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Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re thinking of booking a Unique Home Stays property for the first time then you’ll find our FAQ section below a handy point of reference. For your convenience, we have provided the links below to help you navigate through the document. If you require any further help or advice please contact us.

Why don’t you provide a brochure?

Unique Home Stays is an environmentally-friendly office and prides itself on being paperless and as ‘green’ as we can be at all times. In addition to this, our portfolio is constantly evolving and it is imperative to us that the information we provide for each property is current at all times. The most effective way of being able to keep all information up-to-date is with our website.

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How do I know a property is right for me?

Unique Home Stays makes it a priority to visit every property in our portfolio in order that we can give the best information and assurances that the property will meet the high standards that our Clients demand. This attention to detail is reflected in the accurate descriptions and photography on our website. We usually describe or photograph any garden; please note that children and pets can be very ingenious and, where a garden is described as enclosed, we can make no promise that children or pets will be unable to escape if left unattended! If, after viewing the site you still have questions please feel free to contact us to speak to one of our advisors.

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Why do you re-name your properties?

Our properties are much-loved private homes and so, to help maintain security and privacy for the owner, we do not disclose the true name of a property in our portfolio until a booking is confirmed and we have received payment. Likewise, we do not disclose the true location of a property until a booking is confirmed at which point we will provide you with full access to the complete property address. Please be assured that the general areas portrayed for the properties are accurate – where we say that a property is 10 minutes from a specific location we do mean it!

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Where can I see further images of the property?

Simply click on any of the small thumbnail images located underneath the main header image in order to open and peruse the property’s gallery.

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Why can’t I reserve more than one property at any time?

Demand for our properties is often high. In order to keep the bookings system fair and so that the online calendars are kept as up-to-date and accurate as possible, guests are only able to place a provisional hold on one property at a time. This ensures that all potential clients have a fair chance of booking their desired properties and dates.

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Is there any flexibility on the arrival day?

The majority of our properties work to a Friday changeover for week-stays, with the addition of a Monday changeover during certain booking periods in order to accommodate weekend breaks, Monday to Friday escapes, and full week stays. Generally we work to these changeover days to maximise bookings for owners. A late booking might afford a level of flexibility depending on availability of the property of interest in which case we can request an alternative arrival with the owner, but each request is entirely at the owner’s discretion.

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Can I have an early check in and later check out?

Arrival and departure times are set so that house staff have ample time to ready the house to a high standard for the arrival of each guest. There are occasions when it may be possible for arrival and departure times to be adapted – such as during quieter times of the year at smaller properties – but each request is at the discretion of the property owner and taken on a case-by-case basis. Any such request must be requested and confirmed in advance.

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Why are shorter stays not available during certain times of the year?

During peak times such as holiday periods there is a minimum stay of seven nights at the majority of our properties. Three night stays are available across most of our portfolio outside of these times, and a third of the portfolio (our bolt hole properties), accept short stays all year round.

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For self-catered properties, what can I expect as a standard inclusion of the rental?

Rest assured that each Unique Home Stays property should have the following basic supplies to make your stay more comfortable: bed linen, towels, logs (where required), tea, coffee, store cupboard essentials (such as cooking oil, sugar, salt, pepper), toilet roll, cleaning products, refuse and recycling bags, dishwasher tablets, tea towels. Some properties offer additional items, please check with your Property Advisor for specifics.

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What is provided in the welcome hamper?

For those properties that supply Unique Boutique welcome hampers the theme is ‘luxury nibbles’ so expect lovely wine, biscuits, sweet and savoury treats, perfect for sharing. In addition to this, we request that owners provide fresh ‘basics’ such as bread, milk and butter as well as tea and coffee. At those properties where a Unique Boutique welcome hamper is not provided, the welcome hamper will vary depending on the owner’s preference.

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If I cancel a booking and the date doesn’t get re-sold, can I reinstate my booking?

Cancelling a booking is a termination of your agreement with the property owner. We treat your instruction for us to cancel a booking as your final decision so that we can be completely transparent to our owners and potential subsequent clients. For this reason please ensure that any cancellation really is your final decision as it is one that cannot then be reversed.

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What is the cautionary deposit and why is it necessary?

Unique Home Stays properties are much-loved private homes and our owners have lavished much time, effort and investment in creating beautiful living spaces. It is crucial that we protect the owners, their personal belongings, and the beautiful homes they share with guests. The cautionary deposit is your acceptance that if damage were to occur at the property during your stay, you understand that you will be accountable for covering the cost of repair. Our owners do understand that minor breakages will occur and although they will not look to seek recompense for minor damage, we do request that you notify owners of such breakages so that they can replace accordingly to ensure that the house is fully equipped for the next guest. (We define minor breakages as damage or extra cleaning for which the likely total cost of rectification is likely to be less than £25)

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Why is there a charge for paying via credit card?

This charge is not implemented by Unique Home Stays - it comes directly from the credit card company unfortunately. Should you prefer to avoid the charge, you can pay for your deposit via debit card, with bank transfers also being a payment option for subsequent balance and cautionary deposit payments.

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Do you accept dogs at your properties and what is a pet-friendly property?

Pet-friendly properties describes those properties where the Owner has indicated that they are willing to permit family pets to stay; a pet-friendly property does not mean that the property has been adapted to cater for pets in any special way. Not all of our properties are pet-friendly so please check the details listed against the property of your choice to ascertain if pets are welcome. Where a property page states that "one dog is welcome", it refers to one dog so please contact the office if you have two or more dogs or if you want to bring any pet that is not a dog! An additional accommodation fee is charged (this varies per property, please check). We do request that you treat pet-friendly properties with respect and keep your pets under control at all times - remember that even if we describe a garden as enclosed, this does not necessarily mean that your pet will not be able to escape! We ask that you do not leave your pets unattended in the property, please make sure you that dispose of any mess in a sanitary manner and please adhere to any property-specific restrictions that may be in place.

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If we book the ‘alternative group’ option will there be other guests at the property during our stay?

Absolutely not! All Unique Home Stays self-catering properties are taken on an exclusive hire basis, even if paying for the ‘alternative group’ option. The lower tariff paid for the alternative group option reflects that only a limited number of rooms will be available for use and those bedrooms that are not required will not be made up.

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Why do you ask for feedback following our stay?

We’re confident in the quality of the properties that we market, but it is very important to us that you provide us with honest feedback at the end of your stay. This ensures that both Unique Home Stays and our property owners are maintaining the quality of the properties that we market, and implementing any suggestions that might serve to improve the property and facilities on offer.

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Would I receive a discount if I booked well in advance or if I wait until the last minute?

Neither! Our properties are very popular year-round, and although booking in advance will not mean that you receive a concession on the standard tariff, you will at least have the pick of the dates available at the property of your choice. Although we will offer our larger properties at a ‘alternative group rate’ out of season, we do not offer discounts on late bookings.

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Why is it necessary for you to know the ages and occupation of my group?

Aside from it being an insurance and health and safety requirement that we know who is staying at a property in the instance of fire, Unique Home Stays properties are private homes and owners do like to have an idea of the breakdown of your group. Due to the nature of certain properties, some might have specific property ‘restrictions’ such as ‘no stag or hen groups’ in place. Any such restrictions will be listed on individual property pages.

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How do I list my property(ies) with Unique Home Stays?

If you have stayed in a Unique Home Stay and think that your own home suits our property portfolio, then do get in touch, as we’re always interested to hear of stunning properties to tempt our discerning clientele.

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What does it mean when it says 'no single sex groups' are accepted at a property?

You might notice that some of our larger properties stipulate 'no single sex groups' under the property restrictions. This is by no means alluding to the sexual orientation of guests, but indicates that these owners prefer family/a combination of male and female guests within the groups that stay at the property (and they don't wish to accept stag and hen groups)

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Am I permitted to have guests visit me at the property?

Friends are able to visit you in the property with prior written agreement from the owner. However, friends are not allowed to stay overnight unless they have been pre-notified to us on the property Booking Form as members of your party. This is an insurance and health & safety issue and is non-negotiable; clients will be asked to vacate a property if they do not adhere to this condition of their stay.

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How do you define which properties are described as 'coastal retreats'?

Here at Unique Home Stays we define any property within three miles of the coast as being a 'coastal retreat'. We have collated a miscellany of property types which can easily be found under the 'Unique Escapes' section on the website and the 'Coastal Retreats' will prove inspirational in helping you to find your perfect break near the coast!

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What age is an infant in order to be classed as a 'babe-in-arms'?

We class 'babes-in-arms' as very young children who cannot toddle or walk and have to be carried. Since it is generally acknowledged that children begin to stand and take their first steps from about 9 months, we describe any infant under the age of 12 months as a 'babe-in-arms'.

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