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Owner Guides: Make your Property Fit for an A-Lister

Friday, May 22nd, 2015
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At Sykes Cottages, we want all of our customers to feel like A-Listers. Whether they’re looking to book a cosy log cabin for two on the edge of a forest or a luxurious manor house in the countryside, we want all of our customers to feel like royalty from the moment they begin their search to the final moments of leaving feedback. As holiday home owners, we’re sure you want your guests to feel like a celebrity whilst they enjoy their stay, so we’ve compiled a short list of some things – suitable for all budgets – that you can do to make your property fit for an A-Lister and make them feel like a celebrity during their stay at your property.

Living Room

Whether in a self catering holiday rental or in your permanent home, the living room is a hugely important family space, so making it both homely and opulent is a sure fire way to make guests feel like royalty! Starting off with a muted colour palette in terms of decoration gives a great base for any little extras you feel like adding to increase the luxury of the room.

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It’s not all about the big things when it comes to making your holiday cottage guests feel like the rich and famous; little touches such as opulent light shades, high quality pillows and fresh flowers can really make a difference and they don’t have to cost the earth!

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Perhaps one of the most asked for amenities from customers, particularly in the chillier months, is that there is an open fire in the property. They create atmosphere in a room, provide heat and provide a wonderful backdrop for enjoying quality family time together!

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It’s not only celebs who can have their own cinemas, with a big enough living space and a bit of tech know-how, you can create a personal at home cinema for your holiday guests. Put up a projector and a screen so everyone can watch their favourite TV programmes and films together – mixing both luxury and family fun.

Bedroom

image from The Hall

image from The Hall

If there is anything more luxurious than enjoying a late lie in whilst snuggled up in the comfort of a huge bed wrapped in high quality sheets, I’m not sure what it is! Bearing this in mind, when making your guests feel like an A-lister, make sure that you don’t forget the bedroom.

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Sometimes, giving that A-list style luxury feel to your guests needn’t cost the earth, it’s much more about the little things that they may not have at home. This is where clap/sound responsive lights come in – fancy not even having to get out bed to turn the light on or off, talk about relaxation!

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Ensure that your guests sleep tight by investing in some bed sets made from Egyptian cotton. Your guests will leave their holiday feeling revived from sleeping in the lap of A-list style luxury!

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Really treat your guests to the ultimate in bedroom luxury and allow them to wake up feeling like princes and princesses with a king-sized four poster bed!

Bathroom

The Malthouse

image from The Malthouse

 

Perhaps not the most prestigious room in the house, but a celebrity-style bathroom can make guests feel a million dollars! Start off with a well-lit room, big fluffy towels and a large mirror and you’re well on your way to making to making your guests feel like royalty, even when they’re in the tub.

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Pop in some luxurious toiletries such as hand wash and hand cream when you’re doing your changeover. Brands such as Molton Brown and Jo Malone just scream luxury and will give your guests a bit of a celebrity style treat.

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If you have the space then a freestanding, claw foot bath will leave your guests feeling as opulent as your bathroom will look!

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If there’s one thing the rich and famous don’t do (I imagine) it’s standing out of a warm bubble bath straight onto a cold floor and your A-list guests shouldn’t have to, either! Combat this by installing underfloor heating in your bathroom. Not only is this an energy efficient way of heating the room, but it’s one of the little touches that can make your property sky rocket on the luxury scale!

The Paddock

image from The Paddock

Kitchen/Dining

It can be difficult to imagine the rich and famous rolling their sleeves up in the kitchen, but with huge celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow sharing their love of cooking with the world, we can’t think of a better room to turn into a celebrity paradise.

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Why not fill the cupboards of your holiday cottage kitchen with some nice essentials. Things such as infused oils, balsamic vinegar and a salt/pepper grinder are an example of some inexpensive  additions to help make your property’s kitchen feel fit for an A-lister.

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All self catering kitchens provide the usual; a fridge, oven and basic cookware – why not go a little bit further and provide a smoothie maker or even bread maker? This way your guests can have the ultimate in at-home comforts.

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If you have the capability to, why not provide a chef to guests in your holiday cottage by arrangement? Your guests can take the night off from cooking and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal and get a true taste of the celebrity experience.

Garden/External

Eden Lodge

image from Eden Lodge

The A-list luxury need not end at the door; you can continue the opulence right out into the garden. If your property has outside space, it would be a shame to waste it but don’t worry as there are a couple of easy additions you can make to your cottage’s outside space, to ensure that the celebrity experience begins from outside your holiday home.

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Some good quality furniture is a brilliant yet inexpensive way to ensure that your guests can bask in any sunshine or enjoy an al fresco lunch. Don’t forget to include a BBQ (or if budget allows, an outdoor stone oven) so that your guests can enjoy delicious food, both cooked and served outside.

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Providing shelter from any rain or place to get shade on sunny afternoons, if you have the space and funds, why not treat your property’s external to an internal feel with a summer house? Children will love having somewhere to play, teenagers will love having somewhere to have a bit of time for themselves and the whole family will love being able to spend time together outside whatever the weather!

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A worthwhile investment to increase how attractive your property is to potential renters who are looking to treat themselves, is a heated swimming pool or hot tub. If your property has far reaching views, why not place a hot tub facing them, so at night your guests can unwind and talk about the day’s events whilst enjoying their wonderful surroundings.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Day Out Guide: A Short Break in Canterbury

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
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In Canterbury for the weekend or booked a short mid-week getaway? If you’re looking to create your own Canterbury Tales, you’re in the right place! We’ve come up with a short guide including some ideas and inspiration of what you can get up to on a short break in this wonderful city. So whether you fancy discovering all of the history that this UNESCO World Heritage site has to offer – or if you just want to relax – read on to see some ideas of how you can spend your time in Canterbury.

What To See

Not only is the Canterbury skyline dominated by the cathedral, but the streets are framed with stunning buildings so wherever you are in the city, there is plenty to see. A great way to see any new place, particularly one with as much history as Canterbury, is by going on a guided tour. Tour the city by foot on one of Canterbury Guided Tours’ 90 minute tours that take groups on a walk to the Cathedral precincts and through the historic streets. For a different view of the city, head to the river with Canterbury Punting; where you can take in the sights from the river at a leisurely pace – the perfect way to spend a romantic afternoon with your loved one! Like with any city, Canterbury has its fair share of ghost stories and ghoulish goings-on, which you can find out all about on a Canterbury Ghost Tour. The ghost tours are ran by John Hippisley, a local historian and ghost hunter who makes the tours as educational and entertaining as he does eerie, which makes this a tour not to miss when in Canterbury.

Where To Eat

Whether you’ve had a heavy night and need a full English breakfast, are just peckish for a quick snack or you’re having a three course celebratory meal, there will definitely be something that suits in Canterbury. Why not treat yourself to afternoon tea in one of the many tea rooms in the city such as Number 12 Tearoom, Susan’s Café or The Moat Tea Rooms. For something with a few more courses, Canterbury is home to some fantastic pubs and restaurants with impressive menus that are suitable whether you’re celebrating or just treating yourselves. Why not try The Foundry, The Old Coach & Horses or The Lady Luck. If you have dietary requirements then you are also well catered for in Canterbury with places like The Veg Box Café which, whilst catering for both vegetarian and vegan diets, also has menu items suitable for other dietary requirements such as gluten intolerance.

What to Do

Canterbury isn’t just about eating, drinking and touring the beautiful city (although that wouldn’t be so bad!) There are also a whole lot of activities and things to do. If you want to learn more about the history and heritage of the city, a visit to Canterbury Heritage Museum is essential. Housed inside a surviving medieval building, the museum allows visitors to learn all about the story of Canterbury; including an exhibit on Bagpuss and Rupert The Bear, whose respective creators have links with the city. If you’re feeling a touch spendy, or just want to do a bit of window shopping, Canterbury is the place to do it. With shopping centres such as Whitefriars Shopping Centre and The King’s Mile playing host to a number of local and chain shops, you’ll be spoilt for choice on a shopping trip in Canterbury!

Book Your Stay in Canterbury

Whether you want to stay within the city or a little outside, we have a number of self catering holiday cottages available to book throughout Kent that are in great locations for you to be able to explore the city. Whether it’s a family break, a romantic getaway or just a relaxing weekend, we’re sure to have a holiday cottage that will suit you! Head over to our website to see our selection of holiday properties to book in Kent.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Top Five Sussex Attractions

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
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Being home to a number of seaside resorts, it can be easy to overlook the other activities, events and attractions that Sussex has to offer. We think that would be a right shame so for today we’re turning the sights of the Sykes Cottages blog to the ancient county that is Sussex and some of its fantastic attractions and ideal day out destinations. So if you’re planning a trip to Sussex read on to see our ideas of things you can get up to in this wonderful county.

Arundel Castle

Whether you visit Arundel Castle for the beautiful grounds and gardens, the stunning views or for one of the many events held at the castle throughout the year, you are bound to have a great day. The forecast of events at Arundel Castle for the remaining 2015 season are impressive and there really is something for everyone, from the Town Crier’s Competition on the 13th June,  Jaguar Day on the 5th July and a variety of living history days throughout the season.

Drusillas Park

A true family favourite is Drusilla’s Park, located in East Sussex, which hosts a number of family friendly activities. For children aged under 6 there is Go Bananas! – a jungle themed playground including swings, slides, a trampoline and aerial walkways. Fans of Sanrio will adore the Hello Kitty Secret Garden that has a number of Hello Kitty themed attractions and child friendly rides. Not forgetting, of course, the zoo at Drusillas which is home to a number of animals in varying levels of conservation and allows visitors to get up close with animals in their walk through exhibits.

Treasure Island

All buccaneers, landlubbers and captains should head to Eastbourne for a day spent at Treasure Island. Little ones will love playing in the buccaneer’s indoor adventure whilst slightly older children will enjoy the Treasure Island outdoor adventure park. Don’t worry, though, as Treasure Island is not only for the youngsters as all ages can take part in pirates adventure golf; an exciting 18-hole course.

Fishbourne Roman Palace

For a touch of Roman history, Fishbourne Roman Palace is definitely worth a visit. Whether you visit to see England’s first garden, the stunning mosaics or the palace itself – which is the largest Roman palace in England – you’ll be stuck for choice. Fishbourne also plays host to a variety of events throughout the year from Murder Mystery evenings to Ancient Braid-Making, there is something for everyone at Fishbourne Roman Palace.

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

Fancy seeing how you would have cooked in Tudor time? How about how to blacksmith in the Victorian era? How about milling flour in a watermill? Well with a regular event and demonstration programme alongside the 50 exhibits at Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, you can discover what all aspects of daily life would have been like for those who lived and worked in the houses.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Summer Holiday Inspiration

Sunday, May 10th, 2015
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Still in a quandary about where to go on your summer holiday this year? We understand why, the UK is full of wonderful places! Well look no further, as we’ve compiled a short list to give you some inspiration of where to choose. From a romantic retreat for two to a large property for the extended family to enjoy, we have some ideas below that we hope will inspire you when choosing your summer holiday this year.

Summer Holiday Inspiration for Couples: Chester

With many holidaymakers flocking to the coast to enjoy Britain’s fabulous beaches, it’s a great time to head a little more inland and enjoy each other’s company on a UK city break. We really recommend Chester where you can enjoy the sun in its beautiful city centre gardens, whilst on a walk by the river or sitting outside one of the many cafes and restaurants. If you fancy heading a little further afield, Chester is in the perfect location for exploring North Wales and also cities such as Liverpool and Manchester. It really is the perfect summer time retreat for couples to spend some time together!

Recommended properties: At The Races and Tower View

Summy Holiday Inspiration for Families with Young Children: Norfolk

Choosing where to head on holiday when you have young children can be difficult. Not only do you want a property that’s suitable so that the little ones will be safe and you can relax, but in a location where there is plenty of things to do to entertain both children and parents! If this sounds like something you’re looking for from your summer holiday this year, then why not make a visit to Norfolk? Being located close to the coast, wherever you stay in Norfolk you won’t be too far from sandy beaches, where children and those young at heart can enjoy building sandcastles, playing beach games, or enjoying all that the promenades have to offer. For ideas of what to get up to in this wonderful county, take a look at our Norfolk Visitor Guide.

Recommended properties: Mill Farm Barn and Pear Tree

Summer Holiday Inspiration for Families with Teenagers: Snowdonia

With social media reigning supreme and our phones being stuck to our hands (both with adults as well as children) holidays really are a time for the whole family to reconnect and none more so than families with teenagers! This means that going on holiday somewhere that the whole family can enjoy, with activities that all ages can enjoy can be quite difficult. Our suggestion would be somewhere with plenty of teenage-friendly days out that parents can get involved in too, yet also somewhere that everyone can relax. This is why we would suggest a family holiday with teenagers in Snowdonia where there is beautiful scenery, fantastic walks and a whole host of activities! Make fantastic memories by taking part in white water rafting, go seaboard by sailing or feel the air in your hair at Zip World. Whatever you choose to do on your family holiday to Snowdonia one thing is certain; you will all leave with lasting memories!

Recommended properties: Bryn Meirion and Ymwlch Bach Farmhouse

Summer Holiday Inspiration for Large Groups: The Peak District

Alton Towers Sonic Spinball Peak District Holiday Idea

image of Sonic Spinball at Alton Towers by Holly Magoolagan

Meeting up for a holiday in the summer months is a popular choice for both larger families and groups of friends who want to reunite and spend some quality time together in the sunshine. This can of course be a logistical nightmare, with trying to fit in different schedules and travel times. This is where central locations can come in very handy. If your group is spread around England, we recommend the Peak District for its central location and huge choice of things to do! From historic sights to the thrilling Alton Towers theme park, there is something to keep everyone in a large group entertained on a holiday in the Lake District. At Sykes Cottages, we have a number of larger properties located in the Peak District that are ideal for a summer time holiday reunion.

Recommended properties: Stanley House and The Watermill

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Simple Crafts Competition

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
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Are you a crochet connoisseur? Have a penchant for papercraft? Go all silly over sewing? If any of this sounds like you you’re in the right place, as we’re holding a crafty competition right here on the Sykes Cottages blog.

You may remember last year when we worked with six incredibly talented craft bloggers to create our Simple Crafts: A Guide for Beginners which includes six simple craft tutorials that are ideal for beginner crafters to make whether at home or away.

Enter to win a £100 craft bundle

To get things a bit crafty again, we’re hosting a crafting competition right here on the Sykes Cottages blog – where you can be in with the chance of winning one of six prize bundles! All you have to do to enter is share with us a photo of a craft you have recently made using the competition form below. The six winners of this competition will each be chosen by our six very talented craft bloggers.

You can enter with a craft you made last year, or a craft you made last week – it’s entirely up to you! If you want a bit of inspiration, however, why not head over to the craft guide for some ideas.

How to enter:

Use the form below to upload a photo of a craft you have created and think our judges will love!

Don’t forget your email address so that we can get in touch with you if you win.

Good luck! 

Terms and conditions for this competition can be found here.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.