Lovely location - may not suit everyone
Posted by Jonathan R
First of all the contact we were given to let us into the property by Oliver's travels did not exist! However, Peter and Christine who looked after us in the adjacent property were both lovely and very helpful when we needed them, but discrete enough to let us get on with our holiday.
The two stone properties, The Grape House and Pear House have been sympathetically restored, The Grape House receiving more modernisation (not mentioned in brochure). The setting is private and secluded just over 1.5km from nearest village, and the grounds of the property were beautiful, with fantastic views from the central court yard and pool area. The area, north of the main Dordogne is much quieter, just as attractive with lovely local villages and towns.
However, despite the brochure advertising both houses as having fully equipped kitchens, only the Grape House has a kitchen that could function, having a modern fully fitted kitchen. In fact the Pear House did not even have a cup, plate or glass in it when we arrived. I contacted the owner about this, who stated it was not meant to have as all catering should take place in the Grape House. So beware, and make sure whoever you share the holiday with is ready to share facilities. There are also very limited storage facilities in the Pear House kitchen for food etc and only a small fridge. It was very surprising to hear this from the owner, as this is not the impression given by the brochure on Oliver's Travels website.
The modern 'day building', although a pleasant, contemporary addition to the property, was totally unusable for us. During our stay the day time temperature was often in excess of 32 degrees and it effectively becomes a green house. There is no air-conditioning, and even leaving doors open fails to ventilate the upper floor. The stair case is very steep and of such a design that it is unsafe for children to use below a certain age.
As mentioned in a previous review, the cost of cleaning the residence is not included in the rental price and is an extortionate 350 euros per week.
For our two week stay we were generously offered a 'discount' to 500 euros. This includes one towel change for a two week stay, extra if you wish to have linen changed!
We felt this to be a ridiculously high rate to charge anyone, especially as the properties were not spotlessly clean on arrival given the fee paid. I have stayed in similar properties throughout Europe of the same or higher standard where no additional charges are made. I have failed to find a higher cleaning charge on any other Oliver's Travel property.
Despite these issues, and the fact that both houses could do with fans to to help remove some heat from the bedrooms in the eaves, we had a great time during our holiday, largely due to the fantastic weather, the ability to relax by the pool and the lovely surrounding area.
Just be aware, the property has its quirks and may not suit everybody due to these issues.
Posted by Clare W
We have just returned from a very enjoyable week at Le Grand Carre in the Dordogne with a group of 12. The property is fabulous - 3 separate buildings, each with a different style, set on 3 sides of a square with the pool at base. Two old French stone barns and a very modern barn style building. In the middle of the courtyard is a table where we all congregated to eat by candlelight at night. It is furnished to a high standard with an eclectic mix of old and very modern designer furniture. The property sits up a hill so the view of the pine forest and fields beyond is lovely. The gardens are very pretty and the smell of lavender wafts through the air and across the pool.
The location is great - the countryside is beautiful, and the local villages and towns are very historic and picturesque. The old town of Perigueux is very attractive and the towns along the Dordogne River are also very historic. We spent a day canoeing down the river, which was great fun. Not a place for people looking for wild nightlife but perfect for us!
During our stay, two charming "Guardians", Christine and Peter looked after us and made us very welcome, quickly helping to sort out any minor issues. They were very friendly and helpful without being intrusive.
As I said, we had a party of 12 staying. The accommodation is large enough, but just be aware that the double bed in the modern building is only a 140cm sofa bed with a metal bar down the middle. It is also at the top of the building and there is no ventilation or aircon, so it can be hot in the middle of the summer, although it did cool down at night.. The bathroom is behind a curtain, without walls or a door. The people staying in that building have the short straw, as the other bedrooms are lovely and the beds were very comfortable and the bathrooms well equipped (with doors!). Several of our party said they slept much better here than at home.
Future guests should also be aware of the 800 Euros damage deposit payable on arrival and the 350 Euros cleaning charge, payable in advance, which is very expensive. This was mentioned in the Ts&Cs, but I missed it when I booked and nobody brought my attention to it.
The only other very minor comments are that the pillows are not very good and the kitchen equipment is lacking. Only 12 knives and forks for 12 people does not go very far and there are not enough bowls etc.
Having said all that, we would absolutely recommend Le Grand Carre. We had a great stay and will certainly return to the region.