Reviews of Ethos Narrowboats
We stayed on an Ethos Narrowboat in the Evesham marina from June 5-11, 2006. We used it as an accommodation, rather than to cruise. (We had just gotten off a narrowboat in another marina, which we cruised for 12 days, and we decided to simply use this boat as a base).
The check in process was a bit bumpy, as we arrived on one of Ethos' off days. We had called ahead to notify them that we would only be staying on the boat, and not using it to cruise and that due to other arrangements that we had, which overlapped with our stay, we would be arriving 2 days later than the originally scheduled time. We were told at that time that this would be ok, as long as we arrived during certain hours.
When we did arrive, the reception area was locked and there was no one around. We called Ethos's number which was on the confirmation, and were told that there are some maintenance crew around that could check us in. Once we found someone, we were assigned our boat (which they were not told to have ready).
The onsite staff was very friendly for the most part and pretty knowledgeable about the area, but it turns out that we were there during the Evesham Water festival and no one at the Marina told us about this, so we could plan accordingly to take part.
The boat that we were given was one of their older models, but still in wonderful shape. It was clean and very well maintained.
There was a four-poster double bed located in the rear of the boat, a kitchen with gas appliances, dining area, which turned into an additional double bed, two bunk beds, and a bathroom. This boat also had plenty of storage space as well as a bench on the front end.
The downsides to this layout were that the bunk beds had very little headroom above them. Luckily, we were not using them. Also, the bathroom was very small (as they always are on these boats). The toilet is wedged into the corner behind the door and the shower/ tub was pretty small and pretty awkward due to a small ledge at one end. The last issue with this boat is that the power on it is only 12 volt, so if you have any electronic equipment like a camera battery charger, or cell phone, the electrical system on this boat will not charge them.
As we discussed with a manager and one of the onsite staff people, the boat that we were on was on of the older models (they told us it was about 8 years old) and major improvements to the above mentioned issues have been addressed on their newer boats. We did have the opportunity to get a look at a newer model and I must say that they have greatly improved the layout. The new boats take the center part of the boat and partition it off to make a nearly full sized bathroom (unfortunately, if you get up in the morning and you are at the rear of the boat and someone is using the facilities, you will have to wait until they are finished before going through to the kitchen/ dining area). It has a full sized shower stall! Also, the single birth beds are separated so that they are no longer bunk beds one is located on either side of the hallway this seems much more comfortable. Finally, they have upgraded the electrical and installed microwaves in the kitchen (which has a more convenient layout) and there is also now a Playstation on the boats.
The area around Evesham is beautiful. It is located in the Cotswolds and there are many scenic drives and historic sites nearby.
We enjoyed this experience, on a whole, and would like to return soon this time to cruise and hopefully on one of their new boats!