which had been rented by other friends of ours. With most of the day spent we repacked our bags, moved into the house and thought this was the end of it. If it had been I wouldn't have batted an eyelid. In fact the wedding planner organised us a car and one of the staff said she would help us pick up the car and drive us from Carcassonne to the airport (for money) when we had to return it.
The day after the wedding our friends in the house left, and we spoke to Tim (who said we were not to contact the wedding planner as it was her day off, they were taking care of things for the external accommodation in her absence) to make sure everything was in order and told him that my girlfriend and I would be there until the next day.
We then left for the beach. At 6pm I get a phone call whilst driving and I get one of Tim's staff members in a command tone telling me we have to return, pack our bags again and move out of the house.
I explained that their wedding planner had organised it, we were at least a 2 hour drive away and that I wasn't about to have this last day of my holiday destroyed by their bad planning again. Five minutes later Tim called back demanding of me the same forcefully, I explained why this was unacceptable and that I will want a refund of my money, I asked him to sort it with the landlord, that we would have dinner and return and suddenly the line went dead. (Tim later explained he didn't know what happened, that he'd tried calling me again and "...some French woman answered.". Considering what happened next I don't believe him.)
The owners of the property in that small village were obviously known privately to Tim (who told us a sob story about how their puppy had drowned that day and therefore we should consider that the following was acceptable) and his recommended wedding planner. We got back around ten o'clock and all our belongings, from underwear to jewellery, from toothbrush to shirts, all had been removed from our room and thrown onto the floor in plastic bags in the kitchen. When I explained to the landlord what had happened previously they apologised. I asked them if this had happened before and they didn't answer.
We spent the next hour sorting through our things, finding items that hadn't been taken out of the room (including the wedding pictures which we had been taking for the wedding couple) stuffing them into our travel cases and going back to the chateau.
Of course I was furious and sat Tim down to talk to him about how he had let them repossess the building in that manner, treat our personal belongings in that way and what he will do to compensate us.
His answer was simple: It wasn't his problem. The wedding couple had put us up there, I was to go and wake them up at 11pm the day after the wedding and have that discussion with them. I argued that the wedding planner is a person recommended by him, has an office on site and someone he knows well, that they were the people in charge on her day off, with him calling me he earlier, was fully aware of the situation and that the money ultimately landed in his pocket. Same answer: The wedding planner had nothing to do with him, if I wanted money back I should ask the bride and groom.
I told him his name is on weddings at Chateau du Puits es Pratx and that I would mark his conduct on tripadvisor. I was told I was a nuisance, that I had received free labour for someone making up a bed for us and ungrateful for not just dealing with it after his wedding planner had organised a car for us and then he stormed off. I had to run after him to find out if and where we had a bed to sleep in.
As brought up as we were of course we didn't sleep a wink and the next morning at 8, when the wedding planner greeted us icily saying we shouldn't bet on anyone showing up in Carcassonne for the arranged shuttle to the airport as they were annoyed with us.
As mentioned before, Tim then walked up to us with ��0 saying "This is not an admission of guilt but if any of this shows up on Tripadvisor it will get back to the bride and groom." ...and then charged the bride and groom for it.
Lo and behold this attitude progressed and the member of staff who was meant to drive us didn't show up and didn't respond to messages (which was cheaper and better in the end).
It was an expensive, horrible experience with substandard quality but mainly because of the unhospitable, uncaring attitude of the host. Never once did an acknowledgement of what had happened to us or a "Sorry" come across the management's lips.
Dear wedding couple. The people that got married that night are fabulous and therefore we had a great time despite the trouble. Please make sure you don't let Tim & Sasha Hazael steal your limelight. My personal experience is they will try to make it their wedding.