Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Haven, Perran Sands

We decided to change up our annual Easter Haven holiday for this year and try a new park as we kept returning to Devon Cliffs, this year my husband wanted to go to Cornwall so out of the 2 camps we chose Perran Sands. 
We arrived early and all were pretty exhausted after driving through the night to avoid the heavy snow that were forecast for North Wales. We had a little drive around the park which looked deserted, I imagine all the visitors were hiding out indoors because of the weather but we liked the look of the park. We headed over to the surf bay for a much need cup of coffee(I quite frankly needed it on a drip). We were quickly seated near the VW camper van that sits inside(we were told one side of the Surf bar had a leak and was cold), the kids loved being able to check out the camper van and climb inside. The staff were all really friendly & had time to chat to us and the kids which made a refreshing change.
A while later the rest of our party arrived and after they grabbed themselves a bite to eat we headed over to see if we could check in around 1pm. We stayed in a prestige caravan so could check in at 2pm, occasionally you are able to get your keys early but sadly we nor my brother who also booked into prestige accommodation could this time. Many people who could not check in till 4pm however got their keys nice and early which didn't help my grumpy tired mood much. We were thankful, very thankful for Luke off the bar in that hour. He got the kids up teaching them how to juggle which gave our ears a rest from our 5 excited children.
2pm came and our keys were ready, we were located at the very far end of the park in Ocean breeze which meant it was very quiet but a good walk from the main complex area. Our accommodation was lovely, clean, modern and large. My husband pointed out a gap in the window frame and the door but as we had heating I wasn't that fussed so didn't complain. I think the caravan might not be level because one of the toilet doors would not lock and some of the other doors seemed to be slightly off. Other than that our caravan was perfect, I could even fit our travel cot into the double room which is much better than having to sleep in the lounge. 
The beach was nice and clean & I imagine on a warm day this would be full of people. There are lots of caves and rock pools to explore and the beach was really big so even in the hot weather I am sure you could find a good spot. The walk down is great as it is all down hill but the walk back up is quite steep and sure to give you a good work out. If you are walking your dog in this area please keep them on a leash as we sadly witnessed a dog falling down the cliff and he looked pretty hurt as he couldn't get up. Thankfully after tracking down the owner in the live lounge one night towards the end of our holiday I found out that he just had a cut chin and paw which makes him one lucky dog. 
The entertainment staff were all really friendly & fully of energy, Scott was a pretty awesome dancer and I could happily watch him dance. The kids loved watching the character shows in the evening and we were all surprised to see lots of Rory, on all the other haven parks we have stayed on Rory hardly made an appearance. Entertainment for the adults was great on some nights but not so great on others which is the same for most parks to be fair. On our last night(Sunday 31st March) they had a live band on who were brilliant, my son rocked the night away and they played a good variety of music.
On the day we chose to go swimming they were fixing the fire doors at the back, the leisure staff said it would be too cold for babies so we could not swim that day. This was not a one off either, the whole 10 days we were there the pool temp was 26C at its best which was freezing when you went in the water. We attempted to swim one day and even with neoprene swim wear on we were left shivering, even my water baby who will spend hours in the sea didn't spend much time in the pool which really left us disappointed. Whilst there a gentleman had a nose bleed which left a trail of blood up one side of the pool area which they did not clean until I went and asked the life guard to get someone to clean it up. We left after this an never returned to the pool but did ask daily what the temperature was and it got no warmer. We were not warned of this on check in and despite complaining it got shrugged off as we are aware of it and doing all we can, but that does not make no difference to us when we expect to be able to swim on our holiday as it is one of our main activities. If you advertise a heated pool then I expect to get a heated pool.
Instead of swimming the kids took part in a bug hunt with Matt & Andy(I think that is their names) they all enjoyed this activity and we found lots of bugs to put in our jars to take back and draw(no bugs were harmed in this activity and all were returned back into the wild). All who took part received an activity book and pencil. Despite the freezing weather and being battered by the wind the kids loved taking part especially big T who is a big fan of all things creepy crawly.
The arcades had plenty to do lots of 2p machines, pool tables and bandits. The arcade is where the toilets are located, the whole time we were there the water was freezing as were the toilets themselves. We witnessed many guest not washing their hands due to how cold the water was which I found disgusting and is most likely one of the reasons a few of us in our group got a sick bug. We went into reception to ask why the water in the toilets were freezing and they had no clue about it, I tweeted to have a moan and was asked to speak to Nick at reception but he was not there.The lady who I reported it to radioed through to someone to check if the boiler had been lit and that was the end of that(it was still freezing on our last day). You also have to change your babies in these freezing toilets which left both my daughter and 3 month old nephew dithering on each nappy change, if our caravan would've been closer I would've taken then back to the caravan to change them as they were much warmer.
We all went out for a meal for my mother in laws birthday at the Surf bay, the food was delicious, the service was great and the price was fair too. They had a good variety to choose from to suit most tastes. We all said it was the best meal we have ever had on a Haven holiday.
On our last day we decided to treat the kids to a character breakfast at the Surf bay, when we arrived(9:50am) one of the characters was on the opposite side to where we were seated, we ordered our drinks then noticed the character had gone. When the waiter came with our drinks we asked if there would be more characters coming out and he said they pop in and out throughout the breakfast. We ordered our food and waited for it to arrive along with the characters. Our food arrived, it wasn't as hot as we like but still enjoyable, we also noticed that the children's breakfast came with no potato waffles as described so we had to request these which came after they had finished their meal. 10:30am arrived and we had not seen no other characters, now I know they were out at this time as my brother met greedy whilst eating his breakfast on his last day at 10:30 so we sat and waited some more. At 11:06am we still had seen or met any characters so I paid my £46.90 for the character breakfast that had no characters and went off to complain. I was apologized to and told that the entertainments manager would call me on Tuesday 2nd April, what he would be able to do I don't know because it was our last day and no chance of them having another character breakfast. As of 13:37 on Wednesday 3rd April I am still waiting for that call. I shall update when/if I receive this call.
The entertainments manager did contact me via twitter & promised to send me a letter explaining his findings along with a little something for the children. Sadly I never received this letter.

Would I return to Perran Sands? at the minute I am unsure, I know the cold pool, freezing water and characterless breakfast can all be changed and improved, these are the only things that were really disappointing during our stay. The park is a perfect location to visit all of Cornwall, the scenery and beaches are beautiful, the staff are really friendly, the park is huge and was always clean and for these reasons alone would make me consider returning.
I do think that they should advertise that the pool will be really cold and not suitable for small children if the weather is cold and that they have no heating or hot water in the toilets. I also think that they should state an end time to the character breakfast as this was not stipulated anywhere.

We have decided that we will indeed return to Perran Sands next Easter 
because despite the problems we did enjoy ourselves. I have since learnt that many pools(not just haven) struggled with the temperature!
I am crossing everything goes smoothly next time because I would love to keep on returning as it is a perfect location for us as a family.

The entertainment manager has been in touch and explained what they have done to stop the problems we had from happening again & we are pleased with the outcome, we were also sent lanyards and character pins for the children.

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