In September of 2012, I searched the accomodation website Take-A-Break, to find a suitable farm-stay style cottage for myself and my small family to get away for a quiet christmas after a hectic working year, as you do. I came across the Balingup Serenity Hut after running a 'pet friendly' search on the directory. I rang and was greeted by the owner, a mature aged woman by the name of Tanya Avard. I discussed my needs, discussed that I would have guests staying on christmas eve, and it was agreed that I would book the property for a period of 10 nights.
After making payment, I received a confirmation letter and receipt from Tanya, part of which re-confirmed that I would be having guests stay,specifically she wrote 'please advise me how many guests are coming and for how long so I can make up the beds'.
So imagine my shock when on my guests arrival on christmas morning, when we were rising and wishing each other a merry christmas she knocked on the front door to tell me we would have to leave. You see, according to Tanya, it was in error that her property had shown up on the pet friendly search (how is this my fault?) and she was not impressed by the presence of our small dogs. Furthermore, she claimed to have no knowledge of my guests staying overnight, in contrast with the words in her letter.
So on christmas morning, after driving 3 hours to get there, we all had to pack up and leave. Our christmas was ruined. Whatsmore, she refuses to refund any of our money, even though we had 5 nights left on our stay.
But even putting this issue aside, I still would have written a negative review for this accomodation. So, I posted a review on the take-a-break website. The barbeque site was not powered, there were no flyscreens on any doors or windows, allowing copious flys, moths and beetles to enter, the 'hut' is actually a converted sea container, there are snakes present within metres of the hut and in the 'walking trails', the property is actually a designated high fire risk area (as it is on a rocky hill with dry leaf litter all around, it is searingly hot in summer), but they don't tell you that until you get there. Oh, and there is no privacy as the owners actually live within spitting distance of the 'hut', its sort of a granny flat on their property. It is less 'shabby chic' and more just plain shabby. Does not represent good value for the tariff of $125-135 per night, and I am an experienced traveller.
My review was removed from the site at the request of the owners. I for one dont think its fair to rob a consumer of their right to free speech, particularly after also having robbed them of their money and their family christmas.
Avoid at all costs, there are plenty of lovely places to stay in Australia's south-west, but Balingup Serenity Hut is not one of them.