This house was pretty much as it seems in the advert on Holiday Letting, but with a few quirks. There is a small house right beside and to the rear, also managed by the same people, meaning that the rear outside space is not fully open to you, although the garden is exactly what is seen in the photos (which are carefully shot so that the small house is not in view).
The house was mostly very clean, although there were dusty parts on less visible bits of furniture, and, as is often the case in holiday houses, some of the kitchenware needed cleaned before use, as previous visitors had not cleaned pots & pans etc.
There are three double bedrooms, the master downstairs with an en-suite toilet and shower room which gives a good shower driven from the hot water tank. The master bedroom oddly has only one bedside table and lamp, which is an omission in my opinion. The two doubles upstairs both have beds under the sloping roofs so the roof side would be no good for taller people as even I had to duck quite low (I am only 5 ft 3in). One of the rooms is very small for a double room. The two single rooms are a good size and one of them has lovely views overlooking countryside. All the mattresses were comfortable and supportive, the most important thing in a holiday home to get right! The shower room upstairs is fine, although with a very gentle shower. There is no bath.
Downstairs, there is a lovely large wooden table and there are 8 chairs which easily fit round it, not always the case in holiday houses which claim to cater for larger numbers. The actual living space has a warm and cosy feel and comfortable seating. It would be a bit small for 8 people, but we had only 5 in our party so it was fine. The kitchen is quite small for a property catering to 8 people, but it is pretty well-equipped, although you have to hunt for some utensils which are hanging up in strange places in the utility area. There is a very odd collection of crockery which is fine as long as you don’t mind a lot of mix and match. A few plates & bowls were cracked. We did manage to have a dinner party for 12 when we were there by making use of two large pots and a huge one from the house, and by borrowing some cutlery from our friends (we brought in the table from outside and used the bedroom chairs). There is a large fridge-freezer, a washing machine and separate tumble dryer, and an outside line for drying clothes. Oddly there is no inside drying rack for clothes, which I think a large family could need in rainy Kinvara, as not every item of clothing can be tumble dried. One of the quirks of this house is the complete lack of household manuals: it was sheer guesswork trying to work the oven and especially the microwave. Another quirk is that the hot water must run through an electric immersion heater on a timer if the central heating is not being used – we worked out the timer, but again no manual or instructions were provided here. A further quirk is the strange instruction not to put any foodstuffs in the waste, but to put peelings, raw veg in a compost bin – but there were no instructions on what to do with cooked foodstuffs which needed to be thrown out. Also there were no instructions about bottle recycling (which we found in Kinvara near the cottage on the other side of the main road through the village).
The free WiFi advertised is extremely slow, and is only good for browsing the internet or sending emails. You will not be able to download or stream video. The internet was a bit flaky and went down several times during our visit. As the router was in a locked room to which we had no access, the house manager Kathy, who was very responsive when we contacted her, advised us to turn off and on the power to the whole house to allow the router to reboot. The WiFi is also used by the small house next door.
Outside there is a picnic bench plus a table with 4 chairs. There is also extra seating available in the shed. There is a dinky table tennis table and bats/balls (we brought our own thinking it was a full size table, but it is tiny). Barbecue facilities were also provided although we did not use these.
The house manager offered us the use of a hot tub for an extra fee which we took up. I would actually recommend against this, even if you like hot tubs, because there is no outside power socket, something I was not aware of until I arrived. I find this extremely odd for a house that offers an external hot tub. We had to power it by trailing the power cable through the open kitchen window, which was close to ground level and could easily have been used to get into the house from outside by standing on an outside table or chair. This either means leaving the house insecure when you go out or go to bed, or means turning the power off so that the hut tub cools down. We opted for the latter, thinking on our holiday insurance restrictions and our various devices like iPads – so we could not have the hot tub ready for us after a day out. There was no manual left for the hot tub either, so I had to download the manual from the internet to work out how to use it.
The house itself is very handy for everything in Kinvara. There are two supermarkets, one quite large, within easy walking distance, and you can walk to the pubs, to the restaurants, to the bay, to the castle. There is almost no tourist information in the house so make sure to bring your own information on what to do – and perhaps leave any leaflets you pick up for the next visitors.
The house manager, Kathy, was very friendly and responsive before, during and after our visit. As long as you are aware of the various quirks, this is a comfortable (if a little pricey) place to stay in Kinvara.