SPRING CLEAN YOUR LUXURY LODGE

The interior of a luxury lodge at Cedar Retreats

 

Just like any home, when the sun starts to shine it might brighten our mood, but it is often that time of year when mucky marks, water stains and a general covering of dust become more evident. As such, it gives us all the perfect excuse to give our luxury lodges a good spring clean before the peak season.

As you know, we like to offer our owners as much help as we can, and so we have put together the following checklist so that you cover everything off while you have the chance. Some are simple and others perhaps less obvious, but we know that once you’ve gone through the list your luxury lodge will be spic and span, ready for the season ahead.

Windows

Giving your windows a good clean makes all of the difference to the way that the luxury lodge will look both outside and in. It will also impact on how appealing it will be for guests when they visit. First impressions do matter and this includes the doors and windows which, at this time of year, will show up every watermark when the sun shines. Patio doors should get some attention too, as they are likely to need a rub down.

Don’t forget to clean the outside surfaces as well as the glass. Using a damp cloth with either a non-corrosive cream cleaner or soapy water will do the trick.

Floors

There is a good chance that due to the weather the floors of the lodge will be dirtier than you think. Take this opportunity to give them a little added attention. Once you’re hoovered through, take a floor cleaner – and if possible one that has been developed especially for wood – and mop throughout.

Remember, don’t use too much water on wooden floors, you don’t want to end up with warped floors that look worse than when you started!

Soft furnishings

Where possible you can wash the covers on cushions and any soft furnishings. Take down the curtains and either sponge them or put them in the washer. Now that the weather is dry (or forecast to be) you can hang any wet items outside in the fresh air.

There may be some items that are looking a little tired and this is the perfect opportunity to decide whether to make do and mend or replace. The one caveat is that when things are starting to look tatty it will give guests the chance to comment and leave negative posts online.

Our recommendation would be to replace anything that you wouldn’t be proud to display in your own home. Using this benchmark works for us and that is reflected in the responses we get from our guests all year round.

Hot tubs

We know that our guests love the private hot tubs here at Cedar Retreats and that is one of the reasons why it’s so important that we keep them clean and well maintained.

We’ve heard from some of the couples that have visited the park in the past and they’ve explained that poorly maintained hot tubs have put them off from returning to lodge parks, so we know how important this simple task is.

Make the most of a managed service

We appreciate that some of our owners have invested in the lodges to supplement their income and as such, they prefer to rely on us to manage the properties on their behalf. When this is the case, we go through the spring clean process and make recommendations on anything that needs replacing.

Daily and weekly cleans are all part of the service that we offer, so there’s no need to worry, it’s all taken care of and your luxury lodge will be ready to welcome guests all year round – not just when the sun comes out to shine.

 

THERE’S NO GROUNDHOG DAY FOR MANDY

Mandy, Senior Housekeeper at Cedar Retreats

Considered to be part of the furniture (in a good way!) Senior Housekeeper, Mandy Yeatman, has been with the team at Cedar Retreats for more than four years. In that time she has seen the park become what it is today; a tranquil and relaxing retreat for guests and owners alike.

Like any business, tranquil and relaxing perhaps isn’t how the staff would describe what goes on behind the scenes, but Mandy says that despite having a to-do list as long as your arm what makes working at Cedar Retreats so great is that no two days are ever the same.

She comments: “I’ve almost been here as long as the park itself, which is something I’m really proud of. Things have changed and certainly developed as I have watched the luxury lodges go up one by one and have seen so many happy guests come and go.

“There is no groundhog day here and we are always busy but what makes it work is that we all get on and we have a giggle. I always wanted to work in a busy people orientated environment, so hospitality is great.”

Responsible for maintaining the high standards of lodge housekeeping, Mandy is never short of a task and managing the other seven housekeepers into teams on each of the Monday and Friday changeovers certainly keeps her on her toes.

Ensuring that each and every lodge is cleaned and ready for the next guests arriving and that any general maintenance work is complete is absolutely essential if Cedar Retreats is to give the experience that we have become renowned for.

It’s not all work and no play for Mandy though, outside of the day job she enjoys a calmer past time and can be found painting and drawing.

Admitting that art was her favourite subject at school, when asked to describe herself in three words she chooses: outgoing, fun, caring and naughty. We’re pleased that maths wasn’t top of the list – that’s four words Mandy!

PACKING PREPARATION FOR A SHORT BREAK AT THE PARK

Getting ready for a trip to Cedar Retreats

We know that for many of our guests, when they book a holiday at Cedar Retreats they will want to go online to plan their days before they arrive. With lots of visitor attractions and activities on the doorstep, we really are in the perfect location.

Whether you would prefer to plan long walks in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, scream with delight on the rollercoasters at Lightwater Valley or would rather relax in your private hot tub before venturing in to the village for a pub lunch or dinner, there’s something for everyone.

Whilst we agree that planning your activities is a good idea – particularly as you may need to book tickets in advance – it’s important that we take a step back and put some preparation into what you are going to pack.

Some people love the thought of packing for a trip away and others hate it but, either way, it’s important that you include all of the essentials – and remember, when visiting Yorkshire that includes everything from your wellington boots to your bikini!

We’ve put together the following handy hints to help out when you’re in the middle of a packing panic.

Clothing choices

Let’s be honest, the weather in Yorkshire can be changeable and that is why we suggest that our guests bring some warm clothes. The luxury lodges here at Cedar Retreats are lovely and cosy, so you don’t need to worry about wearing your fleecy jumpers inside but that isn’t necessarily the case when you venture out.

We would suggest you pack a couple of jumpers and some warm socks to keep your feet toastie when you set out for a walk. Wellington boots are a good idea too. They may not be the most obvious attire but the fields and roads can be dirty, so it’s better to be prepared.

Don’t forget your swimwear. In the past, we have had some disappointed guests when they realise that they have forgotten their costumes, so make sure to add them to your list if you would like to make best use of our private hot tubs. They are certainly very popular all year round.

Toiletries

Here at Cedar Retreats we do provide miniature shampoo, conditioner and shower gels but we know that some guests prefer to bring their own or are staying longer than the smaller complimentary bottles will last, so it’s certainly worth packing some top ups!

Tooth brushes and toothpaste seem to be the essentials that many holidaymakers leave behind and although we have a local shop in the village that does stock replacements, it’s always better to be prepared.

Each lodge has a number of power points in the bedrooms and although we provide hairdryers in each of the lodges we know that many people will also use hair straighteners too, so these need to be added to the list.

Food and drink

As a self-catering park, we leave the food and drink choices to our customers. Whether you want to treat your stay at Cedar Retreats as the perfect excuse to kick start a healthier way of life or you want a short break that comes with all of the indulgences you would expect, it’s up to you.

A couple of suggestions would be: eggs, bacon, sausages and bread buns for breakfast, mince which can be used to make a bolognaise, lasagne or chilli, chicken fillets that can be used for a range of dishes and canned soups, which are quick and easy for lunchtimes.

Many of our guests choose to bring a bottle or two of fizz but again this is a personal preference – although they are often enjoyed on the private decking overlooking the amazing panoramic views that we have here, so that may be worth considering before you arrive.

Doh!

Don’t worry if you do forget something because, although it’s always better to be prepared, we do have a local shop in the village and just a short drive away you can access supermarkets that will have everything that you are looking for.

So, all that is left to do is to get the suitcases in the car and set out on your short break, we look forward to welcoming you. Retreat, relax and return.

TAKING THE TIME TO PLAN FOR YOUR RETIREMENT

Retirement planning isn’t always on the top of the list when it comes to the conversations you want to have with family and friends, but the truth of the matter is that the more organised you are the more likely you will be to have the standard of living you expect in your old age.

Many people put money into savings accounts and pensions but there are other ways that you could save for your retirement and that includes purchasing a luxury lodge. It may not be the most obvious suggestion but with a possible return of upwards of 9.2% when you rent the lodges all year round, you can see that it quickly starts to make sense.

We have a number of owners on the park that have invested in a luxury lodge that they simply rely on to top up their income. With no landlord tax to pay, no stamp duty and no council tax, there are clear benefits to owning this type of property.

Better still, the lodges can be used as second homes. There is no need to rent them out forever, simply put a plan in place and rely on them to supplement your income until you’re ready to make a more permanent move to the country.

Set around a beautiful lake in the Yorkshire countryside, the park is the perfect location for those that want a relaxing and peaceful retirement. A short walk from the village of West Tanfield, guests and owners can access the small shop and two pubs that provide the basic essentials along with a selection of delicious lunches and dinners to enjoy.

When you think about your retirement, a luxury lodge with private hot tub may not have been something that you had considered but with so many benefits you can understand why people choose to move to Cedar Retreats.

As well as the cedar finished lodges, we also offer an interior design service so that our owners can be sure to get the look that they are hoping for. As well as offering advice and guidance on colour schemes, materials and furnishings, our dedicated team will also explain why it’s important to choose items that are functional and hard wearing, particularly when you want to rent the property all year round.

With planning permission for 37 lodges and 19 already sold, we are a relatively exclusive park and want to make sure that we continue to deliver the top-quality service for our customers that we have become known for.

With an independent rating from Hoseasons guests of 9.4 out of 10, we are one of the highest rated parks in the country and this is something that we are very proud to share. Not only does it give us the confidence to know that our customers are happy but also that they want to share their positive experiences with others.

If you are considering planning your retirement, then perhaps you should consider purchasing a luxury lodge from Cedar Retreats. With prices starting from £150,000 there is a lot to look forward to when you invest with us.

For further details please call 01677 450284 or email sales@cedarretreats.co.uk.

NEVER MIND THE EASTER EGGS BOOK A ‘BREAK’ WITH CEDAR RETREATS

With the Easter weekend fast approaching we thought it would be a good time to remind you of all of the benefits to booking a break with Cedar Retreats, not least that we are a park with personality.

It’s likely that over the coming weeks you will see a selection of pun-tastic articles and headlines featuring across newspapers and magazines in the run up to the long-weekend – and far be it from us to complain – we love nothing more than a play on words, so hold on to your Easter hats, here we go.

If you want something to get really ‘egg-cited’ about this Easter, then why not book a ‘break’ with Cedar Retreats? Now that the countdown has begun, there isn’t much time to choose your preferred luxury lodge that comes with private hot tub, so you better ‘hop to it’.

As a park that secures an independent rating from our guests of 9.4 / 10 from Hoseasons, we wouldn’t want you to ‘count your chickens before they hatch’ and leave your booking to the last minute.

Fear not however, our ‘egg-cellent’ Park Manager, Lawrence, will do his best to accommodate when you do ring. We know you’ll have a real ‘spring in your step’ when you see what we have on offer.

Whether it’s long walks in the countryside that you crave or just a relaxing break away from the stresses and stains of everyday life, those that stay with us regularly comment on what a ‘cracking’ time they have had.

It’s just a short walk to our local village, where you will find a friendly ‘bunch’ along with a shop and two local pubs that as well as providing the essentials also sell delicious cuisine and a selection of ales and wines to enjoy.

Hidden away and surrounded by the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, Cedar Retreats is the ideal get away for a romantic break or a catch up with friends and family. We’re sure that you’ll get ‘egg-stra’ brownie points for ‘hatching a plan’ to come to stay with us. But we’re not yolking when we say you need to get ‘cracking’, pick up the phone and make your booking today.

We look forward to welcoming you very soon.

10 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HOLIDAY HOME

Buying your first property can be a rollercoaster of emotion; from excitement and anxiety to elation and despair. It can be a challenging time, but like your first love, the memories of that decision often last forever.

So, what about a holiday home in the UK?

There are many different reasons why someone will decide it’s the right time for them to invest in a holiday home and whether that is to make a sound investment that will deliver a consistent return or to own a space that will deliver that work life balance we all crave, there are a number of questions that must be asked before you sign on that dotted line.

  1. Location

Location is really important factor when you consider how much time you may spend in a second home. Even if you have visited the same place frequently for weekends, it’s worth booking an extended break and meeting with the locals to get their thoughts on the good and the bad things about that local area.

  1. New build or not

Before you jump in and go for a more typical dwelling, decide if that house type is right for you. There are more options when it comes to second homes than ever before which can include everything from a small cottage with original beams and quirky features to a cedar dressed lodge in the middle of the country. In some instances, you can even influence the design and have it made completely bespoke to you, which could make a big difference to the holiday home you end up with.

  1. Size is everything

Having the option to change the size of a property to suit you is a luxury but it is also a very real possibility with a second home. Take a lodge as an example, the spec can be changed to meet with your requirements and your budget.

Don’t go for second best or standard because you think you have to. Consider all of your options.

  1. Functional design

When you’re decorating your holiday home remember that you won’t be there every day. The décor and furnishings need to be appealing whilst being functional. That doesn’t mean they can’t be fun but it does mean that you need to consider how much housework you want to do when you’re supposed to be taking a break.

Always keep in the back of your mind that your time will be better spent doing something you enjoy rather than dusting and hoovering; unless of course that is what you love!

  1. Transport networks

You don’t want to choose a holiday home that will have you on the road for hours or paying for train tickets that cost a fortune. There is a happy medium. Set yourself a geographic remit and try to stick to it. Although you may think that a three-hour drive or train ride to the country in the summer months would be romantic, the same will not be said when you are venturing out on wintry, cold and dark evenings.

  1. Amenities

If you are choosing a remote location, make sure that there are local amenities close by. With so many convenience stores and supermarkets in cities, towns and even large villages, we have become guilty of taking them for granted. Pubs and cafes are the same, so make sure you do your research and find out exactly what is on your doorstep and what you will need to venture a little further afield for.

  1. Local services

The idea of having a holiday home shouldn’t be to have a second house to clean and tidy, so call upon local people who offer those services. In locations where there are a number of holiday homes, you will often find a number of people to choose from so remember to check references and pick someone you trust.

An alternative option could be to consider a managed park or retreat. For an annual fee, you can rely on the park managers to make all the arrangements for you. All you do is arrive, have fun and leave – without having to worry about any maintenance or cleaning up after yourselves! Perfect.

  1. An investment

Increasingly, people are buying holiday homes as an investment, with some securing an annual rental income of upwards of 9.2%.

As the staycation becomes increasingly popular the market for short-term rental has also risen. Consider how you are going to manage the process, but if you want a home that you can rent out when you are not there then the returns can be a healthy way to supplement your income.  

  1. Family and friends

When family and friends find out that you have a holiday home it’s likely that they will be straight on the phone and asking to stay. To avoid this, you have to set the boundaries early. Consider whether you want to offer the property at all, let it free of charge to those that you know or secure a rental income from it.

When you’ve made these decisions stick to them or you may find that you end up bidding for the dates where you want to stay in your own holiday home!

  1. Longer-term plans

There is no point in thinking short-term when you buy a second property, it should be considered as any other investment whether you want to rent it or not. Think about the sales potential that it has and make sure that longer term you are least likely to get your money back.

Take the time to research into developments that are planned locally and for any contentious situations that may impact on your property before you agree to buy a second home.

TALKING TRANSFERABLE SKILLS: WE MEET OUR PARK MANAGER, LAWRENCE

Park Manager, Cedar Retreats

Park Manager, Lawrence Simpson

Since joining our team in May 2017, Lawrence Simpson, the Park Manager here at Cedar Retreats, has had to turn his hand to a varied number of new tasks. 

With a 30-year career in the military, Lawrence soon found that many of the skills he had perfected were transferable to the leisure industry; with the need to be focused, to have good administration processes in place and to be organised.

Adept at spinning plates, and taking on each new challenge with gusto, Lawrence makes sure that the rental and guest experience is of the highest standard for our owners and guests alike when visiting our luxury lodges.

Responsible for all aspects of managing the park, which includes providing direction to the housekeeping, ground, general and hot tub maintenance teams, no two days at Cedar Retreats are ever the same.

Interacting with owners, guests and their families, Lawrence is often the first point of contact when you visit Cedar Retreats and can be found in the main office that is positioned right at the centre of the park.

Formerly a Captain of the Royal Army Medical Corps in the British Army, during his spare time Lawrence enjoys reading books about true crime and military history. It comes as no surprise that history was also his favourite subject at school.

Describing himself as organised, passionate and meticulous, Lawrence is a stickler for detail and will go out of his way to be helpful. Next time you visit Cedar Retreats make sure you pop in to the office and say hello. You’ll find a friendly face, a wide smile and a good sense of humour waiting to welcome you.

Retreat, Relax, Return is our motto here at Cedar Retreats and we make sure that this is reflected in all that we do here. 

PROPERTY COULD BE THE ANSWER TO YOUR PENSION PLANNING PRAYERS

The interior of a luxury lodge at Cedar Retreats

Very few people enjoy sitting down to plan or review their pension planning, which is evident in research by Standard Life who has confirmed that while two thirds of us would like to retire early, nearly half of people over 45 don’t even know what funds they have accrued over the years.

It’s not the most exciting past time for most of us and it’s fair to assume that socialising with friends or searching for holidays online would be a more enjoyable way to relax and unwind after a busy day in the office, but the truth is that we all need to consider what we will rely on in our later years.

Whilst some headlines could leave us feeling panicked about our pension planning there are many additional and alternative ways that our fears for the future can be addressed and just one of them is to consider property as a way to supplement your income.

The presumption is that most of us won’t have the funds available to buy a second home but that may not be the case. The housing market has changed, this means that there is more opportunity than ever before to make investments that can deliver a return.

It’s not all about bricks and mortar, take luxury lodges for example. Although you would think that the benefits would speak for themselves; no stamp duty to pay, no landlord tax, no council tax, year-round income and a managed service, it can all seem too good to be true.

Let’s be honest, we are a cynical bunch here in the UK and rather than see the positives we want to pick apart the detail to find the catch. But, sometimes it’s about reading the small print and realising that actually an investment of £150,000 could achieve an annual return upwards of 9.2%.

When we consider this in comparison to the return on many pension plans it all starts to make a bit more sense. Second homes can be expensive and buy to let is often a hassle that people can do without, but finding the right property and package for you is half of the battle.

There’s no need to spend endless hours online searching for ways to turn your pennies into pounds, property could be the answer. If you are looking at ways that you can make your investments work as hard as possible without having to endure sleepless nights, then call James or Sarah and we will explain the process to you.

There is no hidden agenda and no trip hazards, just a beautiful park of luxury lodges that attract guests all year round and a friendly and professional team that achieve an independent rating of 9.4/10 – one of the highest in the country.

In summary, to support you with your pension planning the benefits to a luxury lodge include:

  • Upwards of 9.2% return each year
  • No stamp duty to pay
  • No landlord tax
  • No council tax
  • An optional managed service
  • Year-round rentals

CEDAR RETREATS TOPS THE CHARTS AS LEADING WINTER BREAK

We are very pleased to announce that here at Cedar Retreats we are celebrating, once again, after topping the charts to be named as one of the leading national winter breaks by Hoseasons, with guests independently rating the park as 9.4 out of 10.

Following the news that we reported our most successful year to date during 2017, when we released figures to announce a turnover of £1.5m for the first time, we finished the year on a further high thanks to the consistently positive Hoseasons reviews.

Managing Director of Cedar Retreats, James Gawthorpe comments: “What a fantastic start to the year and a great opportunity to thank our staff who have worked so hard all year round, not just throughout the winter period.

“As a team, we all take the feedback that we receive from our customers very seriously. Being independently rated as 9.4 out of 10 is certainly an achievement, but to know that we were one of the top-ranking destinations in the country is something else! We would like to thank our guests who took the time to leave a review and look forward to welcoming more holidaymakers throughout 2018.”

Senior Brand Manager at Hoseasons, Dan Cook, said: “Cedar Retreats receives consistently positive reviews from guests, which is reflected in the rating that it has achieved. Securing one of the top positions in the country over the winter period is not to be dismissed. This is a real accolade for the park and should be celebrated.”

We have planning permission to build  37 luxury lodges on the six-acre site at Cedar Retreats. Each lodge is finished in cedar wood and comes with a private hot tub. Positioned within a secluded rural setting the park is open all year round and as well as being available to rent, the lodges can also be purchased with buy to let owners receiving a return of up to 9.2%.

For more information about our selection of luxury lodges and how you could secure a return that would help to supplement your income, please visit https://cedarretreats.co.uk/buy/investors/

A HOLIDAY HOME COULD BE THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING THIS VALENTINE’S DAY

A luxury lodge, the gift that keeps on giving

Although many may choose to stick with chocolates and flowers, we think that purchasing a holiday home could be the romantic gesture that keeps on giving this Valentine’s Day with buy to let owners securing a return of 9.2% each year at Cedar Retreats. 

For those who are looking to make a particularly bold statement, the one, two and three-bedroom properties, with prices starting from £150,000, could provide the key to the heart of a loved one this February.

Achieving one of the highest independent ratings of any lodge company from the Autograph collection at Hoseasons, and named as a preferred choice during the festive season, the park is becoming increasingly popular and welcomes guests from all over the country.

As well as having a selection of lodges that can be rented for a short break, we also provide investors with the opportunity to purchase the properties, which can be used as second homes or rented to visitors throughout the year.

Managing Director of Cedar Retreats, Sarah Gawthorpe, said: “It may seem like an elaborate gesture to make but the lodges here at Cedar Retreats have proven to be a sound investment and can secure upwards of 9.2% return a year for our owners.

“What a great way to show someone that you care this Valentine’s Day, with the keys to a luxury lodge. Better still, each property comes with a private hot tub, which adds a further touch of romance to the lodges that are all dressed in cedar wood.

“We know from the feedback that we receive from our guests that the park provides people with the chance to relax and to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There is nothing quite like sitting outside on the decking with a glass of something special and the stunning backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.”

Not only is a luxury lodge a sound investment, it’s also a gift that is certain to secure brownie points that can be claimed for years to come!