Coastal Retreats FAQ
Q. What's included in the price and what can we expect to find in the cottage?
A. Prices are fully inclusive of fuel ( including fire fuel), bedlinen and towels ( not beach towels). When you arrive you will find the heating on, the fire set ( if there is a real one), the beds made up, tea tray set and a small welcome hamper of local treats and some milk in the fridge. There is a starter supply of tea, coffee and sugar in the kitchen and basic cleaning products including a starter supply of loo and kitchen roll. Fresh dishcloths, tea towels and oven gloves are also there for you. All cottages have some kind of fresh coffee maker - some a cafetiere, some a filter machine and one or two have speciality coffee machines referred to on the page for that cottage so that you can bring your favourite coffee pods!
Q. Are any of your cottages better suited for young children?
A. All of our cottages are child/baby friendly but we would suggest you consider a holiday at the properties graded 4 or 5 star fish. Some of these cottages feature gardens, garden play equipment, sand pits, wendy houses and some have trampolines and kids bikes. Some have specially themed bedrooms
We hope you'll find our starfish rating helpful when choosing a cottage with your children in mind. Our 5 and 4 starfish properties are exceptionally junior friendly. Please feel free to call us or a chat about our cottages if you have particular needs for your children.
Q. Thinking of food shopping, where is the nearest supermarket?
A. There's a Morrisons in Alnwick and a large Sainsburys- about 15 mins drive south from Seahouses/Bamburgh and there is a decent small co-op in Seahouses. The Green Shop in Berwick sells organic and fairtrade produce (01289 305566) and also the Alnmouth Grocer in Alnmouth is worth a visit (01665 830997). Seahouses has a deli, a family bakers, a greengrocers and a superb wet fish shop and smokery, Swallow Fish. Try the services of www.gandsorganics.co.uk or www.foodheaven.com for locally sourced, produced and organic fruit, vegetables, meat etc.
There is a good Marks & Spencers food outlet in Berwick and Tesco has just opened a store there too.
www.foodheaven.com offers a superb grocery delivery service offering the best in locally produced, organic and fair trade food and this is proving very popular with our guests. Have a look at their website, they will deliver on your arrival day and even unpack your groceries, saving you time and effort! We recommend this service wholeheartedly. Our guests are always impressed with this service and the quality of the produce and they prepare our welcome gifts which you will find on the kitchen table on your arrival. Almost all of our guests use Food Local Food to preorder their holiday groceries and the positive feedback is overwhelming.
Asda do deliver to our area - you can make an order on www.asda.com . Tesco will also deliver to our cottages www.tesco.com
You will need the postcode of the cottage and can place an order up to 3 weeks in advance. Asda deliveries comes from Blyth in Northumberland. Book your slot for the night of arrival but please make sure you are there to receive your goods as the driver won't leave your groceries without a signature! Occasionally, you may experience a problem when placing an order, if so, please call Customer Services on 0845 300 7770. Although most of the time the service from Asda is fine, we do prefer to recommend Food Heaven who provide a much more personal service, who care about their customers and who source local foods of superb quality.
Q. Do any of your properties have a swimming pool?
A. No, but we have teamed up with the Ocean Club , an exclusive private leisure club just minutes from our cottages, giving guests access to a range of superb facilities - 20m pool, children's pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Most of our cottages have this membership (currently Waterfront in Berwick and the Alnmouth Boathouse don't) Some of our cottages have paddling pools for the gardens and of course there's always the sea!!
Q. Do you allow pets?
A. Since many of our guests are allergic to dog and cat hair, we are unfortunately unable to take pets in most of our properties. We do have a few cottages that will accept a well behaved dog by prior arrangement, these are Beadnell Beach House, Coastguard's, Seafarer's, The Bolthole, The Fold@Rock , The Grain Store and Sailors Snug. We also give you the number of a local kennel or cattery!. Also check out our sister site www.countryretreatsuk.com where we have more pet friendly cottages.
Q. We want to bring our own bikes and diving equipment. Is there somewhere to store these safely?
A. Some of the cottages have garages, sheds or large store rooms for locking away bikes, golf clubs, kites, windsurfs etc. Just ask
Q. Is there somewhere we can get food when we first arrive possibly quite late in the day?
A. Seahouses Co-op supermarket is open until 10 pm in the summer months. There are numerous pubs and restaurants within walking (depends on which cottage you choose) or short driving distance and there is always the fish and chip option in Seahouses or Beadnell. Try Pinnacles in Seahouses or the small take away on Harbour Rd in Beadnell. However, even in the summer, these places may close around 9pm! As an alternative, pre order some locally made suppers and cakes from www.foodheaven.com They will deliver the freshly prepared dishes to your cottage before your arrival and leave them in the fridge or the freezer. Emily Botham and Fiona Burns, Neil Wilkins are excellent local chefs/caterers, will deliver gourmet frozen meals (miminum orders apply). All you need to do is pop the oven on, heat up and serve!
If you would like us to recommend a restaurant for any time during your stay or if you are looking for a pub or restaurant on the way to your cottage - just ask us.
Q. Will I be able to use my mobile phone?
A. Reception is generally good at all of the cottages apart from those in Seahouses/Bamburgh and Craster. There are landlines in all properties with regular phones with an honesty box or perhaps a payphone. At the Viking apartments in Seahouses we leave a fully charged mobile phone for your use with some credit available. You can top this up for your own use if you wish. It uses the T Mobile network that does actually work in Seahouses!
Q. Is there a pub within walking distance?
A. There are lots of pubs within a few minutes drive but if you want to be able to walk round the corner to a village pub, we suggest you stay at the Mariner's in Beadnell or The Seafarer's or the Plaice in Seahouses. In Seahouses, we recommend the Olde Ship Hotel - a fantastic real ale pub with character bar with real fire and also a beer garden high above the rooftops overlooking the harbour. In Beadnell, both the Craster Arms and the Beadnell Towers Hotel serve a decent pint and bar meals/restaurant food. If you are staying at one of our Tughall Steads properties, then you are within a five minute drive from the well known Ship Inn at Newton by-the-Sea and the Joiners Arms in High Newton (or 15 mins if you go by bike). There is one pub in Craster, it has great views and has just been refurbished beautifully. The Jolly Fisherman is a well know landmark pub in Craster.
Q. Do all of your properties have real fires?
A. Many of our properties have wood burning stoves . The Harbour Master's House has an open fire for burning logs and coal. There is an effective contemporary electric pebble fire at the Budle Bay loft with remote control and similar remote control fires at the 3 cottages at Glororum. The Hemmel has an authentic gas log burner, looks like a real log burner, but is much more efficient and quicker to light! At some such as The Look out, Beadnell Beach House, The Plaice and the Look Out , the focal point is the splendid sea view! Coastal Retreats @ the Viking apartments don't have fires.
Q. We will be travelling some distance and will probably be arriving late at night. Is this a problem?
A. Not at all. We make it easy for you to arrive late at night by giving you the key safe code in advance so you can retrieve the key to the front door and not have to wait around for someone to let you in! On arrival you will find the property well lit, heating on if neccesary, plenty of hot water for a bedtime bath, beds all made up, fire set for those cottages with open fires or logburners, tea cups at the ready and a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge. If you have your laptop with you and have any questions or concerns, please email us and we will reply very quickly. If you're travelling with young ones or babies and have requested a travel cot and high chair, these will be erected for your arrival and ready for your children whatever time you arrive. At the Viking apartments we give you instructions on how to meet up with one of the team who will show you to your apartment and where to park.
Q. Can we arrive early?
A. We are often asked this question. It is more feasible to allow an early arrival outside of peak season as during peak times our cleaning and preparation teams are very busy. However, we ask for a 4.30 arrival to allow a full and comprehensive preparation of the cottage for its next occupants. It is always worth asking if this is important to you, but PLEASE DON'T BE TEMPTED to arrive early if we have not expressly said that this is possible. This can often put our teams in an embarassing position and may put pressure on them to finish presentation of the cottage quickly and less efficiently to keep you happy, and that is not a good way to start your holiday! Speak to us if this is an important issue for you.
Q. We'll be coming from overseas in the summer and would like to stay in one of your properties for 2-3 weeks, perhaps even 4. Do you offer a discount for bookings of this length?
A. Yes! We've had many guests from abroad and many who have stayed for several weeks! For bookings for two weeks in the same property, we offer a discount to those guests who will not be requiring a mid holiday clean, change of towels etc. For bookings of longer than two weeks, again we can offer a discount for every clean that is not needed and will be happy to work out a special price for your 3rd or 4th week. Best to make contact with us on an individual basis and we can work out a special price for you. We have taken bookings in the past for the whole summer - again we can work out a price for you.
Q. Do any of the Coastal Retreats have sea views?
A. Yes, some of our places have superb true sea views. At The Look Out, The Plaice, North Star House, Harbour Master's House, Craster Rocks, Beadnell Beach House, Waterfront, Alnmouth Boathouse, The Craster Retreat and The Budle Bay Loft you couldn't get much nearer to the sea unless you were in it!! The Loft looks out over Budle Bay towards Holy Island and the Plaice has a superb harbour side location and looks out over the harbour at Seahouses towards the Farne Islands. From the split level decking at the Harbour Master's House, you have the most magnificent views of the harbour, coast and Dunstanburgh Castle. The Craster Retreat is a few steps from the harbour wall and has enjoyable sea views from the garden and the rooms at the front of the cottage. At the Viking apartments and The Seafarer's, the sea is very close and can be seen and heard as you park up and enter the properties. Here, the sea is literally a minutes walk away. From the Viking apartments there are limited sea views. from the Beach House, you can see Bamburgh Castle and the sand dunes which are so tall they hide the sea just behind them! You can sit in the garden of Coastguard's Cottage and enjoy sea views from the terrace. The Beadnell Beach House has its own access to the Smugglers Cove beach and sits right on top of the beach. You can't get away from the sea view from the living rooms on the ground and first floor.
From Driftwood, Seasalt and Nook End, there are sea views of Beadnell Bay (the sea is a mile away). From the front garden at the Garden Cottage and Cowslip, Tughall Steads, there are views of the sand dunes at Newton by -the -Sea.
Q. I need to be able to use my laptop, do any of your cottages have internet connections?
A. We have a free wireless broadband connection in all of our properties as we appreciate that even on holiday, some of our guests, may need to be able to use their laptops and send e-mails or for playing computer games and the like. (Occasionally wifi access fails for reasons beyond out control. We will endeavour to restore this as quickly as possible but cannot be held liable for any failings)
There is Wifi access at the Ocean Leisure Club in Seahouses. There is no entry charge to the cafe/bar and it is rather a nice place to read the papers, drink coffee and check e-mails. Just ask for the password at reception. There is also wifi at the Victoria Hotel in Bamburgh
Q. There are just the two of us, which of your properties would you recommend to us?
A. We take many bookings from couples, especially at the Harbour Master's House , Nook End, Driftwood, The Plaice, The Hemmel and the Budle Bay Loft. They have 3 bedrooms and are spacious cottages but don't feel too large for small groups or couples. Flying Ducks is the perfect romantic hideaway and even though it only has one bedroom, it is suprisingly spacious and packed with both equipment and character! The Lodge @ Shirewater is a beautiful 1930's style one bedroom cottage. The Alnmouth Boathouse is also ideal for couples or parents with a baby. Our new Milking Parlour at Glororum has one bedroom and is a gorgeous little detached property with eveything you need for a couples holiday
Coral Cottage near Bamburgh and Sailors Snug and The Bolthole in Beadnell are also very popular with couples
For couples who just want more space, we can offer our larger properties (Group D and above) at a specially discounted rate (10% reduction) if only one bedroom is to be used
Our apartments@ The Viking are perhaps the most couple orientated of our properties. We have 3 apartments here, one with one bedroom (Pampas) and two with two bedrooms (Feathergrass, Bluegrass ). These apartments showcase the best of coastal chic and are an asset to our collection.
Q. What do we do if we leave something behind?
A. Give us a call or email us to describe exactly what it is and we will endeavour to find it for you. Please understand that we charge a MINIMUM of £10 to tarce and/or return items and more for heavier items as this can sometimes entail quite a bit of work tracing the item, returning it to the office then making a special trip to the post office to weigh a package. The best scenario is you don't leave anything at all, so be sure to check the cottage well before you leave!
Q. What do we do if we break something in the cottage?
A. We know that accidents happen so first of all, don't be embarrassed and do tell us straight away what is broken, as we may have to source another for the next guests. We have an honesty box in each cottage so please leave an appropriate amount to cover breakage on smaller items. For larger items, and particularly electrical items, please give us a call so that we can arrange a repair call-out or replacement. If the damage is your fault, we can take payment from the card details we hold from your holiday payment.
Q. We have a booking and need to make a change or cancellation, what do we do?
A. First of all, tell us straight away as this may benefit both you and the cottage owner to find out sooner rather than later. Our cancellation policy is clearly explained in our terms and conditions as below:
6.1 Making changes to your Holiday
6.1.1 We understand that on occasions even the firmest made plans can change! Provided that you give us plenty of notice of your wish to change your booking we will endeavour to accommodate your request.
6.1.2 Regrettably we can only make changes to bookings if:
(a) the property you wish to change to is available on the new dates;
(b) the owners of the original property and the owners of the change property are the same. (This is because your Holiday contract is with the owner of the property and not Coastal Retreats); and
(c) your request for a change is made more than two calendar months before the start date of the original Holiday.
6.1.3 A change to your Holiday will incur an administration fee of £50 and additional fees may be incurred where you have changed to different dates or a more expensive property. This fee will just about cover the time involved in changing paperwork and informing the owners and cleaning/housekeeping/welcome and hamper teams.
6.1.4 If we are unable to accommodate a change to your Holiday, your original booking will continue to be valid unless cancelled in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. If you decide to cancel your booking you will be responsible for any cancellation charges that may apply.
6.2 Changes to your Holiday by us
In the unfortunate event that we have to make changes to your booking (for example if the property is suffering from damage that requires immediate repair or the property is no longer available for rental), we will endeavour to find a suitable alternative booking at another property for you. If it is not possible to find an alternative for you, we will refund all sums paid by you for this Holiday. This will be our only obligation or liability to you in such circumstances.
7. Cancellation and refunds
7.1 If you need to cancel your booking you should tell us immediately.
7.2 Where you cancel the booking a cancellation charge will be due in respect of our lost costs as follows:-
No of days before Start Date
Cancellation charge payable by you
More than 2 calendar months
28 days – 2 calendar months
50% of full cost
0 – 27 days
100% of full cost
7.3 When you cancel a booking due to a material error or omission in accordance with condition 2.2.2 no cancellation charge will be due and we will refund any sums paid to the point of cancellation.
7.4 You are advised to take out a separate Holiday cancellation insurance. We can suggest a holiday cancellation plan to you and one is displayed on our website. We will email this plan to you along with your holiday confirmation.
For our full terms and conditions see our website http://www.coastalretreats.co.uk/booking-conditions.htm