Customer reviews: Holidays in Alsace
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop and, where necessary, improve our services and ensure our all holidays continue to be the best they can be.
Eveyone who travels with Headwater will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assesment of all aspects of their all holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their all holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
By Mrs Gardner on 09/11/2016
We had a lovely holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the walking from one hotel to the next. The route notes were very detailed and easy to follow (especially as we had the maps too). Also the folders in the hotels with customers comments were useful especially for finding restaurants. We particularly appreciated the wine carrying service. It was great being able to buy wine on the way and then find it all in our hotel room at the end. Our rep, Hannah, was very friendly and helpful especially in finding a restaurant for our first night in Turckheim when most restaurants seemed to be shut. We did all the suggested longer walks (even in the rain) and have arrived home feeling very fit! All in all it was an excellent holiday - many thanks to Headwater and to our rep Hannah for her help and encouragement.
By Mr Hallam on 31/10/2016
Lovely area of France with variety of walks in differing landscapes.
By Mr Jones on 04/10/2016
A great holiday if you like good food and wine but the walking was slightly disappointing. Although the views were sometimes good, there was too much walking on the roads.
By Mrs Cameron on 27/09/2016
Great contrasts in locations so holiday very accurately titled!
By Mr Forward on 15/07/2016
we appreciate all the information and support provided and i look forward to travelling with headwater again.
By Mr Brady on 17/06/2016
The first thing to say is how friendly, welcoming, dependable and helpful we found Hannah. We are also aware of the amount of time and effort she put in to assist our fellow travellers after the lady injured herself.
We took all the longer walking options and experienced some weaknesses in the route descriptions, which we passed on to Hannah so that she can check them out.
We can understand why you chose the hotels that you did, but, while it was interesting to visit Turckheim, Kaysersberg and Riquewihr, all of which are beautiful, we would prefer to have stayed in locations that were not so thronged with tourists. For example, hotels in Kientzheim and Sigoldsheim, very close to Kaysersberg, had English speakers and offered evening meals.
Erratic opening times of shops, restaurants and cafes is also a bit problematical as you are setting off not knowing whether or not it is necessary to carry provisions. The cafe in Trois Epis and the restaurant at St Alexis Chapelle are cases in point. In the case of the latter, we would strongly recommend booking in advance. I'm sure Madame in Hotel Constantin would oblige.
All in all, we had a good time, enjoyed the local delicacies and wine, the beautiful and varied countryside and, in particular, the lovely unspoilt little villages that we walked through. We now look forward to our next trip with you to Menorca.
By Mr Salisbury on 16/06/2016
Great holiday in beautiful location. Headwater team were excellent throughout.
By Dr Bainbridge on 15/06/2016
The balance of vineyard and forest was good. The towns and villages and castle were varied and interesting.
By Mrs Honey on 14/06/2016
Fairy tale ancient towns, which were lovely to explore. The wine, of course was delicious although we did not visit the vineyards on walks but indulged in the evening . The nesting storks were one of the highlights of the holiday. Do try to visit the stork breeding centre it was lovely with a lot to see as well as the storks themselves..
By Mrs Hartley on 03/06/2016
We never imagined walking through vineyards could be so varied and interesting; the countryside was beautiful and the villages charming. The hotel staff all looked after us very well. Our Headwater rep was absolutely delightful and could not have been more friendly and efficient. We did not see a see any UK cars nor heard any other British people but most people we spoke to replied in good English when we spoke to them in our basic French.
By Mrs Preston on 03/06/2016
From the moment we received our holiday information pack we were excited as it really whetted our appetites. We also had a post card from our Rep, Hannah saying that she hoped we would have a good trip and she looked forward to meeting us at the station in Colmar and giving us her mobile number in case we needed her. This was a very thoughtful gesture. So, even though I had a bad back and had to be transported around by Hannah instead of walking, the overall holiday was wonderful.
By Mrs Guthrie on 06/10/2015
Apart from the rail debacle, the content of the holiday was stunning. The nature of the medieval villages was quite breathtaking and more reminiscent of Walt Disney cartoons or even pantomime scenery. The vineyard walks were very enjoyable, as were the visits we made to the wineries! In addition the Riquewier 'Council' offer conducted vineyard walking tours, together with wine cellar visits every Friday throughout the summer until harvest time in September WITHOUT CHARGE!! (BUT possibly only in French and/or English). Another Vineyard 'special' (which I don't think you are aware of) is the 'Spirit of the Vines' a line of seven groups of wooden statues representing a modern interpretation of mankind's integration with the vines over the centuries. This is a surreal eye-catcher, not to be missed and is just outside the village of Bergheim. Best to get directions from the local Tourist Office.
By Mrs Daniels on 21/09/2015
This was such a very well organised package holiday that we felt that we were independant travellers, but with the safety net of a rep, if required. We managed the pace, stops and route ourselves and had a truly excellent break.
By Mrs Maddison on 25/08/2015
Most enjoyable holiday, great walks, beautiful scenery and lots of wine tasting along the way.
By Mrs Maddison on 17/10/2014
This must have been one of our most enjoyable holidays. There was never a dull moment. Fascinating region , great walks and great towns and villages to explore
By Dr Darke on 14/10/2014
The joy of not using a car for 8 whole days was amazing! The walking was lovely, the grape harvest in full swing, the hotels EXCELLENT with good breakfasts and all arrangements extremely convenient and clear. Flying from Bristol is such fun compared with the toil of Heathrow/ Gatwick. Staying in Paris for the first night makes good sense, and the TGV is superb! There is only one snag...not having a car to bring home all the excellent wines! The Co-op at Turckheim is surely one of the best in France.
By Mrs Barker on 19/08/2014
We really enjoyed our hioliday. The rep gave us everything we needed, but compared to our other 2 headwater holidays, he perhaps wasn't quite as attentive. Three of the hotels were great, but the Constantine was not anywhere near the same quality and disappointing. We recommend Hotel Schwendi in Kintzheim, a 20 minute walk from Kaysersberg.
We look forward to our next Headwater holiday.
By Mr Sidey on 10/07/2014
Overall summary is that we thought the walks were excellent with a variety of scenery. The hotels were generally very good and the staff as well as local people were friendly and helpful. It is a beautiful area with lovely villages and towns being part of the walking route.
By Mrs Taylor on 26/06/2014
We paid £2082 of this holiday. During the trip we ascertained that the accommodation (and yes I have included the upgrades and breakfasts) were valued on booking.com as £911. Plus the two dinners at chez Norbert, say £100, then £1011. This means we have paid £1071 for transfers of baggage (we only paid 80 euros for a taxi from Turkheim to Basel), two maps and appalling route notes. Assuming you had a commission from the hotels based on your bulk buying power then you are rip off merchants. Why the dinner at Chez Norbert included? The choice was a not written but only a verbal one choice (pretty appalling option). We paid almost as much just upgrading to the normal menu as we could have eaten out at a local restaurant without . Is this philosophy to make you look generous because I can assure you it didn't work with us. The restaurant was closed on Tuesdays but no-one told us reception was also closed. They only gave us wifi codes for 24 hours, so we were without internet access for a day. My husband still works and needs internet access at all times. I realise I should have cross checked prices before booking and therefore blame myself for being ripped off, however this will most certainly not happen again. When the rep picked us up in Chatenois, he asked about our arrangements for onward travel - we told him we were intending to get train from Colmar to Basel late in
the day. He failed to tell us trains were on strike - left us to find out for ourselves and book a taxi to airport. What is the point of a rep who cannot give the most
simple advice. My advice to your future clients is 'don't be gullible -you can do better yourselves'
Dear Mrs Taylor,
Thank you for taking the time to complete our online questionnaire following your recent holiday to Alsace. Please be assured that all of the feedback we receive whether complimentary or critical is valuable in helping us to continue to improve and develop our holidays for the future and is always well received.
We were sorry to read that your holiday did not meet with your expectations; this was disappointing to hear as this holiday is normally a firm favourite with our customers. However, please be assured that we realise how important it is to maintain our high standards of accommodation and service, and we do appreciate we cannot afford to let our standards slip. Therefore all of your feedback has been passed on to the relevant UK and overseas departments and steps will be taken to improve where necessary. In closing we would like to thank you for your constructive comments and hope that despite the issues you have reported you had an enjoyable holiday overall.
Headwater Customer Service
By Mr Eyton-williams on 16/06/2014
The area was ideal for walking and very interesting. The hotels, service and locations chosen were good, but the route notes need updating as at times were confusing to the extent that all members of the group got lost at a couple of points during the week. Maps (IGN) supplied were excellent. It was the maps that enabled us to find our way. Suggested visits on rest days were most helpful and the Stork Center is well worth a visit
Overall we did enjoy our holiday and would happily visit the region again!
By Mr Brown on 07/06/2014
This holiday is to be recommended for those enjoying exercise and the wines of Alsace. The latter is important as much time is spent in and around the vineyards.
By Mr Fendall on 02/06/2014
This was a first time using Headwater.It was an 8 day 'walking' holiday but only 4 days of designated walking and therefore 4 days to 'do your own thing'. Suggestions were made in the guidebook but apart from more walkng or visiting vineyards the villages of Alsace offer little in the way of 'other' activites. I feel that at least 5 (or even 6) days of designated walking would be more appropriate.Overall I enjoyed the experience as Alsace is an area liken no other in France.
By Mrs Taylor on 02/06/2014
The holiday overall was well planned and the location was beautiful .The Alsace villages that we visited were most attractive with the old buildings and the history associated with them. As two fit octogenarians we were fully capable of managing the walks.
By Mr Stokes on 28/09/2013
A week that was both invigorating and relaxing in good walking country in the Vosges mountains - with pretty but touristy villages offering a good variety of places to sleep, eat and drink.
By Mrs Anzarut on 21/09/2013
We found the towns visited quite charming and the accommodation was good. This is a very leisurely and easy walking holiday.
By Mr Jackson on 16/09/2013
We chose this holiday because it was advertised as the easiest grade of walking in an area that looked very attractive in the brochure. We suspected, from looking at the altitude chart, that the second walking day might be more challenging than the grade implied, and we were right!
The shorter walk distances were fine for us, the directions were clear and the maps helpful, although we could have managed without them, as the walking notes were so good. We did have occasional problems finding the waymarks, particularly on Day 2, when we assume they had been on trees which had fallen. The villages we stayed in were very picturesque, the hotels were welcoming and the arrangements all worked very efficiently.
We have been on many Headwater holidays over the past 30 years and always enjoyed them, although we are choosing the easier grades nowadays. I would recommend this holiday, with the proviso that it is definitely NOT flat walking. Most days had a fair number of uphill and downhill stretches, and the second day in particular was a very lengthy uphill effort, with a couple of steep pulls, followed by some fairly tricky downhill walking through forests with fallen trees in places. We found our walking poles very useful, particularly on Day 2.
Dear Ms Thompson,
Thank you for taking the time to complete our on line questionnaire and for your feedback regrading the grading of the walks , please be assured that all of the feedback we receive is valued by us and is used to help improve and develop our holidays for the future.
It was great to read that you enjoyed your holiday to France. Although, I am sorry that you found some of the walks more challenging than you expected.
This year we introduced a new grading system of soft/leisurely/moderate/challenging. In previous years we have used a ‘boot’ rating. However, we have received mixed feedback regarding this new grading system and a number of people have told us they feel the old boot ratings gave a clearer indication of what was involved. We have therefore decided that from Nov 2013, we will be reinstating our previous system, in order to avoid any future problems. We will therefore be rating this holiday as a 1 boot which I hope you will agree is a suitable rating.
I am also sorry that you found discrepancies with some of our waymaking points, this is checked at the beginning of the season and then throughout as necessary, I have passed your comments on to our local rep, he will be re checking the routes before the start of the new season and will check out your feedback to ensure it is corrected.
Thank you once again for your constructive comments and for your loyalty over the years, we do hope to welcome you on another Headwater holiday in the future.
By Mrs Bale on 14/08/2013
We really enjoyed our holiday. It was a lovely area with some hearty food but fabulous wine. It was great to be able to taste the wine and then for Chris to transport it for us. I would have been happy to walk every day as the walks were not strenuous and we were at the next place by lunch time giving time to explore in the afternoon. We felt that it would have been useful to have known beforehand that each hotel had free wifi and also to have known that shampoo was not provided.
By Mr Webb on 12/08/2013
Beautiful small towns and villages, beautiful scenery and captivating history. Hotel accommodation was generally good and Chez Norbert's air conditioning was most welcome with temperatures in the mid to high 30's.
At Bergheim on chef's night off we were relocated for dinner to the Weinstub up the street. The lady in charge was most reluctant to provide a menu at the sum Headwater had allowed. Two of our party accepted the 'no choice' modest three course meal and we chose a'la carte. Food was indifferent and the wine overpriced.
At Turkheim food was not offered in Hotel des Deux Clefs, we enjoyed good food in town where there's plenty of choice. (so please disregard the 'poor' rating in questionnaire)
Apart from Chez Norbert, ventilation was inadequate in the hotels, fans were not always available and other clients complained that Headwater guest's rooms were usually located in the roof and were in consequence, unbearably hot. Our upgraded room in Turkheim was fine!
We missed the initial briefing which was a pity. Although our expected arrival time was late afternoon, we were actually in the hotel when Chris arrived with his clients from Colmar. A shame he didn't check.
This oversight did not detract from our holiday experience as our friends briefed us. When we eventually met Chris he impressed us as helpful, efficient, and friendly.
By Ms Cole on 12/08/2013
The Alsace Wine Trail was one of the very best holidays I have ever taken. The region was unknown to me and was delightful in all ways. The wine was excellent, my only regret is that it wasn't longer.
By Mr Christley on 05/08/2013
Excellent experience. Able to walk at our own pace. Very intersting area to travel in.
By Mr Drea on 24/07/2013
This is a self-guided walking holiday staying in small hotels in small towns or villages and requires a certain amount of tolerance, flexibility and common sense particularly when routes don't work out as they seem.
We were disappointed to have two of our hotel/restaurant meals deleted (we were provided with cash to fend for ourselves!). This meant that we had only two meals during the holiday arranged for us by Headwater instead of four as noted in the guidance.
This and some missing or bad forest signage were the only miner blips in an otherwise excellent and enjoyable holiday.
By Mr Barrett on 12/06/2013
Very relaxing holiday as able to walk at own pace and stop for wine tastings along the way. Independant walking was very easy as the directions and maps provided were excellent and the paths well signed to match the maps. A beautiful area to explore.
By Mr Mellish on 30/10/2012
An excellent week of walking, wine drinking and beautiful scenery in the Alsace, staying in wonderful little villages. A great week to choose if you enjoy wine and walking, but don't want to walk everyday and do long tiring walks.
By Mrs Hurley on 24/09/2012
Easy walking with fantastic views . Learnt a lot about wine.
Surprises came every day from orchids,wild sweet peas black squirrel, donkeys in the forest, chatty locals ,auberges on the edge of the forest and amazing food in the hotels.
By Mr Rodger on 24/09/2012
I am aware that some people wish the freedom to choose where they eat but I prefer the system where the meal is provided in the hotel or associated restaurant as there is the excitement of not knowing what delicasies might be offered.
In the above part of the survey "Meals" are included in the Hotel surveys when, in fact, this only applied to one hotel.
(Hotel Chez Norbert)
By Mrs Tulloch on 03/09/2012
good walking distances with alternatives to do extra if wanted.
pretty villages and lovely food.
By Mr Belfield on 23/07/2012
Thoroughly enjoyable. Chris was very helpful.
By Mrs Johnson on 11/07/2012
It was an excellent holiday except for the issue below and the smallness of the rooms and proximity to town clock at Turkheim amd the smallnes of the room and heat in the room at Riquewhir, the room being located in the eaves.
By Mr Bowden on 11/07/2012
Enjoyed a very different part of france. Eating out good and easy, but might be different in July/Augustesp in Riquwihr.
By Mr Dixon on 07/07/2012
Alace was a great location for a walking holiday.With lovely villages only 2 / 3 km apart we were able to stop for breaks and lunch in little cafes.The locals all friendly being still country peolpe seeing strangers as visitors to be made welcome.
All the hotels were good and we would consider staying in them agian particularly Chez Norbert in Bergheim.
It was a great holiday and we enjoyed it very much.
By Ms Butterworth on 23/06/2012
Very good, excellent organisation
By Mr Walmsley on 23/06/2012
interesting and relaxing in a new area of europe
By Mrs Whitter on 16/06/2012
Extremely enjoyable holiday
By Mr McIntosh on 11/06/2012
We have been with headwater twice before, and on these occasions we realised that these types of holidays were rather expensive, but also felt we got value for money. On this occasion we felt corners had been cut. We got this impression because of the following -
1) On arrival at Turkheim we were taken aback to be told we were on the 3rd floor but there was no lift, nor offer of help with our cases. It was an attic room that was cramped and scarcely relaxing. Arriving a day early booked by yourselves, we spent 2 nights there. The food at the tied restaurant was excellent, and on the return to the same hotel at OUR REQUEST we were accommodated on the first floor of the new wing at no extra cost.
At Kaysersberg the room was clean but dark and of a minimum standard. The local restaurants were excellent.
At Riquewihr the bedroom was immaculate, and produced for the first time good towels, but the room was too warm, with no means of cooling it except by opening all windows. The restaurant in the same street La Grape d'Or was excellent.
At Bergheim, Chez Norbet produced an excellent breakfast, and nothing was too much bother. However the nearby by restaurant Sommelier - produced a cut price - cut value menu for Headwater clients - on their own admission as I overheard the waiter explaining in French to other clients - and that he wouldn't offer it to them! 'It was only for the English!' When we overheard this, and noted it was chicken, we chose from their normal a la carte menu - but the standard of the lamb of which we eat a lot in Scotland was abysmal. We would not recommend this restaurant to anyone, as even having complained that we could not eat it the bill was exorbitant. By that time in the holiday we had experienced far better quality for less. The following night we were offered the 'Headwater menu' at Hotel Norbet - but it was chicken again - and though it was nicely presented for those with a good appetite after significant exercise it would not have been enough.
Overall we didn't let these issues spoil the holiday, as we thoroughly enjoyed the variety of the locations, and the well planned walking through the ancient rural villages. Because we were on out own, we took the opportunity to communicate with the les indigenes.
Dear Mr McIntosh, thank you very much for taking the time to contact us following your holiday in the Alsace. Further to our conversation we can confirm that for future departures we will only book Headwater guests on to the lower floors in Hotel des Deux Clefs. We were appalled to hear about the restaurant 'Sommelier'. As we mentioned we have never had this feedback before, but this is now being monitored on every departure, and should we receive any further comments, we will not hesitate to look into an alternative restaurant. We genuinely value your feedback and hope to welcome you on another Headwater holiday in the future.