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Reviewed 30 August 2010

The location of the hotel is fantastic, beautiful lake, nice surronding. However, we found the installations old and dirty. It needs a total redo. The food is nasty. The cabin is in desperate need of renovation, individual bedrooms are tiny, and bathroom was one of the smallest I have seen in a hotel. The parking areas were a totally mess, extremely muddy after rain. We were there for a week no room service and saw them clean the pool one day. I am not so excited about sitting in a pool of urine. Slow service at each restaurant. Claim to have WiFI but it does not work. If you go to Netherlands Dont waste your money to stay at Center Parcs De Kempervennen . I am sure I would have had a much better time if we stayed at a better resort. Also, we came in August when it is their rainy season. It was a horrible stay PLEASE DO NOT STAY THERE, and need to renovate.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank WichoCaracas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2010

We stayed at De Kempervennen for a midweek stay in Aug 2010. Our party consisted of two adults and a nine month old baby, we stayed in a one bedroom premiere villa.

Having stayed numerous times at the Sherwood forest center parcs (both with and without a baby) we decided to visit Center parks again for a summer break. Unfortunatly the prices for staying at a UK CP in the summer hollidays are shocking so we decided to look further afield. The cost of our holiday to De Kempervennen was very reasonable (cheaper than a UK CP break would have been by a long way) we booked online using the european site and got our midweek break for under 300 euros, we used the Norfolk line ferry to Dunkerque (again a very reasonable £40 return) the drive from Dunkerque to De Kempervennen took around 3 hours but we took a few short stops along the way.

As we were only staying Mon - Fri and driving a reasonable distance we chose to stay in a hotel nearby on the Sunday night so that we could arrive nice and early on the Monday morning. We stayed in the Novotel in Eindhoven which was very nice and I would reccommend it.

There are subtle differences between a UK CP and De Kempervennen, when we arrived bright and early on Monday morning we expected there to be a large queue to check in (as would have been the case in the UK) however at 10am there was no queue and we were directed into a carpark to park up. There are no arrival lodges here so instead of checking in in a "drive through" manner you have to park up and then walk to reception to check in. None of this was made particularly clear to us on arrival.

Once at the check in lodge I was asked for my booking information. Days earlier we had recieved an email instructing us to print our "e-ticket" for the park - which I had done. The lasy on check in took our e-ticket off us - Don't let this happen to you! If you have an e-ticket you can go to your villa at 1pm rather than 3pm so its worth hanging on to. We didn't know this at the time so left our ticket behind in reception. Checking in other than this was pretty seamless, all staff spoke excellent English and our keys and other paperwork were given over to us. We also brought a WiFi card which was 15 euros for the week which I thought was quite reasonable.

At 3pm we picked up the car and drove to the villa. Most villas had small parking areas near to them and we hurriedly unloaded in to villa. You then return your car to one of three onsite car parks A,B or C. These are very badly signposted and as such we ended up parking our car quite a way from our villa. To be honest we shouldn't have been in such a rush, many people didn't move thier car all week. There was a noticable car presence all week as some guests seemed to be driving from A to B inside the resort all week.

The villa was well appointed and comfortable, though quite a squeeze once the travel cot was up - though that was our error we should have booked a bigger villa. The kitchen in a 1 bed villa is quite small. There was a 2 ring hob and a microwave, small fridge and small sink. No oven or dishwasher. The rest of the kitchen utensils can be found in the tall cupboard ny the TV - including the kettle and toaster. And if you want to plug anything in the plugs aren't in the wall they are underneath the microwave - that took a while to figure out.

The villa was small but very nice - there was a flat screen TV which rotated so that you could view it from either the sofa or in bed, a CD player and a radio in the kitchen that played into the bathroom (something that has never worked at Sherwood!) Outside we had a large table and 2 reclining chairs. I had also hired a highchair using the online control panel and that was waiting in the villa for us - for the 4.95 Euro it cost for the week it was well worth it! The beds only had one rather uncomfy pillow so I would high reccommend taking your own. The beds were also entirely memory foam which were a bit odd to get used to!

Using the online control panel through the CP website I had booked the cottage breakfast arrangement for us before we left. This seemed a bit steep at 9 euros each a day but was well worth it. Every morning there was a package waiting for us on our doorstep - it was a really nice touch. Every morning we recieved; 3 different types of bread each (rolls, croissants etc), 2 packets of flat meat, eggs, a pack of cheese, 2 pints of milk, butter, jam, coffee, tea bags, sugar plus a roation of bacon, cereal, yoghurt and ducks eggs. Every day was different which was nice and there was always more than enough to make breakfast and rolls for lunch.

We used the dome every day of our stay. It was nice but showing its age in certain places. The main pool was smaller than we had expected and it felt like all the additional areas (kids pool, living pool, rapids) had been added on at a later date but didn't quite flow as seamlessly as it should. Each pool was lovely, the childrend pool was great as was the living pool, there were two hottubs and a row of sun beds to use also. There were plenty of seats and playpens to use. The changing rooms were the usual scramble but you can live with that. One noticable difference in the pool was the crowd it seemed to have pulled in. Without being rude it was certainly a different type of crowd that you expect to see at a UK CP.

The restaurant, shops and cafes were also incorporated into the dome and were all undercover. This was lovely as they had pools with fish and turtles in them and little bridges and walkways throughout. It also meant tropical temperatures whatever the weather was doing outside. We ate at the market cafe for breakfast and Howards for dinner - both enjoyable meals with friendly staff. I've no complaints about the food or service. The service at the dome cafe though was shocking - the waited got our order wrong, charged us more and service was very slow. Also on the menu it said that kids eat free - so we ordered our son some chicken and fruit from the childrens menu and were charged for it. Not a huge problem but the waiter said that was "silly that it was written there" despite the "kids eat for free" literature being on every table we could see.

Activities wise there was plenty to do but you really had to figure it out for youself. There was one info point in the dome but other than that you seemed to have to book the activity with the corresponding venue - so if you wanted to do badmiton you booked it at the sports hall, diving at the dome etc - there didn't appear to be a central point to do all of this. Activities were cheaper than the UK CP which meant we could do a few more things, also as you can't book them before you arrive it meant that there was availability which was great. We visited the Ski Slope briefly - it looked lovely and the prices were reasonable but we didn't use the slope on this occasion.

All in all a good holiday and worth the drive but if we were to visit CP in Europe again I think we will try somewhere different. I would reccommend booking as high a catagory Villa as you can - as I said ours was Premium but quite basic - I'd hate to see a comfort one! Also a midweek break is quite short given the drive involved, if doing it again I'd book a week at least.

One last thing to mention is that f you turn right out of the entrance and walk about a mile there is an amazing traditional Dutch pancake house on the opposite side of the road - it is well worth a visit!

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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5  Thank Harper_uk_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2010

Up to now, we have visited the CP's in Belgium (4 times at De Vossermeren and 2 times at Erpherhide) as well as the CP UK sites at Longleat and Whinfell during the last 10 years or so.
This was our first trip to Holland, and we chose this one as it had the opportunity to do the skiing as well as all the other activities that most other CP's usually have.
The Belgium ones have been excellent in the past, although we did start to notice on our last occasion some deterioration in terms of the state of the resort, by way of reduced activities, more rubbish laying around and general untidyness. Whether that is due to the financial climate then I'm not sure, hence we thought we'd give this one a go.
VILLA:
On arrival, check in was easy via the e-ticket system, and we were booked into a 4 bed premium lodge in zone 1, very close to the sports bar and Aqua Mundo. The lodge however really smelt badly of smoke and dogs. We don't smoke or have animals, and with the kids,(1 of which had asthma) I really wanted to get this sorted. Housekeeping to be fair did their best to spray air freshener around, but our clothes still smelt of smoke when we got home(even the unused clean ones). Whether CP can provide smoke free villas I don't know, but it would really help.Apart from that, the villa was of a good standard with 2 bathrooms, 1 of which had a nice walk in shower. No English channels on the TV, however some films were in English with Dutch subtitles.

AQUA MUNDO:
The swimming is noticably smaller than at the Belgium sites. There is a smaller main pool, with no lazy river, only 2 hot tubs (compared to 4) and 2 slides, 1 of which is a childrens slide with the other only slightly faster. It was a bit disappointing. The outdoor rapids were also shorter compared to De Vossermeren, with the annoying design feature in that half way down the rapids, they convert into 2 sets of small tunnels (1 person at a time can go down) which caused congestion and potential injuries from everyone crashing into each other whilst waiting to each go down. Suggest they need to look to re-design this feature so that the rapids are long and continuous that you get at Longleat or De Vossermeren for example , hence reducing the risk of injuries.
The changing rooms also had a smell of sewage which at times can be unpleasant with a number of lockers broken or with doors hanging off, again this comes back to the wear and tear issue.

MARKET DOME: Very similar to the Belgium ones, but slightly smaller, hence can be congested, however great for the young children to jump around the stepping stones and see various fish and birds etc.

FOOD: As expected with the poor exchange rate, it can be expensive, however the burger place next to the swimming entrance was good value, and the ice cream was to die for, not watered down like you get at home. Service and quality was great, however quantity and price not what you quite get in the UK. We had a birthday meal at the Family Grill with a ribs meal nearly 18 euro, with not a lot of meat on the ribs and small portions. Quality of service was excellent though. The parc market food shop had all you need, however there is a Lidl down the road in Valkensward which, if you are totally self catering, will save you money, however be warned as there is only a hob and microwave in the lodges !!

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT:
We saw the "Downtown" show which was great, good dancing and singing, and for all ages, and unlike the UK entertainment , it is free and not based on you having to have a meal with it.

ACTIVITIES:
More limited this time around, perhaps caused by the downturn, however there were hardly any free activities or tournaments for the 10-13 year olds in our party compared to the same time last year in Belgium, no special discounted activity passes which they used to do, and the activities have gone up as well. The main reason for us going was for the skiing, (the 4 children in this case to have a go at something they've never done before) . If you are not fussed about the skiing, then I believe there are better CP's out there to try instead. I pre-booked the skiing arrangement over the phone as the information on the CP website was limited. It was expensive, averaging around near 60 euro each, however felt that they would probably never get a chance at home.
At the Montana ski site (which is on the CP site) I booked the kids in and we were given these passes. I got them kitted out and sent them through to the main area, expecting them to be supervised with the arrangement I booked. (As every activity we book is supervised). After about 30 minutes of trying to see them from the cafe area, I realised that something was not right as I saw various instructors with people learning to ski, but not our kids ! I went down to the reception and was told that my arrangement was for "open" skiing and not "lesson skiing". This was not explained to me over the phone or at the reception with both CP and Montana not taking responsibility. I had to go into the ski area in my t-shirt and pull the kids out. They were all huddled in a corner freezing, not knowing what to do or how to put skis on etc. I was not impressed at all, with one of the children nearly falling over a couple of times, it could have been alot worse with broken bones etc.
With CP I did expect that they would be supervised as with any other activity, however it's something to bear in mind as the website and telephone information is limited. You may want to wait till you get there to book directly with Montana as they are 2 separate companies, with in this case, each of them blaming eachother for the error.
All in all, would I go to this site again ?Only for the skiing, because despite the problems we had, the instructor was excellent, along with the facilities and fun. However there are better CP's out there in my opinion, and they do need to work on a refurb and makeover as this one is starting to show signs of being tired and worn.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2010

For those of you who love Europe but are never really happy with the hotels with their sometimes limited offer of food and location - try Centre Parcs. Small villages, seventeen in Europe they offer a great get away for the family. Lovely cottages amidst nature with all amenities included. You are in the middle of swaying forests, rivers left to Mother Nature, rabbits scurrying around and the sweet twitter of birds. A practical way of seeing the city and places around you can set up base there, hire a car and move around. You have a well equipped open kitchen to cook, a fire place very useful and cozy during the typical European evenings which have a nip in the air, a practical supermarket with all products to shorten your cooking time and three restaurants to choose from if you like eating out. What is so wonderful about these are enclosed in a dome that maintains a sub tropical temperature called Market Dome. On days that you wish to rest just sit down and read a book, let the children go to Aqua Mundo to swim in tropical temperatures where a variety of water activities water slides, wild water rapids, as well as other activities – safe and child friendly. Your children come back having experienced something more, you get a very local taste of Europe and the fresh unpolluted air is so good for your mind, body and soul. Go to www.centrparcs.com and check out the latest offers and prices.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with family
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Thank WanderingstarMumbai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2010

We stayed at this park in July 2008 for a quick 4 night break. We took the Dutch Flyer deal which included train journey from Norwich, to Harwich then Stena ferry to the Hook and onward train to any Dutch station.
From Eindhoven we took the bus and then a smaller mini bus which dropped us opposite the Center Parc's entrance.
We were a little dissapointed with our chalet, which smelt of stale cigarette smoke and, as someone else stated, the bed linen was in a bad state along with the very saggy mattress and sad old pillows.....and it was an executive chalet! The tiles in the bathroom were also a bit grubby which was a shame too.
We tried the restaurants but the food was awful. Really processed with some nasty spongy chicken which must have been reconstituted meat! We gave it another try in a different restaurant the next night, but it was equally bad. Unfortunatey all we had in the chalet was a hob and microwave, so we were a bit limited on what we could dream up ourselves.
The Ski Centre was brilliant, but unfortunately we only went there on the last night. The restaurant looked really good too and I am sure we would have given it a go if we hadn't already eaten that evening.

Overall the park was good, although we mainly used it as a base to go cycling from. As a previous reviewer stated, there are lots of great cycle paths all around the park and we brought some cycle maps to plan out routes. The small villages around were lovely and there were lots of places to stop for lunch with other groups of cyclists turning up to do the same. The Dutch are very friendly and the cycling is so easy and safe, so I would definitely recommend it for a family or couple who are keen on cycling.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank BuckyBoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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