I have been trying to decide whether or not to write this post since early last year. Why??? I don’t really like writing posts negative posts about experiences or products etc. so these generally don’t make it to my blog. Anyone that knows me and that would be quite a few people will all agree that I am a happy, fair and friendly individual that doesn’t like to cause trouble but will speak up on occasion should the need require.
So in this instance I am making an exception to my no negative blog post rule as it appears my issue doesn’t appear to be a one off. To be fair this post mentions positive aspects too so it does actually fit in to a degree. A number of Center Parcs clients appear to have been affected by the same issue that my group had last year. How do I know this? Probably due to the fact that I talk a fair amount and not just to a select few at the school gates (although I do NOT gossip!!!). My dad thinks I am like donkey from Shrek (the movie with the big green ogre) and that the trick is getting me to be quiet, lol, thanks dad.
This issue turned what should have been a lovely holiday into a total disaster and here is why. Last year in March I went on holiday with my family to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday. My siblings and I had all discussed where to go and decide we wanted to relive the wonderful memories we had made during our childhood on our numerous visits to the various Center Parcs sites. We booked the recently opened Woburn site as the accommodation at the last one that I had visited Elveden had been a little worse for wear a few years before. Whose glad she took her bottle of dettol and some extra paper rolls that time around!!!!!!!
We opted for a woodland lodge for our 2015 visit as it seemed to cover all our basic requirements. We have been going to Center Parcs since I was little (it’s been a looooong time) and have been to most of their UK sites. I loved it so much I even had my hen weekend there, although it was not your normal style hen weekend as my fiancé and other males were also invited (I tend not to follow the norm but like to do my own thing).
Anyway last year extremely excited (me probably even more than the kids, lol) we drove to the site, checked in and collected the keys for what was to be our home for the weekend. I was looking forward to my children (all 3) experiencing the beautiful scenery, the fabulous swimming facilities and getting that little bit closer to nature than normal.
The lodge was well equipped although I must admit I did bring a few cooking essentials with me having remembered what I had to work with in the past. The girls couldn’t wait to go and see the pool so of course we went swimming. For those that haven’t been to Center Parcs this is one of the few things that you don’t have to pay for when you are there. The subtropical swimming area is great for young and old although I did think the Woburn pool was a little lacking in comparison to that at Elveden Forest as for a start there were no hot whirlpools (with their own bubbles so you didn’t need to create your own, hey I never did lol). We ate out on numerous occasions and took part in various activities it wasn’t long until some of the party began to get ill.
Not realising at first what the cause was at first we continued using the pool and more of the party began to feel ill. Some of the party felt so ill that they almost went home on the Sunday. By the time we had come home all but one out of the 9 of us were ill or showing the first signs of illness and through a simply differential diagnosis I deduced that the cause of the illness was actually cryptosporidium a microscopic parasite that is chlorine resistant. I had thought this would be the case whilst on site so I made a point of mentioning the illness and likely cause to two members of staff but they didn’t seem that bothered. I was surprised at the lack of interest in preventing this from happening to others as this was not what I had expected at all.
It was quite upsetting to have had this happen as it made what should have been a fun and positive experience the total opposite for all concerned and some of them now wouldn’t fancy returning. I had wanted to begin making memories with my children but now when I mention Center Parcs they think of it as the place that made them ill, not a very good advert for them I am sure. I was considering taking the children again this year my only concern would now be the swimming pool but as this is an important part of the holiday I am not sure exactly how this could be avoided. This hasn’t happened every time we have been and clearly we were unlucky but as other families have said that they experienced the same thing at different sites it is not an isolated occurrence. I will say that if we were to return that I doubt we would set foot in the children’s pool as this would be the most likely origin of the initial contamination. What do you think guys, should I risk it and take the kids again??? Should I have contacted them and asked for compensation too considering what happened??? (I know others that tried this but had to keep on at Centre Parcs to get anything acceptable which was one reason why I didn’t bother at the time.)