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Review of Roulotte Retreat

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Roulotte Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 July 2011

We stayed in the cottage and the Bow Top (not the caravans nb - they do look rather fun).

We were all looking forward to the experience, especially as although we all weekend away often, we dont together so after careful research into where to go

Although the Scottish weather, which you can never bank on, was pretty awful, we all came away feeling disappointed.

Our main point was that the accommodation provided by the cottage was not to the standard expected for the price that we paid, or the ‘comfort’ and ‘tranquillity’ suggested by the website. On entering the "retreat" we want to abandon any thoughts of everyday life etc - it was somewhat strange that there was an abandoned car at the rear of the house.

The hugely overgrown trees blocked out any sunlight that would have come into ‘the bright sitting room’, which had to be lit the entire time – contrary to what the website says “Offering a spacious, bright sitting room with a view of the Eildon Hills” (no view) .

Our first impressions on arrival were coloured by the neglected leaf and moss covered trampoline and the amount of chicken waste on the ground.

Inside, the cottage did not appear to have been cleaned. On entering the house I suffered a dust allergy, so much so we had to leave on the Sunday. The carpets were thick with dust, infact it was visible everywhere.

In the double bedroom – there was no chest of drawers and the closet was ‘fusty’ so you certainly wouldn’t want to hang clothes in there.

In the kitchen, the cooker grill didn’t work.

A rubbish bin, kitchen roll, hand towel and a second tea towel should have been also been supplied.

The bathroom was not a pleasant place to be. The shower mat was unwashed. There was only 1 and a half toilet rolls – more had to be bought on the second day, which we didn’t expect to have to do.

The towels (1 towel each - no second towel) were stale - not fresh, and there was no soap in the bathroom.

The lounge was dark and gloomy, the TV small. The ‘leather’ sofa was plastic and the wood burning stove would not stay alight with the provided fuel. In fact, we discovered there was a wire/ paper Chinese lantern which had been burnt, in the wood burner as well as enough wood to allow us fire for about 30 mins maximum.

Not great on a rainy, cold weekend The cottage was also littered with cobwebs and moths. Despite having a lantern in the accommodation I was a little surprised there were no tea lights either. The cottage was nothing like described on the website.

Generally the decoration and furnishings were very basic, the place didn’t look or feel clean and smelled and felt damp. Floor coverings were basic. This was a more like a bothy than the boutique level of accommodation suggested by the website. – In short we felt mis-sold. We felt no magic and tranquillity. It was certainly not worth £485 for 3 nights!

I did sent back an overview of feedback but the response I recieved was ill considered and rather huffy which was a real shame as this place, with more money injected into it, could be a so great.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
12 Thank Shapes_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Avril333, Owner at Roulotte Retreat, responded to this review, 6 June 2012
Dear Suzie,
First of all thank you for your email and taking the time to write so fully about your stay. I am sorry about the delayed ‘public’ response on Trip Advisor as I have only just found out that I can respond to your comments publicly online. As you know I responded immediately by email to you and offered you feedback from our point of view and a discount on your next stay. I have read your comments and have responded to each of them below so that you can appreciate our feedback too. I apologise for the lengthy reply but I do feel your review requires sufficient response.
With regard to your arrival and the trampoline, this is for our children and is in our private garden and has absolutely nothing to do with the cottage. You must have driven up to our house instead of following the signs to the carpark for Roulotte Retreat. The trampoline has nothing to do with Roulotte Retreat, and we do not allow guests to use it due to the fact that trampolines can be so dangerous if not supervised.
The ‘abandoned car’ is in the carpark, again nothing to do with the cottage and it belongs to our son., It is not part of the Cottage garden but in a car parking space at the edge of the carpark.
With regard to the trees we had been waiting for a clear couple of days to have the trees trimmed. As beautiful as they are we do know they can block out light so we had organised to have this done but due to rainy weather and guests always in the cottage it was impossible to do this. We managed to get this done immediately you left when the weather changed and was glorious all day so it is very light and bright both in the woodland garden and in the cottage now. I would imagine the dark skies would have also contributed to the lack of light this weekend.
Yes, we do have a handful of roaming chickens which most guests find wonderful but unfortunately when they are not penned in to cages but are completely free range then they tend to also leave their calling cards! We do a ‘poop patrol’ every day but guests tend to love the friendliness of the chickens and do feed them, sometimes near to the cottage, which is why they find staying here so charming. We do ask guests to feed them elsewhere as chickens being chickens will remember the guests who give them tidbits and keep returning, not realizing the guests have changed!
The cottage is thoroughly cleaned after every guest. Due to the surrounding trees and enjoying a woodland garden however spiders move in almost immediately the place has been cleaned and having a wood burning stove can create more dust. The ‘dust’ could also be an allergy to tree pollen or of course, in the woodland garden, the meadow over the fence is full of wild grasses and wildflowers and the adjacent farm property. The ‘monsoon rains’ we had that weekend would also have thrown up more pollen than usual too. Guests leaving windows open and lights on has also attracted moths in. We use essential oils to keep them at bay as mothballs have a very fusty smell.
I have double checked the cupboard and I could not see or smell any evidence of the 'fustiness' you mentioned, perhaps someone had left mothballs?Most guests find the hanging cupboard with additional shelves adequate for a few days holiday.
Re kitchen comments: The oven was checked and the grill does work, so I’m not sure about this comment. One simple knock on the door or phone call would have satisfied this and we could have shown you how to work the grill. With regard to rubbish, we go through the recycling policy with each and every guest. There is a rubbish bin, complete with 3 bags for recycling. These should then be put outside in the big bins so there is no need to have rubbish left in the kitchen. There is also a tea towel in the kitchen and extra kept in the linen cupboard. We also have a kitchen drainer which we find is much more hygienic.
Bathroom comments: The bath mat, sheets and towels are all thoroughly washed on 90 degrees after each guest’s stay. In ‘sea green’ eco paint which is environmentally friendly most guests find the bathroom to be very warm and inviting. The radiator also creates lots of warmth in the bathroom too.
When guests are here for 2 nights only 1 bath towel each tends to be enough with a shared hand towel in the bathroom. We used to supply 2 towels each but they tended to be left unused. There were more towels in the linen cupboard if you had wished more. As you were booked in for 3 nights you would have been given more but you chose to leave without saying anything or even saying goodbye. All towels are washed and aired outside in the fresh air – so much nicer than in a tumble dryer we feel. With regard to soap, due to allergies and as everyone prefers to chose and supply their own soap we stopped issuing it but in recent months I have sourced some excellent natural soap so we do supply this in all our accommodation. It would have been better if you could have aired your views when you were here and we could have had a chance to remedy things immediately, we were only 4 mins walk away!
“The lounge was dark and gloomy”, - due to the trees as already explained above, it was also the worst weather we had had in months with monsoon rain so I think anywhere would have been gloomy under these dark skies the weekend you were here.
“The TV ridiculously small” – we hope that guests coming to Roulotte Retreat want to get away from the norm at home and don’t wish to watch tv when they are in the countryside. Many guests don’t even use the tv but we feel it is nice to have one in the cottage just in case and we wanted it to be as unobtrusive as possible. We made it a tv/dvd combi so that guests could bring their own movies to watch. This is popular with children.
“The ‘leather’ sofa was plastic” – it certainly isn’t plastic, it is a leather sofa bed of excellent quality, only bought last year so that guests can have occasional guests staying over if arranged previously with us.
Re fuel - we provide guests with plenty of fuel, both eco fuel, kindling and newspaper, when they require more they ask. In many establishments which we have visited you have to pay every day for an eco log. We prefer not to charge extra but willingly and freely give the fuel to guests. I’m not sure if you are used to wood burning stoves but we have never had any complaints about the stove before if it is lit and managed properly.
“Not great on a rainy, cold weekend” - it was such dreadful weather when you were here wasn’t it, but I’m afraid we cannot help the weather. We had other guests the same weekend staying in the roulottes and they were out and about all weekend, walking up the Eildon Hills, out taking photographs and then sketching inside. They had a ball, even although it was terrible rain all weekend. Scotland does have mixed weather and unfortunately it was very rainy when you were here. If only you had stayed the final day you would have found it to be gloriously sunny, it was such a shame you left before the sun came out. In actual fact many of our guests have said they prefer when it does rain as it gives them the excuse not to go out but to cosy up by the stove.
“Despite having a lantern in the accommodation I was a little surprised there were no tea lights either”. We usually do have a stock of these in the laundry cupboard, perhaps you missed them or perhaps previous guests used them all up. You only needed to ask for more as we keep a stock of these in our store. Again a simple thing which could have been dealt with so easily.
“The cottage was nothing like described on the website” – interestingly enough most guests say that it is much better and bigger and the website doesn’t do it justice, but you are of course entitled to your opinion.
“Generally the decoration and furnishings were very basic, the place didn’t look or feel clean and smelled and felt damp.” The cottage was recently decorated with all the natural, yet bright colours and painted in both eco paints and clay paint for breathability both for the building and for guests. Any damp you were smelling I can suggest was due to the excessive monsoon weather weekend when you were here.
“Floor coverings were basic.” With wool carpets, stripped wooden floors and cork tile bathroom and kitchen floor coverings, we feel this is completely in keeping with a self catering cottage with a huge number of guests passing through.
“This was a more like a bothy than the boutique level of accommodation suggested by your website. In short we feel mis-sold. We felt no magic and tranquillity.”
With regard to your last comments, I am sorry you felt it was like a bothy, you felt you were mis-sold and you felt no magic and tranquility. We have had hundreds of bookings and everyone has been absolutely delighted with their stay and enjoyed being here. It is such a shame that you had such terrible weather, this would certainly not have improved your mood at all as it is disappointing when you go on holiday with high expectations of bbq’s outside, happy family time together and the weather puts such a damper on everything. When you first arrived you were very animated and excited about being here and I remember you saying your daughter was just going to love staying in the bowtop and cottage. We have been running our cottage for 10 years and our guests have been very pleased to come and stay here, in fact we have had many repeat guests over the years, some families coming year after year and often several times in the same year.
But we do need to also address the fact that other guests staying that same weekend have already signed up to come back and thoroughly enjoyed their stay, irrespective of the rain and the gloomy weather. The magic and tranquility most guests experience is a sense of peace and calmness, getting away from it all and their busy lives.
We also have a saying at Roulotte Retreat – that we invite guests with a sense of adventure to step out from their normal lives and get back to nature and enjoy a more simple life. To look around the countryside, enjoy our meadow, watch the birds. I am so sorry that you were not able to enjoy Roulotte Retreat as the ingredients are all there for a peaceful stay.
We are also sorry you were disappointed but why oh why didn’t you talk to us when you were here instead of leaving early? You left in such a hurry and when I called to you through your car window you said it was because of the weather which we could understand but the next day was beautiful, guests were out barbequeing, playing guitars and enjoying al fresco meals, it’s a pity you missed this opportunity.
We do appreciate your comments and of course we do take on board about the trees which were dealt with immediately we got the opportunity to do so, in fact the day you left. As you can imagine it is not good practice to be having trees trimmed with all the noise and mess that goes along with that either during a guest's stay or in wild rainy weather.
If I may also give some feedback since we are being so frank. Many things were moved around and broken in the cottage and bowtop during your stay, which we weren’t going to mention but I thought you would like to know.
My husband did come over immediately you wished bulbs replaced in the lamps but the bulbs were already there but had been moved by your husband! The lamp in the bowtop caravan was broken and oddly, the windows were left wide open in the monsoon rain with the bedcover hitched up onto the curtain rail? All the lace around the bed was discarded and left lying around the floor too. The secondary glazing had been removed from the windows and left on the floor in the twin bedded room in the cottage.
You rushed down the drive in your car without even opening the window to say goodbye. We always like to say goodbye properly to guests, find out about their stay and also to give them a small gift from us at Roulotte Retreat. We only wished you had talked to us.
As I have said we are disappointed that you were disappointed and as a goodwill gesture we immediately responded to your email inviting you to come back to Roulotte Retreat, offering you a discount on your next stay to see if you could capture the magic and tranquillity like all the previous guests before you have experienced but sadly you never replied!
with kind regards,
Avril Berry
Roulotte Retreat
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Roulotte Retreat

Property: Roulotte Retreat
Address: Bowden Mill, Melrose TD6 0SU, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Borders > Melrose
Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Melrose
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Roulotte Retreat Melrose, Scotland

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