Customer reviews: Canoeing in France
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 canoeing 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 canoeing 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 canoeing 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 Singleton on 23/08/2016
Elizabeth was friendly, efficient and helpful tour rep. The food and accommodation were generally superb, especially at Hostellerie Fenelon, where the staff made special efforts with our 9 year old. We particuarly liked reading about the experiences of others in the Headwater Blue Book, which gave us useful clues for what to do on the 'non-canoeing' days. It also helped us plan for the weather which was variable, ranging from very hot to thunderstorms. We would highly recommend canoeing and cycling the Dordogne which is a welcoming and very attractive area of France. Our children really enjoyed themselves. We are glad that we didn't try it with children any younger because after four canoeing days, our youngest (9) was tired! The pools at each hotels were a particular hit. QuercyLand, the children's water park at Souillac, proved something of a lifesaver when we realised that we weren't going to be able to cycle because of illness.
By Mrs Davidson on 17/08/2016
An ideal combination of mild peril, moderate exercise and gluttony, in lovely and interesting surroundings.
By Mrs Lithgow on 25/07/2016
This was an ideal holiday for our family with three teenagers. The canoeing wasn't too demanding but was fun, and the 'rest' days could be as active as we liked. The Dordogne is a wonderful part of France, fantastically beautiful, and with superb cuisine. All the hotels provided fantastic meals and really good, friendly service. The kids had a triple room in three of the five hotels and these were well-sized, proper triple or family rooms so they had plenty of space.
I would normally put our family holiday together myself but it was wonderful being able to leave all the organisation up to someone else, knowing that all the pieces would fit together. They did our flights (from Scotland) - with dates that didn't match the canoeing holiday - and also car hire for those extra days at a very reasonable rate.
Just be aware that you will have extra costs when you are there. You will, of course, have to pay for drinks with your (half board) evening meal, and these prices varied quite a bit between the hotels, and the picnic lunches provided by the hotels varied between 7 and 10 Euros per person. We could add tips to our card payments at all but one of the hotels.
By Mr Richards on 16/06/2016
We went for a canoeing holiday. which didn't happen.Obviously, Headwater were completely blameless.We made the most of it, with excellent help from Elizabeth (our Rep), by walking. This area, especially at this time of year, wouldn't have been my choice for walking. For us,this was a very expensive walking holiday.
By Mrs Kirby-vine on 06/10/2015
Highly enjoyable overall. however either the price needs to be significantly reduced or the quality of two of the hotels needs to be significantly improved.
The rooms in the Hostellerie Fenelon were really shabby and the toilet got completely blocked. There was a really large dog in the room next door who kept us awake half the night!!
The rooms in the Hotel Le Quercy were good and clean, but there was absolutely no character to the place at all. The swimming pool and surrounding area was really poorly maintained and surrounded by what looked like derelict buildings with weed filled gardens: very poor.
The last criticism was the provision (or rather lack of provision) of meals for teenagers. I do not expect specially made menus for teenagers, but what I do expect is that if they chose to eat off the kids menu and do not have a starter then they should not be charged for a dessert if they chose to select it off the main menu. They have been charged a full adult price for the holiday so they should receive the equivalent of a full adult meal
By Mrs Hamilton on 15/09/2015
Excellent holiday travelling through the Dordogne in a peaceful setting at your own pace and staying at well chosen establishments that provide some amazing standards of food quality relative to their star rating. The friendliness, helpfulness and availability of the reps Keith & Claire was excellent too.
By Mrs Woodard on 15/09/2015
I suggest you place the oldest persons in each group on ground floor hotel rooms. Hard for old guys to lug bags upstairs.
By Mr Norman on 14/09/2015
Wonderful holiday through a stunning and, at times, remote area of France with excellent food, drink and opportunity for activity. Very relaxing.
By Mrs Powell on 08/09/2015
Would definately recommend this holiday to everybody! The whole package was brilliant.I was a bit nervous at first -never been in a canoe before but after a very short time i was thoroughly enjoying every minute! We loved everything about the whole trip - the region, the canoes,the hotels, the bikes - the reps were brilliant -really helpful and knowledgeable. We,ve had some great holidays over the years and this one certainly ranks as one of our best ones! I took a lot of photos along the way and friends and family were very complimentery about them - seeing what we had been up to!!
By Mrs Peters on 07/09/2015
Fabulous family holiday. We were very impressed by the high standard of equipment provided and managed by our two reps Keith and Clare - the kit was immaculate and in excellent condition (especially the bikes, panniers, locks etc). The canoeing was so peaceful with beautiful scenery and wildlife all the way (numerous kingfishers, herons, cormorants, little egrets etc) - the faster water was fun, the daily distances were very achievable. On our 'rest' days we were fairly active and put in many miles (steep hills and off-roading) on our bikes (we bought detailed maps online before we went) however, it would have been very easy to have complete rest and relaxation by the lovely hotel pools. Basically you can be as active or inactive as you feel - would suit nearly all abilities. Fabulous food and wine (although the wine in the hotels was quite pricey). Would highly recommend to anyone.
By Mrs Parker on 01/09/2015
We as a family have canoed and kayaked in the past. I would have thought it would be quite tricky on the first day if you have never done it at all. I would suggest an hour demonstration for novices to get them try it out.
By Mr Sears on 17/08/2015
Wonderful food amazing canoeing in a brilliant location
By Mr Newman on 27/07/2015
All the accommodation was good, but the Hostellerie Fenelon, and the Hotel Quercy were outstanding in all respects - superb food and very friendly and welcoming.
Local reps Claire and Keith were also outstanding - available, informative, cheerful, nothing too much trouble, very well-informed - a pleasure to have them as reps
By Mr Heyes on 24/06/2015
Great time Well organised and well balanced with activities.
By Mr Burgess on 17/10/2014
This canoeing/ cycling holiday on the Dordogne rates as one of our best ever. In mid September, we had the river to ourselves, the weather fortunately was superb, the accommodation, locations and food were excellent and the logistics from Headwater and the support and advice from Keith our rep were outstanding. We plan to come again, especially in the quieter season.
By Mrs McQuillan on 24/09/2014
I am usually full of praise for your holidays but this one was not so enjoyable. I felt I needed much more help with the canoe, practising on the water first, and with the routes. Photographs of the stopping places would have been helpful as would a more accurate map with scale. I felt rather stressed at times not knowing what to expect and perhaps in retrospect, this was not the best holiday for me. The bike I tried had far too strong brakes, I came off at the hotel and was in pain all the holiday with a very bruised rib. I did not get on the bike again and paddling was painful. I would have so much have preferred to have had bike rides on our days off. We also had to walk in the heat with our equipment to the hotel in Soulliac, this was quite an ordeal. Without the other couple on the holiday, who were very helpful, I really would not have had the confidence to carry on with the canoeing. I have already paid a deposit for another holiday in February , if I hadn't done this, I think I might well have cancelled.
By Mis Bunbury on 21/09/2014
Generally an enjoyable holiday with well chosen hotels. However, the guidance notes were not always clear and in some cases out of date. We realise that conditions on the river fluctuate, but felt that Keith could have done more to update both himself and us on current conditions. As it was we spent time looking for landmarks which were no longer visible (e.g. pebble beach intended to warn us that we were approaching rough water halfway between Souillac and Sarlat). Rep must surely have been warned of the changes by other travellers and could have passed these warnings on to us. The laminated notes and maps would have been easier to handle if they had been bound into a folder in their logical order.
By Mr Kilby on 21/07/2014
A wonderful holiday, alternating canoeing with walking. The hotels were all in good positions and the meals were gourmet standard - a real treat. We were very well looked after - our bags always waiting for us at each destination. Thank you for a great experience.
By Mr Chaplin on 14/07/2014
This holiday was exactly what was described and expected. All accommodation, activities and equipment were excellent.The company reps were very friendly and helpful. It was a great experience which we will doubtlessly repeat in the next few years. Thanks.
By Mr Flower on 17/09/2013
The right blend of activatity and relaxation in stunning scenery and beautiful locations.
By Mr Shannon on 31/08/2013
The canoeing days were excellent. However the days in between we less satisfactory. The bikes supplied were not of a high quality so hills were difficult, particularly for the weaker members and those who were experienced found them frustrating (front suspension is not helpful with hills). The other holidays we have been on with you have had excellent food and hotels with character and we were slightly disappointed by these ones - it may be because the choice was limited by having to be near the river. The food for meat eaters got very repetitive (foie gras and duck) and most people didn't know how to cater for vegetarians. You did warn us in advance about the vegetarian issue and we took the risk in the knowledge that it could be an issue. However, most hotels had not thought what to do at all, despite being told in advance and the standard response was an omelette. Also all but one hotel offered the same standard menu on both nights so meat eaters felt the choice was limited - the exception to this being Hotel Grangier.
By Ms Martin on 22/08/2013
The combination of activity (kayaking, cycling), and moving somewhere new without the problem of carrying heavy baggage, yet also having time to explore local towns and villages was perfect for us. Wish there were more kayaking options in southern france that you offered.
By Mr Plant on 31/07/2013
Overall we had a great time but felt certain issues took the sheen off the experience which is a disappointment.
By Ms Dixon on 16/07/2013
Friendly Dordogne, repa and hoteliers alike. Helpful at all times. Good food if a little rich and large at times. Canoeing was excellent and good safety equipment and instructions. River is variable so guide lines only approximate. Very hot in July but trees provide shade as does starting out earlier than 10.00 a.m. On the four day canoeing( out of 8 days ) important on days 1 and 2 to wear a helmet. A hazard on each of those days and helmet was useful to one person ! Lovely hotel in Sarlat on first and last day with warm pool. Market exceptional in Sarlat. Trip out by air left us in Toulouse for over 3 houirs with luggage and heat of day waiting for train to Souillac. Very hard day travelling. Advise breaking it up or take euro star and train.
By Mrs O'Rourke on 08/07/2013
Disappointed with holiday overall given the cost. Hotels were not the standard we'd expected based on previous experience. Details in the holiday information were not up dated. It felt that this holiday, hotels and route were established a number of years ago and not revised to ensure they were of the best current standard. It often felt that we were given the poorer quality or less favoured room locations. Generally the food was a good standard. We would not recommend this holiday at price paid. Canoeing element was fine although not personally challenging for us. Obviously the river conditions and weather vary and are difficult to predict for individual customer expectations.
By Mr Haggis on 04/07/2013
Overall we enjoyed the holiday very much despite weather that was less than kind, especially for the time of year. The upside of going in June was that we had the river almost entirely to ourselves, and the faster-than-usual current made for some good entertainment and less strenuous paddling. We would certainly recommend it to people who - like us - have never canoed before. A couple of problems before we left: we were incorrectly invoiced (£500 was added for flights we weren't taking) and both our surnames were misspelt. Once we got there Keith did an excellent job, including sorting out rooms with a bath to soothe our aching bodies at each hotel. He also lent me his own waterproof bag for the week, and picked us up early as requested on the final day - he couldn't have been more helpful. As far as the hotels were concerned, the weak link is St Sozy (although it's worth going there just for Bernard, who is a hoot). I suppose you have limited options around there, but it's quite a walk from the river and it's a pain that it doesn't open till 1730. Also to be told that we are only allowed one croissant each for breakfast is not really acceptable. On the other hand Bernard sorted us out an excellent taxi driver who took us by various scenic routes to Rocamadour on our rest day. One general comment we would make - especially in view of the cost of the holiday - is that Headwater might consider putting its guests in slightly better rooms - we seemed often to be in the cheapest - and preferably ones with a bath. Overall, though, an excellent holiday, though we'd be grateful if another time you could sort out the weather...
By Mr Sharman on 01/10/2012
Excellent fun and loved the activity side of the holiday
By Mr Lenane on 10/09/2012
A really good adventure.
Wonderful reps who were obviously passionate about their jobs, and who always "walked the extra mile" when any request was made.
I expected the dinners to be ok/good, but in fact they were all exceptional, which cheered us up enormously when the weather let us down.
Thank you headwater.
By Mrs Hebden on 01/09/2012
We had an excellent holiday. The organisation in terms of transfers, provision of instructions and the moving of luggage from hotel to hotel was all exceptional, and the staff in all hotels were very helpful and friendly. The weather was perfect for the canoeing, and the fact that each hotel en route had a lovely pool waiting for us at the end of the day, was a great bonus. We will definitely be looking at booking with Headwater again.
By Mr Edwards on 29/08/2012
Very good trip. Main problem was weather too hot for me and several other members of the party so we didn't sleep too well - hardly Headwater's fault. Airconditionng would have been wonderful.
Agents were great.
By Mr Wilson on 07/08/2012
Well organised holiday with canoeing that was fine for beginners. The hotels are mixed - beds are not great in a couple, and the rooms can be small; our rep helped us change from the room we were given that was in a basement and smelled damp. We enjoyed most of the meals, and the welcome / service was generally very good in all the hotels. Highest praise for the local Headwater representatives who were extremely responsive and good at sorting things out. They even acted as taxi for me when my back gave up after two days in the canoe.
By Mr Allan on 23/07/2012
By Mr Hall on 07/07/2012
Except for a canoeing accident in the last hour of the last day of the holiday when my wife broke her wrist when we capsized, it was great and Keith and Clare looked after us very well.