Quality in Tourism

January 2017 - we are proud to have been awarded 84% by the British Tourist Board. This will be our final annual check by VE as they have sold out to the AA. We will continue to be measured annually by Hoseasons to the same exacting standards.

Executive Summary

Overview

As a result of the recent assessment for the Visitengland quality scheme Whitehouse Farm Barn has been

found to offer the standards expected of a Four Star Self Catering property. Substantial new easy seating

has been purchased for the lounge this year, and the ground floor bathroom has been revamped - both

improvements helping to strengthen the Four Star credentials of the cottage.

Note that the excellent result for cleanliness this year has combined with other improvements to bring the

barn close to Gold Award level, the bedrooms being the only area that falls short of the standards needed.

Owners Richard and Janet Mason attended the assessment and are happy with a Four Star rating for this

busy property.

Units Seen

Whitehouse Farm Barn (one unit) was viewed in the company of the owners.

Website Feedback

A Google test of the website www.whitehousefarmbarn.co.uk suggests that it is mobile friendly, which should

help to strengthen internet visibility. A laptop search for holiday cottages near Hartington did not achieve a

front page result, although many other local businesses were found in the Google Local Maps listing. A

search for Whitehouse Farm Barn found the website at the top of the first page. Google+ is another free

internet platform that can help to raise the profile of the website and is often found on the front page.

Registration here also could thus be worthwhile.

Alongside the generally subjective and occasionally fanciful reviews seen on the internet, the Visitengland star

rating logo is an accolade that confirms a professional assessment of quality standards, and the latest copy

will be sent for display on the website.

The Access Statement describes the property in detail for the benefit of guests with mobility and other

restrictions, and this useful document can be viewed.

Note that the website was unavailable when attempts were made to view it again on 1st February, and thus

further comment on the content is not possible.

Try the Digital Garage for a simple explanation of the mysteries of internet marketing

www.digitalgarage.withgoogle.com For expert information see also www.visitengland.com/onlinemarketing.

Cleanliness/Housekeeping

Excellent attention to detail was observed in this property, in particular, the thorough nature of floor cleaning,

the shine on polished surfaces, bathroom fittings and mirrors, and the pristine presentation of beds.

Immaculate oven doors and oven trays, and neatly presented cupboards and drawers observed in the

kitchen. Pans and kitchenware are as clean on the outside as they are within. Metal utensils, toasters and

kettles gleam.

Public Areas

The enormous leather upholstered sofa, L-shaped to fit neatly along two walls, is new this year. Two of the

seats are recliner-type. The separate two seater sofa is another new acquisition. This is a major investment,

but hopefully a long lasting solution to the problem of providing easy seating in this room for a maximum of 14

people.

Other furniture, including the large dining table and matching chairs in part of the kitchen, is of robust

construction and high quality. There is laminate flooring in the living room and this continues to present well

with no damage evident.

Light fittings and lamps are stylish. Windows were being measured up for new roman blinds at the time of the

assessment excluding, of course, the tiny slit barn windows which are amongst items that give this barn

conversion so much charm.

608093-584952-1665

Whitehouse Farm Barn

3

Bedrooms

Velux windows , where provided, have all been fitted with new blinds since last year. New scatter cushions

and attractive new runners noted this year also on the beds, which are dressed in immaculate white linens.

There were discussions around alternatives to valences, and the ideas mooted are confirmed in Potential for

Improvement. Bedding is hollowfibre and in very good condition but when the time comes to replace duvets,

feather and down filling is now sold as being safe for allergy sufferers. Alternatively microfibre is lighter and

warmer than hollowfibre, and mimics the properties of feather and down.

Carpet remains as seen last year, with roughly half of bedrooms upgraded. Decorative standards remain

very good. Furniture is robust and very much fit for the purpose. Attractive touch sensitive bedside lamps

noted in all rooms.

Bathrooms

Hydrostatic fans have been fitted in bathrooms. They operate independently of light switches and react to

humidity, remaining in operation until this has been cleared. In the upgraded ground floor shower room, a

new heated towel rail has also been fitted as planned last year. Tiles, grout and sealant in the enormous new

shower cubicle in this room looked immaculate. The room itself was brightly lit and cosy, with no hint of

previous damp problems.

Tiling in other bathroom facilities is neutral white with attractive dark blue rope and accent tiles preventing

décor from being too neutral. There are a variety of waterproof floor types, all in very good condition. In one

of the first floor house bathrooms, new flooring and a new bath panel are planned for the coming year and the

owners also hope to replace a shower curtain with a glass screen.

These are solidly Four Star bathroom facilities with standards now much more consistent since the ground

floor room has been ugraded.

Kitchen

With a Rangemaster multi-oven cooker, a generous larder fridge, a variety of huge pans, well stocked cutlery

drawers and crockery cupboards and two kettles, the kitchen is fully equipped to cope with large parties.

There is plenty of free storage and space is further increased by the utility room, where laundry equipment is

housed. The owners plan to add a second dishwasher to improve the usability of the room for large parties.

Drawers, doors and work tops are presented in very sound condition, some of the doors having been

replaced to maintain the appearance of kitchen furniture. Work space is well lit and fully ventilated. A well

maintained room that is most practical for the large groups that stay at Whitehouse Farm Barn.

Management Efficiency

Management systems work well and thus have not been materially changed over the past year. Guests are

greeted on arrival and find fresh milk and beverages in the kitchen, with seasonal treats when the occasion is

appropriate. There is plenty of well categorised local information which is laminated for neatness and

includes an OS map showing the farm at its centre. Facilities in the living room include a tourist information

point.

Potential for Improvement

Bespoke valences tailored to fit each bed and in a substantial fabric such as curtain material can speed up

bed making, reduce laundry costs and improve presentation, which can make the initial outlay worthwhile.

Out of Eden (view catalogue online) have 'instant valences' fixed with velcro, but it would perhaps be wise to

try one before ordering for all beds.

On beds where access to storage drawers is not essential, curtain material can be stapled to the bed base in

the manner discussed at the assessment.

When the time comes to replace duvets, try microfibre which mimics the properties of feather and down and

is lighter and warmer than hollowfibre. Feather and down now comes with guarantees that it suitable for

users with allergies; this is the best possible quality.

Super-sized duvets - doubles on singles and so on - look luxurious and increase guest comfort.

Completing the process of upgrading bedroom carpets is likely to contribute to higher scores.

When fitted the roman blinds should complement the new furniture now seen in the living room.

Highlights

An immaculately clean and well maintained property that is fully equipped to cope with large parties. New

furniture in the living room is of a very high quality, and this room will shortly be completed with modern roman

blinds. A new 55' curved TV has been purchased for this room. The ground floor shower room has been fully

upgraded, resolving previous damp problems in the process and providing a much smarter, more comfortable

facility for guests.

 


Comments