Frequently Asked Questions
- Why don’t you provide a brochure?
- How do I know if a property is right for me?
- Why do you re-name your properties?
- Where can I see further images of the property?
- Why can’t I reserve more than one property at any time?
- Is there any flexibility on the arrival day?
- Can I have an early check in and later departure?
- Why are shorter stays not available during certain times of the year?
- For self-catered properties, what can I expect as a standard inclusion of the rental?
- What is provided in the welcome hamper?
- Can I request additional services for my stay?
- What happens if I cancel a booking?
- My accommodation booking has been changed – what happens now?
- What is the cautionary deposit and why is it necessary?
- Why is there a surcharge for paying via credit card?
- What is (and when will you apply) an auto-payment?
- Is the price for my booking fixed?
- Do you offer holiday insurance?
- Do you accept dogs at your properties and what constitutes a pet-friendly property?
- If we book the ‘alternative group’ option, is the property still taken on an exclusive hire basis?
- Why do you ask for feedback following our stay?
- Would I receive a discount if I booked well in advance or if I wait until the last minute?
- Why is it necessary for you to know the ages and occupation of my group?
- How do I list my property/ies with Unique Home Stays?
- What does it mean when it says 'no single sex groups accepted' at a property?
- Am I permitted to have guests visit me at the property?
- How do you define which properties are described as 'coastal retreats'?
- What age is an infant in order to be classed as a 'babe-in-arms'?
- What do you mean when you describe a property as ’child-friendly’?
- There is nothing currently available within my search criteria, do you think you will have anything suitable coming soon?
- Will there be WiFi/broadband at the property?
- What do I do if something isn't quite right at the property?
- Do you have any historic properties?
Why don’t you provide a brochure?
Here at Unique Home Stays we pride ourselves on being as eco-friendly as possible which is why our office is paperless and why we present all literature online. The property portfolio is constantly evolving and, because all of our literature is solely digital, web visitors can have peace of mind that the information they are viewing is completely accurate and up-to-date at all times
How do I know a property is right for me?
We ensure that we personally visit every property in the Unique Home Stays portfolio in order that we can assure our discerning clients that the homes will meet the high standards they expect. We pride ourselves on the transparent and accurate representations of our properties, their gardens and their locations via the written descriptions and photographic depictions of each property on the Unique Home Stays website. If, after viewing the site you still have questions please feel free to contact us to speak to one of our advisors.
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 ten minutes from a specific location we do mean it!
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.
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.
Is there any flexibility on the arrival day?
The majority of our properties work to a Friday changeover for seven night 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.
Can I have an early check-in and later departure?
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.
Why are shorter stays not available during certain times of the year?
During peak times there is a minimum stay of seven nights at the majority of our properties. Three night weekend stays and four night mid-week stays are available across most of our portfolio outside of these times, and a third of the portfolio (our 'sleeps two' properties), accept short stays all year round.
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.
What is provided in the welcome hamper?
For those properties that supply Unique Boutique welcome hampers the theme is ‘luxury nibbles’ so you can expect carefully-chosen wine and nibbles perfect for sharing. Click on the ‘Unique Boutique welcome hamper’ hyperlink in the ‘Details’ box on the right-hand side of each property page for a more detailed breakdown for what you can look forward to. 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.
Can I request additional services for my stay?
Of course! We are happy to investigate the provision of ‘extras’ at your chosen property, such as mid-week cleaning, in-house pamper sessions, in-house catering, delivery of groceries etc. from external suppliers for you. We can even provide a selection of Unique Extras such as chocolate, fizz and flowers to set the tone and get your stay off to a fabulous start. Please note that we will generally require you to contact us with at least 7 days’ notice to investigate additional services for you and we cannot guarantee that a service will be available.
What happens if I cancel a booking?
Cancellation of a booking is a termination of your contract with the property owner; because of this, we have to treat your instructions to cancel your accommodation as your final decision. Following receipt of your cancellation we will immediately make the dates available for re-sale in an effort to mitigate the cost to you of cancellation. We cannot guarantee that the dates will be re-sold, nor can we guarantee that re-sold dates will be at the same price as your original booking. We urge you to consider cancellation of your accommodation as a last resort as it is unlikely that an owner will agree to reinstate your booking should the cancelled dates not re-sell. We suggest that you also purchase holiday cancellation insurance – just in case. For more information refer to the client Ts&Cs.
My accommodation booking has been changed – what happens now?
Firstly, please rest assured that it is extremely unusual that we will need to change your accommodation booking once we have accepted it! If however your booking is changed for any reason, we will tell you as soon as we are able. On very rare occasions, circumstances outside of our control may mean that we have to move you to an alternative property We will go above and beyond to ensure that the replacement property will be of equal or better standard to the property you originally booked, but if we are unable to provide an acceptable alternative accommodation you may be entitled to cancel your booking with us and receive a refund.
What is the cautionary deposit?
Unique Home Stays properties are much-loved private homes and our owners have lavished much time, effort and investment in creating beautiful spaces for their guests to enjoy. It is therefore crucial that we request a cautionary deposit which protects the owners, their personal belongings, and the beautiful homes they share with guests. The cautionary deposit is your acceptance that you understand that you are responsible for the property during your stays and that if damage does occur, you will be accountable for covering the cost of repair. Our owners do understand that accidents happen and therefore usually do not seek recompense for minor damage (which as a guide we define as breakages, damage or extra cleaning that is likely to cost less than £25.00 to put right). We do ask that that you notify us or the owners should any damage happen so that it can be remedied in time for the next guests. We endeavour to return the cautionary deposit to you as soon as possible after you leave the property (This is usually within 3 working days unless the owner has flagged an issue to us).
Why is there a surcharge for paying via credit card?
This charge is not implemented by Unique Home Stays - it comes directly from the credit card company. 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.
What is (and when will you apply) an auto-payment?
To offer valued clients a simple and stress-free experience when booking with us we have introduced an auto-payment service. This facility enables guests to choose whether or not to instruct us to automatically take a payment when it becomes due. We will only take an auto-payment when specifically requested, and on the due date; of course, your payment details will remain secure at all times. Provided that funds are available when we request payment, auto-payments do not incur administration fees (with the exception of the surcharge when using a credit card, as mentioned above)
Is the price of my booking fixed?
Yes! Unless there are any changes or amendments to your booking (including changes in the rate of VAT), the price of your accommodation will not be subject to any surcharges once you have paid the deposit and we have accepted the booking. Credit card surcharges are excluded from this guarantee but we do provide other ways to pay.
Do you offer holiday insurance?
Unique Home Stays neither offers nor insists that you purchase holiday insurance. We do however think that it is prudent to consider doing so. A good travel insurance policy is likely to cover cancellation of your booking due to most reasons genuinely beyond your control; some insurances even cover cancellation due to adverse travel and road conditions. This is an attractive feature as neither Unique Home Stays nor the Owner will be liable for events outside our control that prevent you accessing the property. We also strongly recommend that your insurance policy covers you for personal liability claims just in case accidental damage is caused during your stay.
Do you accept dogs at your properties and what constitutes a pet-friendly property?
"Pet-friendly" describes those properties where the owner has indicated that they are willing to permit 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 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 at the property, please make sure you that you dispose of any mess in a sanitary manner and please adhere to any property-specific restrictions that may be in place.
If we book the ‘alternative group’ option is the property still taken on an exclusive hire basis?
Yes, of course. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. You can view more information about becoming a Unique Home Stays owner here
What does it mean when it says 'no single sex groups' 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 group at the property (and they don't wish to accept stag and hen groups)
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.
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!
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'.
What do you mean when you describe a property as ’child-friendly’?
We describe a property as being child-friendly when an owner has indicated that they are willing to provide facilities such as a high chair, cot, stair-gate or similar facilities. A child-friendly property does not mean that the property has been otherwise adapted in any special way and you will still need to exercise sound parental judgement in taking care of your little ones! Please contact us if you have any questions relating to the provision or use of equipment at your chosen property.
There is nothing currently available within my search criteria, do you think you will have anything suitable coming soon?
It is quite likely we will! The Unique Home Stays portfolio of luxury self-catering properties is always evolving to ensure our properties are of the highest standard, offering a variety of outstanding unique holiday homes across the UK. Whilst you can see all of our newest property arrivals, take a look at what else we have got in the pipeline by visiting our Coming Soon page!
Will there be Wi-Fi/broadband at the property?
Most (but not all) of our properties offer broadband. However, broadband speed and service is variable and can vary, especially in remote or rural areas where it may not operate at speeds to which you are accustomed. Where a property page does state that broadband is available, neither the property owner nor Unique Home Stays warrant that the service will be available constantly. It is provided for recreational and not for business use. We are unlikely to accept a booking that is wholly reliant on the uninterrupted provision of Wi-Fi; if this is likely to cause an issue for you, then please contact us before confirming your booking.
What do I do if something doesn't seem quite right at the property?
We work closely with our property owners to ensure that they make every effort to ensure flawless, perfect stays at their properties but very occasionally, things may not meet our own exacting standards. If this is the case we want you to let us know as soon as possible and ideally within 24 hours. This will enable the property owner or Unique Home Stays to investigate the issue and to do our very best to take any remedial action necessary. If you do not tell us (or the owner or housekeeping team) the issue cannot be addressed and we will assume that everything is perfect for you.
Do you have any historic properties?
Yes, Unique Home Stays' portfolio contains some truly unique, historic properties; beautifully quirky, traditionally built and hailing from a time when dry lining and cavity walls were unheard of! Whilst all our owners take great care in maintaining their property to the highest standards, the characterful nature of older properties (and even the planning constraints imposed on guardians of listed properties) mean that wonky walls, low-beamed ceilings, narrow steep staircases, the odd spot of damp (and even spiders) are a fact of life. At Unique Home Stays we consider these traits part of the charm, but if you do have any concerns about a particular property please contact us prior to confirming your booking. We will do our best to answer your concerns or suggest a more suitable property as we cannot be held responsible for factors inherent to the nature of an historic property.