BROOME PARK GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB, KENT
An unfortunate MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT… Dated, Worn & Shabby, Terrible ‘Caddy Shack’ or low end summer camp service
It is with EXTREME DISAPPOINTMENT that I write this review – as I really do not like taking an overall negative tone with any review. BUT our recent vacation tour experience at this property (with my professional background in hospitality, interior and retail design, event management, and retail/hotel customer service) provided the final ‘kick’ to pursue a lifelong dream and a new career in hotel and event venue consulting.
After months and weeks of very detailed planning and research, the major theme of our Summer 2013 vacation was to focus on touring the British countryside while staying at select country estates, manor houses, castles, etc. Again although on a ‘beer’ budget we do like to travel as well as possible, and as this was our first trip to Britain we did splurge on several AMAZING estate properties. Snobby, picky, complaining attitudes are not part of our normally polite and accepting Canadian demeanour, so I do find it a bit awkward writing something this negative – but I feel it is worth informing others, if not at least awakening the property management.
With connections through the Diamond Resorts Timeshare company, we specifically planned the entire final week of our vacation around staying at Broome Park.
We have stayed at several other Diamond Resort associated properties in Italy, and North America, and – at least at all of these other Diamond / Diamond associated locations – had nothing but absolutely amazing, perfect, life changing experiences, and would not hesitate to recommend these other properties at anytime. In fact, I am hoping to move to and work at one of the properties in Italy as I was THAT impressed and enthralled – something I do not say lightly.
BUT over all Broome Park was a major disappointment. AND I am VERY SURPRISED that Diamond Resorts remains associated with Broome Park (in its present condition) and lists this property as part of their recommended destinations.
In short…highlights of our experiences:
– Upon arrival mid afgternoon:
We walking into what appeared to be (and certainly could be) an amazing historical estate / manor house… Immediately noticed the wear-and-tear, disarray of furniture, carpeting, décor (most of which does look OK and in place in the management promo photo’s).
No one to meet or greet you, and as we encountered throughout the entire week – staffing appeared to be very limited and lacking in knowledge or enthusiasm. We knocked on what we assumed was the reception / check in desk (no obvious signage or directions) because of the ‘piles’ of unorganized magazines, papers, brochures. From the back room / office appeared a man – polite and welcoming – but wearing a worn, logo’d t-shirt and work pants, he truly looked more like an older tired summer camp counsellor who had had a bad day.
Maps, directions, keys etc were distributed in a hap-hazard manner – not reminiscent of any other Diamond Resort standard or of any organized system. So we were on our way to our ‘cottage’.
First… each cottage has assigned parking in car lot spaces a brief walking distance from the actual building. The walk – not an issue, until and throughout the week we encountered various left overs, garbage, missed cleaning supplies, and in front of one cottage directly on the side of our walking path for the entire week (as no one seemed to notice or care) an old airport luggage cart or grocery cart was parked and left there un-moved the entire week.
When we did drive up to our assigned parking spot – it had been ‘taken’ by residents of one of the other ‘cottages’ so one of our party had to go back to the main building / reception… and then the car owner had to be tracked down to move their car to their assigned spot.
Arrival at the cottage… really was arrival at a cabin. Yes, the had apparently been refurbished in the recent past, furnishing were nice, comfortable, basic… but the atmosphere really was of cabins…not country cottages.
Main issues: No air conditioning, which was a major issue in humid late July, and since there was no A/C (and no fans available)… windows had to remain open for ANY air flow – which again would have been acceptable ACCEPT that there were NO SCREENS on any windows – which then meant insects and a bat. So because of allergies and fear of bats, one of our group’s room had to remain closed up tight every night, and they eventually slept out in the living room several nights.
Otherwise, the cabin’s facilities were OK – basic at best, and not reminiscent of the level at any other Diamond Resort we had visited.
ALSO…as our check-in / move in was delayed as our ‘cabin’ was not quite ready when we arrived, we decided to go for lunch in the main dining room of the main building.
Again I can and do normally put up with a great deal – not liking to complain (hard to tell, unfortunately) but as the only guests in the restaurant, maybe we should have taken that as a sign. Having been seated, and looking around at the décor… it was evident that cleanliness and ‘health / food service’ code might not be a top priority. Sitting next to one of the windows looking out onto the property I noticed VERY large and very evident multiple food stains, and large food remnant splashes on the drapery and then on the carpet. Ok,,, let it go. But then, looking around,,, under the cash / antique sideboard – a very evident layer of dust / dust bunnies, food, and more than one votive candle holder and numerous votive candles as it just tossed under to get rid of them.
Food was again OK… nothing to write home about, just OK.
Several days later, in mid morning before we departed to tour the area for the day, I walked up to the main building to enquire about any horseback riding facilities in the area, as well as local attractions. This time at the infamous reception desk was a lone teenage girl – seemed pleasant enough, but to get any acknowledgement that I was there, I had to get her attention away from the computer screen and her ‘snack’. Again no greeting, no acknowledgement, not even a nod of the head. So I jumped right in, got her attention, and asked about any riding centres. She stated ‘No, she had no clue’… no idea of what was in the area. Asking if there was anyone else I could ask, or that she could check with I was again met with a ‘No’, and she was back at her computer screen.
Since I had a few moments…I left the young lady to ‘her work’ and looked around the reception area…only to discover at rack of school binders each labelled with various topics – one of which mentioned ‘Area Horse Riding Centres’. Surprise, surprise! I looked at the information on a few… and left. I should have pointed out ‘or trained my young receptionist friend on the information right under her nose.
Needless to say, over the course of the week, we unfortunately had little to nothing to do with anything on the property. We did walk around and tour the grounds – with the humorous daily postings / warning to ‘NOT be on the golf course after 8 PM’ as each evening they would be shooting the plague of rabbits that infested the property. How impressive!!!
Other items: the pool and spa were quite dirt and un-kept. Several times that we went down to swim, the facility was closed – no signage or reason posted, dressing room / change room, not in a condition to walk barefoot through, no towels, and again no staff in sight.
What at one time may have been elegant an impressive grounds and garden had – like the main building – seem MUCH better days. Most scenic areas were in a surprisingly poor state of condition – some features actually dangerous. Un-kept, unclean, broken garden furniture, a variety of remnants of past events and dinner service left out on the grass and on garden walls, etc. Even walking around the golf course grounds (during non-rabbit hunting periods) was disappointing and added to our less-than-positive reviews. Shortly after closing, it seemed that staff just fled…or it was another short staffed situation.
Golf greens and tees had garbage, bottle caps, cigarette butts in abundance, sand trap rakes were left lying out in several locations. The closed Golf café hut was a mess outside, and looked not overly appetizing through the windows. even the hut doors looked like they had been broken into on more than one occasion.
Every day upon returning from our area tours and sightseeing, when driving into the ‘cabin’ section we had to pass one of the property ‘outbuilding’ AND every morning and night without fail, there was either old broken furniture, open garbage bins, or bags of used / dirty cabin laundry laying out on the ground outside of this un-kept workers building. Not an impressive site to see every time you entered to exited.
All in all, I, unfortunately, have to say that our stay at Broom Park was not at all what we had expected or looked forward to, and certainly not of any resort – especially Diamond Resorts standard.
First Impressions are everything, and unfortunately, all of our impressions went downhill right from the first. In good conscience and good faith, I could not recommend this property to anyone and unfortunately would not stay here again.