I'm so sorry I didn't submit this review on Trip Advisor as soon as we got back. I now see some other poor family has been through the same unpleasantness. I only held off writing it as I'd raised a complaint with Sykes Cottages and was awaiting a response. I've finally had a response which is most unsatisfactory. The property is still being advertised using the same glowing adjectives when it should be taken off the rental market.
Here is the review I submitted to Sykes, which has not yet appeared on their site.
This property is described as 'luxury', with a 'well equipped kitchen'. I would describe it as 'basic' with a 'poorly equipped kitchen'. We had trouble opening the door to the place as it catches on the roof. There was no welcome pack of any kind and no instructions for bin collection/recycling etc. There were no toilet rolls. There were cobwebs in the corners of some rooms so we acquired a smelly vacuum cleaner from a shared laundry room and cleaned them up. The conservatory (also the living room) smelled of cat pee and the sofas and chairs were well worn, saggy and uncomfortable. Also the sofa had no back to it. The chandelier had twelve bulbs, only six of which were working.
The dining table, described as 'magnificent', was simply a large wooden table surrounded by uncomfortable chairs with no cushions. The oven was dirty with a badly stained glass door, the cutlery was cheap and mis-matched, as were the wine glasses and crockery. There were two tin openers, neither of which worked. There was also no frying pan. The pots and pans were cheap, nasty and dirty and one had a broken lid. We bought a scourer (non provided) and scrubbed the pans and oven, but with limited success. The scissors were useless and couldn't even cut a plastic bag.
The 'sumptuous' four poster bed had a cheap duvet which was too small for the cover. The other double bed had a broken spar and was missing a number of slats. The curtains in the small twin room are moth eaten and full of holes.
The shower pressure in the downstairs bathroom was very poor. The bathroom is shared and the slider was missing from the bolt so the door couldn't be locked. There was a sharp piece of metal sticking out of the bannister which cut somebody, we covered it with duct tape.
The socket for the heated towel rail in the large upstairs bathroom is hanging off the wall. Also the shower tripped out regularly and had to be reset from the electrical control panel.
The jacuzzi water didn't look or feel very clean and the lid is well worn and torn and has to be manually lifted off and on. It's very heavy so is not an easy task.
I spoke to the owner and told him I was going to leave bad feedback. I gave him a couple of examples, but as the list was so long and most of the issues couldn't be easily resolved, I didn't have the time or the inclination to discuss them. What the owner did say was that Sykes had inspected the property at the end of last year and had given them a clean sheet. This I find very disconcerting and it has shaken my faith in Sykes ability to appropriately grade properties. I've stayed in luxury properties booked through Sykes and never had a complaint. If I were the owner of a luxury property, I'd be very upset if my property was deemed to be comparable with this neglected and unloved example.