- Having paid £14 to hire a high chair for the week we were a bit shocked to find it waiting in the lodge dusty (if you can't open the swimming lockers due to Covid shouldn't you thoroughly clean a high chair?) and minus a safety strap;
-Lockers and changing rooms in the pool were closed so we were expected to walk to and from the pool in swimwear with a baby in bad weather - after booking our 45 min session on the app. We were not prepared to do so with the baby and were forced to change him in the doorway of the gents which was very cold;
-Forced to use apps for pre-check-in, check-in and out, booking swimming and even ordering a coffee in the cafe/restaurant. Apps were awful and our son was concerned about the lack of security on the payment element. Problems with the swimming app resulted in two of our party not receiving confirmation for the pool booking but 1 was processed and not the other. Swimming was to be a family event before our son had to return home for work but he was refused entry so it broke up the party early. A simple order for coffee in the restaurant took multiple attempts and the same applied to everything else we tried to do;
-bar/restaurant had been moved into the car park with no attempt to make it look like something other than a car park with benches. And there was no cover;
-Food in restaurant very basic and previous reviewers were correct to say it's obviously not freshly prepared and expensive. But it did arrive quickly - unlike the app!
-We noticed one fire alarm in the pool area had a sign saying it was not in use!!
-Website has no inventory so we had no idea what we needed to bring or what cooking facilities we had. However it proudly mentions the BBQ which turned out to be a single disposable BBQ pack - for 5 hungry adults?!
- Website also clearly stated there would be a bath and a hand towel for each person. When I asked for the extra hand towels I was told yes they know it states this on the website but they're no longer doing it and don't intend to update the website! A less confrontational response to this and the swimming issue would probably have avoided this review.
-Sleeping policemen on the one way system around the site are huge and square bearing the signs of many damaged exhausts;
- Nowhere to lock bikes at properties.
Travel operator: Shorefield
Hotel tip: No entertainment during our stay due to covid so unable to comment. Very easy to drive to a range of supermarkets and into Bournemouth. NB. Car parks at the beach and country parks can be expensive and the site is remote. Longdown Farm was fantastic! Off-road cycling in the area is restricted by the lack of bridleways due to there being many conservation areas and SSSIs in the area but the access to the Hurn forest was minutes from the lodge and lovely for early runs and dog walks. NB. Dogs are meant to be kept on leads in the park and the forest.
* Chained up bikes stollen - there is a history of this (see trip advisor) and they haven't taken any action to improve security on site
* Aggressive manager who threatened us when we shared our experience with other people on the site
Firstly, there is inadequate security around the site. The CCTV cameras only point towards the bar/pool etc. There isn't any CCTV for guests safety. It should be placed on the entrance/exit, car parks and around the caravans. Plus the website states -
"Any additional guests visiting you at your holiday home after arrival must check-in with reception before passing the barrier."
However, there isn't a barrier or anything else to prevent criminals entering the site. No deterrent whatsoever. No evidence of any security staff on site.
Secondly, 2 of our bikes were stolen. They were securely chained up with 4 bike chains. Their website actively encourages people to take their bikes but there isn't any provision of safe storage for them. A quick search on trip adviser shows that using the filters "stolen" or "security" bring up many complaints spanning many many years, which have not resulted in any improvements in security. Therefore they are knowingly allowing people to be targeted for crime.
Thirdly, they were negligent to all of the other guests by not warning them of the recent theft.
Fourthly, management failed in their duty of care towards us. Both our boys have autism and found it incredibly difficult to cope with the theft of the bikes, one of them belonged to my youngest child. Nobody checked on our welfare quite the opposite.
We then had a visit from a manager, who was very very aggressive and threatened to throw us off the site if we didn't remove the notice from the caravan window. This notice was there in the hope that other guests might be be able to come forward with any information such as dumped bikes in the area. Plus we didn't want anybody else to fall victim. It seems Shorefield managers/directors just wanted to scare us off and keep us quiet so they sent the bully manager round.
Following this managers barrage of abuse my children's autism issues (due to stress and anxiety) became unbearable.
We are thoroughly sickened by the robbery and the treatment we received from the management. We did try to stay for the duration of the holiday for our children's sake but the ongoing issues made this impossible.
So we checked out 08/08/18 cutting the holiday short by two days.
Travel operator: Hoseasons
Hotel tip: AVOID AVOID AVOID
4th August nice day children played in pools indoor/outdoor. 10 year old explored the site on his bike, the bikes were always locked up when not in use.
5th August I got up early to go for a ride in Hurn Forest next to the site finished the ride locked up the bike another lovely day had by all.
6th August got up just after 6am with a view to riding over to Moors Valley having seen some Youtube footage it seemed to be the place around here for mountain bikes. I got ready and opened the caravan door to find the bikes had gone. Upon further inspection I could see that the locks had been bolt cropped. The question I ask myself is was there one thief in a vehicle or were there 2 one would be tall and one short who walked on to site either way they came equipped with something heavy to steal. This very much feels like a targeted theft and therefore someone must have been on site prior to this to check out for decent bikes mine was worth approx. £800. I reported the theft to reception and they said I should phone the police, they didn't other to. I asked to speak to manager and was told they wouldn't be on site until 9am. I said if the manager starts at 9am I would expect them on site at 8.30am so they could come to the caravan for 8.45am. I then phoned the police who gave me a crime number and said to find out if the site had any CCTV footage. 8.45am came and no sign of anyone so I returned to reception and found out that one manager had been on site for 20 mins and the other for 10 mins. I spoke to the lady manager who was aggressive and said the ops manager was busy and would see me soon. Eventually when I spoke to him the first thing he said was I would have to claim on my insurance. I explained to him what has happened and told him both my children were autistic and found this very difficult. He never asked any welfare question regarding how my family or I were feeling and never once said he was sorry for the incident. Also no outside CCTV on site meaning anyone could wander around. I asked to be refunded for the holiday because I wanted to leave and even spoke to Hoseasons. The offer was to refund minus the nights we had stopped to which I declined. I have since had notices put on the windows of the caravan warning that bikes were stolen on 6th August 2018. Lots of holiday makers have stopped by and sympathised with us to which I am grateful.
7th August the lady manager approached me and said in an aggressive manner if you don't take the posters down I will have you and your family thrown off site. I explained they weren't posters and refused to remove them she said you haven't heard the last of this. At no point did either of the managers introduce themselves. Most of the receptionists I have spoken to have been very polite apart from one.
The Shorefield website mentions visitors coming on site will have report to reception before being let through the barrier. I haven't seen any barrier nor any kind of security.
In summary management require some training or better still some trained mangers to replace them because customer engagement is very poor. Security and entrance to the site need to be reviewed and upgraded.
Travel operator: Hoseasons
Hotel tip: Don't stop here
Travel operator: Shorefield holidays
Hotel tip: Avoid at all costs
The lodge was lovely, plenty of big sofas; big wide screen TV with Freeview, and DVD player, fully equipped kitchen, with dishwasher. There was a double room with en suite, and three twin rooms, all of a decent size. The whole lodge was in great condition, and was warm, comfortable and welcoming.
The hot tub was brilliant, the only downside being that the water was changed in the morning of our arrival, which is great, but it takes all day for the water to heat up, so we were not able to use it till the following day. This being said, we really made the most of it, and really really loved this special treat.
The park itself was good, better than a Butlins style, the swimming pool was good, and the kids loved the water slide. The outside pool wasn’t open, being October, but this was fine. The sauna and steam room were lovely and great to sit in while the kids are in the pool, as the sauna and steam room were poolside.
Staff were friendly and helpful. We didn’t see any of the entertainment, but the entertainment space looked nice, and the bar was decent.
The park also offered a good kids playground and crazy golf and other activities were run daily.
As the park is surrounded by countryside, there are plenty of places to go for walks or bike rides. We had a day out at a local forest park called Moors Valley Country Park, about 5-10 mins drive down the road. The park was brilliant, great bike rides, plenty to do and see, go ape, play areas, lakes and authentic steam train at the Moors Valley Railway, plus much more. It was a great day out, and the kids had a great time.
We will defiantly be returning to Oakdene Forest Park, it was amazing value, great location and a great getaway for all the family to enjoy.
This visit we stayed in a Nordic Lodge, in the same area as the Rhododendron lodges, but the Nordic lodge was a little more modern than the others.
We had a lodge that slept 8, 2 double rooms, one with en suite and 2 twin rooms. Beds were comfortable and the sheets, duvets and pillow were all comfortable and freshly clean.
The Nordic lodge had the outdoor hot tub, brilliant as always, but also the added bonus of the sauna in the bathroom, this was a lovely touch, as it was pretty cold weather still in March it was nice to jump out of the hot tub and into the sauna.
Swimming pool was great, clean and the kids love it.
We will be returning again soon.
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