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Frequently asked questions

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About i-escape

Q. What kind of places do you choose?

A.  We only feature our very favourite boutique hotels, guesthouses, villa rentals and city apartments. We cover all budgets (from under £50 to over £500/night) and all locations (beach and mountain, city and country, private islands, safari lodges and more). But all have 4 things in common.

1) Small: normally under 20 rooms, occasionally (in larger cities) up to 50 or so

2) Stylish: be it rustic-chic, designer panache or simple good looks, but always very special and impeccably looked after

3) Independent: often owner-run, sometimes with a (hands-on) management team, always friendly and welcoming, never part of a large chain

4) We love it: we’ve stayed there, and we’d go again like a shot. That’s our promise. If it doesn’t make the grade, it’s not on our site

Q. Do places pay to be on i-escape?

A.  No, there is no fee - that might jeopardise our choice.

Q. So how do you make money?

A.  For each confirmed booking through our site, we charge the property a small percentage of the total cost. At the same time, we guarantee that you won’t pay more than if you booked directly. And, in many cases, you’ll get a free extra, such as a massage or a bottle of wine, to thank you for booking through i-escape.

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Best Price Guarantee

Q. How can you guarantee the same price?

A.  Simple: all participating hotels make a promise to us - which we pass on to you - that you will not get a better price on a like-for-like basis, either through their site or any other publicly accessible site. If by any chance you think you have found a better deal, please email us with details of your i-escape quote and the competing offer and, assuming it meets those criteria, we’ll match it. (Make sure you’ve accounted for taxes, breakfast etc). But we'd be very surprised if you do: we have a team of mystery shoppers combing the internet all the time, so that you don’t have to.

Q. Do you offer special deals?

A.  Yes - our partner hotels regularly send us exclusive offers which are advertised in our monthly newsletter and on each hotel’s pages. Our system will automatically apply the best deal – or, if they involve different “rate types” (such as Flexible and Non-Refundable), we’ll give you the choice so you can pick what’s best for you. Occasionally, we also run special promotions – such as a free bath- and body hamper worth over £100 – which require a code when booking. To get these codes, be sure to sign up for our newsletters and to follow our facebook and twitter feeds.

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Making a Reservation

Q. How do I book?

A.  From any hotel page or listings page, click Book Now (or Check Availability), then select your dates, preferred room type and occupancy. In most cases you will have to wait a few hours for the hotel to confirm the price and availability; in others, these will show immediately – in which case you can (assuming you’re ready) book instantly.

Q. Why can I book some places instantly, but not others?

A.  Because some places use special software to keep their availability constantly updated on i-escape; and some others do this manually. But many prefer to keep all enquiries “on request” so that they can make sure you get the right room for your needs, and allow you to ask questions before deciding. Bear in mind that these are small properties, often with less than 10 rooms, and they don’t want to risk overbooking – which can be a danger on some mainstream booking sites. Equally you may find that other sites show a property as full when in fact there are still a few rooms left – and available through i-escape.

Q. Can I hold a room or villa while I fix my travel plans?

A.  Yes – in most cases you can hold it for 2-5 days, and i-escape is one of the few sites to allow this. If you’re juggling several places in one itinerary, or if you’re trying to get a group of travellers together, this can be especially useful.

Q. Can I book family rooms, extra beds or cots?

A.  Indeed you can – just specify the number and the ages of your children when booking. Each room or lodging shows the maximum occupancy and the exact bed types available, and the price updates automatically as you select. We have taken great care to get those details right, because we know they’re important (most of us travel with kids too). If the numbers don’t go as far as your group size, that’s because you’ve exceeded the maximum occupancy; don’t ignore that, because one of you may end up in the corridor.

Q. When do I pay?

A.  In most cases, you commit a small deposit when you confirm your booking, and pay the balance either on arrival or shortly before. In some cases, your credit card details are taken but not actually charged until you stay (or, of course, if you cancel after their cancellation fees kick in). You’ll see which applies when you enquire – look under Payment and Cancellation Policies. You will need a credit card for all bookings.

Q. How do I know my credit card details are safe?

A.  We are PCI (Payment Card Industry) complaint, which means that we don’t store your full card details, we use the safest encryption when sending any sensitive data, and we have a rigorous code (including log tracking, file integrity monitoring and penetration testing) to protect ourselves from cyber-attack. If you have any concerns about our credentials, you are welcome to email or call us directly - or even to visit us in Bristol.

Q. Is there any cost for booking through i-escape?

A.  Quite simply, no. We don’t sting you with any booking fees, credit card surcharges or membership costs. You pay exactly what the hotel quotes. (In a few cases, the property itself levies a small credit card charge due to higher banking costs, but this applies whether you book through us or directly, and you will be notified in advance).

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Further Assistance

Q. Can you arrange flights, transfers, car hire or travel insurance?

A.  i-escape is aimed at the discerning independent traveller, and we do not book your travel tickets (air, land or sea). But we do list the airlines serving each route (click on “Getting There” in any hotel’s Location page), and we are happy to recommend our favourite car hire and travel insurance companies, based on our 15+ years of personal experience. If you need transfers on arrival, either ask the hotel (we indicate typical costs) or check our Location / Getting Around link - which includes public transport. If that's all too much and you just want someone to propose and book a bespoke itinerary for you, see our recommendations for local Tailormade Tour Operators.

Q. What if there’s a problem?

A.  - If you can’t find the perfect place to stay, contact us and we’ll give you first-hand advice straightaway, either over the phone or by email if you prefer.

- If you’re having trouble making the booking, contact us and we’ll do our best to resolve it there and then – whether it’s a payment issue, a forgotten password or a query about fitting a cot or extra bed in your room.

- If it’s a detailed question about your stay (bed size, in-room facilities, colour of wallpaper), check our pages first – we include details of all these (well, almost) – and failing that, please contact the property.

- If you’ve made a booking and need to cancel it, please cancel it on our system and – if it’s within 2 weeks of travelling – notify the property directly as well. You can find their contact details in your confirmation.

- If you have an issue during your stay – which we're confident you won’t, as we’ve handpicked every place on our site – please raise it at the time with the manager or owner; ideally they will resolve it there and then. If not, please do feed back to us, and we’ll investigate. We can’t ultimately be held responsible for problems with your stay, as the contract is between you and the hotel or accommodation provider; but of course we want to know (so that we can keep our reviews as up to date as possible), and we don’t want anyone to come back feeling that their experience of an i-escape property was less than fantastic. Any place that gets consistently mediocre feedback is removed from our portfolio.

- If you’re about to travel and have a last-minute query, contact us and we’ll try to help. Remember to print out your booking confirmation (or ‘voucher’), which contains details of how to reach the property, and what payments are made/due. Remember, too, that you are responsible for your travel, including flights, car hire, visas and inoculations. We don’t, unfortunately, have a secret tunnel into the Indian Embassy consular department or the Travel Clinic’s medical cupboard.

Q. When are you open?

A.  From 9am-6pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-5pm Friday (UK times).

Q. How can I contact you?

A.  Our contact details are here

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Joining i-escape

Q. How can I list my property?

A.  Hold on a moment, we don’t just list properties – we select them painstakingly, we visit them in person, and we write a detailed review – including Highs and Lows. For the full lowdown, read this page first and then apply here.

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Finding the Perfect Place

Q. What about family-friendly places?

A.  Ah, you’ll be wanting our Kids Collection – over 800 of our most family-friendly hotels, house- and apartment rentals, reviewed by parents for parents, and packed with practical details on everything from stair gates to craft clubs and adventure activities.

Q. And romantic hideaways?

A.  That’ll be our Honeymoon Collection – over 600 of our most seductive boltholes, reviewed by couples for couples, and chosen for their utterly sensuous bedrooms, their pampering spas, their secluded location or private beaches.

Q. Gourmet getaways? Beach Babies? City Slickers? Eco Warriors?

A.  Yes, we have handpicked collections for all these, and more. Just select your preference under “Recommended For”, and they’ll be shown in order of how brilliant we think they are for your criteria – plus a note to explain “Why?”. You can add other “Must Haves”, such as pool, A/C, diving, yoga, pink toilet seats… or you can let us inspire you

Q. What about disabled accessible hotels?

A.  You can find these too – or cut straight to our top 30; each review has a short paragraph about accessibility, and you’re welcome to ask further questions when booking (and to wait for an answer before deciding). Please bear in mind that currently none of our reviewers are wheelchair users, so we have not tested out all the ramps and door widths firsthand.

Q. And pet-friendly places?

A.  Yup, those too. Again, you can add it to your search filters, and find details (doggie treats, any restrictions etc.) next to the “Pets” header. Several of our reviewers travel with pets.

Q. Is there any kind of place you don’t offer?

A.  Most certainly. Bland chain hotels. Run-of-the-mill guesthouses. Amateurish house rentals. Unvetted private apartments. Over-decorated, overpriced design hotels. Under-staffed, underwhelming hostels. And anywhere that we don’t really love and wouldn’t rush back to given a few days’ leave.

Q. How come I haven’t heard about i-escape before?

A.  It’s a mystery – and a source of great sadness to us. But don’t let others miss out: share the love with your facebook friends, your twitter followers and your real-life, flesh-and-blood chums. They’ll thank you for it.