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“Amazing setting and friendly staff”

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Hollybush Inn & Campsite
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing setting and friendly staff”
Reviewed 7 May 2014 via mobile

This place is absolutely beautiful with roaming peacocks, green woodland and being right on the River Wye.
I went with a bunch of friends and enjoyed a quiet spot in the lower woodland where we didn't have to worry about making noise and stayed up round the fire all night.
Barbara (the owner) is committed to preserving the untouched unnatural setting which is why this place is perfect for anyone wanting a simple back to basics camping experience.

The food at the pub is incredible and cheap, I can personally recommend the Gerka's delight lamb!

I know hollybush has had some bad reviews but they all sound like people who are looking for a 5 star hotel rather than a beautiful country retreat and I couldn't recommend it more!

Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank Nathan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2014

You know that feeling when something really bad is happening to you and you just can't believe it? Thats how me and my boyfriend felt when the (completely drunk man in charge) showed us our tipi.
First of all the carpets were disgusting, smelt really bad and full of ash and filth. We were surrounded by insects as the tipi wasn't even connected to the ground properly and had holes in it as well as the mould on the outside. We checked more of the tipis and they were just as bad as this.
As we didn't have any other option, we had to spend a night in there and it definitely was the worst night ever. Woke up in the morning breathing out the smoke from the fire. The tipi wouldn't allow the smoke to escape properly which meant we were breathing in the smoke in our sleep.

If you decide to do canoeing, you either bring your own wetsuit, wear your casual clothes or pay £5 for the terrible wetsuit from Barbara which I'm sure has never been washed. Smells of sweat of people wearing it before. Disgusting. And then you'll have to be listening to Barbara's instructions about how to use the canoe, which takes probably an hour, but once you're on the river, you realise, nothing she said made sense and you easily figure it out on your own. The way she spoke to us made me realise that she doesn't really know how to work with people, or how to take care of her customers. And this kind of thing can ruin your holidays very easily.

We found another accommodation in Hay on Wye where we spent our second night and decided to pick up our stuff from the tipi the following morning. Arrived there, everything was okay, until the drunk man in charge asked us about our trip. When we said it wasn't really what we expected and we weren't happy, he got really angry and aggressive, wouldn't let us pick our stuff and just go. We only got £5 back for the wood we bought and didn't even open, because apparently he didn't have any money.

Oh and another interesting thing. Be careful about the prices (wood etc..) Barbara charged us more for the wood than the other man and as the board with prices was gone the next day, we couldn't prove it.

Seriously, the worst experience ever, never ever coming back.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank SuziDr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Hay-on-Wye hotels

Birmingham, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 5 May 2014

4 of us lads went to this site last year and enjoyed it so much we went again this year and brought 5 more (19-23 year olds).

Had an absolutely great time left to our own devices down in the woods with a campfire going through the evenings. When we had done enough BBQ's and campfire spit roast cooking, We went to the pub which has changed from a great traditional pub last year to an amazing Thai and Nepalese restaurant / takeaway, I can recommend the thai red curry although one of the so called lads struggled with the heat! The staff were friendly and were able to squeeze us in despite no booking.

The toilet / shower facilities on this site were adequate maybe a little basic but thats not what I go camping for anyway.

The team were all friendly and let us just get on having the great time we knew we would have.

Overall excellent value for a bunch of lads wanting to have a great time and would definitely go again.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Matthew S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ticehurst, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2014

We drove up from Sussex to stay here, we read the reviews and we thought - it can't be all that bad..... IT IS - IT"S WORSE, take a look at my picture of our Tepee.....As you enter Barbara Lewthwaite, will give you a stern warning, and thats before you have set foot out of the car - to ball games, no fires, no chopping wood, no noise, no collecting sticks (even off the floor). The place is a mud bath, the Tepee's pictured on their look white - don't be fooled, they were white about ten years ago but now they are green with mould, leaky, smelly and unbelievably dirty inside. I,m quite avaricious but even i was offended by this woman. we were supposed to stay three nights but only stayed 1 - I wonder how much money Barbra makes from people that turn up because they don't believe how bad it is and leave without a refund. The pub is great and apparently no longer a part of the camping business - It's a shame they are tarnished by Barbra's rude nature. They allow dogs evidently, we didn't take one, and there were none there when we stayed - but there was dog mess everywhere, even the Peacocks have wellingtons on. One last tip - if you do canoe, and you make it through the briefing, pay attention to how dirty this place is then ask yourself "do i really want to wear one of the hired wet suits.... do i really believe that the wet suit will be any cleaner than the rest of the camp site" After canoeing 8 miles we are left there stranded, she would only take the driver back despite having room for us all. The Boat Inn where the Canoeing ends is amazing - stay here instead!!
At the end of the day it's camping, but this put's it at a new low, you wouldn't "choose" this site to camp, but having paid in advance without seeing it what do you do.., there are far better campsites, with far better facilities than this one - you have been warned. STAY AWAY. Ive scored Terrible because thats as low as it goes - it needs a minus.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank thebearfiftyfour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2014

We arrived at the campsite in our campervan around midday and parked up on a sunny pitch close to the site entrance. We were greeted by Barbara the site owner who was sitting in the site office with her foot in a bucket of water having just ripped her toenail off unloading some canoes! In spite of clearly being in a considerable amount of pain, she was welcoming and told us we could pitch up wherever we liked. We had a look around, and whilst it is fair to say the site could do with a bit of a tidy up and was quite muddy due to all the recent rain, you could tell straight away that it was a really beautiful site in a lovely setting. We decided to pitch up where we were and the site staff couldn't have been more helpful in sorting us out with an electrical hookup and anything else we needed. We took the short walk down to the river through the woods in the evening and then went for a meal in the Hollybush Inn by the site entrance. The staff were really friendly, the food was good (we had a mixture of Thai and Nepalese dishes), the meal was reasonably priced and the service was excellent. In terms of the site itself, the toilet and shower facilities are fairly basic, but clean and tidy and perfectly acceptable. There is also a nice little bar in the site office if you fancy a drink! As well as an abundance of wildlife, we were also surrounded by chickens, peacocks, cats and a very beautiful horse which joined us for breakfast the next morning! The following day we joined a group of fellow guests for a canoe trip down the river which was hugely enjoyable. We were given plenty of instructions and advice before we set off and there was no problem with being picked up from Hay on Wye when we reached the other end. We absolutely loved our stay on this site. It might not be the tidiest or most well organised site in the world, but if you want something small,basic, friendly, good fun,a bit quirky and a bit different situated in a really beautiful setting, then this is the place for you.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Denise H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 May 2014

My boyfriend and I and two friends booked a Groupon for canoeing at the Hollybush a couple of months ago. We were a group of adults celebrating our recent qualification as doctors and looking forward to a relaxing trip down the river. When we arrived, Barbara told us that she knew nothing of the booking and that it would not be valid for the weekend, despite us showing her a confirmation email. After lots of huffing and puffing and being made to feel like frauds, she said we could maybe have a couple of canoes if there were any left over.

Next we had the canoe briefing. Now, we understand that you have to be thorough and give adequate safety information, but Barbara took it upon herself to talk down to us like we were children on a school trip. Even walking to the area in which we had to pick up our equipment we were told to "use our brains" and "get out of the road" when a car was coming (despite the fact we were all adults and perfectly able to walk down the lane safely ourselves). The briefing involved teaching us how to use our paddles. At this point,it turned into a power trip for Barbara, in which she began publicly humiliating us. My partner, whilst trying to learn the strokes, was told he had "no capacity to learn" and she simply couldn't let him on to the water with such "inadequate skills". Other groups were told off for similar things and ridiculed for how they stepped into the canoe. She then went on a rant about how people always think they know it all and how none of us were clearly interested in anything she had to say. We told her several times that we were willing to learn. It was a really bizarre experience. Barbara is beyond rude.

The canoes and equipment were fine and the river Wye is beautiful, but Barbara is the real star of the show. There are plenty of other canoe companies in the area that actually make canoeing a fun experience. With the Groupon this was a really cheap day out and it was worth the bad start for such a lovely day on the river.

All in all, a bad but memorable experience. My advice to anyone thinking of going canoeing from here is to AVOID it!!!

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank TheFlyingCamelpig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leominster, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2014

I too was on the stag party...and before you start moaning about "bluddy drunken yooves" the average age was probably 50 and comprised some very experienced campers. I won't repeat all of the toilet/showers/rude Barbara tales (but they're all true!).....the site was a disgrace, ok, it's been wet but a little effort would have seen a bit of reasonable access....sliding several feet down a muddy bank to the campsite with your camping gear was a little unnecessary!

A few high points: The laugh we all had at Ms. Lewthwaite when she told us we couldn't use an axe to chop our logs into kindling, that we had to take our wood (bought from her) back to her to be chopped and charged for!...we carried on chopping anyway.

An initial warning from Ms. Lewthwaite about the noisy neighbours in one of the teepees...to inform her if they were noisy again. Apparently they were "troublemakers"...they were a lovely couple with a gaggle of polite and quiet kids and two very well behaved dogs...didn't stop Ms. Lewthwaite from going into their teepee and having a poke around amongst their stuff whilst they were out though!

The pre-canoeing brief...apart from being tedious, was badly presented, arrogant and just plain rude, Ms. Lewthwaite was appallingly obnoxious to a little girl who had the temerity to get into her canoe before being instructed...she made her get out and then told her to get back in...I felt for the parents as well as the poor girl...nobody else had to be told to get into their canoes!...nothing to do with safety, just a power trip, how sad!

Having booked and paid for the canoe trip many weeks before (to include being brought back from the Boat at Whitney) we were informed that as there were more than 5 of us in our group (there were 8 of us and a dog) she would only bring back 3 drivers.....upon being informed that none of us on the trip were drivers she told us we'd have to pay for a taxi back...with no refund!

The canoe trip (once we got away from the Hollybush) was brilliant fun and enjoyed by all. The Boat at Whitney is a great pub and the reception we received from the staff and locals was nothing short of amazing, thanks everyone!

After we returned to the campsite we packed and left after being told we had to be quiet after 23:00hrs because 85 people were descending on our little campsite for a rave....great, we wouldn't wish to disturb that now would we, perish the thought that we'd wake them up with our snoring or with the sound of cooking over the camp fire whilst 85 others trampled us into the mud to the sound of electro-techno and a diesel generator!

There were some quaint little things about the campsite I must admit, the campsite bar/shop/wetsuit store...well, a barrel of beer standing on a bar in a garden shed...the informative notices advising one on how many sheets (2) of toilet paper to use...the cctv cameras in the trees etc.

Fuddy duddies? no, none of us, up for a laugh with the rest and prepared to put some effort in to have a good time...but the "management" just takes the biscuit....breaks it up, crumbles the crumbs into your sleeping bag and then charges you for cleaning it out....with your own dustpan and brush....greedy was my best description for the general attitude displayed by the "management"...although we had paid in advance we were constantly asked for more money for "extras" and often for what we had already paid for by other members of staff. It really wasn't very professional at all.

From her website...."Barbara lewthwaite has worked tirelessly on making Hollybush what it is today"....Yep, and with a little more effort it'll be completely empty!

Nick the Reptile.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank NicktheReptile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hollybush Inn & Campsite

Property: Hollybush Inn & Campsite
Address: Old Brecon Road, Hay-on-Wye HR3 5PS, Wales
Region: United Kingdom > Wales > Powys > Hay-on-Wye
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Hay-on-Wye
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Whether Its a pampered break or an action packed weekend. The Hollybush can can cater for all your needs. Located just a short distance from the famous book town "Hay on Wye" and surrounded by some of Wale's finest beauty spots. Treat yourself to a Luxury room in our B+B and experience the fantastic Cuisine! Set up your tent, Then relax around your Campfire! Experience a Day's canoeing along the Wye or take one of our guided Wild life tours! Camp in style and Hire a Tipi! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hollybush Inn And Campsite
Hollybush Inn & Campsite Hotel Hay-On-Wye
Hollybush Inn & Campsite Hay-On-Wye, Wales

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