Frequently asked questions
Q. Standards - what can we expect and how are they maintained?
Our reputation is central to our success and we go to great lengths to protect it. By offering value for money, excellent customer service and holiday cottages of the highest standards, we hope you'll return to us for years to come.
The key to our success is in the selection and quality of our properties. The criteria we use in deciding whether to include a property cannot be rigidly itemised. From a farmhouse in its own grounds to a waterside apartment - each will have special qualities that might not apply to the other. That's why we try to capture the essence of each property as fully as possible in a combination of words and pictures. Each property also has the added benefit of being supervised personally by the owner or caretaker.
But of course, it's what you think that counts. That's why we welcome your comments and take all feedback - positive and negative - very seriously. By gathering your comments we can monitor cottage quality to ensure standards are maintained and continuously improved.
Your post holiday comments can either be sent to us via the freepost questionnaire we provide or completed online at the end of your holiday. All comments, positive and negative, are summarised monthly and forwarded to the cottage owner.
Many of us go on holiday to experience the thrill of living in something very different to our homes. However, you should remember that your holiday cottage, like all homes, may have "quirks" you may not be used to. Old properties often have thick walls and small windows, and as a result may have a different ambience to modern homes. Rural areas (and even some villages) may have little or no reception for mobile phones or television, while properties on farms have their own brand of "noise" whether it be the animals or tractors. Please make sure you check with us at the time of booking about reception, internet access etc if you have a particular requirement of this nature. Top
Q. Furnishings and Equipment - will our cottage contain everything we need?
Though not every holiday cottage is equipped to the same standard, all our properties have everything you need for an enjoyable holiday and many offer far more than most would reasonably expect. From modern minimalist with every convenience to the traditional farmhouse with slate flooring and a huge AGA cooker, we have them all.
But regardless of size, age and location, all will have hot water, bathrooms and flushing WCs; kitchens will have all the utensils and appliances you would expect for every day use; well-furnished sitting rooms will have enough comfortable chairs for the maximum number accommodated and so will the dining table. There will also be at least one colour TV. If you would like a better indication of what to expect in a particular property then please check the 'Amenities' section of the property description where we list all that the property contains. Looking at the additional internal photographs included with each property's web site entry will also give an indication of the standards to be found. Top
Q. Pets - can we take our pet with us?
Pets are allowed in many of our cottages - please check the 'Amenities' section of the property description - though we cannot accept responsibility for their safety. However, registered assistance dogs are allowed in all properties featured on our website or in our brochure, even where the property description states that pets are not allowed. Pets are only accepted on the understanding that they are kept under control, exercised off the premises, kept out of bedrooms and off the furniture and that they are never left in the property unattended. To help you choose your property we indicate in the description if it has an enclosed garden; however, this does not necessarily mean it will be totally escape-proof - very few gardens would pass this test. You should also bear in mind that many beaches ban all dogs (apart from guide dogs) during the summer months. Please remember to inform Sykes Cottages of the details of all pets accompanying you. Where there is a charge for taking your pet, this will be made clear in the 'Amenities' section of the cottage description. Top
Q. Linen - what is provided?
Most cottages provide linen in the rental price. Others make a small charge for linen hire of £3.50 per person per week (unless stated otherwise). Please check the 'Amenities' section of the cottage description. If you are providing your own linen please check with the cottage owner or caretaker as to what is required. You should bring your own towels and tea towels except when stated that towels are provided. Where towels are provided, they must not be removed from the property and you must remember to bring your own beach towels. Cot linen is not provided. Top
Q. Fuel and Power - are they included in the holiday price?
Most of the properties we represent include fuel and power in the rental price. However, some may charge a supplement, have a coin meter or make a charge based on a meter reading at the end of your stay and some may charge extra for logs/coal provided for open fires and wood burning stoves. Where there is a charge for fuel, this will be made clear in the 'Amenities' section of the cottage description. Top
Q. Price - how much will our holiday cottage cost?
For each cottage on the website, prices are displayed below the availability calendar. A Booking Fee is included in the price for the service that we offer. The charge is £35 per property, per week or per short break.
For some cottages there may also be other charges over and above the basic rental price, e.g. linen, heating, taking your pet etc. The 'Amenities' section of the relevant cottage description will provide full details. We accept payment by debit cards (Switch/Maestro or Delta) and credit cards (Visa or Mastercard). A £7.50 charge will be made for all credit card transactions (there is no charge for debit cards).
When you are booking well in advance we require a deposit of 30% of the rental plus the booking fee (£35 per property per week or per short break), plus any 'extras'. The balance of the rental is due 6 weeks before the start of the holiday.
When you are booking within six weeks of the start date of the holiday we require full payment at the time of booking. Top
Q. Arrival and Departure - what time can we arrive and when do we have to leave?
Most lettings commence at 3.00 pm on the first day of your holiday (usually a Saturday) and end at 10.00 am on the day of departure unless otherwise specified in the cottage description. This ensures the Owner or Housekeeper has sufficient time to prepare the cottage for incoming guests. We advise you to contact the owner/caretaker at least 2 days before setting off to discuss the time of arrival and key collection details. Top
Q. Short Breaks - can I book a short/weekend break?
Winter Short Breaks (WSBs) are short breaks for up to 3 nights during the Winter season, available to book at any time. The WSB price appears in the pricing panel beneath the cottage description. This price is unique to the individual cottage. Additional nights are charged pro-rata of the normal weekly rent.
Off Season Breaks (OSBs) are short breaks up to 3 nights. An OSB is charged at 75% of the normal weekly rental (or the WSB price, whichever is higher) with additional nights available, charged pro-rata of the normal weekly rent.
Last Minute Breaks (LMBs) are short breaks up to 3 nights available at any time of year, subject to acceptance. LMBs are bookable within one week of the start date of the holiday and are charged at 65% of the normal weekly rent (or the WSB price, whichever is higher) with additional nights available, charged pro-rata of the normal weekly rent.
Christmas and New Year Breaks are short breaks up to 5 nights. They are bookable at any time of the year for Christmas and New Year week and are charged at 85% of the normal weekly rent with additional nights available, charged pro-rata of the normal weekly rent.Top
Q. Changing the Holiday - what happens if we want to make changes to our holiday?
In the first instance please call us to discuss the changes. If it's possible to accommodate them, we'll be happy to help. Please note that, once confirmed, bookings can only be moved to an earlier date. We are not able to change a booking to a later date.
Changes to an already booked holiday involve extra administration and require us to contact the owner of the holiday property. To cover these additional costs we ask the holidaymaker to pay an administration fee of £30. Top
Q. Cancellation - what happens if I need to cancel my holiday?
Insurance is there to provide protection from the financial risks associated with going on holiday. Therefore we highly recommend that you arrange holiday/travel/cancellation insurance appropriate to your own circumstances to minimise these risks, as once the booking is cancelled, no refund will be issued by Sykes.
A comprehensive insurance policy can be purchased from Sykes Cottages - Please click here to see full details. However, if you have your own policy which covers UK travel, then this may act as a suitable alternative. Further details of our Cancellation Policy are available in Section 5 of our Booking Conditions. Top
Q. Problems - what do we do if something unexpected occurs?
At Sykes Cottages we do everything possible to ensure you have an enjoyable stay, but occasionally things go wrong. If a problem occurs you should, in the first instance, contact the owner/caretaker who is responsible for the management and maintenance of the property. Any assistance provided by Sykes Cottages in resolving a complaint in relation to your booking is provided on a goodwill basis and in our capacity as an Agent. Any problem must be reported immediately, as you will appreciate that complaints made after your occupancy cannot be entertained. Top
February 14th 2013