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Zula Cottages (Grzybowo, Poland)

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Address: ul. Namiotowa / 78-132 Grzybowo / Poland

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      21.07.2011 11:53
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      A smashing little wooden complex on the Baltic Coast

      Way back in December last year I started looking at houses to rent in the Gdansk area of Poland for our family holiday in June. On line there is a huge selection but most seemed very expensive and I couldn't really find what I was looking for so I mentioned it to my daughter-in-law and she sent me a list of contacts for accommodation further north on the Baltic Coast. The list consisted of about 20 names but the one that caught my eye was Zula. I liked the website as it was easy to follow and the wooden chalets looked pretty, comfortable and near to the sea. It didn't take me long to make up my mind.

      In January we sent an email to the contact address asking if the week from the 11 June was free. It was available so we booked it and sent a 500 zloty (approx £100) deposit by bank transfer. Confirmation was then sent by e-mail.

      Location, Location

      Zula Cottages are situated in the seaside town/village of Grzybowo on the Baltic Coast and about 6 miles from Kolobrzeg. We drove to our destination from Warsaw and the journey took over 8 hours. There is an Intercity train from Warsaw to Kolobrzeg which takes about the same time. You will need to catch a bus from Kolobrzeg to take you to Grzbowo but I do believe these are quite frequent and stop on the main street in Grzybowo.

      Our home for a week

      Zula cottages are 12 wooden chalets set in their own area of colourful lawns, pine trees and lots of geraniums, all red for some reason. As I walked through the main entrance which is on the road leading to the beach I couldn't help notice how pretty the red petals of all the geraniums and the honey coloured pine of the chalets blended together. It was very attractive. We parked the car at the side of the complex which leads to an area of rough ground.

      Oh, No not another grumpy Pole?

      On arrival we went to a small chalet near to the entrance. This is the reception area. A Polish lady who had all our information, told us how much balance we had to pay, gave us a key to number 10 and told us to go and unload the car and then come back later to collect duvet covers and sheets for the beds. At first I thought she seemed a little stern but she was okay - it was just her officious manner. Throughout the holiday we bumped into her a few times and she was always very helpful.

      No 10

      On entering into our holiday chalet my son said, "There's a lot of wood." What did he expect in a wooden chalet? I was immediately impressed with the tiled floor - it beamed. Why do my floors never shine like that? We had a quick look upstairs to check the two bedrooms out and was pleased with both, then checked to see if the flat screen TV worked. At first my husband couldn't get it to work and started panicking. I did mention to him that it would help if he plugged it in. The kitchen and bathroom were also beaming and spotlessly clean and I was happy with our choice of accommodation. After a quick glance at everything we unloaded the car. It had been a long drive so rather than trail everything through the front gate we handed our bags over the fence as our garden area looked over the parking lot. Probably not the done thing but much easier and quicker.

      Ground Floor

      Downstairs consisted of a lounge with a combined dining and kitchen area. The amber coloured sofa was very comfortable and seated all of us including the little one. This also opened out to a double bed. It's position was straight under the window overlooking a wooden bench and chairs and a small garden filled with pine trees and a lawn. The colour scheme throughout the chalet was a mixture of orange, amber and shades of rust. There were two windows in the downstairs area which had orange blinds. These matched the orange ceiling lights which were quite unusual and very trendy. The dining table was pine and large enough to seat 6 people with rustic chairs - the kind with hearts cut out of the back like in Alice in Wonderland. To be honest, we didn't sit at the kitchen table very often - much preferred to be outside. My son often used one of the chairs to position his laptop on when sitting on the sofa. Forgot to mention there was WiFi although the signal seemed better upstairs than downstairs.

      The fitted kitchen was compact and also in pine. This was a very attractive design and extras consisted of a microwave, coffee machine and of course, a refrigerator. Although the kitchen area was very pretty to look at it wasn't kitted out very well in the case of utensils. It was all extremely basic. For example there wasn't a vegetable knife or any form of sharp knife, no tin opener or corkscrew. There was a selection of pans and a frying pan but nothing to get your fried eggs or bacon out of the pan with. In one of the top cabinets was a selection of 6 plates, soup bowls which were very shallow, 6 side plates, 6 small cups and saucers and 6 glass tea mugs.Where was the salad bowl and wine glasses? Also, when it came to barbecue time - we found the barbecue but not utensils to turn the meat over with. The lack of these things didn't bother us - we just improvised. I made a salad and popped it into the frying pan. Pasta and potatoes were also placed in a pan on the top of the table. I had to laugh one night - we were all sat outside with our table beautifully decorated with stainless steel pans when a very well spoken Englishman passed by and said, " Pure English!" I am sure he was referring to our accents rather than our table accessories. Poles aren't big wine drinkers so I didn't expect wine glasses but it would have been nice to have some sort of glass to drink out of rather than a mug. Lack of utensils and serving dishes etc was okay with us but I am sure some guests wouldn't have been happy with what was on offer.

      As we are still on with describing the ground floor I will mention the bathroom. Decent size with a very modern shower compartment which was large enough to stand in and wave your arms around or do exercises in if you felt the need to. No shelf to place shampoo or shower gel on so these have to go on the base of the compartment. The shower itself was extremely powerful and nearly blew me away the first time I used it. Beware! The water is very hot and difficult to regulate. If you are showering a small child make sure you regulate the water before placing the child in the shower as if not regulated can be serious. Trust me this water can scald. There were 4 members in our party and the little one. Each of us showered at least once a day, usually twice and we didn't run out of hot water. At the side of the shower above the washing machine is a huge white tank with a dial underneath. The dial is split into two colours - red and blue. This tells you when the hot water is running low. Other features of the bathroom are wash basin and toilet. Both looked brand new. Above the wash basin was a glass shelf with mirror and underneath a cupboard for storing toilet rolls and the like. On arrival you will get one free loo roll but it's the grey re-cycled stuff. A little harsh on the skin but useful enough. Note I mentioned washing machine earlier. Yes, there it was underneath the heater - a brand new Zanussi washing machine -never been used. All controls in Polish and not an instruction booklet in sight. No worries as we have one true Pole in our family and 3 Brits who can understand Polish very well and speak a little. We didn't actually use it but if you don't know any Polish then I think you would just have to experiment with the dials and hope for the best. Two more features that I liked were the solid wooden door with a rail of hooks so you can hang towels and the bathroom window which you could open fully or at an angle. The glass in the window had been stained in bright colours. A nice touch to keep peeping Tom's out when sat on the loo.

      Up the apples and pears

      The interior of both bedrooms were designed in exactly the same way with one double bed, a single bed, shelves for placing clothes on, and a small cabinet for books. Although, the front bedroom was slightly larger and looked on to the garden with a large balcony. The windows were also larger - more like French windows. This was the room my husband and I chose. I have to say the double bed was one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in. All the family came to the same conclusion too so full marks for the quality of beds. I have one small niggle though concerning both bedrooms - there weren't any bedside lamps so reading at night was difficult. We tried taking a candle upstairs but the light wasn't good enough and always dangerous with a small child around.

      The second bedroom looked out on to the other chalets and received the sun late afternoon. Both rooms were cool at night and I would say with the window opened slightly just about the right temperature for a good night's sleep.

      Bonus points though for the child gate at the top of the stairs. This was a great feature as our granddaughter is 2 and although quite good on the stairs these stairs were difficult to maneuver as they wound round half-way so the gate was a blessing.

      Activities for the little one

      As this is a family complex there is a fabulous playground at the front entrance for children. All the swings, slide, Wendy House, climbing frame, roundabout are set in a sandy area with a trampoline set in a separate area near to the reception cabin. The complex is fenced in and has huge gates so this is child and dog friendly too in case either wish to escape. I was impressed with the play area and my granddaughter loved the trampoline. Close to the play area there is a very large circular wooden communal table decorated with geraniums. This is a good idea if you want to mix with other families and have a joint barbecue. I would say the table will seat about 10 -15 people.

      And the price.......

      The price we paid for the week commencing 11 June until 18th June was 1570 zloty (approx £345). The breakdown is as follows: 200 zloty per night (for 6 people), 15 zloty per night per pet, 65 zloty (electricity for the week). The electricity meter is read at the beginning and end of the stay. Also, 200 zloty deposit against breakages has to be paid at the beginning of the stay. We broke a cup but the lady let us off with this. Always best to be honest and own up or replace what is broken.

      Did we like it?

      I really enjoyed my stay at Zula. I liked the location as it was only 10 minutes walk from the beach, close to the main street and across the road from Giovanna's Pizzeria. The chalets were in immaculate condition and the gardens and plants were well looked after. The children's play area was also well kept. Apart from the lack of a few utensils I can't fault the complex at all. Highly recommended.

      Currency Rates as today - 1 PLN = 0.219824 GBP 1 GBP = 4.54909 PLN

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