19 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Caravan dated and dirty. Reception staff very inattentive to needs. Had a real row before something was sorted.
Bar staff couldn't give a damn if there is queue or not.
Entertainment hit and miss. Ents manager spent most of the time patronizing his own staff and regular attendees than concentrating on his job.
Great location for beach. Park kept lovely and clean by the garden staff.
Wouldn't stay here again."
- Travel date: Mon 15th of August 2016
great great great
"Just came back from a weeks holiday at welcome family after reading the reviews i was dreading it but when me my partner and our dog Ozzy got there we was surprised our lodge was immaculate the park staff was friendly we all had a great holiday the sun was shining to be honest we was sad to leave cant wait to go again i would recommend to family and friends thank you Welcome Family Holiday Park for making it an enjoyable experience."
- Travel date: Mon 27th of April 2015
third time unlucky and unwelcome
"i have stayed at this park twice before and loved it could not fault it but this time round was a whole different story and will not ever return or recommend to any family or friends and i write this review to warn anyone thinking of going that they will take your money and treat you like something they stepped in.
we arrived after a 5 hour journey by train with a 4 year old and 10 month old looking forward to our comfortable 3 bed caravan that we booked at the end of our last holiday in April paying over Â£500 we were expecting the comfy clean accommodation like we have had on our two past visits but no the caravan we was allocated was full of mold in all three bedrooms around the headboards of the beds and all along the back and side walls. as we were tired from traveling and having a large suitcase pushchair and three large rucksacks myself and kids waited at the caravan while my husband went back to reception.
he was allocated another caravan and surprise surprise we look it all over there's mold in all the bedrooms in all the same places so we all go back to reception and are given a third caravan.
the third caravan only had mold in one bedroom and on the floor beneath the fridge door was a long thick gooey line of you guessed it mold.
by this point i wanted a full refund as the accommodation is not fit for purpose as anyone will know the thick black mold spores can be extremely dangerous as they can cause chest infections and pneumonia this third caravan also had a stench of cigarette smoke (there's a no smoking policy for all accommodation)i phone up premier inn in tor quay to check if they had rooms for seven nights and how much it would cost with the hope of a full refund we could salvage our holiday as it wasn't as simple as turning around to come home.
back at reception we was told we could not have any kind of refund and if we didn't want to stay our options were to either look at a smaller down grade caravan that might be ok or the woman on reception would phone hoseasons to get us onto another park (we did not book with hoseasons we booked directly in the park so don't see what they could do)
we tried to get our money back i was fuming and starting to get extremely angry i asked the woman if she would accept it if she had paid her hard earned cash on a holiday with such bad accommodation she told me she didn't want to argue which is not what i was doing i was asking a question i then asked if she had kids would she put her children into danger by letting them sleep in those damp rooms again she said im not going to argue i didn't want an argument i wanted somewhere safe for my kids too sleep and enjoy our last family holiday of the year together.
The receptionist then did two things that really got my back up first she asked if we had stayed there before i answered yes with no problems until now she then looked me up and down and said yes i thought i recognized your face in a tone of you just want to cause trouble which made me angry as i have never had a bad word to say about this place until now.
she then said well it is the busiest week and its a bit like Marmite you either love it or hate what well i wonder how many people enjoy staying in unclean damp dated caravans and being spoken to like dirt?
in the end we looked at the smaller 2bed down grade it was very shabby the fabric on the sofa and carpets all very worn out but no mold and as we wasn't about to get a refund and with no more cash to spend on accommodation it would have to do. we did get Â£60 cash back but only because that's how much cheaper it was to the one we originally booked and paid for and the kids were given welcome family toys worth about a fiver each pretty rubbish really as our first day was ruined by wandering around in the cold looking for a safe place to sleep.
well we are in the smaller caravan the t.v looks like something from the early 90,s and the picture is awful there's 5 channels that's it we put the heating on and after about an hour smell a strong sour milk smell that was coming from the fabric in the seating area i really didn't want to have to look at that receptionist again let alone talk to her so just kept spraying it with air fresheners the following day i went for a shower and pulled the shower door across to stop it from soaking the floor but that didn't work as the middle panel was broken and water just shot out again whats the point of complaining they had our cash so they really didn't care.
as a result the caravan was so dank dingy and depressing we only used it to sleep in and spent all day off site visiting Babbacombe Brixham paignton Torqay and any other destination away from welcome family as we did not want to give them any more cash as we felt extremely ripped off.
the one day i did decide to try and save some cash and cook in the caravan was a disaster as the kitchen utensils are old broken the knives were all blunt there's no scissors and the crockery is dated and chipped.
i also do reviews on trip adviser and have noticed the person who replies to reviews on behalf of the park are very defensive and quick to try and turn the blame they keep saying how they have 4 star rating from visit England but i don't see how they can.
they also say they have a no large group policy but our caravan was surrounded by several caravans all from the same family which made us feel a bit in the way like gate crashers at a party and also on Halloween there was two grown men fighting punching kicking and swearing outside my bedroom window.
all in all the holiday was ruined it wasn't relaxing as i could not stand being in the caravan and so ended up out all day and most of the night which is tiring will never return here again AVOID AT ALL COSTS"
- Travel date: Tue 5th of November 2013
Hit and Miss!
Staff in reception are A1 - pleasant, helpful, friendly and always greeted us with a smile.
Although check in wasn't until 4pm was able to go in at 3.15pm.
Park is lovely and clean and the gardening team do a fantastic job.
Entertainment consistently good, great clubs/activities on offer for the kids.
Local shops are reasonably priced and staff were always helpful and pleasant.
Lovely touch of a tray with everything you need for a welcome cuppa on arrival.
The main shows tend to start quite late.
Food on offer in clubhouse is not good!
Stayed in a Sunrise caravan, known as a 'budget van' but still costs Â£640, I wasn't expecting the Ritz but did expect a bit better than what we got! Several of the surfaces looked like they hadn't been cleaned & appeared sticky!!!, inches of dust in places - in fact the top of the fridge was caked in it! the cooker has definitely seen better days - with the covering around the controls was peeling off, the fridge was also pretty old - lots of rusting along the bottom edge. There were various stains/marks/dents on most of the walls and doors, the sofas & chairs are also very worn. The shower had just a curtain across it, which was very grubby.
I could go on! we didn't bother complaining, because we had brought cleaning wipes with us!!! and we really just use the van as a base as we spend most of our time exploring the beautiful Devon countryside.
Would I stay at Welcome again? Yes, but would probably upgrade next time & hope for the best!
- Travel date: Sun 25th of August 2013
"We stayed in April for the 5th time and cannot wait to come again in October.
Excellent value for money, excellent accomodation, excellent entertainment
We strongly recommend the lodges though all accomodation is good value for money and very clean."
- Travel date: Sat 30th of June 2012
fab and clean goooooooooooooooooooooooo
"we went on holiday to welcome family dawlish warren hoseasons twice last year fab really clean ,swimming pool very clean , the caravans were very clean , the whole camp was clean ,the staff were friendly and helpful,the entertainment was very good for all ages and lots of entertainment in the day for everyone the bar and food hall were very cheap we've already booked for this year all the family can't wait to go "
- Travel date: Tue 3rd of April 2012
One of our best holidays ever
" Just come back from our holiday and it was brilliant. Accommodation (wave rider) was excellent with a big LCD TV, Good location near the sea front, but best of all was the wonderful and professional night time entertainment put on by the crew. Kids loved it, even the dog had a great time. I would defiantly recommend this park."
- Travel date: Tue 9th of August 2011
Fantastic value for money
"Me and my family stayed in the Casita Lodge- which was superb.Big bedrooms, ensuite, bathroom with bath and shower, big dining area and lounge with verada. Okay the double bed was abit squeaky but apart from that it was very clean and spacious. Lots of storage space for your luggage. There was plenty of lights and the televisions had been updated to big plasma ones. The park was great, very safe and lots to play on for the kids. We didn't visit the sportsground or club so can not comment on them. The swimming pools we big with 4 different areas, the changing room was small but can easily get changed where your staying. Reception staff were friendly. Outside the park there was lots to do. Pubs, a fair, amusements, shops and beach. A half an hour walk to dawlish. It's a very quiet, calming and great holiday for everyone. "
- Travel date: Fri 1st of July 2011
Never ever again
"Arrived on sat, got into caravan at 4pm to be greeted by a soaking wet carpet that smelt of dog urine! Obviously been wet cleaned which made it worse and the smell was horrific!!! Complained and was offered only other caravan available!! Which was only marginally better!!!! So thought ce la vie get on with it! Decided to go to the pool the next day, the changing facilities are non existent with a small cupboard size communal changing room, no thanks!!! Trudged back to the caravan and turned on the shower jumped in FREEZING COLD !! Complained again to be told the cistern tank only holds 15 litres of hot water!!! So showering is a no go!! Entertainment and facilities basic think hi di hi back in the 70,s and you would be near the Mark!!! Lovely area but would never stay on this site again in my life it's like a time warp needs to be brought into this century my advice would be stay on a bigger more reputable site where you know what you are going to get! This place is considerably cheaper but sadly that pretty much describes it CHEAP!!! Go elsewhere you have been warned !!!!"
- Travel date: Mon 20th of June 2011
Excellent Time Had By All
"This was our first visit to the Welcome. Having been to Haven for the last 5 years we thought we would give this one a try and really glad we did. We stayed at one of the new Casafina Lodges which were out of this world with flat screen tv and dvd player, high spec kitchen, beautiful bathroom and bedrooms, the master being en suite. There really was plenty of room and worth that little bit extra. The entertainment was excellent, the 2011 team really do work hard putting on fantastic shows and getting everyone involved. The food is good and there is an amusement arcade off the main entertainment room where it is safe to let your kids spend their 2ps. The kids loved the pools, the crazy golf and play areas. The area surrounding the park is great and it's worth a wander out to the Warren and the Boathouse just for a ride on the Go Karts. And it is very handy for the train station."
- Travel date: Mon 13th of June 2011
Great fun, great atmosphere, familiy orientated
"We booked through Hoseasons and arrived early, but we able to collect our keys quite a bit earlier than we were supposed to which was wonderful. The first thing we noticed was how attractive the grounds were. Compared to some of the other sites, Welcome Family stood out. It was attractive, but not gimmicky.
We arrived at our caravan, which was clean, comfortable and had enough space. The only downside was having to make the beds, but it was a small price to pay considering how early we got our keys. The only negatives to the caravans were parking and the caravans being very close together. None of the caravans have allocated parking, and on one day, we really stuggled to park on site at all, let alone near our van. As soon as you move the car, someone nabs the space. With people trying to find parking, there seemed like quite a bit of traffic running through the park at times, with drivers 3 point turning. Some people were inconsiderate and parked where they shouldn't, which was dangerous for young children because visibility was poor for both driver and pedestrian. The caravans being so close together meant that we kept all the curtains closed because there wasn't much in the way of privacy. Also there wasn't a lot of room for my daughter to play outside the van, but luckily we had good neighbours and my daughter made friends with quite a few children. So in a way that was positive, because if the vans were further apart, it may not have been as sociable.
The pool we only visited on one day. It wasn't as big as we imagined, and with inflatables being allowed, there wasn't a great deal of room in any pool just to splash about, and we did get knocked about quite a bit. The changing rooms were a big minus because they were tiny. There was just about enough room for about 5 people to get changed, so we skipped the changing rooms and got changed back at the caravan. In the summer that's fine, but when it's colder it's not ideal!
The site itself had a gift shop, sweet shop, a chemist, takeaway and laundrette. It had a nice play park and an outdoor sports court which was well used. There were family activities and competitions arranged through out the day on site, so there was no need to go out every day if you didn't want. No supermarket on site though, but there was one just across the road in another site. The club house "Cruisers Club" was open at 6pm every evening. It serves food right up til midnight when it closes. The food was of good quality and the portions were huge. It also offered a good choice of different food. To buy full meals for the family would work out expensive, but we realised we didn't need to buy full meals. One adult portion was actually enough for two!
The evening entertainment was outstanding for a little park. Through out the evening there was various games, quizzes, bingo and live shows. At 8pm it's Bingo, and the children get invited to their own club while the adults play. The children loved it there every night. They played games, watched films and just had fun.
Every night there were competitions and entertainment right from 6.30pm til midnight and the entertainment staff involved everyone from 0-100, even for things like skipping and disco dancing. There was lots of audience participation, and even the teens got involved and loved it. It was quite nice to go somewhere that catered for the whole family, not just the little ones, and that's where I realised the name "welcome family" was not just a gimmick. There was a great atmosphere, and everyone was really friendly and everyone spoke to everyone else. The atmosphere and the fun was truely unique and we all loved it. There was a lot of regulars there, and it is understandable why people keep going back. All the entertainment staff were fantastic. They clearly enjoyed themselves and worked very hard to make sure everyone had a good time. It does get busy though, so it pays to arrive at the club early to get a seat!
It does seem a shame to have to write negatives, but there were a few and I think it's important to have a balance. On the Saturday evening we arrived, as it was our first trip, we were not familiar with all the rules. The children went off to their club, but at no time were we informed when the club was over. Children were able to come and go as they pleased which was fine, but it did make it difficult to know where they were at all times. A bit later on, one of my children came back crying, and another child of a family we went with. They had gone into the arcade which joins the children's club and the main venue. One of the arcade staff had told them off for setting an alarm off on one of the 2p shuffle machines. Both children were young and didn't understand what they had done wrong. An older child informed me the arcade staff were not only rude, but shouted at the children and told them they were banned for the night. I went into the arcade to find out what happened, and the member of staff was immediately very rude to me as well and informed me he wasn't a babysitter. I asked that security were called, and the security gaurds were brilliant. They completely sided with us, and told us they understood why we were upset and took up a complaint about the member of staff. It was at that point we learnt the arcades are not staffed by welcome family, but by concessions. We then told the children to stay out the arcades for the week, which was fine.
The other disapointing thing was one of the big shows was cancelled. It was the Dr Who show that my children were all looking forward to. That in itself was fine, things happen, and the entertainment staff did a great job of putting on a great show anyway. They announced they would try to put the show on later in the week, but they didn't have the time, so on the Friday night, they showed the children the DVD of the show in their own club. They also announced the children could meet the Cybermen and a Dalek, which would have been fine BUT, they announced it was for photo's. We were expected to pay Â£5 a child to meet them and have a photo. No Â£5, no photo, and they couldn't go up and see them. On top of this, they banned anyone from taking their own pictures which I was quite annoyed about seeing as the show was cancelled and we had already spent a considerable amount on photo's through out the week.
Mobile phone signal was bad, at best weak signal, worst no service at all, and no Wi-Fi! Other parks do offer Wi-Fi, it would be beneficial!
All in all it was a great week which we all enjoyed. The location of Dawlish Warren is wonderful and central to many of South Devon's main attractions. Just a half hour drive from Torquay, and half hour from Exeter. The location was perfect for us. We will definately be going again."
- Travel date: Sun 15th of August 2010
Life Long Review
"Its that time of year when I'm about to go on holiday with my wife and three young children. I have read reviews of the site where we are going to be staying (Paignton) and then decided to look at reviews for the Welcome. I would like to pass on my thoughts and experience as I am 38 years old and have been visiting the Welcome for the last 30 years! Having spent the first 8 at the Lee Cliff Park nearby. My last stay however was 2009.
I have stayed as a child with my siblings when Rory Blackwell was the head entertainer, as a couple (with my now wife) with friends and their children and as a parent myself. I have stayed in chalets, caravans and we even owned a caravan many moons ago.
Every review on this site has valid points which I have witnessed. Here are my points in no particular order - from the hip as I think of them.
1. The site has evolved and over the years has made some good infratructure changes - the bar used to be on the wall where the JRC is. The stage is much better viewing than years ago. There used to be a caged area around the bar with bay seating that was adult only - this was good for couples. However, families are priority I suppose and room is needed to accommodate. It gets very cramped and there are too many stools for floor area so negotiate your trip to the bar in advance.
2. The bar staff do not inspire - very few smiles. I am a manager of a leisure facility with a licensed premises and rule one is inspire your staff to SMILE, or at least make customers feel welcome (after all that is the name of the park!).
3. The amusement arcade is OK and is safe for your children to use beacuse it is enclosed with only two exits/entrances, one by the stage and one at the back of the club by the bar. The pennies for prizes token games is poor compared to the amusements by the beach - however a bag of 2p's will keep them entertained for a good hour.
4. Entertainment is OK - not as good as the old days with Rory at the helm but Mark the head entertainer is a good singer and has some good acts to involve the audience. However the last couple of seasons, he gives himself the weekend off which is a shame becasue you will notice a considerable enhancement on the Monday onwards. The Saturday and Sunday lacks a slight WOW factor. Mark entertains at other Parks in Dawlish Warren. Roger is no longer resident as he was a great Keyboard player. He still helps arrange the musical scores. Terry is excellent (has a big Facebook following) Tip - go on YouTube and type Dawlish Welcome! Liz is Ok too but the club needs all three in hand to be at it's best. Allow your kids to stay to the end beacuse they will love the Ovaltinees songs/dances which is a lovely end to the day. The only prob is as soon as these songs come on start drinking up because security are vewry eager to clear the club. No late night drinking/socialising in the club. Also, bar staff claer up around you and make you feel a bit in their way.
5. If you smoke, the smoking area is pleasant but placed between the club and arcade so your children will constantly be exposed to this bad habbit when visiting the arcade via the entrance by the back of the club - tell them to use the entrance off the JRC
6. The groundsman needs a Knighthood - he has won many prizes and the flowers are beautiful. This has been the case for as long as I can remember.
7. Cleanliness - park = good. Caravans / challets a bit hit and miss. We too have had problems with smells and the token cleaner coming round with the air freshner. Why not just clean them properly and pay cleaners a competitive wage (or reduce the units they have to cover). Investment is clearly needed in the mid range units as they are looking tired and worn.
8. Swimming pool - I have some technical experience in this field. Reference to the above review about the pool I can definitely say that sometimes their pool water quality is suspect. Not necessarily dirty but if anything, a prob with occassionaly with Ph levels. May leave eyes stinging. And YES - the pool has been cloudy on sveral occassions. In fairness, many variables affect water quality such as how busy it has been and I have seen water samples taken (as should be) frequently. The Tropical pool is a good degree or two warmer than the other pool. This is not too bad as it discourages loitering and enables 'serious' swimmers a clear swim. The Lifeguard cover is good too, As prevoius review, the bubbles are on for too short a time.
9. Welcome Bite - sloooowwwww! But OK and average priced. Tip - go early for a meal if you really want one but top up later with chips about half an hour before the show starts!
10. Value for money - truthfully, a little bit pricey for the unit quality. I know many sites that offer better quality for the same money.
11. Area - too many things within a 10 mile radius to cover - Google it!! However, within immediate area I recommend:
a) Sunday Dinner at Mount Pleasant Inn - excellent views - reasonable food, not perfect but OK and good real ales on.
b) Walk to beach via Nature reserve/sand dunes.
c) Walk along sea front to Dawlish itself - catch bus back!
d) Black swans, Gays Creamery, take a football, frisbee and enjoy eating your ice cream on the town green.
e) Walk around the esturay and spit - see the shipwreck and virtually touch Exmouth.
12. Daytime entertainment - OK - it's Pirate vs Smugglers - Odds/Evens unit number decides your team - earn points and collect certificate on the Friday for your comps - e.g. darts, pool, fancy dress, etc etc.
13. Management - there is a growing feeling of them and us - the reception team seem detatched from the entertainment team and it lacks drive and ambition. Alistair a relations manager seems reactive to problems than proactive. Note his reposnes on this site!! Defends things that could be improved and agrees 100% with things that are out of his control e.g. private rented accomodation. E.g. units for dogs - he assumes that dog owners will put up with smelly vans! It's called new carpets every so often,better still put laminate flooring in pet units!. Dyson Animal and a cleaner who knows how to use Fabreeze.
14. If you like Bingo - it is a rip off. Poor stake to win Â£ ratio. It is clearly a blatant money making exercise instead of complimenting bar spend, My advice, just play the flyer. Also, make sure you tape up your kids mouths beacuse any noise at all and it seems like Adolf Hitler is in the house! The idea is they go to JRC whilst bingo is on but quite franly it is sub standard - too many films and colouring. What happened to dancing, quoits, FUN stuff. If you don;t have little ones and are not fussy on bingo, look in your programme and go 10 minutes after Bingo has finished. The blue rinse brigade will have left freeing up some seats and you don't have to walk around with egg boxes on your feet.
15. Sleep - remember you are right on a train line!
We are not staying at the Welcome for the next few years to try new places out with my growing family. I will return one day because I feel attached to the place. If only things could be as they once were then the site would be exceptional. I will be upset if things 'slip' anymore.
Hope my review helps."
- Travel date: Thu 12th of August 2010