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11 December, 2023
I am writing this review following my recent stay at Center Parcs, Woburn Forest. As a CEO myself I believe feedback whether positive or negative is fundamental to helping in the successful growth of any business.
My family and I booked a last-minute trip. I hadn’t previously done anything similar however, I assumed at £3,500 just 5 nights in a lodge only an hour from London surely would get me something special. I was mistaken.
- The pros
Variety of activities for kids of all ages.
- The cons
Too many rules and regulations. We didn't at all feel like we were in a holiday camp. Activities needed to be booked daily per person which was time-consuming and annoying.
Nothing is free at this place apart from the pool. Activities are so overpriced and unreasonable.
No cars are allowed on site (only for arrival day drop off). This was not explained clearly and for a self-catering lodge with toddlers’ quick access to the outside world whether it be for an emergency or not was strictly forbidden. Notes are left on your vehicle kindly but firmly telling us we will be asked to leave if these rules are not adhered to. I expressed my concerns several times to staff members but received responses like “If your children are in danger or it’s a genuine emergency, they are in safer hands with us than you”.
One of the evenings I struggled trying to get into the park. Pouring with rain a child in the car, a boot full of shopping and no umbrellas I was greeted by a lady via the intercom: “ (big sigh) …This is against our rules and cars are strictly forbidden”. After begging and pleading that I had a child with me and no jackets/umbrellas and only after she had kept me waiting, gone away to check with the powers that be I was told "OK, but this is your last chance, lodge xxxx!
Our lodge was situated at the very end of the resort, so the car park was a 15-20 min walk from us along with all the facilities. This ended up being very problematic.. I expressed my concerns only to be answered with “That’s what happens when you book last minute, and you had the option to choose where you wanted to be”. It wasn’t like that, I wasn’t given this option and assumed that for £3,500 it would be well located!
The lodge was old, tired and in desperate need of refurbishment.
Beds were super uncomfortable and single beds were tiny and only fit for a toddler at best.
So hot without air conditioning. Stuffy and uncomfortable.
You must bring your own toilet rolls. Yes, £3,500 and I had to buy my own toilet roll!
I was very unhappy with the whole experience and on the 3 nights spoke to customer relations about my options if I wanted to vacate early. They made it abundantly clear that they had done nothing wrong. As far as they were concerned there was no issue with the booking. Therefore, they were not responsible for anything and could not help. If there was a genuine emergency, they would help.
In total with activities and food for a family of 5, I spent just shy of £4,250 which I’m sure anybody in their right mind would agree is a hell of a lot of money, albeit last minute, for somewhere with nothing included and I had to provide my own toilet roll was extreme!
I understand that having a car-free environment in which kids can ride their bikes and play safely is essential. However, with such a large space surely it would have been beneficial to have a separate area for families who need access to their cars.
It's important to note that this is a self-catering resort meaning you supply all food and essentials which means you must bring everything you need with you on the very first day as you cannot go back out and in with your car which if you're staying for a long period, you can't replenish therefore forced to buy and eat in their overpriced supermarket and restaurants. Smart move on their behalf.
We feel that a place like Center Parcs, with such strict rules and inflexible conditions is not for us and we would not recommend it.