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Frequently asked questions
Finding a place to stay
Membership and my escapes
- Q. Is i-escape.com exclusively for members? »
- Q. How do I register with i-escape.com? Is there a joining fee or subscription? »
- Q. Why do I have to give my address and contact details? »
- Q. Why do I have to create a password? »
- Q. What do I do if I forget my password? »
- Q. How do I edit my contact details? »
- Q. Why can't I log in even though I am entering my correct username and password? »
Making a booking
- Q. How does the booking process work? »
- Q. What exactly is your "best rate" guarantee? »
- Q. How come it's not cheaper booking directly with the hotel? »
- Q. Can I ask the hotel any specific questions? »
- Q. How soon can I expect a reply to my enquiry? »
- Q. Can I contact you if there is a problem with my booking? »
- Q. How do I check the status of my reservation? »
- Q. The same reservation details are showing for different enquiries - why? »
- Q. Will I receive written confirmation of my reservation? »
- Q. Can you arrange flights, transfers, car hire, insurance, etc. for me? »
- Q. Can I book if I live outside the UK? »
- Q. How do I submit feedback? »
- Q. What forms of payment are accepted? »
- Q. At what stage do I need to provide my credit card details? »
- Q. Who do I make payment to? »
- Q. Access to credit card details? »
- Q. What currency do I have to make payments in? »
- Q. Are the quoted prices inclusive of taxes and surcharges? »
- Q. If I need to cancel my booking, do I have to pay a cancellation fee/forfeit my deposit? »
Finding a place to stay
Q. How do I find a place to stay?
A. If you know where you want to go, you can search by destination, or by hotel if you know its name. If you don't know either of these, you can use our advanced search, which combines various criteria, including budget, type of property and activities available nearby. The more specific you are, the more you will whittle things down: we suggest you aim for a "predicted result" of 10-50 places before clicking Go. You can also search for our personal recommendations in 10 "themes" – food, children, spa, honeymoon, design, group celebrations etc. Based on their suitability, facilities and, most importantly, our own visit, we've graded all our properties with up to 3 stars in each, so you can see at a glance which are our all-time favourites among your search results.
Q. How does i-escape choose its places?
A. We are constantly uncovering great hotels - through our own detective work, through client recommendations, and through hotels asking if they can be on i-escape. Any that look extremely promising, we visit - approximately 1 in every 100 approaches. If we love them when we stay, they go on the site. But if feedback from our guests is consistently bad in years to come, we remove them (things change; a great manager or chef leaves, a noisy bypass gets erected nearby etc). Our bottom line is, would we pay to stay there ourselves? If so, they're in. If not, they're not.
Q. How much can you tell me about each place?
A. Everything you need to know! We've been there and our review will cover everything from our favourite rooms and tastiest dishes to our niggles and dislikes, be it an overpriced spa treatment or the suites being too hot at night. What we don't say isn't worth saying.
Q. Are there last-minute deals available?
A. Yes, we publish a selection of special offers, but this is not a 'last-minute' site. You are also free, when enquiring, to ask hotels if they can offer a deal for last-minute bookings.
Q. Can i-escape.com help with special events, honeymoons etc ?
A. Absolutely. We've discovered some fabulous places for group celebrations - weddings, parties, family reunions, small business seminars and photo shoots. And we've scoured the world for idyllic honeymoon destinations. Want further advice? Ask our experts.
Membership and my escapes
Q. Is i-escape.com exclusively for members?
A. No, anyone can browse our website. You need only register to make a reservation enquiry with one of our properties or to receive our newsletter.
Q. How do I register with i-escape.com? Is there a joining fee or subscription?
A. Membership is completely free. Please click here to join. This will also give you the option to receive our monthly newsletters.
Q. Why do I have to give my address and contact details?
Q. Why do I have to create a password?
A. To link to your personal information and allow you to make future reservations quickly. We will record your entry exactly as you type it, so please remember if you used uppercase or lowercase letters, or a combination of both. Your password needs to be 4-8 characters using letters and/or numbers. As you type your password, characters appear as asterisks (*) to ensure confidentiality.
Q. What do I do if I forget my password?
A. Click here, then click on 'Forgot your Password?' Fill in your email address and we will send your password to your email inbox within a few minutes.
Q. How do I edit my contact details?
A. Log in here, then click on 'my details'.
Q. Why can't I log in even though I am entering my correct username and password?
A. To use i-escape, your computer must be able to accept session Cookies. Click on Tools in your internet browser's tool bar, then Internet Options, followed by the Privacy/Security tab and then lower the setting. Passwords are case sensitive so make sure your Caps Lock is not on.
Making a booking
Q. How does the booking process work?
A. Make an enquiry using the 'Check Availability' link on the right of the review page. This is sent to the property, who will give you a direct quote. It will be the same price as if you contact them directly. You have a few days (normally 5) to confirm with a credit card, or to decline. Or you can modify your request. Once confirmed, print out your booking confirmation, which will also entitle you to a free gift or upgrade at the majority of our partner hotels.
Q. What exactly is your "best rate" guarantee?
A. We guarantee that you will not get a better price for an identical product, booked at the same time, by contacting the hotel / owner / provider directly. In the unlikely event that you do, please let us know by emailing us written evidence of the lower rate and, provided it satisfies our criteria, we will match it.
Q. How come it's not cheaper booking directly with the hotel?
A. Because each hotel guarantees a price match with their own site. Our small commission is taken from that price, not added to it. Also, in most cases, we've negotiated a free gift for i-escape guests too - a bottle of champagne, a free dinner if you stay 3 nights etc. Plus free advice and support from our office staff - so you actually get more value by booking with us.
Q. Can I ask the hotel any specific questions?
A. Yes. Any questions or special requests can be entered in the free text message box at the bottom of the availability request form. The hotel will personally reply to your query. And once you have confirmed your booking, we give you the direct contact details for the hotel/villa.
Q. How soon can I expect a reply to my enquiry?
A. This depends on the individual hotels/trip suppliers. As most of our properties are small, family-run and in different time zones, you won't get an instant response. However, when making an enquiry, you'll get an indication of how long the hotel takes to reply (generally within 24 hours; some are a lot quicker).
Q. Can I contact you if there is a problem with my booking?
A. Yes, you are welcome to email or phone us if there is a technical or procedural problem with your booking. Our contact details are given when you make an enquiry. However, queries about the property or holiday are best addressed directly to the place in question, not to us.
Q. How do I check the status of my reservation?
A. Log in to my-escapes and click on 'my reservations'. Clicking on 'view details' will provide details of your enquiry, its status and any messages sent to/from the hotel. You will also be notified by email when the hotel has responded to your request.
Q. The same reservation details are showing for different enquiries - why?
A. Probably because you used the Back navigation button while browsing your reservations. To navigate, please only use the links shown in our main screens e.g. the 'Go Back' button at the bottom, or the 'My reservations' link on the left.
Q. Will I receive written confirmation of my reservation?
A. Yes. Once the hotel/trip supplier has confirmed receipt of your deposit, you will be provided with an online summary of your booking details, a unique booking reference number, as well as contact details and detailed directions for the accommodation. You should print this page and take it with you on holiday; it also entitles you to a free gift or upgrade at the majority of our partner hotels. You can also view the details of your reservation online at any time via my-escapes.
Q. Can you arrange flights, transfers, car hire, insurance, etc. for me?
A. No. We do not arrange any travel (air, land or sea). However, as a well-researched guide, we do provide recommendations and links to suppliers who we believe offer the best value for money. You will find advice on how to get to your destination and getting around in our Travel Guides under Travel Info, as well as on the individual accommodation pages under Getting There. Many hotels/villas can arrange transfers from airports or train stations; please check the individual accommodation description.
Q. Can I book if I live outside the UK?
A. Yes. Anyone can book accommodation through our website as long as you have a valid credit card with which to guarantee the booking and make any necessary deposit.
Q. How do I submit feedback?
A. After your stay, we will email you to ask for your ratings and comments. We include all guest ratings plus a selection of comments. We cannot include all comments as there isn't enough room to do so, but we choose ones that represent all feedback, good and bad (happily, 99% are good). We ONLY include feedback from guests who have booked through i-escape and completed their stay, so that it is fair.
Q. What forms of payment are accepted?
A. This depends largely on the hotel/property you are booking. In all cases your credit card details are required to initially guarantee your reservation, and usually an initial deposit will be charged to your credit card by i-escape at this stage. In addition, some hotels may require a second deposit to be paid, which will be charged to your credit card upon booking, or due by bank transfer within a few days; in such cases they will inform you of the payment details. The remainder of your payment is usually due at the time of stay, although rental properties tend to require full payment in advance of stay (and sometimes a damages deposit, too). Each hotel’s Booking Policies (Deposit and Cancellation) are fully explained on their Rates page and on your enquiry/booking form. Please ensure you double check payment and cancellation terms before confirming your booking as some hotels, especially in peak season, may require an immediate balance payment in order to confirm.
Q. At what stage do I need to provide my credit card details?
A. Unlike most accommodation websites, you will not be required to give your credit card details until after the accommodation/trip supplier has provided you with a quote, confirmed availability, answered any queries, and you have chosen to go ahead with the reservation.
Q. Who do I make payment to?
A. Deposit payments may be required, to be paid either directly to i-escape or the hotel / accommodation suppliers but balance payments are always paid directly to the hotel / accommodation suppliers. Occasionally, full payment will be made to the hotel (be it at the time of confirmation, at check-out, or a mixture). Again, the Payment Policies are fully explained on each hotel’s Rates page and on your enquiry/booking form
Q. Access to credit card details?
A. For bookings where i-escape takes a deposit payment your credit card will be charged through PCI (Payment Card Industry standard) compliant secure servers using 256bit SSL encryption technology considered the safest for standard commercial use. Where accommodation suppliers require credit card details for deposit, balance payment or cancellation transactions, your credit will be charged in accordance with their own payment policies but any details are fully encrypted and access to card information for completing a transaction is strictly controlled and monitored in accordance with PCI standards. i-escape does not have any visibility of your credit card details and full details are never stored beyond the transaction.
Q. What currency do I have to make payments in?
A. Usually, the native currency of the hotel/supplier you have booked with, or US dollars or UK sterling in some cases.
Q. Are the quoted prices inclusive of taxes and surcharges?
A. This depends largely on the hotel you are booking. On our Rates pages for each hotel, we state clearly what is included and not included in the hotel's standard rates.
Q. If I need to cancel my booking, do I have to pay a cancellation fee/forfeit my deposit?
A. If you decide to cancel your reservation, you should notify the establishment via my-escapes as soon as possible. To make a cancellation, login to my-escapes and click on "my reservations" and then "view details" of the relevant booking. At the bottom of your reservation details page, click on the "cancel reservation" button. The establishment is then instantly notified by email. Don't forget to read their response, as this will inform you of any cancellation charges/refunds due. Please note that if you are cancelling within 7 days of your intended stay you should also contact the accommodation/trip supplier directly (the contact details are given in your reservation details on my-escapes). The amount of any cancellation charge/refund depends on the cancellation policy of the individual hotel/villa/trip supplier, which is stated clearly at the time of making your booking and provided on the details of your reservation on my-escapes. Essentially, the more notice you give, the less you will be charged. We strongly advise that you take out personal travel insurance at the time of booking, as depending on the reason for your cancellation, you may be covered by your insurance policy.
Q. How can I list my hotel, guesthouse, apartment or villa with i-escape.com?
A. If you are the owner or manager of a small, stylish hotel, guesthouse, apartment or villa and would like to join i-escape.com, please read our information for hotel owners and then apply here. We answer all applications, but please be aware it may take a few weeks before we get back to you, as we are a small team, with about 50 properties approaching us every week, of which we normally choose just 1-2 for review and possible inclusion.
Q. What about the environmental and social impact of travel?
A. Travel is inherently unecological, but it brings many benefits to traveller and host alike, and has been a force for positive change in many poor societies. We can make a positive difference by choosing accommodation which has a low environmental impact (e.g. waste water recycling, solar power, natural building materials) and a responsible social policy (e.g. reinvesting the profit in the community, employing local staff - not just at a menial level). i-escape typically chooses only small hotels and guesthouses (under 30 rooms, except in large cities) and has a strong bias for those close to their nature / community. We question owners about their eco and social policies, and report them in our reviews. Click here for our favourite eco-resorts. We can minimise environmental impact by offsetting or neutralising the carbon emissions of our flights (see recommended schemes below). We accept that flying is the most fossil-fuel-intensive mode of transport and advocate other modes where possible e.g. train from UK to Paris, ferry from UK to northern Spain. We also think that air fuel should (and will eventually) be taxed, and that today's cheap flights are unsustainable.
Q. Which carbon offset schemes do you recommend?
A. We have consulted specialists in environmental travel, and believe these carbon-offset schemes make the most difference. 1) Friends of Conservation, a non-profit organisation with tree-planting projects in India, Peru, Costa Rica etc, as well as health, education and anti-poverty campaigns in developing countries. Their ‘carbon calculator’ works out the emissions from your proposed flight and the cost of planting trees to cover it, and you can donate that amount specifically to their tree-planting projects. 2) Climate Care. Their site has a quick-check offset box with secure card payment; money goes to projects which reduce emissions or implement renewable energy sources in poorer (non-Kyoto) countries, as well as a Ugandan reforestation project.