I spent an awfully long time today writing a letter to Pierre et Vacances about this disastrous Residence. I'm just too tired to write about it all over again, so here's a copy of the letter, which will tell you all you need to know. I will attempt to post photos afterwards.
Following two requests in the past 6 days, I have just taken the time to complete your Satisfaction Questionnaire sent via e-mail. One of the final questions requested a summary of our experience; however, having completed such questionnaires in the past, I was quite sure that there would be insufficient space for me to express my utter disappointment with our stay at Residence Pierre et Vacances, Estepona. In response to that question, therefore, I indicated that I would let you have my comments in this letter, with supporting photographs.
We chose not to use a hotel booking website, but booked our apartment directly with the hotel via telephone, and paid the price advertised on your website, which was €364 for one week in a one-bedroomed, self-catering apartment from Saturday 14th to Saturday 21st September 2013. We received written confirmation promptly - no complaints in that regard!
We have been loyal P&V customers for over 15 years, and have stayed, as a family, in various P&V holiday villages throughout France many, many times so, ignoring some extremely negative reviews on both Tripadvisor and Booking.com, we remained confident that your 4 Star Residence in Estepona would live up to the high standards we have come to expect and appreciate in France, and we were really looking forward to our holiday. However, as this was to be our first time staying with P&V in Spain, I thought it would be wise to telephone the hotel on the night prior to our arrival to confirm check-in / check-out times and the enquire as to the exact facilities provided in the apartment - bed linen, towels, toiletries, kitchen cleaning products, kettle, iron etc., as I was not sure if exactly the same policies are followed in Spain as in France.
I found the receptionist who answered the telephone to be openly dismissive, abrupt and somewhat surly in her manner, but I remained pleasant despite her rudeness. I thought that perhaps I had called at an inconvenient time (approx. 2100 hrs), and hoped that the welcome would be better when we arrived the next day. I specifically asked if we should bring our own travel kettle and iron, and was told that, although the hotel was full that night and all those items were currently out on loan, there would be many people checking out the next morning, and so there should be no problem borrowing a kettle and iron on arrival. I suggested that I could easily bring my own, but was told that this really should not be necessary, so I didn't pack them. I also requested an apartment with an uncovered balcony that would allow us to have as much sun as possible all day, but was told, in an unapologetic manner, that this request would not be considered at this stage - we would be allocated an apartment on arrival and could make the request at that time only.
The Residence itself is badly located and poorly signposted, at the top of a very steep hill, in a dull residential area far away from the main road and any shopping facilities, making it absolutely essential to have a car. On arrival the following afternoon, there was nowhere to park. Although there are 310 apartments at the residence, there are only approximately 40 outdoor parking spaces provided, all of which were full, as was the 'drop-off' area at the entrance, where only 5 minutes loading/unloading time is permitted. There is underground parking available at an extra charge of €9.00 per day, which is extortionate, but even if we wanted to, we couldn't avail of this until we had checked in anyway. We therefore had to leave the premises altogether and drive around for quite some time trying to find a parking space. We eventually parked a long way down the hill, which meant we had to drag all our baggage back up that same steep hill in 33 degrees of heat. It was at least a 15 minute climb, and not a good start to our holiday.
On arrival at reception, we were checked in by a pleasant gentleman, who allocated us apartment 1135, overlooking the swimming pool. When we went to the apartment, we were dismayed by the size and the darkness of it, in particular the tiny balcony, which was almost completely enclosed by its walls and roof. We returned to reception to request an apartment with a larger, open-topped balcony, preferably facing south or south-west, in order to get as much sun as possible.
This time we were dealt with by a blonde-haired, female receptionist whom I soon recognised as being the same person I had spoken with the previous night. She was immediately defensive and unhelpful, saying there were no apartments of that type, but we could try apartment 2302 on the outside of the complex, which turned out to be as far away from the entrance as possible.
Due to a distinct shortage of lifts, we dragged our suitcases up and down numerous staircases to get to 2302, only to discover that it was identical to 1135, except instead of overlooking the pool, we were now looking directly into the apartments of the complex next door! The balcony was also the same size as the one in the previous apartment - approx. 5 ft x 6 ft, with just about enough room for the tiniest table and two chairs. It was almost completely enclosed, allowing practically no sunshine in at all. Usually, at a P&V Residence, we would expect to find a balcony (or sometimes two) with a table, chairs x 4 and sun loungers x 2. Considering 2302 is an apartment that sleeps 4, I cannot see how it would be possible for 4 people, even if they were all standing upright, to be on the balcony together.
I noticed that apartment 2300 next door was empty. It had an open-topped balcony, so I rang the receptionist to ask if we could move in there, but she said no, as it was a two-bedroomed apartment. I asked if we could upgrade and pay the difference, but she said the entire residence was fully booked for the forthcoming week, and there would be no two-bedroomed apartments available, so we had no option but to stay where we were. Later that evening, two very noisy Spanish couples and a small, constantly crying child moved into apartment 2300 for the week, receiving many other loud visitors during their holiday. However, practically every other apartment along the rest of our block seemed to be empty for the whole week, and there were very few sunbeds occupied around the pool, so I cannot help but think that the receptionist not only misled us about how full the residence was, but she also deliberately placed a noisy group next door to us simply because it was within her power to do so. I would be interested to know what the actual percentage occupancy was at the residence during the week 14th - 21st September 2013.
I was completely shocked at the condition of the apartment. I always make it a policy to inspect our accommodation as soon as we arrive, to ensure that everything is in working order. These were some of my immediate findings:
• Cracked floor tiles x 6 in the bathroom
• Lampshades dirty, burnt, misshapen & broken
• Window and patio door smeared & dirty
• Kitchen ill-equipped & grimy around the 2-ring hob
• Microwave stained inside
• Extractor covered in grease
• No oven, no grill, nowhere to store dry food
• Refrigerator door would not close, therefore ice box was completely frozen over
• Balcony covered in bird droppings and generally in extremely poor repair
• Walls scuffed, damaged & dirty in living room, bedroom & kitchen
• Only two tall glasses and two wine glasses provided
• Water dangerously hot in shower and all taps, of particular concern if there were children or elderly staying at the apartment
• Cheap toiletry sachets & meagre cleaning kit - the washing-up liquid was watered down by 50% (I could actually see the water sitting on top of the washing up liquid!)
• Mattresses rock-hard and unbearable, even for someone who likes a hard bed
I returned to reception to borrow a kettle & toaster, but was told by the same sullen receptionist, with her 'couldn't-care-less' shrug of the shoulders, that there were none available, and maybe I should try later. It took at least 6 more visits to her over the next 48 hours before we finally got a dirty, greasy kettle and toaster.
Whilst there were dozens of Spanish, French, German, Italian and Dutch channels on the TV providing a wide range of entertainment, movies and news, there were only two English-speaking channels - CNN from the USA & Euronews. We like to see the news as much as any other person, but not repeated every half-hour throughout the day & night, and not American news, which is always from the previous day and therefore not 'news' at all!
There were two bars and a restaurant at the residence. We were not tempted to try the restaurant. Neither of the bars opened once during the entire week. This was not actually a problem for us, as we don't tend to frequent bars anyway, but I was surprised to see that P&V do not take advantage of these excellent sources of revenue. There was no entertainment for children or adults, and no hotel shop other than a few baguettes and some juice on a shelf behind the reception desk. The corridors were poorly lit, with almost 50% of bulbs missing, the carpets were dirty & threadbare and the walls were stained & scuffed from years of 'luggage abuse'. I am curious to know how such a sad, miserable premises that seems to economise in all the wrong areas is still allowed to advertise with a 4 star rating. This was nothing like any 4 star properties I have previously stayed at, and personally, I would find it difficult to award it any more than 2 stars.
In one section of your questionnaire, you asked if we had received information about "sustainable development action", "steps taken to protect the environment" and "transport links with the site". We saw no evidence of this, as there were no information packs available for guests, either in the apartments or in the lobby, and no places of interest advertised. We could probably have requested such information at the reception desk, but every time we passed by, that same unfriendly, intimidating receptionist was on duty, and I knew she would not be at all helpful, so we avoided her whenever possible. Your questionnaire also enquired about the satisfaction of our interaction with staff. During the entire week, we saw only three different staff members, all of whom were working at reception. We encountered no maintenance staff, no waiters, no barmen and no cleaning staff (although our apartment was cleaned on the fifth day of our stay).
Although this is a residence which stays open throughout the year, the impression we got was of a failing business in the process of being wound down, not just for the season, but forever. But perhaps this is the case?
I have supplied photographic evidence below in support of some of the points above, but if you do intend to continue to trade at the P&V Residence at Estepona, I must advise you to send someone urgently to inspect this rapidly deteriorating residence and make the necessary changes without delay, or risk destroying the good name that you have built up over so many years. As I said earlier, we have been loyal P&V customers for over 15 years, but as a result of our most recent experience at Estepona, we have decided that we will never, ever book with you again, nor could we possibly recommend P&V to anyone else.
Unfortunately, human nature being as it is, all it takes is one really bad experience to turn loyal, long-standing customers (and in the case of P&V, potential investors) away forever. This is exactly the case with us, and so we feel obliged to advise you that we shall submit a copy of this letter as our review of Residence Pierre et Vacances Estepona to Tripadvisor tonight. We look forward to your response is due course.
Yours sincerely etc.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La residencia moderna con piscina exterior esta al borde de un campo de golf, adosado en la montana. La plaza cuenta con terrazas para tomar algo y restaurantes. Estepona, en la extremidad de la Costa del Sol y sus 21km de playas. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, TravelUp, Travel Republic (UK), Expedia, LoveHolidays, Hotels.com, Odigeo, Evoline ltd, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U. and HotelQuickly so you can book your Pierre & Vacances Residence Estepona reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Pierre & Vacances Estepona Residence Hotel Estepona
- Pierre And Vacances Estepona Residence
- Pierre & Vacances Residence Estepona Costa Del Sol, Spain