|On the Zip Wire|
|Woodland Carriage Ride around the Parc, driven by Clydesdale, Monty.|
|Peaceful Sunday morning on the Parc|
|Ready for a meal out!|
I'm not sure why I've never noticed my niggles before, this is the third time we've been to Center Parcs and I'm sure this happened on our previous visits. The pool is huge with many different sections to either swim, play or shoot down slides, all very clean and great fun. There are lots of plastic tables and chairs dotted about the pool area and there is also a cafe in one section, people tend to buy something to eat then sit down at one of these tables. But I was getting a bit irritated at seeing so many chairs with towels slung over them yet never anybody sat in them. There's a row of chairs set out facing the pool and every single one was empty, but for a towel. I stood for quite some time on Wednesday afternoon watching and waiting for Amy as I didn't feel like going in the pool myself, and those chairs were left unattended for at least an hour. It was starting to feel like that old adage of reserving sunbeds by the pool when you're abroad, getting up at the crack of dawn to make sure you get the best spot, then deserting said sunbed until midday when some poor buggers have nowhere to sit. By Thursday, our last full day, I gave up and moved someone's towel. I sat in that chair for three quarters of an hour at least and no one came to it.
Another niggle was the bike situation; during your stay you have to park your car in the main car park and are not allowed to use them on the parc itself. Many people hire bikes to get around, but I noticed this year that a lot of people seemed to be walking, too. We don't hire bikes because Amy has little road sense so walking is a better option for us. But it was becoming a real issue when idiots were tearing up and down the roads (no helmet, I might add), and if we didn't move out of the way then I'm quite sure they'd have plowed into us. Bells were ringing everywhere to tell pedestrians to move, and adults and kids were riding at ridiculous speeds towards prams, wheelchairs and those preferring to have a leisurely walk, i.e. us. I noticed Amy said sorry to a few cyclists and I told her to stop. I don't usually encourage her not to be polite but I was getting really sick of being made to feel like we didn't have as much right to use the roads as the cyclists did, when cars are banned. I think Center Parcs need to address this issue personally, and especially on arrival and departure days when cars are driving about yet folk are still tearing round corners with no helmets.
And my final niggle was something that happened on Friday morning, our day of departure. The room is paid for until 10am. I'd been to the car park and brought the car to the apartment block and by quarter to ten had loaded it up and was just going to use the bathroom before we left. Cue the cleaner. A man. Amy and I were in our apartment, fifteen minutes left to our cut off time, and this guy waltzed in without knocking. "Just want to empty your bin, love," he said, very politely. I didn't object. But then he suggested leaving our door open so he could come back and start cleaning. I told him we weren't quite ready to leave. He went into the hallway. Literally, 30 seconds later he walked in again. I had just sat down on the toilet! Luckily the bathroom door was closed but Amy was in the room on her own and I heard him say to her, "I'll start cleaning now if you don't mind." That was when I saw red. I shouted, perhaps a little abruptly, "go away and come back at 10am. Please." He replied with a tune in his voice, singing, "right you are, love." As there were many guests nowhere near ready to leave, I felt like we were being thrown out 15 minutes early so they could 'get on'. If they are short staffed or haven't enough time to clean all apartments thoroughly, that really isn't my problem.
Putting the above niggles aside, we did have a lovely week away, though I doubt we'll be going next year as I've already booked to go abroad. My official review is on Trip Advisor if you fancy a read...HERE
Edit: I have spoken to a very nice lady at Center Parcs Guest Services after she kindly read my blog post plus the review on Trip Advisor. She has sent me £50 discount to be used towards our next visit to Whinfell. The efficiency and excellent customer service is second to none, and even though compensation isn't something I expected, I am most grateful for their offer.