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“could be a gem -but some things let it down.”

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Madame Vacances Residence Les Fontenelles
Southend on Sea Essex
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“could be a gem -but some things let it down.”
Reviewed 1 September 2013

We booked this as two families on arrival we got our keys after an awfully long wait , there was a massive difference in the quality of the accomodation ,our friends house was much better equipped and had a prized washing machine , our was much more basic and poorly equipped. After going through the dreaded inventory and taking it back to reception requesting the items that were missing or broken to be replaced we settled in for a two week stay expecting the problems to be resolved this did not happen for the whole holiday. The reception staff are not the most helpful and their English is limited , I know we shouldn't expect them to speak English but they do have a large English clientele so I think this would be good. The resort in general is in need of some TLC the main apartment block is tired and needs painting, the pool area is dangerous in some places with loose tiles and paving slabs. The golf course is very good and obviously the main interest of the owners of the resort but the rest of the facilities are limited with only one restaurant and a golf club house which closes at 8pm. They do offer free wifi in reception but the quality is very poor. It would useful to have an onsite shop selling basic items but this isn't available although you can have bakery items delivered each morning. The draconian check out procedure is ridiculous unless you want to pay alot extra to have the property cleaned you have a list of items that must be done or you will be charged this includes cleaning the windows and the oven! Failure to do these jobs results in a charge for example €25 for not putting the cutlery away which is a bit extreme. Its a shame as a few changes could make this a lovely resort and the surrounding areas are beautiful with huge beaches and lots to do for families.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Plustwokids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ServiceClientele, Responsable relations clients at Madame Vacances Residence Les Fontenelles, responded to this review, 15 November 2013
Dear Sir/Madam,
We thank you for your review as your comments are useful to us in order to know the things that need to be improved.
We regret that certain aspects of your stay were not up to expectations and that some of the missing items were not replaced. However charges for end of week cleaning are noted on our website and it is a common procedure in self-catering units in France.
We are pleased that you enjoyed your overall stay with us and we will take into consideration all your suggestions, hoping to ensure that you have an even better visit the next time you stay with us.
Our team is available at any time to help with any of your queries.
Regards.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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192 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cork
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2013

I and my two adult family members have just arrived home from a two week stay in a Private Villa with Private Pool at Le Domaine Des Fontenelles. On arrival we had to wait for the reception to open to check in. I then had to produce my Credit Card for a security deposit of €750.00. I was then told that I would be liable for Electricity and Water charges, and also an end of stay cleaning charge of €144.00. I was given the choice to do the end of cleaning myself, which I took. I asked if the meters had already been read, and the young receptionist(student no doubt) said they had. I asked to take a note of the readings to prevent any misunderstandings at the end of my stay, but she would not give them to me. This made me very suspicious. So I took the readings myself, and also photographed the meters. The water meter, had to be cleaned off with a wet cloth before I could see the numbers, obviously no one had read this meter in a very long time. The Villa was in very good condition, and most importantly is was very clean. The one big problem we had was the plumbing. The W.C's kept flushing all day and night, which made sleeping difficult. On departure we arranged with reception to have the House Keepers check out our villa before we left at 11.00 a.m. I drove to reception at 11.30 as they still had not arrived and I knew the reception closed at midday. I had to get checked out before 12.00
The receptionist could not have cared less when I told her I was under pressure for time as I was heading to the Ferry, 6 hours away. Eventually the House Keepers Chantal and her colleaguue turned up in fighting form. The first question they asked me as they entered the Villa was had I pre paid for the end of stay cleaning. I told them no, that I had done it myself and invited them to check everything, as it was 100% clean and as I found it. Within 2 minutes they told me the villa was filthy. They critised every single room and bathroom. I took this very personally, as I made sure for the two weeks we were there, to take extra care with cleaning and dusting, as I knew it would cost €144 otherwise. I asked Chantal and her colleague what extra cleaning needed to be done do to make it right for them, as I was prepared to do it. They started talking in French knowing I could not understand. I asked them to show me the problems and again at this stage, they were both sitting down, with there arms folded and going nowhere. It was now new nearly mid day, and I was under terrible pressure for time. An hour had now passed. I asked them what should I do to satisfy them ,and they said the would sign off on the Villa if I paid them €50.00. They told me not to mention this at the reception as it would cause a problem. With much annoyance I paid the money and left .I knew I had been conned, but time was against me, and I felt I had no choice. I cleaned that Villa to perfection. Be aware of these two con ladies. They will leave you waiting and then pounce when you are under pressure. I wonder has anyone else had a similar experience at this resort.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank Morganmor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2013

Not a smile, the most surly "couldn't be bothered" attitude on arrival. Down market accommodation with old and worn furniture, musty sofa, blankets with holes in, cobwebs and dirt that showed only a superficial clean. No mop and bucket in house so we brought one and gave it a clean when we arrived. We booked a mid stay clean for 11am on the middle Sunday of our 2 week stay and still no-one had turned up by Tuesday so we got sheets, paid €7 per towel for a new set and changed the beds ourselves - no apology, no effort to help put things right. Our house was supposed to be for six people - we were four - and we were very uncomfortable downstairs. The sofa only seated 2 and the other chairs were really unpleasant wicker dinning chairs that you could sit for about 10 minutes in before wanting to get up. There was only 1 cheap plastic lounger and some other basic plastic chairs outside so not a great place to relax in the evening or sunbathe.

Spending the first morning counting cutlery, hangers, plates and a huge inventory was not much fun - I could understand it if the items were of any value but everything was old and mis-matched. Tried to get help from Madame Vacances head office but never received a call back.

Cottages 4 You, who we booked with, did help and sorted out some of the issues we had but that's the last thing you want to be doing on holiday. We felt very vulnerable with no help on-site from four young girls and no-one appeared to be in charge. Serious customer service training needed for the staff on reception - especially around understanding and empathy of how tired you arrive with a young family after a long drive. Queues on arrival and a totally cynical attitude to fixing things.

There's supposed to be a central washing machine but it didn't work for our whole 14 night stay (previous reviews suggest this is a permanent situation) which seems to suite them fine as you then pay them for fresh towels etc - the nearest launderette is a 20 minute drive away. When my husband asked again when it might be mended, the girl at reception laughed and shrugged her shoulders.
Golf course, pool, grounds, local area all good. We saw some other much better houses, our neighbors' was lovely - seems to be the luck of the draw.

Other people seemed to be having the same problems - the reception area was a constant source of guests having arguments with the skeleton crew who were simply surviving the situation.

The area has some wonderful towns and it's very easy to get around, but be wary of this place unless you know the specific property you're staying at (because our deal meant you were allocated at arrival) and you're prepared to have no reliance on the central services.

Room Tip: If you know the owner or can see actual photos of the house you have booked then the house would be...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank JGS G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these L'Aiguillon-sur-Vie hotels

Frodsham, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 August 2013

We left it late to find a base for a week in the Vendee, and this was one of the few properties left, an apartment in the main block. Ultimately as a base to explore the Vendee from it worked well, decent sized apartment, underground parking and a pool for the kids.

The overall impression was marred on arrival as the place is is need of some real maintenance inside and out. Peeling paint, cracked paving, signs on the pool reading "loose tiles - risk of cuts". Inside the apartment, prompted by the "you will be liable for any breakages you don't report" message the list of damage and took a while to complete. Although clear on the website, be prepared for the extras that aren't extras such as electricity, tax and cleaning. The list of cleaning checks and penalties for incorrect cleaning are such that you wouldn't dare chance cleaning up after yourself. We never managed to get a working kettle despite a week of asking!

None the less, having got over the arrival impression, it turned out to be a good base in a functional apartment, the kids loved the pool and didn't sustain any cuts despite the signs.

Room Tip: West & south side rooms face evening sun and golf course. East side faces morning sun and the ca...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 22IN2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Malvern, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2013 via mobile

Three generations of our family booked a not inexpensive fortnight's self catered villa at Les Fontanelles. The basic resort is ok but the villa was basically furnished, dirty on arrival and managed by incompetents. Over an hour queuing to check in at a reception full of hot tired people, by laborious paper driven systems was just the start. Checking the inventory as required on arrival we found a filthy oven, dirty duvets and blankets, no bin, a broken sun parasol and lounger and general grime. Reporting this got the oven cleaned in 3 days, but it took 12 days of constant complaining to get a replacement sun shade, in temperatures of 30 degrees and only after complaints to the ferry company we had booked through. The attitude of the reception was utter disinterest. Other guests were treated similarly. There was a daily queue at reception chasing up problems that were just treated with Gallic shrugs.
When it was delivered it neither fitted the garden table or concrete base! We gave up and bodged it together, with parts of the broken one
The pool however was great and did not require the heater, but at least we had one. Next door had exposed wires and no heater and a very chilly pool, despite the claim that all villas had heated pools. They also claim all villas face the golf course - only 10 of about 70 do so.
We declined the 180 Euro cleaning option on departure and left the place spotless. We arranged the check out inspection as required, but after an hour no one showed up so I stopped a passing staff member checking out other guests. Her grumpy attitude was that as reception had failed to put us on her list it was not her problem! So keen to make sure their guests were happy! I did not let her leave and she in ill temper checked us out. The meters were read, (no reading on arrival, dubious system) and we paid for our water and left. Tip - unplug the garden watering system outside or you are paying for that too. We shall never return. Never in much worldwide travel have I met such poor service and utter disinterest in the management of resort. They do not deserve to prosper which is a shame as the concept is good, the resort quiet and good for children, but hopeless in terms of keeping clients satisfied by providing what is promised.

Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
8 Thank Gordon H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Petersfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2013

Arrive late afternoon in 35 degree heat to pick up keys to one of the villas booked through a website listing people's holiday homes. Have to queue for 50 minutes. Whereupon we are given bedding and told we have to make our own beds (exactly what you want after 6 hours driving with young kids). Then there is a 40 Euro admin fee for processing your stay even though you booked it through a website that is nothing to do with 'Madam Vacances', you have to pay for water and energy bills on top of that (about 50 Euros for a week's stay - make sure you switch off the pool heater if its summer otherwise that will cost you a bomb), pay 7 Euros for using the tennis courts and a charge of up to 130 Euros for cleaning the place unless you do so to the standard you received it. There is an extremely detailed inventory which you have to complete within 48 hours of arrival and at the end of your stay there's a prison-block type inspection to make sure you haven't stolen anything. This was like having a holiday on a modern housing estate; oblong boxes with bare gardens (although kids enjoyed the pool). Can't believe we somehow arranged this holiday home experience instead of our usual characterful gite in the French countryside. If you play golf, apparently the course is good and the on-site restaurant (which we did not visit) is well regarded. Otherwise, don't go.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank AndrewC130
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carlisle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
139 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2013

We had a lovely time here. We stayed in No. 37. It was very spacious and airy, overlooking the second fairway and hole of the golf course.
It was well furnished and maintained. The kitchen was very well equipped - we even had our own washing machine and tumble dryer.
The beds were really comfortable, and we slept like tots, having tired ourselves out most days.
We ate a couple of times at the on-site restaurant, which is highly recommended, and quite reasonable.
Excellent value as well - a real find
We'll definitely be back, and will make sure we get the same house.

Room Tip: The 'Eagle' houses (blue ones) are more spacious than the other 2-bedroom houses
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GRWright
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Madame Vacances Residence Les Fontenelles

Property: Madame Vacances Residence Les Fontenelles
Address: Route de Coex les Fontenelles, 85220 L'Aiguillon-sur-Vie, Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, France
Region: France > Pays de la Loire > Vendee > Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie > L'Aiguillon-sur-Vie
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in L'Aiguillon-sur-Vie
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Madame Vacances Residence Les Fontenelles 4*
Number of rooms: 85
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Domaine Des Fontenelles Hotel Saint Gilles Croix De Vie

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