A woman’s weekend break at a ‘beach front’ holiday let turned out to be a ‘shabby student house’ opposite an Aldi on a main road.
Catherine Marray, 26, booked ‘The Old Farm House’ on Bagot Street in Wavertree, Liverpool, for a girls’ weekend with her friend who was visiting from Oxford.
The online listing uploaded to Booking.com describes the property as a ‘homestay’ with ‘wellness facilities’ including a ‘hot tub and jacuzzi’.
No.3 Bagot Street, off Smithdown Road, which is being advertised on booking.com as a ‘beachfront hotel with a jacuzzi’
Promises of ‘daily housekeeping’ and ‘shops on site’ are also made on the holiday rental’s online listing – which cost Catherine £70 for two nights.
However, when admin worker Catherine and her friend Deborah arrived at the property on Friday, July 12, they realised the reality was very different.
Speaking about her horror stay, she said: ‘I got there for about 4.30pm and the door was propped open with a weight off a dumbbell. It was by Landmark curry house.
Catherine Marray, 26, booked ‘The Old Farm House’ on Bagot Street in Wavertree for a girls’ weekend with her friend who was visiting from Oxford
This Wavertree property was listed as a ‘beach front’ homestay on Booking.com but turned out to be a ‘shabby student house’ with a broken toilet seat
‘I gave it the benefit of the doubt. There was someone in there who said ‘I will go and get the guy for you’ so this guy comes down covered in paint and said he was doing some plastering.
‘He said it would be about half an hour. He seemed alright, he was chatty. My and my friend went to the pub and went back at 7.30pm.’
Catherine lives in Old Swan, but wanted to book a weekend break in an apartment that would make it easy to get to and from town on her girls’ weekend.
She claims she didn’t notice the ‘beach front’ description of this Smithdown Road property until the day of arrival, and that she just assumed it was a mistake.
The condition of the bathroom at the basic £35 a night accommodation, a mess can be seen on the sink while a mop is propped up in the corner
Well aware that she wouldn’t be staying in five star accommodation for £35 a night, Catherine said she expected things to be basic.
She said: ‘I don’t mind somewhere that’s divey as long as it’s clean because we were going to be out all day.’
However, when the girls returned to the property on Friday night to check into their rooms, the true state of their accommodation started to dawn on them.
Catherine said: ‘We were shown into our room and found ripped curtains a lumpy old mattress a lamp that flickered on and off.
The girls decided to stay in the room nevertheless and went out for the night
‘The owner then passed me a single quilt cover and asked me to strip it for him as he was busy. He left another single quilt and bedding outside our room so we had to make our own bed.’
Heading into their room, Catherine said: ‘We decided to go into the room, have a drink and then go out. We were like ‘let’s just power through and we can go out’.’
The girls’ room, which was described as ‘the best in the house’, had ‘ripped black pieces of material’ for curtains and lamp shades stuck on upside down.
In the two bathrooms, a sink was covered in bleach, with a toilet seat snapped in half and no locks on either of the doors.
Catherine claimed the property resembled a ‘shabby student house’ not a ‘homestay’ holiday let – and that she just decided to ‘grin and bare it’.
Paint specs and discarded hoovers and fire extinguishers are seen on a communal landing
Despite booking the Wavertree property for ease on their weekend break, the girls ended up having to go back Old Swan just to have a shower.
Catherine and Deborah went out and returned back from town in the early hours of Saturday, got a few hours sleep and then headed straight back out.
When they got back to the Bagot Street home on Saturday night, they were disgusted to find the property ‘stank of weed’.
Catherine said: ‘On Saturday night, as we walked through the door upstairs you could just smell weed.
‘In our room I gather where the smoke detector was, there was a bag of bread tied to the ceiling. I wish I could say I was making it up.
The sign outside, made from a marker pen and an old chopping board
‘We were in stitches because if I didn’t laugh I would have cried.’ Throughout their two-night stay at the holiday let, the girls heard a number of guests complaining and asking for different rooms, with one man asking the owner ‘is this a joke?’
After hearing the owner’s erratic responses to their complaints, Catherine and Deborah decided to leave their key in the door and ‘sneak out’ on Sunday morning.
Booking.com were contacted about the listing, which was still live on their site at the time of publication, and were told the customer was given a full refund for their stay.
A spokesperson for the travel service said: ‘If a customer ever shows up to a property and it does not meet their expectations, our customer service team are on hand 24/7 to investigate and advocate on their behalf.
‘In this case, we are securing a full refund for this customer and are also in communication with the property regarding making some adjustments to the information they choose to list on our platform to ensure they are setting accurate expectations for customers.
‘Our top priority is to facilitate smooth and enjoyable travel experiences for our customers and we are committed to that mission.’
The property currently has a booking score of 5.6 on Booking.com, with a number of scathing reviews slamming it as ‘disgusting’ and ‘a joke’.
A man, calling himself ‘Dave’ in one message, has responded to a number of the negative reviews to argue with guests.
The owner of the property were approached for comment, but they did not respond by the time of publication.