Pontins Camber Sands

New Lydd Road Camber Sands, near Rye, Camber TN31 7RL, United Kingdom
2 star
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Recent traveller reviews — view all

Average Rating

4  / 10
(446 reviews)

Ratings summary

Brilliant
60
Good
89
Average
33
Poor
50
Awful
214

Rating by feature

Room: 4/10
Service: 5/10
Food: 4/10
Value: 5/10
Cleanliness: 4/10
Location: 6/10

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Traveller reviews

1 2 338 »
Worst place ever!!,

"We went on the Friday 5th September was due out on the Monday, lasted till Saturday morning at 8.45! People banging in your windows and doors, it's like a terrible council estate! Kids kicking footballs at your door before 7am, rooms very dated, old t.v with only 4 channels parking is an absolute nightmare, got searched going into the club house for drugs and alcohol which I've NEVER had done before on a holiday, was told we could not rent linen only but at £10 a single set and £20 a double, place was overcrowded, shop had barely anything in it, food on site was limp and not tasty. WORST TIME OF MY LIFE EVER. My children was scared through the night as people was banging on their bedroom windows please do not visit or waste your money"

  • Holiday details: Sep 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Don't go!
by T-m-b
1 / 10

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

Zero customer care - don't go!

"I am a single Dad with 2 daughters aged 8 and 11. This was a short break before back to school, so I chose to pay the half board supplement of £40 for 2 nights to avoid the need to shop and cook. total holiday cost £154.

I did not use the half board services and so my request was a very basic one - to refund the cost of the supplement £40. I do not understand why this could not have been resolved on the spot, especially as I now have to write to the resort?

I must say that this visit to Pontins was the worst holiday experience in my life. However, for the purpose of this review I will focus specifically on the restaurant.

Sat 30/8/14

1) We arrived at the Sands Restaurant around 18.15. There was no one at the entrance to meet & greet so I was unsure what the procedure was regarding the use of the dinner vouchers. There were 2 queues, a long one and a shorter one. We obviously chose the shorter one to the right of the entrance. After 10 minutes in that queue I offered my vouchers to the serving staff only to be told I was in the wrong section and these vouchers weren't valid. I was advised to go to the other queue,

2) I joined the other queue and asked the kids to find a table. They couldn't find an empty one.

3) We stayed in the queue for 20 minutes and when we got closer to the 'starters' the kids stayed in the queue whilst I went to secure a table. The tables were either occupied or full with dirty leftovers, plates piled high. I observed other guests clearing away plates from tables and dumping them on other tables, using serviettes to try and clean up. The floor was a safety hazard. Food had been dropped on the floor and not cleared up. Drinks had been spilled and not cleared up. This was not a place you would want to enjoy a family meal.

4) Without having found a clean table I returned to the queue and was now at the soup station. We picked up a tray. It was sopping wet as was every other tray. There were no spoons or knives. The forks were wet. I went to other areas to seek out cutlery - all sopping wet.

5) There was some kind of remains of chilled fish (salmon?) in a cabinet. There were small plates next to the fish, all very wet and not suitable to put food onto to. I observed that there were no utensils to serve yourself and guests were using forks to scoop a helping onto their plates, some using their hands to assist with the transfer.

6) We decided to skip starters and continued to queue. With the kids in the queue I went over to look at the dessert cabinet. The area was a total disaster. There were several choices of dessert but only two serving utensils. Guests were using whatver they could to obtain their portion which had resulted in the cabinet becoming such a mess. A member of staff did come to replenish but simply put down another plate of cake with no attempt to clean up the serving area.

7) I took the kids out of the queue and went back over to the other side of the restaurant where I had originally been in the queue. I spoke to a guy on the till and said that I would like to upgrade. He said that my vouchers didn't count and if I wanted to eat there I would have to pay the full price and couldn't offset my vouchers against the cost.

8) We left the restaurant as I couldn't bear to continue the debate any further or subject myself and my children to the chaos, uncleanliness and poor management of the restaurant. We gave it up as a bad job and bought pizza.

SUN 31/8/14

1) Breakfast at around 09.30. I couldn't believe it. It was worse than the dinner scenario.

2) The queue was even longer but this time I wasn't prepared to wait. I did a tour of the restaurant and the offer.

-Tables were again piled high with dirty plates

- No visibly vacant tables

- Food and drink on the floor with no sign of anyone caring about making it safe/clearing it up

- Little or no staff visible front of house

- Trays still excessively wet

- Little or no cutlery. What was available - very wet.

- Drinks station - surrounded by half filled mugs of some drink. Lack of clean mugs

- Drinks station - juice spilled everywhere. Plastic cups not available.

- The soup station had become a cereal area. All 3 tubes of cereal had overflowed from the dispensing unit. Cereal was piled high on the dirty work top and onto the floor. No attempt to clear it up.

- My thoughts were that if this is the state of front of house facilities what on earth would the back rooms be like. It was not a risk I was prepared to take.

3) I wasn't going to accept this standard of catering so I went to Reception. I spoke to a young girl and explained the above and asked for a refund of my half board supplement. She said she wasn't authorised to do so. I asked her to come and have a look at the state of the restaurant - she refused saying that she 'wasn't allowed to leave Reception'. I asked for someone else.

4) The Duty Manager came. He didn't have a name badge and he didn't offer his name. He wanted to talk to me from behind the reception desk and in front of other guests which I wasn't prepared to do. He eventually came to the end of reception.

5) Rather than explain my concerns and complaints about the catering (which I am attempting to do here) I asked him to accompany me to the restaurant so I could point out the various issues. He refused saying that he had just been in there and knew what it was like. He said unless you are 'part of the industry' you don't understand what it is like coping in busy times. My point here is that you don't need to be part of any industry to recognise that the restaurant was severely under resourced and poorly managed presenting these risks to the health and safety of guests.

6) My conversation didn't seem to be getting anywhere. He suggested coming back in half an hour because he had organised extra staff to come in, making a big thing that Lifeguards had now been asked to help out in there! I told him about the previous night but he showed little empathy and continued to try and justify that it was all about being busy.

7) I asked for a refund of the half board supplement. He said I would have to 'write in'. He didn't say where to write. He didn't take my name or room number.

He didn't offer to help resolve my complaint. In my opinion I was just fobbed off and offered no alternative. I was shocked how little concern this Duty Manager seemed to have about my family - totally unacceptable and poorest level of customer service I have ever experienced.

In summary, all I was asking for is a refund of a service which I booked in good faith expecting a reasonable standard. The half board arrangements fell below that reasonable standard. I did not use the service and therefore nobody 'lost out'.
"

  • Holiday details: Aug 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Top Tip: Avoid it. Complaints are ignored because there are too many of them. If you complain you are only offered opportunity to go back at a discounted price to have another horrible experience
  • Good For: Beach
by Paul H
1 / 10

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

A THIEVES PARADISE. NEVER STAY HERE!!!

"If there was a zero rating, i would have picked that. My nephew & his fiance are staying with their kids & this morning my niece had her wallet stolen by 2 women (Who have been on the Jeremy Kyle show), stole her wallet, with all her train tickets & cash. Pontins & the police have done nothing & say it was a camera blind spot. I urge anyone thinking about staying at this thieves paradise STAY SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!"

  • Holiday details: Sep 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: NEVER STAY!!!
by Jeremy H
1 / 10

3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Terrible...and dirty. Please don't go!....

"I have NEVER written a holiday review for anywhere before, but this was by far THE worst place I have ever stayed...

When we drove into the 'estate' our faces dropped. There were people, rubbish and cars everywhere.

Parking was atrocious...we queued for ages while staff stood around talking to each other, while one woman served, then we arrived at our apartment...I still maintain that they didn't even attempt to clean it. The grill pan had the previous occupants food on it, the floor was filthy with human hair stuck to it, the table and chairs were covered in old food...it was revolting! We ended up buying our own cleaning products, bleached the floor, and wrapped bin bags around the chairs.

The arcade was terrible, one day a machine was on, and the next it wasn't, they broke down continually...the restaurant food was slop...noisy, inconsiderate parents, kids and yobs walking home at all hours...idiots banging on doors and windows at all hours...

Sooooooooo BAD! We left early, and were sooooooooooooo glad to be home. We will NEVER set foot in a Pontins again...terrible! Please don't waste your money! :-(
"

  • Holiday details: Aug 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Stay somewhere else...
by James F
1 / 10

3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

"twilight zone"

"I would like to express my disappointment and disbelief that it is possible to have such an awful, unforgettable (not in a good way) time at one of your resorts.

On the 9th august myself ,disabled mum and two daughters arrived at Camber Sands location. After an 8 hour drive it was impossible to park with which the response from the reception was “ we don't enforce the disabled parking allocations, so park where you can”. It was 45minutes later after driving around the site before I could actually park my car, and I might add that this was at least a 5 minute walk to the apartment. This was not good for my mum who struggles to walk. When getting to the apartment, unlocking the door to find someone else belongings was a worry not to mention a hassle. A return to the reception, gave us the answer of a “a woman had a heart attack last night so we were letting her stay a bit longer”. I was issued with another key which gave us an apartment with one double and two singles. Our original booking was two doubles therefore I had to return to the reception to change the bedding. The change of apartment meant the car was further away therefore unpacking the car was quite a task ferrying backward and forwards. It was not an option to move the car as there was no other parking spots. When finally getting into the room and unpacking, a bottle of milk was on the list to purchase. Bearing in mind it took us well over 2 hours to check in what with the change of apartment and parking, I was then informed the site shop was shut and so was the restaurant. Thankfully I did manage to get one in the amusement arcade however my patients were beginning to wear thin by this point.

The odor of wet dog was not appealing in the apartment, and the fact that the kitchen window did not shut at all was not a bonus when it was not the warmest of stays.

We did venture out to the main building the next day to find not a lot!! The website does paint a very different picture as to what the reality is I am sad to say. My girls were looking forward to a fantastic holiday as we had never been to your location before so it was an exciting adventure for them. This was soon nipped in the bud. They could not have there face painted as “there was a procedure to follow” so they had to wait until the following day, to get their names down and wait to be addressed. It took the member of staff 20 minutes to paint my daughter's face and it was not what she asked for. She asked for a chicken and received a very lame tiger. I hasten my daughter is 5 years old and was most disappointed.

A game of crazy golf was so we thought an option!!! Only to be told there was only so many clubs and we had to wait for the return of some before you could play. A family returned as we were leaving therefore my girls got quite excited that they would not have to wait that long. Only to discover that the previous family had lost the balls and there was no spares so we were not allowed to play after all.

The restaurant: very little variety.....the two days we ate there the soup was the same: powdery minestrone I think, as was the dessert. The main was ok. Just wasn't made clear that you could only go in certain times ( was refused once as it was half an hour too early to enter!!)

The whole feel of the place was not very professional. The leisure staff were so scruffy and not groomed without smiles and outgoing personalities which to be honest shocked me as this was suppose to be a family holiday camp. It was very limited as to what the children could do. Bingo was not allowed for the children, may sound a crazy complaint but that bit of fun for the children was stopped. The pantomime we saw one afternoon was an experience to behold. My girls reaction was “ mam it's rubbish” they did not seem to know what they were doing let alone know their lines. Overall not a brilliant performance at all.

My daughter went to open the chest of drawer in our room and all the drawers sunk down and trapped her fingers, this was my 9 year old. The single beds sunk in the middle, so once you got into to bed you was sandwiched in the mattress.

I appreciate you cannot control the weather and it was terrible, however there was not a great deal of entertainment going on for saying this is suppose to be an entertainment resort.

Our 7 night holiday was cut short, we arrived Saturday night so we left Tuesday morning. My girls wanted to leave! The most animated staff member was the one who took my key when I said we were leaving. I am appalled that there does not appear to be any passion for keeping a high standard of professionalism. In the short stay we were there chatting to other holiday makers they all pretty much expressed the same opinion of “ |I haven't been here before and sure will not be coming back “. There was a lot of double bookings were people were in rooms when arrived and generally not the best atmosphere at all. Certainly not one that would evoke a holiday feel. Staff did not look like they wanted to be there at all.

Also the site shop had empty shelves, therefore you couldn't buy supplies for cooking in your room. Their delivery had not arrived!

My daughter's holiday was ruined and I feel it must be something to be addressed.

I trust you will appreciate I do not take it upon myself to complain unless I feel there is a necessity. On this occasion I truly believe I need to express the disappointment of what was going to be a fun-filled, exciting experience.....or so we thought.
"

  • Holiday details: Aug 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: don't go
by gmorrill
1 / 10

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

NIGHTMARE ON CAMBER SANDS

"First impression...shouldn't have bothered, hell to park the car. Chalet filthy, water way too hot (burnt my daughters hand) beds (lmao) lumpy and uncomfortable. Staff on reception unhelpful and didn't give answers to our questions.

had to queue for swimming pool even though it was half full!

bar in fun factory understaffed, glasses everywhere as not collected. Bar area smelt of vomit. Bar staff rude. Given wrong change once then no change second time.

noisy people running round at 2am shouting and banging chalet doors.

booked and extra day, that was a mistake, wanted to leave day after we arrived!

will never ever set foot in a Pontins camp again and will tell everyone I know not to go either. Park resorts camber sands camp down the road to you is a much better camp and we will happily stay there again :D
"

  • Holiday details: Aug 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: DONT
  • Good For: Beach
by Michelle R
2 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Hell on earth

"If you are a Sane person never ever ever go to this place!

Myself my daughter and granddaughter have just returned from this hellish place. We arrived at about 4:30pm and went straight to reception together our keys. We ad been allocated a chalet at the furthest point in the camp. After dragging our luggage up the filthy, slippery metal stairs we found our accommodation. On opening the door it seemed ok, basic but ok. Boy was I wrong. Every single corner had dirty great cobwebs, there was a crack in the front window, a window which had no nets, just heavy curtains, which had to be kept shut because everyone walking by would stare in. The very small dining table, which really was only big enough for two was covered in crumbs and dyed on food. The cutlery drawer was filthy and contained 3 knives, 2 forks , 4 spoons and tea spoons, 1 fish slice a large spoon and. Tin opener. The saucepans were filthy. We had no frying pan, no grill pan, no tea pot, or toaster. We reported the missing items and got given a fry pan and grill pan, but we had to wait 5 days before we got the grill pan handle. Every night until at least 2am you would get people shouting and kids running up and down the stairs.

How ever the entertainment was good although the club house was filthy and you could easily queue at the bar for half hour or more to get a drink. The amusement arcade supervisor was extremely rude and had a I don't give a damn attitude.

Whilst we were there we saw some kids playing with the security barrier, swinging on it and pushing it up and pulling it down. We were worried someone would get hurt so we reported it to a scrutiny guard, who cam out, looked and then said " I don't give a f*** let em get on with it !!

Also whilst we were there someone's chalet was broken into !
"

  • Holiday details: Aug 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Go to havens instead
  • Good For: Beach
by Sheila P
1 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Granny went to rest

"I have been going to Pontins twice or three times a year for the last 4 years with my grandchildren 10 and 5. I have always stayed in Club and been happy with all activities, chalet cleanliness, friendliness and helpfulness of staff. This visit 8th to 16th August was fully booked up in Club so rather than disappoint grandchildren we stayed in popular chalet. Bear in mind that I have been going to Pontins for the last 4 years, I was there before the refurbishment started and again since. Pontins are doing everything they can to make chalets nicer, cleaner and more upmarket so imagine my shock on entering my chalet to discover that the NEW sleep settee that has been installed was broken. Leg missing, broken in the middle and had to be replaced!! How long had it been put in the chalet. Not long, and definitely not long enough to be so badly damaged. There was a rip in the new flooring. I was shocked!!! Some People are so disrespectful to say the least. Then I witnessed one guest who was too lazy to walk to the big green bins with her rubbish and left it by the stairs at our block. What happened? The seagulls, foxes maybe, got into the bag, ripped it to shreds and there was rubbish everywhere for the poor employee to clean up. And finally, I watched a mother change her baby and left the soiled, stinking nappy on the table in the fun factory!!! So, before you all blame Pontins for the dirty, broken furnishings and surroundings I would say blame a certain type of guests who think it's their holiday and they can do what they like. Because in my view Pontins are taking two steps forward and ten back trying to renovate Camber Sands. So, if we want to continue with cheap, value for money holidays in the height of school holidays perhaps we, the guests should take a long hard look at our behavior. I don't want Pontins Camber to go. I know there is nowhere else as cheap for me, a retired grandmother, to treat my grandchildren to a good packed entertainment holiday where they have a great time and I have a rest

. Oh and finally I am not related to or friends with any member of Pontins Staff, I have no idea who any of them are. I am just a concerned holiday maker who wonders if Pontins will give up on us and decide "it's just not worth the expense of keep trying to renovate it for guests to destroy it". It is so upsetting because I will no longer have my little breaks that I so look forward to and making memories for my grandchildren to remember of their times at pontins with Granny!!!

Mrs Overy. Chalet 415. 9th August for 7 days.
"

  • Holiday details: Aug 2014, Booked Independently
  • Good For: Beach
by Sholeebird1
7 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Wonderful break with the kids

"First time of visiting there this summer and after booking read some reviews and they was pretty negative so I wasn't expecting to have a good time,this however was not the case at all we had a fantastic week and will definitely return again.

My daughters are two and four and absolutely loved it was lots for them to do for free there including swimming,having face painted,crazy golf,parks and dancing and playing games with the blue coats.

All the staff was very friendly and helpful and we encountered no problems at all throughout our stay.

Met lots of other holiday makers too and everyone was nice and got on really well.

Been to Butlins and haven previously and enjoyed this trip just as much.

Prices were very reasonable as well for drinks in the clubs and plenty of entertainment for the adults and children in the evening.

Beach was 5 min walk away which was absolutely beautiful Also visited Indian restaurant called khan just a 5 min walk down the road for a meal and that was lovely and one of the best Indian meals we've ever had.

Very pleased with visit.
"

  • Holiday details: Jul 2014, Booked Independently
by Peekyleanne
9 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Will Return

"This place is very dated, although it was refurbished in 2011 (as it was taken over by Britannia hotels) it still is in need of an update. However, I go with my 2 children, 2 and 4 and they both love it. Mini-cinema for kids, indoor ball pool, kids corner, meet the Crocodile breakfast, blow up slide bouncy castle, trampolines, entertainment is always good and a choice of 2 bars for entertainment (at peak times) upstairs and downstairs.

Price is always right, always enjoy myself and I always rebook as soon as I get back.

Kids love the arcade, the park is always a yes for them, and recently a couple more have been added, my kids spend ages in there. A short walk to the beach, and camber is a lovely beach. The shops on site are slightly pricey but doable. There is another one opposite which is slightly cheaper, but not much.

Not really in walking distance to much, (except the beach) but most things are a short drive away.

The rooms could do with a bit more TLC, very dated, but everything works, and as other people said, there needs a couple more plug sockets. (As my husband is a window cleaner, I will say, the windows are always filthy) but again, I make do with what I've got and always make the most out of the situation, I always enjoy my stay, I prefer to spend my time in the bars, parks, beach etc, so I don't really care what the place looks like, as long as it's not filthy dirty and unhygienic for my children. I last came over the Easter break and am due to return on Friday, and I will most probably rebook again when I return (unless I have a crap stay) which I don't usually and I've been coming here for 5 years and I used to come as a kid.)
"

  • Holiday details: Apr 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Enjoy it, don't go there if you want luxury, you're not paying luxury prices... Have fun and make the most of your weekend as a family
  • Good For: Beach
by JoWells88
7 / 10

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

Reborn 2011-you must be joking

"First impressions site shabby and outdated,rooms very basic in desperate need of full refurbish.

Window sills rotten,the only double glazed unit(kitchen window) needed new glass as misted up all the time.Ill fitting curtains,not enough storage,distinct lack of sockets.Even the most basic accommodation should have showers these days.

Friendly staff,good entertainment although caberet was on a little late.

The only other positive that it was a cheap sun break,but have been elsewhere in the past which have been far superior.

Will definitely be trying Butlins next year.
"

by Simon B
4 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

MIxed feelings/ kids had great time

"Below are some negative and positive aspects of Pontins at Camber that we found during our break, from 27th to 31st May 2014, we feel that this is a true fair review, that will help people either that have booked or thinking of going there. Your kids will love it, even if you don't!

First impressions were tired dirty factory lookalike buildings in need of refurbishment.

Reached our Classic chalet and found it to be clean, there was a hole in the bathroom door that had been badly plastered over.

Grassy area outside chalet, that my two boys loved playing football, meeting other kids and running around in. This had some random pick nick tables placed, and we feel, that there could be more for families to eat outside when the weather is warm.

Rubbish randomly left by cleaners in different places around the site and many cigarette butts at the side of the road. Found the staff to be all friendly and polite. Found the restaurant food to be tasty, especially soup for starter ( homemade). Sometimes the gateaux for pudding was still frozen. Knives chucked into storage tub still soaking wet. To be fair food over all was good. Tiny glasses from breakfast was used for dinner and you had to go up numerous times to get drinks because of this. We would say that its very good value for money if you go half board.

Found there to be many different play areas for the kids. Site has a very well stocked shop. Swimming pool was the warmest I've ever been in, was heated to about 38 degrees , so that was lovely, however the cleanliness was absolutely dreadful in the changing rooms and lockers all smelly and rusty ( we wouldn't leave our clothes in there. All needs refurbishment.

I have to say, my husband and I couldn't wait to leave the site, but we don't understand some reviews where people have checked in and straight out, as we wouldn't do that to our children. We believe in giving things a chance and to be fair the children absolutely loved the place. We had two days off site, one at Camber beach and one a Rye. As my title of my review says, we have very mixed feelings. Prefer better looking accommodation, but for a base to stay at with things to do for the kids its not bad.
"

  • Holiday details: May 2014, Booked Independently
  • Good For: Beach
by Tanya P
4 / 10

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

1 2 338 »

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Map for Pontins Camber Sands Closest airport: London Southend (SEN) 44.1 miles

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Pontins Camber Sands photos (10 traveller photos)
Top traveller tips for Pontins Camber Sands
  • by Pointinspal

    " Just join in with whatever is going on. "

  • by Clare Saunders

    " Get to the evening entertainment early if you want a seat. "

  • by Betty Lemon

    " Take your own cleaning materials and food "

  • by meloo

    " lots of lovely places to visit in the area but find other accomadation "

  • by Dean Thornton

    " if the weather is nice i would spend most of your time at the beach it's lovely "

  • by kbird

    " Take essentials with you ie: tea towl, dish cloth, washing up liquid and flip flops "

  • by lucydee1

    " take own towls "

  • by Natasha Jowsey

    " take food and own bedding and look at what events they have on as there is loads. The Lunar is downstairs where most of kids daytime entertainment is. "

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Pontins Camber Sands is also called:

  • pontins camber sands centre rye

Address: New Lydd Road Camber Sands, near Rye, Camber TN31 7RL, United Kingdom