I was a St Helens customer in 2018 – Here’s why we’ve just moved back

Aria Resorts St Helens caravan site is on the Isle of Wight. At the end of 2018, all customers on the site were not offered a pitch renewal and everyone had to move off the site.

It wasn’t handled by Aria as well as it could have been at the time – but the site was well overdue redevelopment and it didn’t really come as a shock – although it was still a disappointment; we’d hoped for at least one more year.

2 Years later, we’ve just bought a caravan with the same company that threw us off last time. Why would we do that?? Are we mad? Possibly yes, but the reasons are also pretty compelling.

Location

We love St Helens & Bembridge end of the island. There’s lots of vans in many locations on the island, but we like that it’s:

  • Walking distance from Bembridge Harbour (especially Brading Haven Yacht Club, The Best Dressed Crab)
  • A small park – 92 Vans total, not crammed in, nice and secluded with a good bit of greenery.
  • A quiet park – Some of parks have a lot of laid on entertainment. We don’t need this – we like peace and quiet and doing our own thing.
  • Walking distance from Bembridge beach
  • A short walk from the green at St Helens

This is an honest photo (taken from trip advisor) of the park, in this case, looking up the middle of the park at some of the lodges. Not your run of the mill, crammed in, holiday park:

Cost

It’s important to consider not just the upfront cost, but also the ongoing costs.

When we compared costs to the nearby Nodes Point, their pitch fees for what we considered to be one of the worst pitches on the site (overlooked by the bar) – £7,000. St Helens £4,500.

On a like for like basis, the van costs are not disimilar – but over 10 years, Nodes point worked out in excess of £25,000 more expensive for an inferior pitch. Parkdean sites do lay on a lot more entertainment, have their onsite restaurants and so forth – so you do get more for the money – but for us as owners, it wasn’t value.

The Van

We liked the van – a Regal Seascape. Vans have come on a long way over the last few years, and Aria were offering a central heated, plumbed in (gas, water & electrics) van also with double glazing. It’s a great van, well made and has a great feel to it.

The Agreement

You read horror stories from some of the pitch agreements. The one we signed was reasonable and fair, plus any Steve (The sale manager we worked with) was open to tweaks to get it just right.

The Sale Process

There is no pressure. Steve is much more interested in making sure the location & van are right for you than squeezing you in to a sale you’ll later regret.

Summary

The proof is in the pudding – since we bought, we’ve not had a hint of buyer’s regret. Quite the opposite, we look forward to every visit and can’t wait until we’re back down there again. Thank you Aria for reinvigorating the site and bringing it back to life again.

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