VisitEngland Inspectors Report 2017

The VisitEngland Inspectors Report, he stayed in Christmas cottage and inspected all the cottages in 2017

Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

Finalist Assessment Form 2017


Name of Business Blakelow Farm Cottages
Contact Name Stephen Ogan
Address Matlock



Contact Details
  Telephone 01629 6540814
  Mobile 07803182857
Website Address


Four delightful country cottages.  Each with the ability to charm and relax guests in an instant; the perfect retreat.

All of this the result of Steve’s relentless pursuit of excellence.  Every little detail has been thought through and honed to perfection and is punctuated with his witty sense of humour.




Areas Assessed Judge’s Comments
Management and Welcome

Welcome pack, information, technology, extra touches.


Excellent pre-arrival procedures.

A beautifully presented welcome pack with local produce and home produced eggs.

The welcome goods vary depending on the time of year.

A personal and excellent welcome from Steve.





Perfect in every detail; cleanliness and the presentation of the accommodation.
Grounds and Gardens


The gardens were not seen at their best as they were under a layer of snow during our visit.

This said, it was very clear to see that the parking area, courtyard and gardens are immaculate at all times.

Signage into and within the car park is excellent.

The courtyard is a delight, with its pots, water feature, boot scrapers etc.

The cottage occupied, Christmas Cottage, has a large terrace and very good furniture.  The whole garden area is also well looked after and attractive.


Living areas

Quality, comfort and ease of use


Comfortable, welcoming living rooms, with wood burners and beautiful fireplaces.

The presentation of the living rooms and the attention to detail is first class; the fire laid, ample logs, excellent information, etc., etc.



Quality, comfort and ease of use


Cottage style bedroom plus one lovey mezzanine bedroom. Some are quite small, but all are well designed and provide good ease of use.

There is no compromise in terms of beds, all of which are excellent and beautifully dressed.

Excellent carpets, soft furnishing and some lovely furniture.



Quality, comfort and ease of use


Excellent bathroom provision.

Christmas Cottage.  One very good shower room plus a large second bathroom with double ended bath and shower.

Bath sheets and very good selection of Eco-Boutique toiletry products.



Quality, comfort and ease o

f use

Cottage style kitchens, but all modern in terms of the very good appliances and kitchenware.

As with all other elements of the business, there is meticulous attention to detail and everything is in first class condition.



Leisure etc.


A range of extra services can be provided on request.

The two services that are promoted to guests are afternoon tea and a celebration dinner service.

The dinner service was excellent.  All provided by Steve in an attentive and light hearted manner.

Each dish served was beautifully prepared and presented.


The utility barn provides a resource for guests, with additional food supplies if needed.  All again beautifully put together and presented.


Steve is also providing many other one-off services to guests such as spa treatments, making birthday cakes, providing a wedding breakfast service and even helping the bride to dress for her big day.



Evidence Considered Assessor Comments
Website, Facebook, Premier Cottage



All very good and fully bookable online.

The website is full of excellent images and the Blog section keeps it updated and current.

Slick and professional website for a small business.

Great images, great information.


Evidence Considered Assessor Comments



All reviews are excellent and there are many examples of customer care.

Steve is the business and there are so many mentions of him on TripAdvisor.


Visit Experience


I do not know how Steve could improve his customer care.  It is truly excellent.  As guests to Blakelow we felt very special and I’m sure that is the case for all of Steve’s guests.  Reviews certainly support this.

Having woken up to a significant layer of snow on our departure morning, we found Steve sweeping the snow from the gravelled car park and then gritting the public lane up to the ridge so that we would be able to drive more easily.





It is clear that Steve takes great care with customer service.  Guests can feel fully confident of great customer care from the website and booking.



Section 2. Sustainability & Accessibility
Evidence Considered Assessor Comments


Organised recycling policy

Local food suppliers

Low energy lighting etc.





There are no special adaptions for accessibility in the old cottages and this would be very difficult.

There is one ground floor cottage, but with three steps down from the garden.



Section 3.  Supplementary Evidence Judge’s Comments


Staff recruitment and Training – if any staff are employed



Some housekeeping staff, but most services are provided by Steve and his business partner.
Evidence from owners/managers of going extra mile with customer service



See above, but Steve is fully hands on and goes the extra mile for all of his guests.
Investment in IT/website



No major outlay on the website recently, but there is no need to do that.  It is a slick and well organised site with comprehensive information and plenty of excellent images.

Investment comes in the form of time spent updating the blog and Facebook.


Investment in building; bedrooms, bathrooms etc.



On-going refurbishments and renewals.  The business is established and there is no need for major investment at this time,

Recent investments include, for example:

New kitchen Candle Cottage

New sofa Christmas Cottage

New cookers

On average £5,000 per year.



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