We would like to update you all with the new measures that we have put in place for when we re-open on 4th July. We hope you will see that we have gone above and beyond in making sure that South Coombe is not only safe and legal, but also still a great place to visit for a family holiday with plenty still to do on and off site, for all ages.
Firstly, I would like to remind you that we are Visit England accredited and as such we are regularly inspected and keep the highest standards on all aspects of your holiday. We are looking forward to re-opening with these new measures in place in order to offer a safe and fun holiday whilst observing social distancing rules.
We will keep these measures in place for as long as is recommended by the government. Our new temporary policy for refunds and cancellations is as follows: if we are made to close again over your holiday, we will offer you a full refund of any monies paid or offer to move your dates at no extra cost. If we are open but you are unable to travel due to reasons within your group such as high risk individuals or illness, we would still move your dates at no extra cost. We would appreciate as much notice as possible for changing dates or for cancellations.
Our cleaning regime is now extended – we will sanitise each cottage with a hospital grade log 7 virucidal fogger prior to each arrival. Everything from light switches to remote controls and the new laminated guest folders are sanitised and we have new key fobs which will also be sanitised. We will be providing our cleaners with new uniforms to change into when they arrive, and out of when they leave, and these will be laundered by us and pre and post washed uniforms will be stored in the correct storage boxes with sealed lids. We will also provide our cleaners with PPE to include gloves for each new room they clean, face masks for each shift and hair nets.
Bed linen, towels, bath robes will continue to be delivered to us weekly by CLEAN linen services and they will take away the used linen to run through a high temperature wash. Furthermore, linen is delivered to us plastic wrapped by a machine and then bagged – and when the cleaners put it on the bed, they will be in a new set of gloves – so nobody has touched any of it.
Reception on site will be closed until further notice, although we do live on site and therefore ask all guests to send any questions or any other communication to myself (Simon) via text message to 07979 693483. This way I will see the message a lot quicker than email. I will be around to deal with any issues promptly, whilst observing the guidelines on social distancing. Unfortunately I will no longer be able to show guests around on arrival.
Pool towels will continue to be offered by us for hire, however these will now be sealed deliveries from CLEAN linen services and therefore we will need to know at least 1 week prior to your arrival, how many pool towels you wish to hire (at £2 per towel per stay) and those towels will now be in your cottage prior to your arrival. As with all our linen, this is not touched by anyone for its entire process prior to your use. Please have the correct cash ready on arrival and pay into the honesty box in our shop.
Baby equipment will continue to be offered by us to borrow, free of charge, for your stay. However, there will be a reduced number of items that we can now offer. We will still offer travel cots and their mattresses, also high chairs and stair gates and microwave sterilisers but will no longer be able to offer the sheets for the mattresses and ask that you bring your own. This is for a standard sized travel cot. We can also no longer offer bouncers, play mats etc. The cots, high chairs and stair gates will be sanitised and put into your cottage prior to arrival when pre-booked in the usual way on our secure website booking form.
We are pleased to say that our Indoor Heated Swimming Pool, Sauna and Games Room will remain open to all guests. Unlikemany of our competitors, who have no choice but to close their pools, we are allowed to open ours as we are a small site with five cottages and a shepherd’s hut. We have designed a system which allows each cottage or unit a two hour session each day to have exclusive use of the facilities. The facilities will be cleaned and all high contact areas will be sanitised daily, but we ask in addition that any guests using the facilities use the sanitising wipes provided on the main areas they touch (door handles, pool cues etc) but please note there is no need to do this in the pool hall itself, as the swimming pool is automatically disinfected with Bromine. The centre for disease control states that there is no additional risk of contracting COVID-19 by using clean and disinfected swimming pools. The facilities will be open daily from 8am to 8pm and within these times, we have six two-hour sessions; one daily for each cottage or unit. These times vary on a daily basis and are designed around arrival times so that each cottage or unit gets a session on every day of their stay, including arrival and departure days. We offer guests the choice to write their mobile phone number on a sheet in the pool area, should they wish to change any of these time slots then they must do so directly with the cottage who’s time slot you would prefer to have and this is up to that cottage; if they wish to swap with you then they can provide their own mobile number so that you can communicate and arrange this between yourselves without the need to visit reception and whilst observing social distancing rules. The timetable is available on request but will also be displayed on the front door of the pool area and in each cottage or unit guest folder. We ask that guests arrive at the pool in their swimwear and the dressing gowns which we provide. We ask that guests leave the facilities in the same way, and therefore are changing and drying in their own cottages where possible. This does not include those with special requirements such as disabilities or infants, who will still be able to use the pool changing rooms. The toddler indoor playroom will be closed until further notice due to the difficulty in sanitising hundreds of small toys daily. The private hot tubs in Orchard, Saffi’s and Merino remain open and will be sanitised prior to arrival and continue to be automatically sanitised with Bromine in the same way as the swimming pool.
Our on-site Shop will remain open because everything for sale is packaged and safe. Payments will continue to be cash only and socially distant via our honesty box.
As before, we will continue to offer use of our two charcoal BBQ’s free of charge on a first-come-first-served basis. As before, we ask that you clean and return the BBQ after use. In addition, we ask that you sanitise the BBQ after use with the sanitiser provided. Quick charcoal is available to buy from our shop.
We will still offer animal feeding however this won’t include myself any more. Animal feed is in bins near each of the animals and is now bagged up in individual portion sizes. Help yourself to this, free of charge, and please ensure that you wash your hands and children’s hands and also use your sanitiser gel immediately after each feeding session.
We will continue to offer a range of organic bread and pastries however these can no longer be baked and delivered to your door in the mornings. Now you can order them in advance of your arrival and the raw and frozen bread or pastries will be in your freezer when you arrive, along with baking instructions so they can be baked in your own cottage oven. We will reply with the total price and ask that you have this ready in cash, on arrival, and pay it into the honesty box in the shop. As a guide, one croissant is 85p and one organic white loaf of bread is £1.95.
The following items are still included in your stay and will be in your cottage prior to arrival: Bramley liquid soap, Bramley moisturising hand cream and Clovelly Soap bars. Dishwasher tablets, Washing up liquid, Dishcloths, Tea Towels, Cleaning cloths, Scourer sponges, Salt, Pepper and cooking oil spray. Additionally you will now also have sanitiser gel.
Pubs, takeaways and supermarkets will be open to various extents from 4th July and they will all have their own list of new procedures. In summary, our closest pub, The Mitre Inn Witheridge (1 mile away) will be open at least as a takeaway and delivery service. It’s really good home cooked food and most items on their menu are available to order, either to collect (with a discount) or they will deliver to us. You should call them no later than the day before if you want lunch, or the morning of the day you want an evening meal. They will give you an exact time if you are collecting and you would pay over the phone in advance and simply arrive outside the pub at the arranged time, where they will confirm your identity at an appropriate social distance and leave the food on the outside table nearest to you. There’s also an exciting new offer from Cote Restaurants, the nearest of which is Exeter. They will deliver most items from their menu to us, with instructions for you to cook in your own cottage. This must be ordered at least a week prior to your arrival and you will find full instructions on their website. Tesco, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose continue to deliver to us regularly. We recommend ordering supermarket deliveries well in advance of your visit to ensure a delivery slot. We kindly ask that you arrange a delivery time after the time which you plan to arrive with us. Also, there are still excellent local restaurants open as takeaways. They are in Tiverton, and will not deliver so there is a 10 mile drive each way to collect, however in a cool box or bag we find that this works well. Our favourites are The Golden Panda (Chinese) and Nawab (Indian). Other well known food delivery firms also mostly come to us, as before this needs to be ordered well in advance. Firms we have used before include Riverford Organics and Veg in a box. Marks and Spencer Tiverton won’t deliver to us, but they are always the quietest local supermarket, should you wish to or need to visit one during your stay. You can find all of these contact details with a quick web search, alternatively I am happy to provide them to you via email or SMS.
Picnic baskets will be available to borrow from us (for free) from the pool area. These will be sanitised prior to use and after use and should be returned to the same location. Each basket also contains a cool pack, which can be frozen prior to your trip. Please just send me a text message when you have finished with the basket so that I can sanitise it for the next guests.
Local walks will be shown on a laminated sheet in the guest folders. These are a collection of our favourite walks and there will be something to suit all ages and abilities, with or without dogs. The sheet will also include dog friendly beaches and other beaches able to be easily reached on a day trip. We have our own beach hut at Exmouth (45 minute drive south of us) which is available for free to our guests. Exmouth is the largest sandy beach in the region and is great for families, as there are numerous outdoor play areas and ice cream stalls (we advise you check these are open prior to visiting if they are important to you). The beach hut is a great place to dry off, warm up or enjoy a hot drink using our camping stove. (Please bring your own drinks and follow sanitising procedures before leaving). You can order the key by sending me a text message before or during your stay and I will pop the sanitised key through your letterbox on the morning of the day you wish to borrow the key. Please note there is a £20 charge for all lost keys, including the beach hut key. Availability of the beach hut is not guaranteed for your stay and is on a first-come-first-served basis.
Lastly, our two outdoor children’s play areas remain open but we ask guests to read and observe the new rules which will be signposted at each of the areas. The same applies to pet’s corner so that guests can still see the animals.
Thank you all for taking the time to read these new measures and we hope they will provide comfort and reassurance. We look forward to welcoming you back, whenever that may be and wish you all the best in these uncertain times.
Stay safe and well, our very best wishes
Simon and Clare Clarke
South Coombe Country Cottages