We wanted a short break in the UK with some entertainment at night, good accommodation and nice food.
We got one out of three at least!
This break cost the same as a week in Spain, so was not cheap.
We have been to all Butlins' sites many times years ago for Spring Harvest at Easter time with the Church, but wow, has it all deteriorated.
First of all every member of staff we met were very pleasant, helpful and efficient. They have a difficult job working in such a depressing place but do their best. The house keeping staff did a great job in the apartment but a deep clean is needed. The carpets and rug, as well as walls and handles etc are very grubby.
The Bayside 5 star apartments really are outstanding. Two large bedrooms, two full size bathrooms with walk in showers, huge kitchen and lounge with stunning panoramic sea views from the lounge and bedrooms. Large balcony overlooking the beach with sliding doors and comfy chairs.
I enjoy good properties and these could easily pass for a City Penthouse. High end fixtures and fittings and furnishings. Well done Butlins for offering this level of luxury. We loved staying there. It was a privilege.
This is where it all goes down hill!
We had Premier Dining! There really isn't much that's 'premier' about it. Although the food is just about adequate, it was all luke warm, which is a health hazard. Every meal was just warm. The drinks are dire with watered down juice. We stuck to water. The hot drinks were as bad from the machine.
The worst part are the restaurants. We ate in the Yacht Club (should be called the Titanic really!) and this is supposed to be the best on site, if that's the case I would imagine the general restaurant to be like something from Oliver Twist, but without anyone asking for 'more'!
The Yacht Club is filthy, really grubby. The carpet is literally black in places with grime and smothered in spilt food, your hands stick to the tables and the walls haven't seen any fresh paint since Vincent Van Gogh was alive! The floors around edges of the service areas are filthy, as are the window frames, skirting boards and storage areas. The ceilings are a disgrace as are the air-con vents in the roof which are plastered in black grime. Radio 1 on full blast at every sitting doesn't exactly encourage a relaxing dining experience.
The whole site has a terrible stench, from the main areas to the restaurants, the worst was in Reds night club which made us feel nauseous on entering, like a full Hoover bag that has old sprouts sucked into it. Really gross.
I had the misfortune to use the toilet in the Skyline which was filthy. The plastic wall coverings under the hand driers were black with grime, as were everything else that could not be wiped over quickly at each toilet check. A DEEP clean is needed. The hand gel stations are a good idea but the floors directly below, where it's been dropped have never been cleaned.
The entertainment was truly dire, nothing more than an up-scaled karaoke set up with screens and media at the back. Poor backing tracks for everything. All acts would be OK for a cruise, party night, wedding or something but not Butlins. The Jersey Quartet tried to imitate the Jersey Boys but failed miserably. The harmonies were all out. Stick to the day jobs guys.
The Little Mix tribute were poor with girls with average voices and dancing abilities.
The Sleeping Beauty panto was OK, oh yes it was! but aimed at toddlers who would be satisfied with any old tosh! Nothing in it for adults at all.
The illusionist had a box of tricks that you can literally buy from B and M, terrible.
Robbie Williams was good but tributes are SO yesterday and BORING. Where is the originality Butlins???
Abba (yet another boring tribute type show) was very poor with high school choreography and performers who have come straight from Am’ Dram’. That's ok for some but Butlins is based on offering top notch shows and entertainment, or it used to.
Rocket Man was the same (the same team as for everything else), Taron Edgerton has nothing to worry about here, yet another school play type production, the only positive here were the songs themselves. The fake piano and pianist was funny!
The venues are all very depressing. Carpets that your feet stick to, extremely poor sound systems with way too much bass and muffled higher ends, dated lighting and stages. Old seats that need new padding and tables that again, you stick to. All have terrible stenches.
The bars' service is good (very pleasant and efficient staff) but way over priced. £4.00 for a pint of Carling, £4.30 for a liquor coffee and hot chocolate, £4.30 for a one shot Baileys, come off it, they should be charging no more than Wetherspoon's prices. The on site shops are the same set up and extortionate pricing as motorway service stations.
Is Butlins on the way out? If not then they should be ashamed of themselves as they need to up their game.
Clearly, what is happening here is they are presenting a product of EXTREMELY low quality to people, generally who can't afford to spend much on a holiday (those who opt for budget accommodation), and these people deserve BETTER than this.
We were fortunate (and never take for granted that we will always be able to do this as money can be taken away at any point through life's journey) that currently we are able to book the higher level accommodation and dining but I felt very sorry for those who were in the budget accommodation (again, which could be any one of us if we hit hard times and want a cheap holiday -life is very fragile and situations can change in an instant) and dining, many with mobility problems, learning disabilities or compromised abilities. These people may not have a voice to complain like me, so I'm doing this for them. They deserve more than sitting in a restaurant that is not fit for a dog.
It is NOT fair Butlins, just or right to present these people with such low standards just because you can get away with it and they will keep coming back, they (we) deserve better. The race to the bottom is not a good one to be in.
The UK's standards have become so low now that anything goes. It's not about money, profession, class or status, it's about basic standards of simple hygiene and care that should be adhered to, to make our country an acceptable place to live and for others to visit.
In Europe, generally, there is a baseline standard which is always met, goodness help us if and when this country is able to make its own rules and regulations without The EU over seeing. It'll be back to Reece Mogg's workhouses, but he'll be ok as has his Nanny. I'm all for people prospering but do not do it at the expense of the poor, weak or marginalised.
So, if any CEO's or top brass of Butlins read this, do an undercover visit, put yourselves in the place of these people who can't afford much (it really could be you at any point), and see if you'd be happy with what you're offered. I somehow think heads would roll within your senior management teams in your Ivory towers with your findings, and rightly so.
It makes my blood boil when the vulnerable, poor or people who struggle with LD through no fault of their own are not given the very basic standards that others, with perhaps more money, intellectual capacity or connections are.
Shame on you Butlins top brass, I challenge you to do an undercover booking and see it all for yourself. None of this is the hard working staff's fault, they ALL do their best, it's budget planners, senior managers and strategists that should take FULL responsibility for this.
Travel operator: Self
Hotel tip: Don't go, no really, do not go.
They make you feel like you have been hitting your head against a brick wall
Sir Billy would be most unhappy as the company was built on customer comfort and service and is being ruined by ruthless, jobsworth, bullies.
On the plus side is good food and friendly catering staff who couldn't be more helpfull, if i was ceo they would be in charge of customer care and the management at customer care sacked.
i am writing to the ceo to complain as no good involving their management as you would get no where
Travel operator: booked direct
Hotel tip: If you encounter any problem and have reason to complain, be very aware that they may have a hostile approach to clients, be prepared to be browbeaten DONT take no for an answer as you have consumer rights it is most unlikely to have your complaint dealt with properly by management as they seem to all close ranks. You write to the CEO at Hemel Hempstead and give a reasonable timescale for resolution and state what you expect to be done to satisfy you.
Think it’s terrible when a resort is more concerned about making a profit and expect people with disabilities to pay more as if it is their fault they have a disability absolutely disgraceful and a clear sign of discriminating
The park is OKish but has a lot of negatives, I.E. grossly overcrowded to the point where entertainment is unavailable if you require a seat or even would like to see the entertainment. Intention was to see DIVERSITY and STEPHEN MULHERN.
Impossible to even get in the premises. A QUEUE so long it was implausible to wait in line knowing the wait would be a waste of time. VERY DISAPPOINTED AND LET DOWN.
Accommodation was insulting. Neglected and so basic. Refugees would have been insulted and bemused by the glowing attributes from the website. DISGUSTING AND EMBARRASSING PLACE.
Travel operator: Butlins Direct
Hotel tip: APARTMENT
The circus and the entertainment was fantastic and the weather meant we could enjoy all the outdoor activities. We were disappointed with the food court dining as the food being nothing special and poorly presented. The chair backs were sticky which caused concern with cleaning standards. There was a couple of children we noticed being sick throughout our stay (Butlins have hand sanitizers everywhere) and we thought nothing of concern and the procedures for cleaning this up very efficient (have you seen Monsters inc. when the sock gets stuck on the back of the scarer...).
On our 4th day my daughter was sick in the night and didn't quite make it to the toilet which we cleaned it up using our own cleaning materials and she went back to bed. In the morning she wasn't great (probably lack of sleep) and we informed guest services of what happened so they could ensure room was cleaned properly when we left but were surprised to be told that we have to leave and they would refund the remainder of the holiday but they didn't have to. They quoted one of the terms and conditions which states 'contagious diseases - should Butlins become aware, or have reasonable grounds for suspicion, that a guest has contracted a contagious disease that has the potential to infect a large number of people quickly, they and there party will be required to leave he resort...' they would not listen to any reasoning or the reason why I believed she was sick and that if it was contagious must have contracted it on holiday as been there for 4 days. They would not get a GP involved either. We left the resort 3 days early and had to travel home much to the devastation of my children. Not a surprise that none of my family or myself has become sick and my daughter was well with 24 hours.
On complaining they offered me additional activity vouchers when I next had a holiday with them but don't think that will be happening anytime soon. Make sure that you are aware of the consequences of a child or member of your party being sick and the assumptions made by guest services regarding any sickness.
I am taking this further but thanks Butlins for ruining our holiday.
Travel operator: Butlins
Hotel tip: Luggage trolleys quickly disappear be prepared to walk distance to room unless pay additional for priority parking or staying in hotel. Food court dining and silver accommodation are basic.
The caravan we stayed in was fully kitted out with everything in the kitchen, it had two toilets and a very good shower.
Our caravan was owned by Mr & Mrs Freeman www.caravanbutlins.co.uk who were very helpful and were always very nice when I had to ring them with questions.
We had all the same access to the entertainment and rides as if we had booked through Butlins and having a caravan meant that we didn't have to endure our neighbours tramping up and down the stairs at stupid o'clock in the morning. I have to admit, it does make you feel a bit superior to the chalet dwellers!
Travel operator: www.caravanbutlins.co.uk
It would surely take a major makeover to improve that place.
As big an eyesore from the outside as it is on the inside
Truthfully speaking - a total dump.
Although Minehead itself is a nice enough place.
Food was very dodgy, out of 14 of us who visited that week, roughly 6 of us became ill after the first day.
silver plus room was basic. no remote for the tv, bathroom and shower were dirty on arrival.
Entertainment was the only saving grace. there is quite alot to do for ages 3+. However we stuggled to keep our 15 month old entertained.
prices for food and drinks were average.
Travel operator: butlins
the 1st time we stayed silver half board. the rooms had recently been redecorated. we had a very nice 2 bed chalet. the food was good, plenty to choose from and eat as much as you like.
the 2nd time we stayed in a gold 2 bedroom apartment. again the rooms had recently been refurbished and were to a excellent standard. we had a twin and a double bedroom with a kitchen/living room that was well equipped and a tv/dvd player.
the grounds were slowly being upgraded and has started to look very nice.
i couldnt fault the hotel staff, they were very helpful
the entertainment was great for my 2yr old. she loved all the character shows during the day in the pavillion including, barney, bob the builder, pingu. the evening entertainment was good too. we watched the pantomine goldilocks, there was a cartoon network show, great for the kids. they also had the sooty show for the kids and a gunge show. i cannot comment on the entertainment that was on after these shows or the shows in the reds because i didn't see them due to the kids going to bed.
all in all a great holiday and value for money. and i have already booked to go back in june
Travel operator: butlins online
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