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16 Reviews

Company specialising in Holiday Villas

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    16 Reviews
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      11.09.2013 19:41

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      Waste of Money - Will never use again

      We spent ages researching our villa with numerous calls to James Villas - we wanted peace and quiet above all and we were assured the villa was isolated and indeed very quiet. Imagine our suprise then when we arrived to find a villa in close proximity. The holiday was then completely ruined by the constant sound of dogs loud barking day and night - a common complaint with James Villas it seems.

      During our research one of the agents said she had stayed in the same villa and had assured us of seclusion and quiet - we can only assume she was either mistaken or vision and hearing impaired.

      There was a power problem with the villa which meant that the master switch kept tripping. Also the jacuzzi did not work.

      The problems we experienced are not uncommon with James Villas it seems..

      We attempted to discuss these problems with James Villas but they were not interested. We tried to post a review on the James Villas website but it seems it is not possible to do so - wonder why?

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      04.05.2013 10:26

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      Villa holiday to tally ruined by barking dog. Would not recommend.

      A nightmare week in this villa Delfini, in Antipata, kefalonia.
      The first 3 days and evening were wrecked by the sound of a neighbour clearing great swathes of land with a strimmer, not once in each period of about 2 hours did the noise stop, just continuous, in the garden right under our terrace. Accompanied by a hysterically barking dog. Contacted rep who initially said there was nothing she could do, then passed onto another rep who after 3 days managed to get the strimmer stopped. Unfortunately despite promises from the dog owner to control the barking, nothing was done, in fact it seemed to get worse. - worst times were in the evening when planning to BBQ. Driven out each night to eat. Contacted owner who came round to see us but nothing was done, just constant barking right beneath our terrace most of the time, every day. Woken several times at night too by the dog. If you value peace and quiet on holiday, do avoid this villa.

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      18.11.2010 17:50

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      Stay clear of this company, who once they have got your money are not interested in sorting out issuesraised. Like being charged for damage's once you have returned home. They did not bother to inform me.First I new was when i received my credit card statement. They have povided no proof of damage although they say they have photographic evidence. I will never use them again.

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      21.09.2009 09:48
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      James Villas Poor Customer Relations

      For the best two years we have enjoyed Villa Holidays which we had booked through travel agencies. This year we decided to book direct and decided to use James Villas who we were under the impression were the best. How wrong we were.
      We were notified by email on Tuesday 11th August 2009 at 3-00p.m that the villa we were due to stay in was no longer available and the alternative villa that James Villas offered was miles from anywhere but with a bar 100 metres away, not what you really want on a family holiday with two children! As we were due to go on holiday on Saturday 15th August 2009 (yes in 3 days time) we were frantic that James Villas sort this situation out. After approximately twenty phone calls to James Villas "customer relations" to see if they had managed to sort an alternative villa and with each phone call I was told they would ring me back in ten minutes (they never did phone me I always had to phone them)I was finally told that no other villa was available so I either accepted the one next to the bar and for this inconvenience they would knock £500-00 off the holiday (which we could probably put towards petrol as even the local supermarket was 17KM away!) or they would send me my money back.
      I asked for my money back which I think they were a bit shocked about as the impression I got was that they thought given such short notice I would accept their alternative villa and to this end they offered to return my money by cheque! After a further five phone calls in which I explained I need the money returned by CHAPS as I now had 3 days to find and book another holiday, the money was eventually returned to my account on the afternoon of Wednesday 12th August 2009.
      After spending all Wednesday afternoon & night searching for any type of holiday to fit in with our dates (as the children were due back at school on the 1st September) we managed to find a villa with Meon Villas. The service we received with Meon Villas was excellent and they could not have been more helpful or accommodating unlike James Villas like it or lump it attitude. The only snag was the A Moria Villa was really ideal for two families so we ended up paying nearly a thousand pounds more but at least we had a holiday and what an excellent holiday it was!
      For all the stress and inconvience James Villas caused us, they compensated us with a cheque for £160-00 (i.e. £40-00 per person) as this is all you are entitled to as per their "terms & conditions."
      When I returned from the holiday I wrote to the Director of James Villas at his home address explaining the horrendous situation we had dealing with his company I also sent all the documentation backing up my story i.e. phone bills, emails etc and I sent a copy of this letter to James Villas head office along with the cheque for £160-00.Both letter were received and signed for on the 5th & 7th September respectively and guess what I heard nothing from them and again I had to chase them!
      Apparently the Director had not been in the office that week, when I explained the letters were actually received the previous week apparently he had not been in then either, in fact he was probably not even in this country! What a farcical company to deal with.
      I eventually received a response from the Customer Services Department with lots of apologizes in it but at the end of the day all they were prepared to give me was £40-00 per person and if I wanted the cheque I would have to write to them to confirm acceptance.
      So please note before booking with James Villas if they cancel your holiday or offer you a sub-standard villa all you are entitled to is £40-00 per person. By booking with James Villas we ended up nearly £1000-00 out of pocket and we nearly did not get a holiday at all.

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        18.08.2009 22:43
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        worth that little bit extra

        We booked a James Villa for a week at the beginning of July just outside Playa Blanca in Lanzarote. We went with another family so there were 9 of us in total - 4 adults and 5 children. The booking process was done online and was straightforward although the names on the confirmation were incorrect but that was corrected quickly. The site was very easy to navigate around with information very clear and no need to telephone James Villas to confirm anything which was unclear. When the confirmation came through incorrectly, we e-mailed them and it was done by return of post.

        The villa clean, spacious and the welcome pack was substantial. The pool was adequate and the villa was in a quiet street and we felt we had privacy. The rep came round and was helpful about local shops, taxis into Playa Blanca, recommending places to eat etc. The pool water turned green after a few days but that was quickly sorted out.

        The villa we stayed in was Villa Jessica and had kitchen and living area downstairs and also upstairs. Double and twin rooms downstairs with shower room; two double and one twin room upstairs one double with en-suite and another separate shower room. Satellite TV, DVD and CD player, 2 washing machines, 2 fridge freezers and 2 microwaves. It was well equipped for our needs.

        I would book a James Villa in the future; the only complaint was that the two hired cars only came with third party insurance and we had to pay £120 and £150 non-refundable for fully comp or a large refundable amount of approximately 700 euro. We were advised to take the first option as every tiny scratch would be taken into account and it would have been hard to prove which were there before. We explained to the rep that this wasn't made clear at the time of booking and she said she would pass this on to Hertz again.

        Otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable holiday, wish it had been 2 weeks!

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          05.06.2009 23:29
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          lovely holiday

          We have just returned from a great two week break in Calan Blanes Minorca. I booked in January with Jamesvillas as they had the free car hire, free insurance and welcome pack offer. Unfortunately my holiday documents, flight tickets etc were sent to a distant neighbours house but luckily they know us and dropped them round. After this i was a bit worried i had made a mistake booking with them, but all turned out well.

          The car was a very nice Seat Leon although we did choose to pay the excess waiver of £80 euros for the insurance as some of the cars did have knocks and bangs on them. The directions from the airport were clear and easy to follow. The villa itself was in a nice area as advertised and was quite private, it was very clean and although basic it was mostly comfortable. The only downside were the beds, they were as hard as nails and the springs in the mattresses were almost visable. We arranged the extra blankets under the sheets and managed a few nights good sleep although i felt every bone in the morning. The welcome pack was a bit mean but it was free.

          The cleaners came once a week and were discreet and polite. The Jamesvillas rep popped in for about 30 seconds just enough time to ask how we were and if we had any problems, which is fine with us because we enjoy our privacy. The pool was lovely with both a shallow and a deep end, inflatable beds were suppplied for the pool which was nice it was cleaned every 4 days early in the morning and we didn't hear or see them come and go. They also supplied two soft footballs and an extra parasol for the beach.

          The villas security was good, the metal shutters on the outside of the windows were strong and could be secured properly, this was a big plus for us as we were robbed in our villa during the night two years ago in the Algarve, some of the shutters on the doors and windows had broken and could not be secured properly. We woke up to find someone standing over our bed stealing our belonging. This was a Cosmos villa and we were told by the rep it had happen twice already that season at the same villa.

          Overall we had a lovely holiday although the poor value of the pound made it expensive, I would book with Jamesvillas again, we did have a really relaxing holiday and our children had great fun in the pool.

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            16.11.2008 19:18
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            Can be rather 'hit or miss' when it comes to the accommodation, so your holiday could go either way!

            - Introduction -

            I've been with my parents on a number of holidays that were booked through James Villas and so I feel I am quite familiar with the company, certainly in terms of the type of holidays you get through them anyway. We've been to a number of different places through the years, from a small town in the Algarve (Portugal) in 2002 (which was eye opening to put it that way), to this year when we went to Malta (which ive done a long review of) and other places such as Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, on the Canary Islands and Cyprus.

            We have encountered a few problems during these holidays and my parents had contemplated complaining to the company but eventually they backed down and I would like to make others aware of the sort of problems we have had to deal with, while also explaining the better side of the company and the kind of holidays that this company offers.


            - Which destintions do James Villas offer accommodation in? -

            The list of places that James Villas offers accommodation in, seems to be added to practically every year. The company has a website which lists the current destinations, so if you want to know where they can sell you a holiday in, rather than me typing out all the resorts/countries here, as it may change, I'll give you the link to their site and you can check for the latest destination information there. See:- http://www.jamesvillas.co.uk/destinations/all-destinations.cfm?CTA=secondar y_nav_all_destinations&id=37468383,187535298

            They offer accommodation in many popular countries, such as France, Spain (including the Balearic and Canary Islands), Portugal, Greece and so on and also in some more exotic places, such as Barbados but as I say, I recommend you check their website first for the most up to date information, as they may add or take out destinations.


            - Do James Villas only offer villa accommodation? -

            Obviously, as the name would imply, James Villas mainly deals in Villa holidays (ie renting out private detached villas to customers, who have self catering holidays in them). However, they do also have a selection of apartments and townhouses.

            James Villa also offer leisure resorts in some areas, which offer golf courses, tennis pitches, gym, kids clubs and/or spa facilities. Again check via the company website for a list of which places offer these and what facilities are available at each resort.


            - So the company only offers private accommodation and nothing else? -

            No, actually James is quite flexible, in that it allows you to book the accommodation but also the flights and car hire as well, although you don't have to book the flights or car hire through them but they can provide those for you. We tend to book everything, apart from the travel insurance for personal reasons, through the company, to keep things bit simpler and also as the prices, as far as im aware, are reasonable enough. Its good to know that you could just book the accommodation and try and find better flights elsewhere, if they were to quote you a particularly bad price for flights or for car hire but its not been too bad, so far.

            Also we got a voucher offer with the latest brochure that gave us some money off the car hire, if booked through them before a certain date (something like if booked before April or May 2008 for a holiday until October), which was quite good, as my family do tend to book holidays somewhat late on, usually booking around February or March time.


            - What are the prices like? -

            Well, I wouldn't say that its the cheapest company around, neither is it the most expensive. I'm no real expert in prices as far as this kind of holidy is concerned, to be honest, though I know that what with the credit crunch and the general economic situation, prices aren't great. My mum had mentioned over the last year or so, that she's noticed the prices increasing (funnily enough, this seems to happen as I notice more TV advertising for the company, I can't say I'm all that impressed if we're helping to pay for glitzy expensive TV ads - whether this indicates that their actively looking for extra customers, I dont know. I have also heard my mum mention that a colleague of hers at her work tried to find a villa in Greece as a last minute holiday this summer and they were all booked out, so they can't be *that* low in sales but who knows for the rest of the year?), but there again, im sure prices are increasing across the board anyway, with the price of flights going up generally.

            Again, check the website where you can find prices for a weeks stay in each villa/apartment/town house and judge for yourself but I feel that the prices are neither outrageously expensive or bargain cheap either. I think for the places we've been staying at (villas that sleep up to 4 people normally, for the 3 of us), they've cost somewhere around £800 or £900 a week and thats per week for the end of June and the beginning of July, as a rough price indicator but it can vary a fair bit, so check the website for up to date prices.


            - Is it easy to book a holiday through James? -

            In a word, yes. As I say, I haven't done the full booking process myself but I know how it works, as I've watched or heard from my parents about the process (I know im lucky to be able to go on holidays with them and yes I do contribute to the cost nowadays, incase you wondered). I've always thought its quite handy, that you can find out most information through the website, such as which dates the accommodation is available for, the prices and you can find information on what facilities are available in the accommodation, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether car hire is recommended, essential or optional and so on.

            You can register your interest in a property and request to book it through the website too I believe and then the company phones you back to confirm your details and confirm that it is indeed available and confirm the prices etc. and you can book it there and then.

            We've booked accommodation on a Saturday (which must be a busy day of the week for them) and had registered interest in a booking on the morning or afternoon and had it sorted and booked by late evening, so its pretty quick and I have no problems with this. Its also good that its not entirely website based and you can phone them up if you have any queries etc.


            - Once the holiday is booked, then what? -

            Your sent a confirmation to, obviously, confirm the holiday booking after its been confirmed on the phone and if you wish to book any extras, such as to upgrade the level of car hire or to pay for meals on the flight or to pay for adjoining seats on the flight (so that your family sits together across two or three seats etc.), then you can always phone them and add those later, like we sometimes do and they will adjust the booking and send out an adjusted booking confirmation invoice/receipt. You pay a deposit and then the rest of the balance later, thats about all I know as far as payment is concerned.

            Once it reaches about two or three weeks before the holiday, James Villas sends you a wallet (a small folder/holder thing) which contains your flight tickets (if applicable), some labels to write your name and address etc. to attach to the main suitcases etc. and travel documentation that gives you directions on how to find your way from the airport to the villa/accommodation your staying at. Normally, most people book car hire, so they have a bit of an adventure following the travel directions while driving on whats, to us, the wrong side of the road(!). The wallet/folder is handy for keeping all your documents and tickets in, its a pretty distinctive blue colour (which seems to be the official James Villas colour), so its fairly easy to find inside a back pack. Once you've got this, you know its not long until the holiday, so you can really start to look forward to it!.


            - How spacious & well equipped are the villas? -

            For this, James Villas scores well in my books. All of the villas we've stayed in have been pretty spacious and comfortable, most will sleep at least three or four and some others I've seen advertised can sleep up to six (with some villas in Italy I believe able to sleep up to ten).

            As far as equipment and appliances are concerned, pretty much all villas we've stayed in through James Villas have contained a washing machine, dishwasher, toaster, microwave, fridge/freezer, pretty much all the basic things, with usually at least one bathroom with a bath as well as a shower and the master bedroom usually has an ensuite (with a second bathroom to go with any extra bedroom(s)). Plus practically all villas have cable TV (although you only get access to the free channels, like the foreign equivalent of Freeview, you dont get access to pay channels so no Sky Movies equivalent im afraid) and nowadays many also have a DVD player, so you can bring some DVDs with you to watch at night, when its dark outside but too early for you to want to head off to bed.

            Some villas also offer air conditioning, like the villa we stayed at in Malta this year. They didn't charge us any extra for using it, which was a big plus, with air conditioning units in each of the bedrooms as well as in the main living room, it helped make it more comfortable during very humid afternoons.

            As well as this, of course most villas have their own private pool too, which is also a bit of a luxury. Its nice to be able to relax in the pool without having lots of kids diving and splashing around you and you usually get a good divider between the villa your in and the one next to you, if they are semi detached properties, so that you don't feel as if the people next door are watching your every move. The pools can vary in terms of deepness and some have access by built in concrete steps (which I find easier to use), whereas some have those rather creeky metal ladders, which I don't much like to use but there you go, I guess im pretty picky lol.

            Sometimes, depending on when the flights are, you might end up arriving at your villa/accommodation quite late in the evening or at night and be quite hungry and/or thirsty, when you just want to flop into bed and the shops are closed. Also worth baring in mind is that as these are self catering holidays, you want to have some fresh food and drink around, so you have enough for your first breakfast the following day. Its for these purposes that James Villas offers a 'Welcome pack' as an optional extra for about £15. The welcome packs are a good idea and usually you get at least one loaf of fresh bread, a pint of milk, perhaps a yoghurt or two and a pack of biscuits, plus one or two other things that I can't quite think of right now. Ok the price is perhaps a little much but it is worth it, if you can afford it, just for the peace of mind that you don't have to go out and shop again as soon as you get there, as usually we're pretty tired after a flight and travelling to the accommodation, its good to know the basics are there for that evening and breakfast the following day, when you can venture out and find the closest supermarket (usually a Spar or somewhere similarly sized, is located around 1km or so away from each villa).

            Also in each property you'll find an information folder, which contains handy information about the location of fuses and other things around the villa, it also lists emergency phone numbers and the local reps phone number, as well as providing lots of information about the resort/destination your in, which makes for good reading and can help you plan what to do, where to go the next day.


            - Bad experiences so far -

            Ok so it all sounds pretty reasonable so far, I think you'd probably agree, right? right. Thats not to say that the company is perfect though. We have had a couple of holidays where there were hiccups, to put it one way. Infact, our first holiday booked with James Villas back in 2002 was less than perfect, due to the pretty awful access (or more, lack thereof!) track to the property. I later heard that the property wasn't listed in the next years brochure, so I can presume they stopped renting that property due to peoples complaints, however we had a similar experience with another property a year or so later, so it clearly is an issue.

            What happened in 2002 is that we stayed at a villa in a small hill top type town called Estoi, in the Algarve in Portugal but accessing it was very difficult, you really needed to be quite a professional driver to get through the dirt track without burning out the clutch or letting one of the large boulders smash the exhaust out(!). Your probably thinking that im over exaggerating but trust me, im not. We had to drive at about 5mph for half a mile or so to reach the property and then we had a similar problem driving down the other side of the hill, where we once had to wait quite a while as a shepherd herded his sheep down the hillside (not that I blame the shepherd but it was rather surreal). Due to this, it put us off travelling much at all and we constantly worried the car we had hired would get badly damaged by the rubble we had to drive over to get to and from the property, it put us off going out in the evening.

            Another thing that put us off going out in the evening on that holiday was the fact that although the brochure and information James provided, claimed that the nearest town that offered bars/cafes/ restaurants, shops and so on for meals and what not was only about a 10-15 minute drive away, it turned out to be more of a half hour drive away, involving driving along the main motorway, where I think the driving was pretty fast and a bit dodgy! so, to put it lightly, it wasn't the best holidy we've ever had. There was even a guestbook in the villa, where practically every other family who had stayed there, complained about the access (or lack thereof) to the villa and begged for them to make a proper road, so it wasn't just us who didn't like that, thats for sure.

            It was in 2004 when we stayed at a villa in Nerja in Spain, when we had a similar problem, with access to it also involving a pretty bumpy and uncomfortable ride. It wasn't as bad as it was in 2002 but it wasn't what you would hope for either, especially as the price for such a holiday isn't the cheapest around. If I were you, I'd be sure to specifically ask on the phone and double check what the access to the property your interested in, is like, to be on the safe side.

            The other holiday worth mentioning, where we weren't best impressed with James, was last summers holiday we had in Gran Canaria. What happened there was that we were given travel directions as normal but we got lost and we had to phone somebody to get them to come out and hand us the keys to the property. The person on the other end of the line didn't speak very good English and although we ended up getting a taxi ride with the taxi driver having the keys, he himself didn't know for sure which property in the area was ours and they didn't have very obvious villa names or numbers displayed outside the properties, which didn't help. We eventually discovered the right villa but by that time, though we arrived on the islnd at around 8pm, it was nearly 11pm, so we were pretty tired! I don't blame the taxi driver all that much as he was just told to deliver the keys and take us to the property and he didn't work for the company as such but it wasn't particularly fun, especially when we realised we were lost and we weren't sure if the taxi would even find us, as it was pitch dark outside by this time!.

            The other problem, or more the main problem, with this holiday became clear when we later dropped by the address given to us, which is where the local representative(s) were supposed to be based, incase we had any problems or incase of an emergency. When we went to have a look, it quickly became clear that the place we were told to go to incase of emergency, was actually closed. The lights were out, the door was closed and the sign seemed to indicate that summer was their off peak or low season and that the building wouldn't be open again until September or October(!). Now whether James Villas was aware of this, I dont know, it was an outside company that was supposed to deal with the property and act as reps on James Villas' behalf, I believe, so it is slightly complicated.

            Anyway it was alright for us as we didn't have an emergency, there were no nearby forest fires and none of us suffered from an injury or illness or anything bad like that, in fact the villa itself was very nice and spacious and we enjoyed discovering the island and had a good time but knowing that essentially we were on our own and the company appeared to offer us no rep or extra service, well its not good. You would expect more for the price really, its not a good thing and I was less than impressed.

            However, it is also true to say that we've only experienced this on Gran Canaria, I don't know whether its still the case and we have had reps come and visit us on the first day or two of our stay at other resorts/destinations, so this is hopefully just a one off thing.

            Another thing possibly worth mentioning, although it is really a more trivial issue, is that most villas do offer cable TV, which the brochure and website will list but its only if you know to look for extra information that you find out that they can't guarantee that you'll get many English speaking channels. As I said already, don't expect access to pay per view movie channels, there won't be any Sky Movies channels or any other subscription channels and normally we find we can only watch a few channels in our language. This year we were lucky, they seemed to have more in Malta but I guess thats partly because English is their official second langauge, normally we find we can get one or more of the following channels:- BBC World, CNN, Discovery, Zone Reality etc. in Portugal, CNN was the only English language channel we could get and it was through satellite with bad picture, which wasn't too impressive. This is when its nice if you get a DVD player, DVDs are small enough so you can bring quite a few to entertain you and your family incase there's only one or two English speaking TV channels but seeing as they just advertise the TV as being cable TV, I feel they should make it more clear that this doesn't mean you get access to any subscription channels and that you might only be able to view one or two English speaking channels, or a few more if your lucky.

            I would also point out that we always have car hire for the duration of our holidays (I dont mean to boast, I know we're very lucky to be able to do this) and I've noticed that some properties have car hire listed as 'recommended' or 'optional', compared to 'essential' and we've wondered how anyone could manage to walk the long distances to the nearest supermarket or cafe (with the main exception being the property in Lanzarote, which was in easy walking distance of a supermarket and cafe etc.) so I would be careful with that and instead, I'd presume that no matter what it says, you should try and have car hire, to be sure to be able to get to such places without drenching in sweat and suffering from heat stroke.


            - So, what conclusions can be made? -

            Well, its kind of hard to decide quite what to make of James Villas. One side of me feels I'd be crazy to rate them as anything but poor, given what I've said above, yes access to some properties can be tricky at best, sometimes they say your nearest town or shop or bar is closer than it is and they'll claim you get cable TV but only if you read through any small print will you find any reference to the fact that they don't guarantee access to many, if any, English languge channels. I feel that this proves that, at best, they can be pretty cheeky and we have had bad experiences but the thing is, we have stuck with this company and while we have had these experiences, these only account for a few of our holidays. We've been to more than three places through this company and some properties have been fine, more than fine, in Cyprus, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, the access to the properties have been no problem at all. In Lanzarote, we were close to a shop, supermarket, places to eat and it was nice and quiet and private too, it was one of the best places I've been to, I loved it there (I hope we go back sometime, though I love to see new places too).

            Apart from the holiday in Portugal, I wouldn't say that the bad experiences made our holidays a write off or that it meant our holiday was completely spoilt. What happened last year in Gran Canaria, that was unsettling to know the reps weren't there but we didn't have any problems, we didn't need a rep and the villa itself was fine, once we found it lol it was very comfortable.
            I guess the thing is you have to be prepared, you have to know to ask the company, to assure you that the access to the property you want to book is bearable and its worth checking if the nearest supermarket and possibly cafe is close by, to be sure. Once you've had that confirmed, it should be ok. We have had some very memorable (in a good way!), fun, relaxing holidays that I appreciate, through this company. The villas are well equipped and usually pretty spacious, so it could be worse. I just can't help but feel like every year, if we use this company, its a bit of an adventure, trying to find the property itself and everything else but its definitely possible to have an enjoyable, relaxing holiday at one of their properties.

            So, if you feel that you'd like a bit of an adventure, if villa holidays interest you, your able to drive abroad and see somewhere new and your happy enough about double checking the details mentioned numerous times already when booking, then I say go for it because as much as I've experienced some bad stuff from the company, if you choose a good property, you can have a very good holiday... so I think its a case of insisting they give you the correct information and if anyone else has a particularly bad experience, report it to them so they might be discouraged from offering such holidays in the future. Also a tip is to try using Google Earth to check the location of the property your interested in booking, as it could help you figure out what access might be like, if its on a hill side etc., plus you could ask on holiday forums if others have been to the property or if anyone there knows the area, who might know what the roads are like there. So you should have a good idea what to expect before booking or/and before you get there - technology, isn't it marvellous(?!). I hope the review title makes sense now too lol.
            Thanks, as ever, for reading my review and for any and all r/r/c's. I hope you found this a useful review, it was based on what I found on the James Villas website and also on my experiences having gone on numerous holidays with my parents, which they booked with this company. Also, of course, this review is also over at Ciao! under my username there which is the same name (IzzyS).

            **Side note about customer service - Yes the company seems to be bad at claiming some things are perhaps better than they are but from what my parents have told me, if you phone and ask to double check details, they have always been friendly and helpful and able to honestly answer any questions you have, so from that point of view, the customer service isn't too bad, though the lack of rep service on Gran Canaria obviously doesn't say a great deal for customer service from that POV but that does appear to have been a one off situation, we hope!**

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            • More +
              12.11.2008 14:13
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              Stay away from both Villa and Company.

              Rented "Il Bagnese" in Italy via James Villas a "best of" villa. We walked out within 1 hour of arrival. The place was filthy!!! Mould on toilet seat, shower broken, kitchen non existent,microwave on top of fridge freezer, drawer units falling to pieces, scum line around swimming pool, nothing of quality.
              Have used them before and been very happy but when faced with a problem they did not want to know!!!!
              This Villa does not reach the standard of the other 'Best of' Villas that we have rented before and when advised of this they just do not seem to care.
              With their attitude I will never be using them again.
              Copies of their letters and photographs in support of my complaint are available.
              They have told me to take them to arbitration!! I have appointed a solicitor. They just do not seem to care. I used to think having taken a number of holidays with them that they were a good company not anymore.

              Il Bagnese, Alberoro in Tuscany - sold by James Villas

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                12.11.2008 13:37
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                Stay away from both Villa and Company.

                Rented "Il Bagnese" in Italy via James Villas a "best of" villa. We walked out within 1 hour of arrival. The place was filthy!!! Mould on toilet seat, shower broken, drawer units falling to pieces, scum line around swimming pool, microwave on top of fridge freezer, kitchen non-existant, etc....

                Passports, we were asked to enter our full passport details onto forms in a file that was left on the sideboard, this file contained details of all previous guests and would prove to be very useful for identity fraud!!!

                Have used them before and been very happy but when faced with a problem they did not want to know!!!!

                This Villa does not reach the standard of the other 'Best of' Villas that we have rented.

                With their attitude I will never be using them again.
                Copies of their letters and photographs in support of my complaint are available.

                They have told me to take them to arbitration!! I have appointed a solicitor.

                They just do not seem to care. I used to think having taken a number of holidays with them that they were a good company not anymore.

                Il Bagnese, Alberoro in Tuscany - sold by James Villas

                UPDATE 24/11/2008.
                After an initial insulting offer for full settlement of £87.71p my solicitor sent a 7 days notice letter, on the last day a letter was received increasing the settlement offer to £325.43p. I have rejected this offer and given my solicitior instructions to proceed with court action.

                UPDATE 20/03/2009
                Today received cheque for £800.00p and voucher for £100.00, total £900.00 in full and final settlement. Settlement reached the day prior to court proceedings being commenced when I noticed Il Bagnese had been withdrawn from the James Villa Brochure and I asked if due to these circumstances they were now prepared to make a sensible offer.

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                14.09.2008 12:05

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                Not one of James Villas best.

                Just returned from 2 weeks at Villa Iantho, Vasilikades, Fiscardo, Kefalonia courtesy of James Villas. Self and partner enjoyed glorious sunshine every day. Full package of flights, car hire, villa, air-con and welcome pack. Kefalonia is our Greek Island of choice being friendly, laid back, not too busy (except July/August), beautiful scenery etc etc we have visited 5 times. What can never be guaranteed is the villa, its facilities and location and invariably expectations created by the Brochure/Online description are not lived up to in reality. So here is what the Villa Company left out of the brochure.-----
                Main Road Argostoli-Fiscardo runs approx 50 metres from villa so always aware of traffic noise; Terraces overlook olive groves and grape vines of neighbours smallholdings in which their dogs were permanently chained outside - not noisy but pathetic and distressing to watch particularly as they had no social interaction at all; Mattresses on beds so thin and hard that sleep was near impossible; cooker hood so badly positioned next to sink that I hit my head on the corner & drew blood so many times I gave up washing dishes; Microwave but no suitable containers to use in it (all crockery had gold metallic edgings which sparked and burnt in the oven); BBQ badly positioned outside the front-door; Welcome Pack (£20) was the bare minimum and would have cost the maid under £10 to purchase; safe had instructions to gain access which did not work. On the plus side the lounge furniture is comfortable, the swimming pool was spotless and not too deep (although the access ladder was loose and the noise from the pump house was sometimes intrusive ), the outside furniture was good quality and comfortable, the sat tv worked, the air con in the bedrooms was most welcome and the fridge/freezer was a good size with ice tray.
                Would we choose this villa again? Probably not unless it was half the brochure price!

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                18.05.2008 00:57

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                We booked a villa in Nerja for one week, we stayed one night, we were horrified by the mud track to the villa, it was definately dangerous, parts of it were broken away which would have resulted in a huge drop of the edge if our car had come off the track, we were very frightened, the house was surrounded by Spanish homes all of them had at least 2 barking dogs, the rep told us she had never had a complaint about the villa I told her outright that I did not believe her, the website did not mention the track to the villa,or that you did not get the 3 satellite channels, the rest were local, when it was cloudy, or that you could not flush soiled toilet paper down the loo, we wasted a lot of money on this villa, avoid this company.

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                02.09.2007 14:03
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                a luxury villa but not for the faint hearted

                We have just returned from villa karina in the coste del sol in nerja.The villa was very clean and spacious but was a horrible drive to get to and we were robbed in the night while we were asleep taking all our holiday money.Please do not rent this villa or any james villa unless it has a safe and bars on the windows.I hope this review comes in useful and makes someones holiday more enjoyable than ours!!

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                  26.09.2005 00:47
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                  poor service

                  we booked a holiday...the villa got trashed..james villa promised us the next week in a good villa..then they cancelled that. they cancelled in it the last hour..at 3.40am am while we were packing. they told us we could speak to somebody and that never happened. we had booked the most expensive villa on the island and that didnt seem to count...so get prepared for bad service and a phone call minutes before you go. i realize i must sound bitter ..but so would you if youd spent £2900. by the way they hired it out to a well heroin addict...

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                    25.08.2003 16:01
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                    If you enjoy being independent and swimming in your own pool on holiday, or just splashing around in it, then James Villa Holidays are for you. James Villa Holidays specialise in villas with private pools. These villas can be found in the following places: The Algarve, Costa Blanca, Andalucia, Majorca, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Tuscany, Cyprus, Malta, Gozo, and Florida. The Company is ATOL protected and ABTA members. They are based at Centre 3000, 20/20 Business Park, St Laurence Avenue, Maidstone, Kent, UK, ME16 0LL. In June 2003 I went on holiday with my wife and in-laws, for a 2 week break to Tias in Lanzarote. We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa set in its own private grounds with its own swimming pool. ***About the Brochure*** The James Villa brochure and its accompanying price list are very well set out and easy to understand and follow. The brochure is in sections, as to which part of Europe or Florida you wish to visit. It is an excellent way of being able to flick through to find a villa you want to travel to. The illustrations are of a very high quality, and there is a basic description of what the villa has to offer, i.e number of bedrooms, bathrooms, terrace, air-conditioning, if car is needed and others. Alongside the main picture of the villa is a comprehensive and (I think) truthful write-up of the villa and surrounding area. This includes whether there is patio furniture, barbeque, washing machine/tumble dryer, microwave, tv (including satellite), video, hi-fi, or cd player etc. Also alongside the main photo is an inset photo. This usually shows part of the inside of the villa. ***About the Website*** Before we actually decided on which villa we were going to choose, we went onto the James Villa website at www.jamesvillas.com. You can either book your holiday by telephone on 01622 655900 or via the website. On the site you can
                    just type your destination, date of travel, departure airport, and number of people travelling, and all available villas will then be shown. Their website is very easy to follow and you can customise your holiday pricing schedule by amending such things as car hire, insurance, and different flight prices from the one actually quoted. I think this was a great idea for our party, as we had our own travel insurance, and we needed to hire our own car to enable us to take a wheelchair abroad. The only drawback to amending the quoted holiday price is if you want to book your own flights. If you want to do this, (which we did not) then you have to add on 20% to the cost of the villa. Another nominal charge per person that is made, and is shown on the final holiday cost, is for breakages whilst in the villa. We eventually found the villa of our choice and booked it through the internet. The airline used by James Villas was Excel Airways through Freedom Flights. On contacting James Villas re our wheelchair passenger they informed us to get in touch with the airline about taking the passenger to the departure gate at Manchester Airport. We did this by e-mail and received confirmation that this was acceptable to the airline. When we arrived at Manchester Airport and checked in, our seats had been pre-booked by Freedom Flights. This was a very pleasant surprise to us. We had no problems with Excel Airways and the plane/journey were fine. ***The Holiday and Villa*** On picking up our hire car at Lanzarote Airport, finding the villa was no problem, as James Villas had sent us a detailed print of the route to take with all the travel documents. On arriving at the villa, the key was where it should have been and the villa was in great order. The location and villa were as described in the brochure. The villa itself was clean and tidy throughout, and there was plenty of space and stora
                    ge. This was especially so in the bedrooms and kitchen. The utensils in the kitchen were plentiful and clean. Outside, the pool area was clean and the patio furniture was in excellent working order, and enough for 4 people (4 beds and 4 chairs). The following day after our arrival we had a visit from the James Villa Holiday rep at the resort. She was well dressed and well mannered, and asked if we had any problems or queries, (we did not at that time). She also gave us a typed sheet with contact telephone numbers and names on. These were for her and a colleague and the villa managers. The managers were a husband and wife team, and came twice a week. The wife came to change to the towels once a week and the second time brought an assistant, and gave the villa a thorough clean and changed the bed linen. The husband came twice a week to clean and test the water in the pool. He also cleaned the patio and patio furniture. We thought the testing of the water was a very good and hygenic idea. We did have a problem with one of the bathroom door handles though, so we contacted the manager and it was fixed the same day. Also, the pool pump stopped working and this was fixed quickly. We will definitely be using James Villa Holidays again, and can certainly recommend them as an independent travel company for this type of holiday.

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                      30.05.2003 21:57

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                      James Villas relax in comfort - Advantages: excelent quality, price, helpfull staff - Disadvantages: sell out quickly

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