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Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about one of our properties? Find all the answers here, plus quick links for handy navigation

Being well informed before booking helps give real peace of mind. Follow the links below for all your questions about hiring a Unique Homestays property, and for further help don't hesitate to contact us.

Unique Homestays information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As a customer-focused business, it is our priority to alleviate concern from guests and homeowners during uncertain times. The situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) may continue to change and we will review the information as we follow advice from the government and NHS.

To put your mind at ease during the ongoing pandemic, we have provided additional guidance for your upcoming stay and are proud to be part of the 'We're Good to Go' Industry Standard, awarded for adhering to Government and public health guidance. Although extra precautions will be taken to prepare properties for each individual booking, we cannot guarantee they will be clear of COVID-19. Whilst on holiday, we also request that you adhere to the Government guidelines. Our Homestay Specialists are on hand if you have any additional questions.  

How does a Government announcement affect my booking?

You can rest assured that your safety is our priority. As such, we are closely monitoring Government guidance for travel across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

Should there be a new Government announcement regarding any travel restrictions that may impact your stay, our team will contact you as soon as possible. You can check the current guidance for your local area at GOV.UK

In the event of a national lockdown, we will be able to discuss postponement or refund options with you. Should there be localised restrictions, we will be in touch to advise further depending on the level of restrictions imposed.

The Welsh Government have announced on Wednesday 22nd December that they will be moving to Alert Level 2 from Sunday 26th December.  Our Welsh properties remain open and unaffected by this announcement.  We do however kindly request that all guests follow the guidance provided by the Welsh Government to ensure that you remain as safe as possible during your stay.

What to expect on arrival? 

We won't let the pandemic stop you from having a fabulous experience. To ensure this, in advance of your stay you will receive a property-specific house book. This online guide contains personal recommendations from the owner outlining the best places to eat and visit, as well as important information to ensure you make the most of your stay, all things considered. On arrival and departure, please ensure that each member of your party scans the NHS track and trace QR code using the NHS COVID-19 app. If you need assistance during your stay, please do not hesitate to contact our team or the property owner, who will provide help in a socially distanced capacity.

How can I be sure the home I am due to stay at will be clean?

Each home continues to undergo a thorough clean as part of the changeover between bookings. In light of current events, we have advised all owners to make extra provisions, conducting risk assessments and following the most up to date guidance from the Department for Health & Social Care.

What to do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms whilst I am on holiday?

If you feel unwell before your holiday please contact our team of Homestay Specialists who will seek to find alternative arrangements for your stay. 

If you are staying in one of our properties and develop symptoms, please contact our team of Homestay Specialists who will advise you to return home (where possible) and/or self-isolate in accordance with current Government guidance. Please note additional charges will be applicable. 

If you have acute breathing difficulties please call 999.

What should I do when I leave? 

Unique Homestays are working towards reducing the potential risk for housekeeping teams, therefore we kindly request that you depart the property in a timely manner to allow housekeepers to access the property and conduct an undisturbed deep clean.  

If you feel unwell within 14 days following your stay, we request that you contact our team of Homestay Specialists, who will inform the homeowners and housekeeping team, who will be able to take measures to eliminate any potential spread of the virus.

Up to date information and advice regarding COVID-19 can be found on the GOV.UK and NHS websites.

Last updated: 22nd December 2021.

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Why don't you provide a brochure?

Here at Unique Homestays, 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.

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How do I know a property is right for me?

We ensure that we personally visit every property in the Unique Homestays 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 Homestays website. If, after viewing the site you still have questions please feel free to contact us to speak to one of our Homestay Specialists.

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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 may 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!

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Where can I see further images of the property?

Simply hover over the main header image and click on 'view gallery' in order to peruse the property gallery or click the arrows on the left or right side of the image.

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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 within the same time period. This ensures that all potential clients have a fair chance of booking their desired properties and dates. Guests are able to place provisional holds on two properties for different dates.  

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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.

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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 raised and confirmed in advance.

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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), have short stays all year round except at Christmas and New Year.

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

Rest assured that each Unique Homestays 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 Homestay Specialist for specifics.

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Can I request additional services for my stay?

Of course! We are happy to assist with the provision of extras at your chosen property, such as mid-week cleaning, in-house pamper sessions, in-house catering, delivery of groceries and such from external suppliers for you. Please note that we will generally require you to contact us with at least seven days notice to investigate additional services for you and we cannot guarantee that a service will be available.

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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, as such we urge you to consider cancellation of your accommodation as a last resort. We suggest that you also purchase holiday cancellation insurance, just in case. For more information refer to the client Ts&Cs.

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What happens if the property I have booked becomes unavailable?

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.

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What is the cautionary deposit?

Unique Homestays 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 stay and that if damage does occur, you will be accountable for covering the cost of repair. Our owners do understand that accidents happen, 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 £50.00 to put right). Less than 1% of cautionary deposits are held. We do ask 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 processed within 5-7 working days unless the owner has flagged an issue to us).

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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.

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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.

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Do you offer holiday insurance?

Unique Homestays neither offers nor insists that you purchase holiday insurance, we do however think that it is prudent to do 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 Homestays 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.

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

We understand that you might not want to leave your four-legged friend at home when you're looking for the perfect escape, and we encourage our owners to accommodate pets at their properties wherever possible. Our owner's homes are not standard rental properties and for this very reason, the pet accommodation charge reflects this. The number of dogs that can be accommodated will vary dependent on the property size and owner preferences, so please check the details on your preferred property page where you'll also find additional accommodation charges detailed. If you have a pet other than a dog you'd like to accommodate, just let us know and we'll do our very best to cater for your requirements. We welcome responsible pet owners at the properties that we market and request that you take good care of the home in which you holiday, our pet T&Cs detail all the need-to-knows in this respect. Whilst the majority of properties within the portfolio have outside space for your dog to enjoy, we cannot guarantee that dogs won't be able to escape from those with enclosed gardens.

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If we book the alternative group option is the property still taken on an exclusive hire basis?

Yes, of course. All Unique Homestays 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.

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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 Homestays 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 an 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 Homestays 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 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 Homestays?

If you 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. View more information about becoming a Unique Homestays owner

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What does it mean when it says 'parties considered on prior agreement' accepted at a property?

You might notice that some of our properties stipulate 'parties considered on prior agreement' under the property restrictions. This indicates that these owners property owners would like further information on your group and would prefer family gatherings at the property (and might not 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 Homestays, we define any property with sea views and within one mile 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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How do you define which properties are 'Waterside'?

Our Waterside Living collection encompasses a range of properties but what they all have in common is their proximity to the water. Be it a loch, lake, river or beach; the homes included here are all within easy reach or view of the water's edge. Whilst many are a stone's throw away, we can't promise there will always be an easy walk directly from the front door to the water so please do check the property page or contact the team for further details.

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What age is an infant in order to be classed as a 'babe-in-arms' and at what age do children become classed as adults?

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'. We consider children as children up to, and including, the age of 15. At 16 years of age, we class them as an adult.

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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. 

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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 Homestays 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. You can see all of our newest property arrivals and take a look at what else we have got in the pipeline by visiting our New and Coming Soon page.

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Will there be WiFi/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 Homestays warrants 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 WiFi; if this is likely to cause an issue for you, then please contact us before confirming your booking.

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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 Homestays 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.

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Do you have any historic properties?

Yes, Unique Homestays' 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 Homestays 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.

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