I have rented 5 different cottages in Deal for the last 4 years in the summer and sometimes Easter. It has always been very smooth and no major problems. This is the worst experience I have had. It is largely because of the management of Keepers Cottages.
First of all, there is no key safe to get the key from on arrival as with other properties I have rented, and I was told I should pass by the Keepers Cottages office in Walmer to get the key on arrival. Well, I was arriving in Deal after a long train journey from Bristol and didn't want the prospect of getting a taxi round from the station to Walmer and all the hassles of getting the key. Why isn't there an easier solution like with the other 4 properties I have rented?
Anyway, one of the people in the Keepers offices said she could leave the keys with a friend in a nearby bar - so that was ok, but what would have happened if it was out of bar opening hours?
Then there was a panic, first of all because the number on the key was not the number of the house and I was worried I would be trying to break in to the wrong cottage. I managed to contact someone in the office and was assured that the number was some kind of key ref no and not the number of the cottage. Then another hitch. Struggle as I did with this old lock, I could not get the key to turn. I was standing outside nearly in tears as it was about 5 pm, but could not get into the property. After at least 5 minutes of jiggling and pulling the door, it opened. Later, the agent said "yes, there is a problem opening the door if you don't know what to do!!" This info is apparently in the 'welcome pack' - so a lot of use when you first arrive!
When I eventually got into the property and looked for the information book or 'welcome pack' (as from previous rentals expecting it to be on the coffee table or dining table) it was nowhere to be seen. I also tried to get outside to the courtyard but the door was locked and no key evident. I managed again to contact the agent (difficult because no signal at all in the cottage for my Virgin provider and very patchy outside in the street) and she said she would investigate. It turned out that the key for the outside space is left in a certain drawer in the kitchen, for which you need the info pack to get this info.
The person in the office said she would email me the info pack, but I now had the problem of locating the router and trying to figure out how to connect my computer (more stress). This again was done out in the street, as I could not get any connection in the house.
When I went outside into the yard after managing to locate the key, it was clear no one had used it for months. The plants were dead or dying and there was rubbish strewn all over the yard (several photos taken of the appalling state of the yard). The table and chairs were unusable. It was a rubbish tip. Who is responsible? I guess the agents.
After complaining to the agents and getting apologies, two cleaning ladies/gardeners came in on Monday, They said they had never experienced anything so bad. There was a bag of rubbish which had obviously been there a very long time and the contents had putrified. This burst and they said they nearly vomited, Not sure if there is much point going on about this!! It was quite vile.
Lots of other problems - like not being able to empty the rubbish - told not to leave outside in the yard so as not at attract 'furry friends' (so what do you do with it?)
TV in bedroom gave up after a couple of days - have read another reviewer who reported similar
Nowhere to hang clothes in master bedroom, though there is on the next floor in the other two bedrooms
Supplies not adequate - eg I had to go and buy loo paper. Cleaners said there was no bleach etc for their cleaning.
For a two week stay, when the cleaners came half way through, they could not find enough clean bedding to change all the beds, so I had to use the sheets on my bed in the master bedroom for 2 weeks - I was more concerned about the bedding being changed in the other two bedrooms, as I had guests staying
One guest had a stomach upset because the coffee maker had not been cleaned properly - she thought it smelt a bit strange when she used it and later paid the price for not giving it a proper clean herself (I don't drink coffee, so hadn't used it myself). So the hygiene does come into question - with this and the state of the yard.
I mentioned to the agents, who agreed I had had a bit of a stressful time, that I should get some kind of refund from the owner (for example, I couldn't use the yard for 2.5 days when it was one of the features of the cottage) but nothing has happened. Just a token £50 would have been appreciated but I am not going to push for this - just that I would not stay there again and wouldn't recommend it.
I gave it an 'average' rating rather than a 'poor' mainly because of the decor (tastefully done} and location, which couldn't be better. The price was on the high side compared to other cottages (for example the one next door) - and so I would say it is definitely not worth the rent being charged.
So - overall, nice cottage, excellent location, but a nightmare to stay in and definitely the worst cottage out of 4 I have stayed in in Deal. Agent's fault?
Great cottage was equipped with everything we needed for our stay. So much character and close to all amenities. Mind your head if you're tall and be careful on the irregular stairs. The TV in the bedroom didn't work. Location makes it slightly noisy but overall we had a very enjoyable stay and friendly staff. Would definitely stay here again