We are a very small company and part of our skill and success is that the 3 of us in the office know every house. We visit them regularly to meet with owners, our team and check on cleaning and ensure they meet our high expectations. Our office is in the New Forest, and we are New Forest owned! We’re not part of a large group of companies and all our team are local. So not only can they give you information about the property, but they’ll help you plan ultra-local and local things to do, places to go, little treats and such. We pride ourselves on being transparent about our properties which is why we say the good and bad about them in our write ups. If you have questions, just pick up the phone or pop us an email.
How can I see more pictures of the property?
Just click on the gallery images within the property page and it will open a pop up to show you the pictures larger and you can scroll, using the arrows, to more left or right.
Why don’t you hold houses for people?
Demand for our lovely places is often high. We operate on a first come, first served basis to keep the bookings system fair to everyone. This also ensures that our online calendars are kept current and accurate.
Is there any flexibility on the arrival day?
In low or off peak seasons we can usually do flexible arrival days. Most owners prefer to do Monday or Friday checkins with weekends being a 2 or 3 night stay.
In the summer season, we are often limited by the number of (good) cleaners that we can find. Usually in peak season, most of our houses aim for Friday changeovers for seven night stays. However, occasionally we get requests for a 10 day stay, or an owner who wants a short stay and then we will have short stay gaps.
In half terms we will try to have one week stay and one short stay, again sticking to Monday and Friday changeovers if possible.
Please do ask us if you feel that our booking rules need explanation.
Why are short stays not available during certain times of the year?
In our peak season we try to have a minimum of a 7 night stay. This, in particular after COVID19 helps us prepare the properties for guests. For example, laundry takes 5 days to do… Over three quarters of our properties take 3 night stays throughout the year in off peak periods, and 2 nights minimum for the rest of the year.
Can I have an early check-in and/or later departure?
Our checkin and out timings are set so that house teams have plenty of time to prepare the house to the high standards we expect for our guests.
In low or off peak season we can sometimes offer this, but in peak season it is almost impossible.
During COV19 pandemic we are delaying checkins to 5pm to give our cleaners more time to deliver the demanding requirements.
What can I expect to get for free, included in the price of the stay?
Free and included in your booking cost are: all bedding and linen, towels for the house, kitchen essentials, any baby kit you’ve requested and cleaning the house after you leave. We also supply a welcome pack with some treats to get you going for tea when you arrive. We will also provide some cleaning materials, access to cloths, hoover and mop, bin and recycling bags, dishwasher tablets and tea towels. Logs are also provided for guests in colder months, unless stated.
During COVID19, we are reviewing whether to leave ‘kitchen essentials’ out for guests. These are usually items that are refilled and not new each time. For example, herbs, condiments, tin foil etc.
If you are staying during the period when COVID19 is in the UK, we will update you during the booking process.
Can I request additional services during my stay?
Certainly. We are happy to help you organise lovely treats in-house. There are some excellent caterers locally, lovely masseurs and treatment specialists who will visit you, dog walkers and importantly… mid week cleaners. Ask us before your stay. Giving us more time than less will make it easier for us to help you.
What happens if I cancel a booking?
Cancellation of a booking is the final termination of your contract with the property owner. So we treat your instructions to cancel your stay as your final decision. Once we have written receipt of your cancellation we will immediately make the dates available for re-sale. This will help mitigate the cost to you of cancellation. We will try to resell the date but cannot guarantee that it will sell, or that it will sell at the same price that you first paid. Most stays are transferable to another group, but we will have to check that the group is suitable for the property and have agreement from the owner for the change.
We always suggest that guests purchase holiday cancellation insurance, just in case.
What happens if the property I have booked becomes unavailable?
This is an incredibly rare situation. But where there are extenuating circumstances, it does happen from time to time. It is extremely unusual that we will need to change your booking once we have accepted it. If we do, we will tell you as soon as we know and give you options, either to refund, move dates or transfer to another property. We will try to go above and beyond your expectations to make sure that the replacement is of equal or better standard to the property you originally booked.
What is the breakages deposit?
Our group of properties are much loved by their owners who want these beautiful and curated spaces to stay in the order that they were first presented to you in. The breakages deposit is a useful way of ensuring that the owners possessions are protected from damage. Your paying it, is also your acceptance that you understand that you’re responsible for the home and it’s condition, whilst you are staying. And that if damage does occur, you will be accountable for covering the cost of repair. Our owners are not an unreasonable bunch. And neither are we. We do understand that accidents happen, and we do not seek recompense for minor damage (which as a guide we define as a breakages, damage or extra cleaning that is likely to cost less than £20.00 to put right). Through the year, less than 2% of breakages deposits are claimed from by owners. We ask that if you feel there has been damage during your stay, you let us know straight away, then we can start to work with you to sort out the problem and replace or repair the piece or service. We try to return the breakages deposit back to you within 3-5 working days (unless the owner has flagged an issue to us and then it usually takes 7 working days).
Is the price of my booking fixed?
Yes. It includes VAT and our booking fees. The price will not change or be subject to surcharges once you’ve paid the deposit which confirms the booking. If you ask us for extra services for your stay, these are quoted separately and will be added to your bill later. For example, dogs, mid-stay cleaning etc. The breakages deposit is extra to your stay cost, is fully refundable and is detailed clearly on our website on each property page.
Do you offer holiday insurance?
No. We don’t at the moment but we are looking at partnering with a company who can support you with this.
Do you accept dogs at your properties, and what do you mean by a pet-friendly property?
Dogs are fun to take on holiday and we encourage our owners to accept dogs as part of their holiday home. But no matter how perfect your dog is, they are hairy and they do make a mess from time to time. We only welcome well-behaved dogs. Most of our houses are dog friendly and some owners veer to the more dog-tolerant side of things.
We explain on our website the size and number of dogs a house can have, and the charges for their stay. And we can’t guarantee that dogs won’t escape from properties with enclosed gardens.
If you have another pet, do ask, sometimes people bring parrots, cats or fish with them… Just ask us and we’ll see what we can do for you…
If we book the property for a low occupancy, will it just be us staying?
Yes, All of our houses are sold on an exclusive hire basis unless stated. At Gins Barn, the owners do live at the property, separately across the garden. At Ploughmans Cottage, if you just rent the cottage, we may have guests staying in The Pig Shed across the garden. This happens rarely. Please enquire about this at booking.
Why do you ask for feedback following our stay?
We love to know how our guests found our service and our houses. Having your feedback gives us a chance to improve our service and ensure things are running smoothly.
Do I get a discount if I book well in advance or if I wait until the last minute?
Our prices are set 18 months ahead and it is unusual for us to discount.
Can I have friends or guests visit me at the property?
We try to be flexible about this, within reason. Friends are able to visit you in the property but there are limits at each house. You will have to ask us at the booking stage. They will not be allowed to stay the night unless we agree beforehand, however, so long as the maximum number of people is not breached, most of the time, this is fine (unless it is a low occupancy booking). We need to know who is staying because it is a condition of our contract with owners and is non-negotiable; guests will be asked to leave if they break this condition of their stay.
What does ‘Close to Coast’ mean for you’?
A ‘coastal house’ is one which are under 1 mile or so from the coast. The New Forest coastline and tidal rivers have some wonderful places to stay by them. Have a look at staying by the sea here.
What is your definition of a baby?
We consider babies as those who are still using a standard travel cot. Often small toddlers will fit into them too (although they might be starting to touch the sides at both ends). So unless we specifically say we only take babies under a certain age, if your toddler is in a travel cot, don’t count them into the adult bed places when organising who is sleeping where. And do ask us at booking. You’re also welcome to bring your own travel cots if you’d like.
What do you mean by ’child-friendly’?
Child-friendly to us means that children are welcome and there is a good set up, at the property, for them. There will be appropriate bedrooms, toys for various ages, there will be facilities like high chairs, cots, stair gates and such. On each property page we clearly set out what is supplied for guests in our Essential Details section. However do also ask at booking and we’ll help you.
Will there be Wi-Fi/broadband?
Most (but not all) of our properties offer WIFI of some sort. Being a rural area, and most of our houses being in the National Park, the service can vary hugely. Storms and bad weather in particular affect speeds. If you are coming from a city then you will need to adjust your expectations downwards… We can’t promise that you will have good service all the time during your stay. Having said that, it is getting better. The coastal properties are the better serviced and the 4G from the Isle of Wight is particularly good.
What do I do if something doesn’t seem quite right at the property?
Please contact us straight away. We monitor the phone and the email from early morning to late at night, including weekends, and we will call you back. What we can’t do is fix things, if you don’t tell us, or after you’ve left. So please, take pictures, call us and we’ll do our best to help you out.
For a start, we rarely get asked for a brochure, but when we do, our answer is that we try to be as eco-friendly as possible which is why we run a paper-less office (as much as possible anyway) and why all our information is offered online. The number of houses we have ebbs up and down a little, and, because all of our literature is online, our web visitors can have peace of mind that the information they are viewing is accurate and up-to-date at all times.
Why do you re-name some of your properties?
Some of our houses are renamed. Most of these are so that we give our owners and their families, privacy. Where this is the case, we tell you the proper name of the house before you travel to stay. Our map locations are accurate but we do not give you the full address until just before your stay. Please take our word for it, that the general areas given for the properties are accurate where we say that a property is ten minutes from a specific location we do mean it!
As seen in...
New Forest Escapes Ltd., 49 South Efford House, Milford Road, Lymington, SO41 0JD.