Overseer’s Cottage, Mayfield Vineyard, Orange NSW

My friend, Peta, said to me this morning, ‘My father gave me a great piece of advice; never send an emotionally charged email; if you write it, don’t send it’.  Peta’s father is a very wise man.

Hold that thought because we will come back to it.

The front of the Overseer's Cottage

The front of the Overseer’s Cottage

Just before the end of the recent school holidays, it was predicted snow would fall not far from Sydney.  I checked the weather forecast and it said there was a 95% chance of snow falling in Orange, a country town about a four-hour drive from Sydney.

I started googling places to stay in Orange and came upon the Stayz website.  It appeared everyone must have had the same idea as most places were booked, however, I found a three-bedroom cottage advertised at $250.00 per night that said it was also ‘pet friendly’.  There was one review on Stayz that said there was a fireplace and you’re given a ‘fancy breakfast every morning’.  The Overseer’s Cottage is situated on the grounds of Mayfield Vineyard.  It all sounded like we were heading for a perfect weekend in the country.

Overseer's Cottage

Overseer’s Cottage

I sent through an enquiry and although it took a while for a reply, Jess, an employee who has worked for the owners for about nine years, phoned and said the cottage was available.  She asked me how many people were coming and I said, ‘Well definitely three but if my older children get wind of a free holiday they’ll probably end up coming as well so there could be five’.  She said, ‘That’s not a problem because by the time you get here all the beds will be made up for you anyway.  Oh, and also, it’s $250.00 for the two of you and then $50.00 per night for every additional person’.  Now that surprised me because firstly it was in conflict with what was advertised on Stayz and secondly, because I’ve booked a lot of houses, apartments and cottages in the past and there has only ever been an additional charge for extra people if extra bedding has to be wheeled in.  In my confusion I thought she probably was referring to extra adults and so there wouldn’t be a charge for a child and that the additional charges must be because of the ‘fancy breakfast delivered each morning’.  Jess asked for my credit card details to secure the booking and within an hour or so we were packed and ready to leave.

Yes, the young adults said they’d like to come as well as a friend of Archie’s so along with them and little Rosie and Barnaby the lodger, we packed into two cars and headed west.

Rose Cottage

Rose Cottage

When we were about an hour away, I realised we would be arriving after dark and thought I’d best advise the owners.  I rang the number and the owner of Mayfield Wines, answered the phone.  I apologised for our later than expected arrival and asked if there would be anyone there to greet us when we arrived.  Richard said there wouldn’t be anyone there but that the back door would be unlocked so we could just let ourselves in and as he was expecting a cold night, he would make sure the heaters and lights were turned on ahead of our arrival.  I thanked him very much and we continued towards Orange.

Mayfield Vineyard is situated on what was originally a large parcel of pastoral and grazing land.  Today the property is much smaller and in 1998 it was bought by the current owner, a former investment banker from Sydney.  He planted 40-hectares of grapes and started Mayfield Wines.

Found during a walk

Found during a walk

From it’s former grazing days there are original workers’ cottages on the property and these are now let for holiday rentals.  There is the three-bedroom Overseer’s Cottage, the two-bedroom Settler’s Cottage, and the one-bedroom Garden Flat.

Back in the day, a school house was built so the children of the workers could attend school without having to trek into Orange.  Today the school house has been extended and renovated and is the Cellar Door as well as a function room with a commercial kitchen.

The winter vines

The winter vines

Even in darkness, arriving at the Overseer’s Cottage is very picturesque.  There are signs telling you to watch out for geese, the cottage with its welcoming lights appeared cosy, it’s surrounded by a white picket fence, and the atmosphere is peaceful, serene, and feels a long way from the city.

It was however raining, and as there is nothing undercover as you enter through the backdoor, we did get a little muddy.  The cottage is cute, compact and clean.  It’s decorated in neutral tones with some buttercup yellow and periwinkle blue in the main bedroom.

Main bedroom

Main bedroom

The kitchen is spacious and fairly modern.  There isn’t a dishwasher although there is a space where a dishwasher would normally be however, that’s where the rubbish bin is being housed.  There isn’t a freezer and the fridge is bar-sized which is probably a little small for a cottage that sleeps six.  However, the kitchen cupboards are full of everything you need to self-cater including a variety of saucepans, lots of cutlery, plates and glassware, and even incidentals like paper serviettes, matches, salt and pepper shakers and dishwashing liquid.

But washing the dishes proved a challenge as the water coming out of the hot tap wasn’t very hot so I had to boil saucepans of water on the stove to effectively clean the dishes.

Making tracks in the snow

Making tracks in the snow

There was a laminated poster on the kitchen bench asking guests to write a review of their experience on websites like Trip Advisor.  The poster said that if you do, ‘please let us know your address so we can send you a complimentary bottle of wine’.

For $450.00 per night I was surprised to see there was just one bathroom; quite a challenge for the six of us.  The bathroom is rustic, compact and without a bath.  There was very little water pressure in the hand basin making it challenging to properly wash your hands.  There are plenty of fluffy white bath towels as well as a few toiletries plus signs on the walls about what can be flushed and how it would be appreciated if you limited your time in the shower.  Well, yes, we did limit our time in the shower because just like in the kitchen, the water wasn’t very hot.  You didn’t need to turn on the cold tap at all and as it is currently the middle of winter, some extra hot water would have been appreciated.

The rowing boat near the dam

The rowing boat near the dam

The combined lounge/dining room is also well equipped with a dining table that seats six and there are some placemats and candles if you’d like some soft lighting.  The chairs around the dining table are directors’ chairs that you’d normally find outdoors but they’re perfectly functional inside as well.

Sadly, the fireplace stated in the review on Stayz is an inaccuracy as it has been filled with an electric heater that actually didn’t let out a lot of heat; you could barely tell that it was on.  Beside it is a wall-mounted gas heater that was a lot better however if you sat too close to it, it would cut out.

Dining room

Dining room

The owner told me he brought extra heaters into the cottage because of the cold conditions and I’m assuming he means the small oil-burning electric heaters we found in the bedrooms.  These heaters were actually too small to be effective and we found the bedrooms rather chilly.  A further issue is that when all heaters were switched on, the electricity would ‘trip’ so Drew would be running backwards and forwards to the meter box.  We found we couldn’t have all the heaters on at once so parts of the cottage were always cold.

The main bedroom is very countrified with its colour-scheme and use of floral prints.  There’s a queen-sized bed with a blanket and doona and so we were cosy and warm during the night.  While the bedrooms are clean and the linen fresh, there is no hanging space and no sets of drawers so there isn’t an opportunity to unpack your bags apart from making use of the single hook on the back of the bedroom door.  It was stated there are electric blankets on all beds however one of the single beds was without one.

Front verandah

Front verandah

The ‘fancy breakfasts delivered every day’ mentioned on Stayz didn’t eventuate.  On arrival we found a packet of muesli, a small loaf of olive bread, four tiny squares of butter, three pots of jam, some Twinings tea bags, milk in the fridge and a bowl of apples on the counter.  As the owner later advised in an email, ‘We do not promise a “fancy breakfast” but local quality fare, to tide you over, if you have not had time to shop for essential provisions en-route’.  Nowhere is this mentioned on the Stayz website.

And now we come to Rosie and Barnaby the lodger.  The next day, Archie was speaking with Jess who was running the Cellar Door.  She told Archie that the Overseer’s Cottage isn’t pet friendly and that dogs are normally only welcome in the Settlers Cottage.  Archie came back to tell me and I was quite confused as I was sure it was stated three times on the Stayz website that the cottage was ‘pet friendly’.  We then became quite anxious about having the dogs with us and every time they came inside I would wipe their paws with paper towel.

Cellar Door

Cellar Door

I did want to re-check the Stayz website however, wifi isn’t available.  Mobile phone reception is at best, patchy if not entirely impossible and so I was unable to cross-check the information.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke to a winter wonderland.  As predicted it had snowed in the night and outside the grounds of the vineyard looked magical.  Our little guy was so excited he ran outside in his pyjamas to experience the snow.  The dogs and the kids had a fantastic time playing in the snow and while out there, it started to snow again.  Alfie just loved getting covered in snowflakes.

Wine tasting

Wine tasting

Later that day we thought we’d visit the Cellar Door.  Jess was there and she welcomed us and said we could let the dogs come in from the cold.  There was a lovely fire going in the very large fireplace and so we sat in front of it and chatted with Jess.  I told Jess I thought the room was very welcoming with a lot of charm and Jess said I was welcome to take photos.

Overseer's Cottage

Overseer’s Cottage

Jess is very knowledgeable about all the wines and gave us good information about each bottle.  The vineyard has an extensive range of wines with everything covered including sparkling, rose, chardonnay, pinot and cabernet sauvignon.  The wines aren’t cheap and start at around $20.00 per bottle for the Icely label and average around $30.00 per bottle for the Mayfield label.  We had a very relaxed afternoon where it was warm and cosy and went ahead and purchased a mixed selection of 16 bottles for around $400.00.

I love an open fire

I love an open fire

Richard had left a handwritten note in the cottage saying if we had any issues we could call him on his mobile or landline.  We did want to speak to either Richard or his wife about the situation with the dogs, the hot water issue, the tripping issue and query if the price we were being charged per night was in fact correct, however Jess informed us that they had gone out for the day.  We didn’t actually ever meet our hosts.

The next morning Drew tried to phone Richard on both his landline and his mobile and left messages saying he wanted to discuss our account before our departure but he didn’t answer either call.  It wasn’t until the end of the day that his wife returned Drew’s call and by then we were back in Sydney.

The function room seats around 75

The function room seats around 75

As soon as we were back in Sydney I phoned Jess and asked her to send me the account for review.  She said she had already put through the full payment on our credit card.  But I hadn’t even been given an account and as Drew had left a message saying we wanted to discuss it, it seemed egregious that the payment had been processed!

Reflecting

Reflecting

I then emailed Jess and told her we’d had a really lovely time at the cottage but that I believed the cottage was overpriced.  For $450.00 per night it really needed a few more mod-cons like somewhere to hang your coat, a dishwasher and either a modern bathroom or a second bathroom.  The cottage is just what you’d expect of an old worker’s cottage in the country; a rustic country cottage that’s cosy and comfortable and it should be priced accordingly.  I told her I believed some of the confusion had come from Stayz and that as the one and only review was inaccurate and two months old, perhaps it should have been replied to or deleted to avoid a situation like mine.

Function Room

Function Room

Some 30-hours later I received an email from the owner.  Remember when I said my friend had been given some very sage advice about not sending an emotionally charged email?  Well here comes his response…

It was in point form of no less than nine points.  He started with the issue of the price I saw advertised on Stayz and said, ‘This is news to me!  Our website, which you no doubt visited, states a rate of $250 for the first couple plus $50 for each additional person per night!  You say this doesn’t make sense! Surely you understand that each person incurs additional costs with laundry, housekeeping, electricity, gas etc and it would be uneconomic to charge the equivalent of $41.67 per person, unless it was in a third world country…We might be country peasants but we do expect more than a subsistence wage and we do not operate in a subsistence economy here west of the Great Divide’.

Well no, I’d never visited his website because when I googled ‘accommodation in Orange’, his Mayfield Vineyard website didn’t feature.

Going for a walk around the vineyard

Going for a walk around the vineyard

In relation to the dogs, he said, ‘Not only did six people occupy the Cottage but 2 dogs as well, which we normally confine to the Settler’s cottage or side room, as most courteous people advise of this beforehand’.

Well, both Stayz and his own website state the cottage sleeps six so that’s not really something worth mentioning.  I again checked Stayz and three times it says ‘pet friendly’.  As I’d had that assurance, I didn’t think it was necessary to advise we were bringing pets.

Happy

Happy

In relation to my comment that the review on Stayz should have been replied to or deleted due to its inaccuracies, he said, (with full understanding I am a blogger), ‘We are not responsible for warranting what people may post in reviews.  The facts are set out on our official website as the authoritative source, as most people realise.  We do not spend our valuable time, like some people, reading & correcting unreliable blogs, which are in essence a matter of superficial passing opinion & should be recognised as such.’

Ahhh, but you can’t have it both ways.  You can’t actively encourage reviews by leaving posters on the kitchen bench saying if you do a review you’ll be sent a complimentary bottle of wine and then rubbish people who write reviews saying they are ‘in essence a matter of superficial passing opinion & should be recognised as such.’

Mind the geese

Mind the geese

And having now had the benefit of reading what other guests have posted on Trip Advisor, Richard does appear to actually read all the reviews and always replies to any negative postings.  One poor chap was in the exact same situation as us when last August he found the cottage advertised on Stayz for $200.00 per night.  When he went to leave he was presented with a bill for the extra two people at a rate of $60.00 per person per night which added up to $240.00.  The chap wrote a review that had many positive comments however, he finished with…

‘Unfortunately, we had just one issue. The price we were quoted (upon arrival) was different than when we booked it (through Stayz.com).   This issue (pay discrepancy) took much time to resolve with management and really tainted my stay at Mayfield.

Regrettably, due to this issue I will not be returning to Mayfield and would advise groups travelling to the cottages to explicitly confirm prices prior to travelling (in writing).’

Archie pelting his little brother with a snow ball

Archie pelting his little brother with a snow ball

Here is Richard’s reply…

‘I am intrigued & disappointed to read the review posted on the Settlers Cottage by one of the 4 guests who stayed there last week-end relating to a misunderstanding on the prices applying & how this was treated.

The misunderstanding arose from a misinterpretation of information on the Stayz website when the four guests believed they could hire a three bedroom cottage which sleeps 6 people for $200 per night when in fact an additional charge of $60 per night applies for each person staying in addition to a couple. This was explained at the time of booking & again made clear on arrival when credit card details were requested. There was a refusal to provide credit card details & a refusal to accept the position.

Just prior to check-out, I once again explained the pricing structure which is clearly stated on the website & the reason for additional charges for additional people to cover housekeeping, laundry & additional services. However I stated that I did not wish to penalise them for a genuine misunderstanding and I waived the additional charges of $240 which we were quite entitled to make under our stated terms & conditions.

Under the circumstances I thought we should at least be given credit for generosity rather than be criticised ! It destroys my faith in human nature & sense of fairness!’

Bird house

Bird house

It can be noted that the only reviews Richard has commented on are those that say something negative.  As the review on Stayz is positive, it has been left with all its inaccuracies.

In relation to my comment that the small loaf of bread and bag of muesli wasn’t enough for the six of us he said, ‘If we were told of six guests we would have provided for more, (plus dog food no doubt)!’

But I did advise Jess there probably would be at least five of us.  With the mention of supplying dog food I was beginning to think I was reading the script for a new episode of Fawlty Towers.

As for my suggestion that the cottage is overpriced due to the one bathroom and no dishwasher he said, ‘Why would we need to mention there is only one bathroom & no dishwasher in a country cottage?  This is not a 5 star resort but a rustic “get away” on a vineyard and it is appreciated by reasonable people as such…’

Yes, but $450.00 per night is what I would consider a 5-star price.

Let it snow

Let it snow

When I mentioned the ‘tripping’ of the electricity and the lack of hot water, he said, ‘I asked in writing that you contact me if there were any problems, which I could have fixed if I had known.’  But just like another reviewer on Trip Advisor, Richard either wasn’t around or he didn’t answer either of his phones.

In relation to me starting my email with how much we enjoyed our time at Mayfield he said, ‘I am curious that you advised Jess that “you had a very enjoyable couple of days at Mayfield” in your email on checking out…I’m sorry that we could not sacrifice ourselves further to accommodate your unrealistic expectations.’

And he ended his email with, ‘maybe, just maybe, you are just not suited to the charm & wonder of Mayfield…all the best with your future travels and good blogging.’

The geese don't seem to mind the cold

The geese don’t seem to mind the cold

We stayed at the Overseer’s Cottage for two nights and despite the pricing discrepancy, the confusion over the breakfast, the inaccuracies between the owner’s website and Stayz especially in relation to the price and the dogs, the troubles with the electricity and the hot water, and the lack of the more luxurious inclusions one would expect when paying $450.00/night for a worker’s cottage 15-minutes from Orange, we were still able to walk away saying we’d had a really enjoyable couple of days.  I think we’re heroes.

Early morning snowflakes

Early morning snowflakes

There has been no mention of a discount, refund, complimentary bottle of wine or even an apology.  To date I am yet to receive an account, an invoice, a statement or even a receipt for the money taken from my account without even the courtesy of a phone call asking me how we all enjoyed our stay.

Verdict:  For this review I’d really love to hear your verdict.

Elated

Elated

Overseer’s Cottage, Mayfield Vineyard, 954 Icely Rd, Emu Swamp NSW 2800
(02) 6365 9293

 

Comments

  1. OH My…. you are right that is very overpriced… and for Orange… you could have a penthouse at Jupiter’s casino for 450 a night 🙂 I think it is a very fair review Charlie… well done for including the positives… I do think maybe this gentleman is not suited to hospitality! Hmmmm! Liz xx

  2. Oh my gosh…I would have probably gone back there and strangled him!! OR stopped payment on my credit card. That is ridiculous!

  3. That price is crazy. I’ve paid that in Fiji for 4 people including a full buffet breakfast ( eggs cooked to order in front of you). And I agree with you. We book through Stayz every year over Christmas (Mollymook) and the price is for the “house” regardless of number, as long as it’s limited to the number it states it sleeps as a maximum. Similar price too I have to say, on the beach, in the peak to weeks of the year ! But we do take our own sheets and towels I guess. As for his attitude, two words. Shoulder, chip. Should have stayed in banking if he can’t embrace a country attitude.

  4. Annie Potts says:

    How this ghastly ‘ex-banker’ squeezes a living out of ordinary wine , ordinary to disappointing accomodation and appalling guest relations or people skills is beyond me . What a tosser ! Love that you made the best of the situation and had the good grace to actually point out the not so disappointing experiences you were able to retrieve from this ridiculously overpriced ‘rustic cottage ‘ accomodation mini break . All I can say is thank heavens it snowed and thank you for the warning !! I’ll open a good bottle of Red and toast you and your blog for taking this particular bullet !!

  5. Wow. Well that is one place I will make sure to never stay at (nor order wine from)! Any savy business person should know that in today’s market, customers take reviews and blogs quite seriously. I never book a place unless I’ve read what other people are saying about them first. I would take the advice of a reviewer or blogger over a proprietor’s own marketing any day. By the way, I think they are legally obligated to honour the terms of any booking website that customer’s use to book their accommodation. They could be in hot water with NSW Fair Trading over that. Just saying.

  6. Omygoodness,
    Did you all sleep together?
    450.00 is quite expensive. You should have been in a Penthouse!
    Is it really snowing there?
    hard to belive when we’re having 80 degrees here.
    PS. I love the wine-tasting area!!

    xx

  7. This reminds me of the time a hotel manager tried to pass off a smoking room as a non-smoking room. It was not a good scenario.

    It’s unfortunate that Richard was not available when you were there to respond to your concerns and questions. That seems intentional. Maybe not. But it appears that way. Your complaints seem legit and certainly you should see your bill before it’s run through.

  8. What a pompous man! I can’t believe your card was charged without agreeing the final amount. If the house sleeps six then the rate for the night should cover six people as far as I’m concerned. If the house sleeps 6-8 then fair enough to charge for the extra 2 people. And if you’re going to charge top dollar then provide top dollar amenities.
    I’m impressed with your restraint and ability to give the plus and the minuses of this accommodation – you’re a better person than me. And obviously a more rational one than the owner!

  9. Well, I guess this is perfect to have this duly noted so if one would ever be looking for accommodations in that area, one would prefer to opt out of this as one of their options. I almost completely forgot about being winter in the land of OZ until I seen your beautiful photos. It is rare for you to see snow, right? Stay warm

    • It’s very rare for us to have a winter this cold, Bam. And while there might be around one day of snow per winter three or four hours from Sydney, it’s extremely rare for there to be this much snow. Quite a treat, really!

  10. I would be inclined to take this up with Consumer Affairs. Taking $900 from your credit card without so much as a receipt is not on.

  11. Also, there is a complaints process with Stayz where they take the matter up on your behalf. Might be worth submitting the form, if only to prevent this happening to someone else.

  12. Danielle says:

    I am lost for words and don’t know where to start, am so mad with the way you have been treated…at the very least an apology and goodwill discount is due, you did after all spend a lot of money on their wine!! I am a bit worried as I have booked our holiday accom (Manly at Christmas!) through Stayz and reviews were good, I’d better check the T&Cs again! Lovely photos as usual Charlie.

    • Hi Danielle, I’m sure you will be absolutely fine. I’ve booked through Stayz before and never had any issue until now. I’d say the owners of the Overseer’s Cottage have been very neglectful in making sure their listing on Stayz is accurate. Manly is a great place to be at Christmas!

  13. OMG! This has to be one of your best posts! What a crazy experience.Your write up was perfect. Little do they know how much influence bloggers like you have.Oof!

  14. Richard does not sound like he belongs in the hospitality business, so arrogant and snotty, admire your always finding a bright side of a situation.

  15. Hi Charlie, I would contact my credit card company and tell them you want to dispute the bill. It certainly sounds like someone was trying to take advantage, false advertising too.

  16. We just stayed in Bathurst in a very similar sized cottage the same distance from town for approx $180/night for 4. The extra tariff for more people didn’t kick in until 5 people were present. It was $1225 for the week to be precise, with one bathroom for 7 peeps and a genuine wood fueled pot belly stove. We also got a few breakfast items to tide us over. It was booked on stayz, where what was included was all very clear. The booking was secured via a bank deposit into our hosts account. We never got a statement either. However when paying with a credit card, I would have thought that would be a legal requirement.

    $450 per night was way too much, but I would have to say that when you are in the country water is always an issue, so I never query the lack of a dishwasher as it’s usually a water issue. Probs the same for the lack of a second bathroom. We had no wifi or mobile coverage either, which again is to be expected in the country. The NBN can’t come quick enough out there for those long suffering ruralites. (in terms of connectivity anyway)

    I think it is most unacceptable that your host was so hostile in response to your queries. Most guest just need to be heard and are happy with an apology. He is also living in a parallel universe if he thinks that he can run a hospitality based business and not rely on the authentic comments of past guests on social media sites. Comments of previous customers are the first thing I always go to as they are authentic and give a true picture of what is on offer. If the comments are bad, I will never sign on the dotted line. In this social media driven economy, your reputation is EVERYTHING. That point is something that cannot be driven home to service providers enough.
    Carolyn

  17. First if all, so sorry you had such a bad experience! Experience has taught me to to keep every email, word exchange, especially when it comes to prices and what specifically is included!
    This is not a win win as this property is now exposed for what it is and its prices which do not include what it suggested it did and you will not be returning to the area anytime soon and now your experience may cause them to rethink customer service…so sad..really..

  18. Loved the review Charlie, not good enough at all. The least you’d expect for that price would be plenty of hot running water and heating throughout the entire house. I’d be pursuing a credit or compensation of some kind !!! Will definitely scratch that one off my list xx

  19. I always have this problem with Stayz which is why I never use it. Have you tried Air BNB? They extensively rate the houses and the people staying too so people make sure that it is very accurate. We’ve only stayed in places twice but they were both great. Sounds like a terrible experience Charlie. Some people really shouldn’t have businesses that interact with the public.

  20. I do agree with Lorraine that if you were disappointed with you stay at The Cottage at Mayfield perhaps Stayz is largely to blame and not the owners of the place. I feel very sorry for them after this post and hence actually took time out to Google the site. To begin with the extra $50 per person per night is clearly stated there and obviously breakfast for six would not be supplied if an initial two and then possible five were expected. Surely one pays for the historical experience, even if that means a degree of discomfort – surely one goes there just for that! With history books in tow!! Why would one expect dishwashers and more than one bathroom [methinks you were lucky to get that one in a historical building!] And I daresay when that building was used hot water was not available at all. That is why one visits such places after all: else why not go to the crass and vulgar Jupiter’s Casino instead!! Having been a company director for over three decades I cannot find one single fault with ‘Richard”s ‘point by point’ reply to you – methinks he was totally logical . . . and, no, I do not know the gentleman and the last longish time I spent in winter-freezing Orange was whilst doing my ‘country residency’ at the end of Medical School Days at Orange Base Hospital.

    • Hi Eha, Orange Base Hospital is still there! Yes, I should have done more research before going ahead however, it was last minute decision where we thought we’d like to go to Orange, only looked at Stayz, read only one inaccurate review and off we went. I had never heard of Mayfield Wines so of course, when I googled ‘accommodation in Orange’, the Mayfield Wines website didn’t appear. When we realised the price wasn’t $250 but instead going to be $450 that’s when my expectations of what to expect from the cottage increased. What surprised me is that 11 months ago the owners had the same issue with another guest who booked through Stayz and yet their listing is causing the same kind of confusion. There has surely been time to correct the issues in the last 11 months – especially if you don’t want dogs. Owners can go log into Stayz and amend/alter their listings which I imagine would be quick and easy to do. I imagine when the Overseer’s Cottage was built it probably didn’t have an internal bathroom at all.

      • Charlie, glad I came back ere ‘leaving’ . . . I had a bad fall about ten days ago and am also watching Tde F at night 🙂 ! So barely out of bed or on line!!!! Don’t get me wrong – I just somehow feel a bit sorry for the owner: I do not believe he was trying to ‘diddle’ anyone at all . . . it simply was not the place for you at the time . . . but I have always believed in putting an alternate view in if I feel one is needed . . .

        Actually am amidst a very interesting email exchange with a number of bloggers worldwide as to how honest [as long as courtesies are observed] one should be when commenting . . . a number just cannot put empty and facile comments down on a blog. Amongst other matters it does seem to be like ‘insulting’ the blogger!! Yes, my feelingworld also enters that zone!

        I certainly did not mean to do that! Have good weekend: a lot warmer than my needing three heaters up here 😀 !!

        • Hi Eha, I was actually thinking of you yesterday and wondering if you were snowed in! So sorry to hear you have had a fall. I do hope you recover quickly. I think a lot of people are living like nocturnal possums at the moment because of the T de F. Actually, it was a lovely place for us at the time; it’s a beautiful rustic cottage that’s clean and comfortable however, I believe it falls short of being worth $3,150/week. Your comments are always welcome and I enjoy our discussions. I hope you have a lovely weekend too and try to stay warm!

  21. Oh wow, we’re sorry about the experience…We usually check a lot of reviews to make sure we are getting the real deal in an accommodation. It’s usually a combination of checking out travel site reviews, the official website/FB page and some blogs. Thanks for sharing this, Charlie. Hoping it will end well for all involved…xx

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  22. How disappointing for you Charlie … I would be very upset if my card was automatically billed without an invoice particularly when there was a discrepancy. It’s such a shame when you visit somewhere with high expectations and they’re not met but I think the worst part of your whole sorry saga is the lack of basic customer service! x

  23. Holy macaroni!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  24. I am used to booking cottages for 2 people but a price of $450 sounds more like the total price I’d pay for multiple nights rather than a single one! That is a huge sum of money for a rustic cottage that has minimal heating / hot water. I do think it is the owners responsibility to be aware of what is written about them in the public domain, and by all means respond to negative reviews, but correct inaccurate positive information too (or acknowledge and thank positive reviews that are accurate). I’m sorry you had such a difficult time but am glad at least you got snow!

  25. Wow I am not sure whether to be more staggered by the how the cottage didn’t live up to your ‘unrealistic’ expectations or by that email. Actually that guy should go into comedy because it was so amusing! Glad you managed to enjoy yourself despite your trials – am sure it will be a holiday you remember even if you don’t ever ever recommend the cottages to anyone.

    Re the Stayz website – if people are booking through a website I would say that this is not a third party that the owners have nothing to do with and as such they should take some responsibility for ensure the information on that site is accurate including checking and responding to reviews. BTW – are you putting a review on the Stayz website for the next innocent who stumbles upon the comment?

  26. It’s unfortunate that Richard was being such a dick! For that kind of money I would have expected more too. Particularly hot water and heat. I’ve rented many cottages, townhouses and apartments with multiple bedrooms and have never been charged per person after the rental fee, so weird. And not to be given an accounting is ridiculous.
    Our host in Barcelona was unavailable for the entire duration of our stay so I wrote a true account of our experience on Trip Advisor to which he responded in a similarly negative way pushing back his inefficiencies on us. One of which was where to leave the key when we left!!! Then he telephoned me at the airport and apologized for leaving us high and dry. Some people just shouldn’t be in the hospitality industry!

  27. Whoa, that’s ridiculous! I’m glad you still had a nice visit despite the poor customer service! xx

  28. $450 a night?? Even for Australia, I think it’s steep. Waaayyy steep. It’s a five star price, so definitely the least I would expect would be a dishwasher and an extra bathroom. It’s a miracle he didn’t expect you to wash clothes and dry it out on the clothes line, that would have completed the picture, lol!! Also, What kind of hospitality manager writes that kind of an email? How ridiculous. You are a trooper. If I had to heat water to wash dishes during a holiday trip, I would be hopping mad. I have never heard of family cottages charging extra for people unless it exceeds the guest limit.

  29. Tonette Joyce says:

    You are right; he can’t have it both ways,(I cracked-up over the Fawlty Towers, remark!)
    The ‘pet-friendly’ misstatement, the purposely misleading info on extra guests/beakfast plus and the lack of water and water pressure should be addressed to be fixed AND you should have been given some credit.

  30. How very disappointing for you and your family, Charlie. The proprietor’s excuses aren’t very strong and he really could have taken the high road and learned from your comments, questions and critiques. I am glad to know that at least Alfie enjoyed the snow. It wasn’t a total loss. 🙂

  31. Your review sounds fairer than they deserve. It doesn’t do to be defensive about these things and the proprietor sounds lacking in empathy. Good on you for having a good stay anyway, and I hope the snow was worth it.

  32. I agree that your review sounds more fair than deserved. We, too, have experienced people that absolutely have no business being hosts for accommodations, including one who actually made us feel that he was doing us a favor by “letting us” stay there for $250 U.S. per night some years ago. Richard is definitely one who needs to apply his skill set in another arena. One would think that if they have such a problem with pets in one cottage, they’d be non-pet friendly overall or at least take the time to clarify their position on every website from which they take customers. The snow is lovely and I didn’t realize it ever snowed in Australia.

  33. Maybe you are just “not suited to the charm and wonder of Mayfield?”???? I am outraged by everything about this misadventure. False advertising as well. I find the price outrageous for what your received. Still…I can see Alfie was charmed. What a kid! Sadly, though I like to think I am well-informed in general, I didn’t realize Australia got snow either! Embarrassing to admit!

  34. Oh my…what an attitude the owner had. I would contact your credit card company, Stayz and I would also write a review on Stayz and Tripadvisor. My husband, myself and another couple stayed at a lovely small Tuscan villa surrounded by vineyards for $1500 for an entire week. It was per week whether two or 6 stayed there. The owners greeted us with fruit, cake, and wine and the kitchen was supplied with all basic ingredients to even prepare an evening meal.

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  1. […] it was wonderful to see it supports of lot of locally produced wines.  I ordered a glass of the Mayfield Vineyard Pinot Noir Chardonnay Sparkling because we had booked accommodation at that vineyard.  I do love a sparkling salmon-pink drink and […]

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