Frequently asked questions
Q. What’s included in the price and what can we expect to find in the cottage?
A. Information about what’s included at every cottage can be found here. Each Retreat is different and for specifics at a particular place you should check the individual Retreat page.
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 starfish. Some of these cottages feature gardens, outdoor play equipment, sand pits, Wendy Houses and some have trampolines and kids bikes. Some have specially themed bedrooms. We can provide a travel cot (bring your own linen), highchair or toddler step if needed and these items are complimentary.
Q. Can you recommend a babysitter?
A. Please call our office on 0191 285 1272 for more information.
Q. Where is the nearest supermarket?
A. See our Eating section in Planning your Stay where there is information on the nearest supermarkets and companies which deliver.
Q. Do any of your properties have a swimming pool?
A. No, but we have teamed up with The Ocean Club in Seahouses, an exclusive private leisure club just minutes from our Northumberland cottages, giving guests access to a range of superb facilities – 20m pool, children’s pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Most of our Northumberland cottages have this membership (except The Alnmouth Boathouse, Waterfront, Tweedswood, The Old Paper Mill and Quayside).
Q. Do you allow pets?
A. We have a number of cottages that will accept a well behaved dog by prior arrangement. There is a small charge for this. Please tick the dog friendly box when searching for a Retreat. We can also give you the number of a local kennel or cattery. See our Staying section in Planning Your Stay for details.
Q. Do any of your houses cater for large groups?
A. We have a number of cottages that will sleep 8 or more guests, or neighbouring cottages which can be booked together. See our Find a Retreat section and enter the number of guests you wish to accommodate. Please remember that our cottages are privately owned holiday homes and we ask that you refer to our advice sheet for stays with large groups before booking.
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. Please see the individual Retreat page.
Q. Is there somewhere we can get food when we first arrive, possibly quite late in the day?
A. Seahouses Co-op supermarket, in Northumberland, is open until 11pm, Monday to Saturday. 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 takeaway on Harbour Road in Beadnell. However, even in the summer, these places may close around 9pm. As an alternative, pre order some freshly prepared dishes to your cottage before your arrival. See our Eating section in Planning Your Stay for more details.
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, or a mobile phone, in all properties with an honesty box. The Plaice has a payphone.
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 necessary, beds all made up, fire set for those cottages with open fires or log burners, 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 (if you let us know which room you need them in) and ready for your children whatever time you arrive.
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 4pm arrival to allow for a full and comprehensive preparation of the cottage for your stay. 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 this is possible.
Q. We’ll be coming from overseas in the summer and would like to stay in one of your properties for two to three weeks, perhaps even four. 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 third or fourth week. Please contact us directly.
Q. I need to be able to use my laptop, do any of your cottages have internet connections?
A. We have WiFi 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 keep in touch. Occasionally Wi-Fi access fails for reasons beyond our control. We will endeavour to restore this as quickly as possible but cannot be held liable for any failings.
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 return items and more for heavier parcels. See our Lost Property section for more details.
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. An email to our office is sufficient. We have an honesty box in each cottage so please leave an appropriate amount to cover breakages of 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.
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. We advise all guests to have cancellation insurance in place before their stay as there is always a chance that you may fall ill, have an accident or something else will prevent you from taking your holiday like extreme weather. Your deposit is non-refundable on a self catering break and if you cancel less than two months before your holiday starts then you will lose the whole cost of the holiday. For a relatively small amount you can have peace of mind that your money will be safeguarded if you can’t get away. We recommend www.cancellationplan.co.uk quoting COA2145 for a favourable rate.