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“Wonderful Normandy base”
Review of Le Castel

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Le Castel
Ranked #1 of 1 Montpinchon B&B and Inns
Deddington, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Wonderful Normandy base”
Reviewed 13 October 2011

Le Castel is perfectly situated for exploring Lower Normandy and northern Brittany (St Malo, Mont St Michel, Bayeux, Normandy beaches etc.). The house is a small chateau with beautiful, luxurious rooms. Jon, the owner, treated us like visiting friends. Breakfasts are a treat, featuring a variety of fruits, freshly baked bread and croissants. If you opt for dinner, it is taken communally, which we enjoyed; dinners were good.

All in all, we found Le Castel to be the perfect place for relaxing. We were able to treat the place as our own home (if only!). It was very family friendly. Attention was available if wanted but wasn't forced on us.

Le Castel is not cheap, but the exchange rate has a lot to do with that. I was satisfied that it provided value for money, considering the quality of the accommodation. We experienced none of the problems that cottoncandy22 reports, though we did stay in the main house.

If you're tempted to try Le Castel, read carefully what it is, where it is, and what is on offer. If it looks to be what you want, then don''t hesitate. It's a special place and Jon is a terrific host. Oh, and you need to like cats - two gorgeous Burmese in this case.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dotandcom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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60 reviews from our community

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English first
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 September 2011

We have just returned from a week at Le Castel staying in the Votre gite. While there are lots of great things about Le Castel we were disappointed and feel it doesn’t live up to all the excellent reviews.

On the positive side, Le Castel is superbly located with lots of things to do in the surrounding area, the grounds are lovely and the whole place has a very relaxed atmosphere. As a self-catering guests it’s great to be able to use the salon and terrace and we enjoyed socialising with the other four families staying as we all had children under 3. We joined in dining with the guests staying in the chateau one night and enjoyed the meal which was well-priced at 25 euros a head for two courses and alcohol. The guests staying in the chateau told us they were disappointed by the quality of the food though and that we had been lucky and picked the best night so far to join them. We certainly felt relieved not to have paid the additional £900 for the all-inclusive package as the two children’s suppers we witnessed were chicken nuggets and burger and chips.

The gite is very nice and was very clean except for the kitchen equipment where we had to wash up most things before using them – two saucepans still had food caked on them and lots of the cutlery and plates were stained. The kitchen was also very underequipped. On the first morning we found there were only two mugs (we had three adults in our party) and no means of making coffee. My husband went to ask Jon for a coffee pot/maker and was told we could “buy one in Leclerc” (local hypermarket). Not quite the response you’re hoping for when you’re paying £900 for a week. Jon must had seen my husband was affronted as he produced a one person cafetiere – hardly ideal for three of us. (I’m guessing the owner’s response to this will say coffee and tea is available for self-catering guests in the salon which is true but you don’t exactly want to have to go up to the main house as soon as you’ve woken up or after dinner at night).

After Jon’s coffee pot reaction it made us rather reluctant to point out other problems and face a rather tense week so we washed up the kitchen stuff ourselves and bought other basic items that were lacking (bread knife, washing up bowl, more than one cloth and more than one tea towel). The website says basic provisions are there but the herbs were all best before 2009. You also have to provide your own loo roll, pay for electricity if you use over the daily quota, strip your own beds and take your recycling to a recycling point in a nearby village. Not things I would’ve expected when paying so much or that we’ve had to do before staying at other lovely baby-friendly places.

Other disappointment were:
- bikes – there are some but tyres were flat and gears broken
- sandpit – empty and propped up against a tree
- free ice cream for kids – just ice pops
- play tent – this wasn’t very clean, was very untidy and lots of toys were broken or missing batteries

Some of these things are small but they’re the sort of details that make you choose one place over another when booking a holiday and therefore it’s frustrating when they’re not as they promised. Le Castel has such great potential but unfortunately attention to detail is a little lacking and therefore we were disappointed.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank cottoncandy22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lecastel, Owner at Le Castel, responded to this review, 7 November 2011
I was very upset about this review until I realised the headline should have been:
Lovely family holiday.. but absolutely devastated that the owner didn’t buy us a bigger coffee pot
Here is a recap of the many positive points in this lady’s review:
1. Superbly located
2. Lots to do
3. Lovely grounds
4. Relaxed atmosphere
5. Great to be able to have free tea and coffee with other guests in the chateau
6. Enjoyed dining in the chateau
7. Meal in chateau was well priced
8. Gite very nice and clean
9. Enjoyed socialising with other families

I am afraid we are not perfect, but we do strive to be as good as possible.
I will be endeavouring to correct some of the points made in this review.
However, I would be grateful for any tips on how to make hoards of children tidy up toys, wipe their muddy feet before going into the play area, not break toys, not tip the sand pit over and not eat all the ice creams in 30 seconds.
We have a relaxed atmosphere here because we don’t get upset when any of that happens! We are constantly going round trying to put as much of it right as possible – sometimes we fail miserably!


The other bad points seem to boil down to no coffee maker and us not spotting that previous guests had left a few kitchen items dirty. I am very sorry about this, but there are around 150 items in the kitchen (incidentally, there is a kettle for making coffee, six cups with saucers and assorted knives that this lady obviously did not spot). The herbs are in jars from 2009 ..but are topped up each week. We provide things like loo roll and jay cloths, but not a week’s supply and I am sure most self catering guests would not expect us to. Electricity charges are for winter lets only.

We offer self catering in the cottages and fully inclusive holidays in the chateau – they are two very different holidays. Families should consider which works best for them. I have just added a very honest pros and cons page to my own website to help families make the right choice.
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London
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2011

We stayed for a week on the all-inclusive package in the main hotel. We stayed in the Roi Suite which was huge - our son particularly liked the enormous stuffed tiger in his room!
On the face of it we thought the prices appeared quite high (particularly with the Euro rate at the moment) but once you work out how much is included (2 huge rooms with little kitchenette, childcare, kids meals, evening meals for adults, lunches if you want them, wine,beer etc.) we thought it was actually quite good value. Jon has thought of everything you need for a family friendly holiday.
Jon had great recommendations for days out - beaches for nice days, other places for rainy days.
The people he had helping out were also great (chef, childcare, breakfast, housekeeper etc) - very friendly and nothing was too much trouble.
Overall, highly recommended

Room Tip: The Roi Suite was lovely
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JD433
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2011

We spent a week here on the "all inclusive" (half board) package, staying in one of the cottages rather than the main house. Being away from the main house would be our recommendation so long as your kids aren't tiny (ours are 8 and 5) as it's quieter, more privacy, and, although we didn't see the accommodation in the main house, apparently better equipped. Food delicious, although dinner was a little on the light side, certainly for those with larger appetites (husband!) We had full access to the grounds and the ground floor of the house - the kids were perfectly safe to explore and run off steam and made good friends. The best hours of the day were 5.30-7.30 when they were being fed and then playing, and I could sit in the sunchine, drinking g'n't and reading! The area is full of things to do - we did a couple of D Day days, but also several days on the beautiful beaches round about. Jon and his crew are well-informed and eager to share their tips for a happy holiday. Special mention to Graham for his top tips on less-busy options, especially on a Bank Holiday.
Overall, we would recommend the holiday, although I think we were lucky that the weather was fantastic all week, and the other families staying were all "of a like mind" and we all hit it off, somewhat raucously at times. If you're not the type to enjoy dining "communally" then it may not be the holiday for you.

Room Tip: We would recommend the cottage accommodation for space, privacy and a home-from-home
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank crazyboys24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 15 August 2011

We stayed in Le Castel first week August 2011 and had a great time, two adults and two children (7 & 3). The house is lovely and the rooms spacious and comfortable. John and his team did a great job of making us feel totally at home and yet were there to offer a beer or very good advice on where to go and where to avoid.
The children absolutely loved it and it was great to see all the children staying there playing together in the safe environment of the house and grounds but giving them plenty of freedom to explore and of course stay up late. The few hours child care that is offered was great to start the kids off but not too regimented.
All in all we all had a superbly relaxing time in great surroundings and with great company and I would highly recommend it, although I think best suited to children under 12.
One word of warning is that although our adult bedroom was massive, it had a beautiful but standard double size bed - with a footboard. If you are much over 6ft tall this might make the sleeping a bit of a squeeze! I believe only one suite has this.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Niall G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Telford
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 August 2011

Every holidaymaker has fallen victim to the reality not quite living up to the promise. Websites are good these days and often you can realise all too late that it doesn't do what it says on the tin. Not so at Le Castel in Normandy. From first minute to last we were looked after, welcomed, hosted and entertained by the larger-than-life owner Jon Barnsley. Despite its beauty and grandeur, there's no fussiness about sticky fingers, or discarded sandals, or a dropped ice-cream. Jon and his team keep the place spotless while all the time making the holidaymaker feel like this is their home. A fantasy which lasts as long as your stay.
This was the most relaxing family holiday we've ever had - and we've been to some places.
While there are three suites in the main house, we stayed in one of the cottages in the grounds to enable us to have a bit more privacy as and when we wanted it. It worked well for us but others with older children loved being part of the chateau and the ability to come down to dinner in the main house knowing their kids were safe upstairs. My wife and I did the occasional tag team over dinner but we did take advantage of a babysitter for the amazing five-course 'show' dinner on the Friday night.
There is childcare for two hours in the morning and again in the evening and this takes place in the giant marquee/circus tent on the lawn. For those with clingy children you may find it difficult to make the most of this R 'n' R but there is such a lovely atmosphere around the place that most of the parents just got involved in whatever was going on.
We go on holiday to be WITH our children so I suppose for us it was perfect as we could make the most of the fabulous play space and grounds while enjoying the company of the other families.
This is a social holiday - a great chance to mix and meet new people, for both adults and children. Our group got on famously and it made the holiday all the sweeter.
The food for the adults was superb in the evenings (we all decided to eat together) and the kids got involved in making cupcakes and pizza. Naturally the kids food is less a la carte than the adults but they devoured everything from spag bol to local sausages.
I suppose the acid test is whether I would go again. Three letters say we would....Y E S.

Room Tip: The rooms in the main house are beautiful but if you want a bit more seclusion have the cottages a s...
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NathanRous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2011

I'm not sure who writes these reviews, however, a recent stay revealed the following:
- no welcome pack at all, despite the promise of wine etc
- no official childcare that didn't involve parents being there too
- no mention of CRB checks/health & safety and so forth. Worrying for somewhere that is now marketing itself as a baby/toddler friendly stay
- cobwebs, wasps, a sagging sofa and half a loo roll in our 'luxury' accommodation

What this IS , is a relaxed 'laissez faire' place to hang out with your children. It is certainly not a luxury stay that will make your life any easier...

Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank EmilyB69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lecastel, Owner at Le Castel, responded to this review, 28 July 2011
I am very sorry this lady did not enjoy her stay. She spent four days in a self catering cottage just before we started doing all inclusive family holidays in both the chateau and the cottages.
I am very pleased that she described us a “relaxed 'laissez faire' place to hang out with your children. “ That is exactly what we try to provide.
A welcome package was not part of her booking, but the kitchen was stocked with useful items like herbs, spices, flour, coffee, tea, oil etc. She could also have enjoyed complimentary beverages up in the main chateau.
We do not offer full child care – the idea is not to abdicate responsibility for your children while on holiday, but to enjoy them with a bit of time off most days. We make it very clear that at least one parent must remain on site during our very popular play sessions. This has not been a problem for any other parents, who are very thankful for a couple of hours of peace. The afternoon sessions include a children’s meal and are free for all-inclusive guests, but there is a charge for self catering guests. CRB checks are for the UK not France. Our staff are all parents themselves with lots of experience, humour and fun.
We do not market the Voici cottage as luxury accommodation. A two bedroomed suite in the chateau would probably have suited this lady better, but they were full with very happy guests. The Voici cottage has rustic charm with old beams, exposed stonework etc. There are lovely 1930s leather club chairs and a leather sofa in the lounge – you either get this approach or you don’t.
I hope the cobwebs and wasps were not there when she arrived, but we are in the countryside and they can appear very quickly. She was self catering but we provided cleaning materials for her use during her stay.
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Additional Information about Le Castel

Property: Le Castel
Address: 50210 Montpinchon, France
Region: France > Normandy > Basse-Normandie > Manche > Montpinchon
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Montpinchon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Napoleon III chateau guest house with 6 luxurious rooms plus self catering cottage with two bedrooms. Near Mont St Michel, Bayeux and D Day Beaches. Country house party atmosphere. Set in four acres of parkland, but just 20 minutes from beach. Meet Le Castel's pet llamas and take them for a country walk. ... more   less 

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