Frequently Asked Questions

Our Favourite Hideaways...

What kind of places do you choose?

We unearth beautiful little hotels, boutique B&Bs and gorgeous rentals in some of the world's most stunning locations. Our 1,500-strong portfolio covers everything from country hotels to city apartments, beach houses to mountain B&Bs, family-friendly villas to honeymoon hideaways – across all budgets, from under £50 to over £500/night. Our key criteria?

  • Small: normally 5-20 rooms, occasionally larger, but always with a boutique mentality
  • Stylish: be it designer, rustic-chic or stylish simplicity, all are beautiful and impeccably looked after
  • Independent: often owner-run, always friendly and welcoming, never part of a large chain
  • We love them all: 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

    You've visited them all in person?

    Yes, our team of in-house writers and roving reviewers stays at every property on our site. That's how we're able to write such a detailed, personal and authoritative review. In a very few cases, while we await the best opportunity to travel, we write a holding review.

    So it's like a hand-picked guide to the world's loveliest places to stay?

    Exactly - with a free booking service and expert travel advice on tap. Call our team of consultants with questions about the accommodation or booking process. Browse our recommendations and blog for inspiration. When you're ready to book, please go through our site. We guarantee that you won’t pay any more than if you booked directly - and you’ll often get a free extra, such as a massage or a bottle of wine, to say thank you.

  • Making a Reservation

    How do I book?

    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 it with a credit card.

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

    Some hotels keep their availability constantly updated on i-escape, either using software or manually. But some of our smaller properties don't have the resources to do this, so they handle enquiries on a request basis i.e. you submit your dates and they quickly reply yes or no. We don't want to rule these places out: they're some of our favourite, under-the-radar gems. You won't find them on mainstream booking sites; or if you do, they often show full when they're not (as a precaution against overbooking). Our request system gives you the best chance of finding availability: even if they are full, owners can suggest alternate dates, or workarounds by changing room midstay. And you can ask questions before deciding.

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

    Yes – in most cases you can hold it for 2-5 days, and i-escape is one of the few booking systems 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.

    Can I book family rooms, extra beds or cots?

    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.

    When do I pay?

    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.

    How do I know my credit card details are safe?

    We are PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant, 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.

    My credit card payment is not working - what can I do?

    If you are having problem making the initial deposit payment by credit card (e.g. you've forgotten your 3D password, or the card is not being accepted), then call us during office hours and we can process the payment offline using our Chip and Pin machine.

    Is there any cost for booking through i-escape?

    No. None at all. We never charge any booking fee (or "service fee" as Airbnb call it), nor any 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 their own banking costs, but this applies whether you book through us or directly, and you will be notified in advance).

    Gift Vouchers

    How do I redeem my i-escape gift voucher?

    It’s simple, just choose your stay and type in the voucher code when you confirm your booking.

    What if my gift voucher amount is more than the total value of the stay?

    Then we'll email you a new gift voucher with the remaining balance. The expiry date will remain at 12 months after the original voucher delivery date.

    What if my gift voucher amount is more than the booking deposit?

    When the amount you have been gifted exceeds the booking deposit, you will be asked to pay for your whole stay at the time of booking. Don’t worry: if you cancel, you’ll get any refunds due.

    Can I redeem more than one voucher against the same booking?

    Yes, so long as they are purchased vouchers, rather than competition prizes or other giveaway vouchers. Just drop us a line and we’ll sort it out for you.

    Can I use my gift voucher to purchase meals and extras during my stay?

    i-escape gift vouchers are only redeemable against the accommodation portion, as quoted and booked on the i-escape website.

    What happens if I use my voucher, but then need to cancel the booking?

    The cancellation policy is listed on your booking confirmation - this varies for each property so please read it carefully. If refunds are due, they will be made by the same method as payment was made - i.e. refunded to your card, or reissued as a new voucher.

    I have lost my gift voucher code, what should I do?

    No problem, feel free to contact us and, in most cases, we’ll be happy to replace the code for you. When this happens, the original code will be voided.

    My friend gave me a gift voucher, but I don’t think I’ll use it. Can I get a refund?

    Unfortunately i-escape gift vouchers are not refundable, but we’re confident we can help you find the perfect i-escape trip. Our participating boutique hotels, B&Bs and rentals includes something for every budget, with properties in the UK and around the world. Do contact us for personalised support and advice.

    I just found a gift voucher that has expired – can I extend it?

    i-escape gift vouchers are redeemable up to 12 months after delivery date. The booking must be made within the 12 months, but the stay can fall outside of these dates.

    Can I buy a physical voucher?

    Yes, just select "Gift Cards" during the purchase process.

    I have not received my gift voucher confirmation email - was my purchase successful?

    Oh dear, not to worry, just contact us and we’ll investigate.

    Best Price Guarantee

    What is i-escape's Price Promise?

    • We guarantee that you will not get a better price on the hotel's site or any other publicly available rate, on a like-for-like basis.
    If you think you have found a better deal, please email us with details of your i-escape quote and the competing offer and, provided it is like-for-like (see below), we’ll match it. 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.

    What does 'like-for-like basis' mean?

    • the same accommodation i.e. same property, room/room category, occupancy and stay dates

    • the same inclusions, such as tax, service, breakfast, credit card charges (note that some websites sneak these in at the end of the booking process)

    • the same payment policy and cancellation policy

    • the same currency, specifically the hotel's own currency

    • at the same time i.e. the lower price quote must be made within 12 hours of our quote

    • publicly available i.e. bookable without having to log in or sign up to a newsletter
    Auction sites, member-only deals, corporate discounts, reward programmes, coupons or group rates, and sites offering unnamed accommodation are all excluded from this guarantee. The final decision as to whether a quote qualifies for the Best Price Guarantee will be made by us, at our sole discretion.

    Do you offer special deals?

    Yes - in addition to our price guarantee, our partner hotels regularly send us exclusive offers which are advertised in our monthly newsletters and in our Offers section. Many are exclusive to i-escape: you won’t find them anywhere else. And most hotels offer i-escape guests extra perks on arrival - room upgrades, champagne, massages etc. Occasionally, we run special promotions which require a code when booking - be sure to follow us in the usual ways.

    Further Assistance

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

    i-escape is aimed at independently-minded travellers; we'll supply travel inspiration and help you sort your accommodation, but you'll have to book your own flights or transport. We list the airlines serving each destination (click on “Getting There” in any hotel’s Location section), and we recommend our favourite car hire and travel insurance companies, based on over 15 years' experience. If you need transfers on arrival, either ask the hotel (we indicate typical costs), or check our Location > Getting Around link, which summarises local transport options. If that's all too much and you just want someone to propose and book a bespoke itinerary for you, see our recommendations for Tailormade Tour Operators.

    What if there’s a problem?

  • 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.

    Are you ABTA- or ATOL-bonded?

    No - we don't sell flights or packages, so we are not bound by package holiday regulations. We are purely an accommodation bookings agent, and your contract is with the accommodation provider itself.

    When are you open?

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

    How can I contact you?

    Our contact details are here

  • Joining Our Collection

    How can I list my property?

    If you think your hotel or rental is perfect for i-escape, please check this summary of how we work first, and then apply to join from there. Do bear in mind that we are very selective, and that we visit every new property in person to write our own detailed review.

    How do I recommend a hotel or rental?

    If you've visited a wonderful small hotel or villa / apartment rental which you think deserves to be included in our collection, please tell us about it here

    Finding the Perfect Place

    What about family-friendly places?

    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.

    And romantic hideaways?

    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.

    Spa retreats? Beach hotels? Gourmet getaways?

    Yes, we list our favourites for all these, and more. You'll see all our top-rated places first, with a note to explain why (hover over the rating). You can then whittle them down by location, price etc.

    What about pet-friendly hotels? Adult-only? Wheelchair-accessible?

    Yes, yes and yes: check out our Editor's handpicked hotlists for these and more - including ski chalets, barefoot luxury and teenage kicks.

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

    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.

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

    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 mates. They’ll thank you for it.