Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I book online?

Yes. You can make a booking by completing our secure online booking form.

Additional Information

Booking & Prices

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) strictly monitors all flight and accommodation packages sold in the UK, but if you buy a flight via the internet and accommodation from a link on the airline's website, your holiday is NOT bonded, so you will probably lose your money if the airline or accommodation provider ceases trading. You take the same risk if you make your own flight arrangements and rent a property through a UK villa rental agency that does not bond non-flight packages (illegal, but it happens). Similarly, you have no guarantees if you rent a villa direct from a villa owner, especially if the owner is resident overseas. For our clients' peace of mind, ALL HOLIDAYS IN THIS BROCHURE ARE FULLY BONDED, so your money is 100% safe.

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Booking Conditions

It is important that you read our booking conditions and holiday information carefully, since they, along with the other information on this website, set out the terms and conditions of the contract between you and The Villa Agency. We act as the booking agent for the suppliers of the component parts of the holidays we organise and, as such, bookings for their services will form a direct contract between you and the relevant supplier and will be subject to that supplier's standard terms and conditions.

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Important Villa Information

We have a varied selection of properties, most of which have private swimming pools. They range from simple cottages and apartments to luxurious villas accommodating up to eighteen people. We spend a great deal of time ensuring that the information in our brochure and on our website is as accurate as possible but please ask if there is anything specific you would like to know about an individual property.

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What others might not mention

It is our belief that in order for you to enjoy your villa holiday, you should be in possession of as much information as possible. Even with the most careful screening of properties and locations and the most honest evaluation by our staff, sometimes things happen which are beyond our control.

READ MORE >

Booking & Prices

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) strictly monitors all flight and accommodation packages sold in the UK, but if you buy a flight via the internet and accommodation from a link on the airline's website, your holiday is NOT bonded, so you will probably lose your money if the airline or accommodation provider ceases trading. You take the same risk if you make your own flight arrangements and rent a property through a UK villa rental agency that does not bond non-flight packages (illegal, but it happens). Similarly, you have no guarantees if you rent a villa direct from a villa owner, especially if the owner is resident overseas. For our clients' peace of mind, ALL HOLIDAYS ON THIS WEBSITE ARE FULLY BONDED so your money is 100% safe. Holiday packages with flights booked by The Villa Agency are ATOL protected, as we hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL 3340) granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking. See the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk for more information.

As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT 5022), The Villa Agency has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. In the event of insolvency, protection is provided for non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK and other non-flight packages excluding pre arranged travel to and from your destination. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly with The Villa Agency. In the above circumstances, if you have not yet travelled you may claim a refund, or if you have already travelled, you may claim repatriation to the starting point of your non-flight package. We are also founder members of the Association of Tour Operators to Portugal (ATOP).

Our prices

We act as agents for property owners which enables us to offer the best prices for you. Our price panels show the total weekly rental for each villa and extra days are usually charged at the appropriate daily rate. In some cases we offer a lower rent for less people. Gas, water and electricity (except for heating) are included in the rental price and any extras (for example pool heating) are shown on the villa price panel. We strongly recommend heating for bookings in February, March and October as the evenings can be chilly.

Holiday insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive holiday insurance. We have arranged a special Holiday Insurance Scheme through Travel & General Insurance Services Limited that is highly competitive. Details can be found on our website or call 0845 345 3456. If you have alternative cover, please check carefully that all aspects of your holiday are covered.

Lower rates for under-occupancy

We believe that it is unfair to charge a supplement for under-occupancy. A considerable number of our properties have a REDUCED WEEKLY RENTAL FOR EMPTY BEDS! This means that when, for example, two or three people choose to share a three bedroom villa the weekly rental is often less than if there are six people in the party. Please ask us at time of booking.

Price quotes

Misunderstandings or mistakes can occur so please check any quotations given against the published prices in this brochure or on our website. Our booking confirmation/invoice will show the definitive price for your holiday.

Extra costs

Pool heating and air conditioning are usually at extra cost, and prices are shown on the price panel. Unless stated in the property description, food packs, cots, highchairs, extra beds (when available) and fans may be requested and paid for with the final balance of the holiday. Heating and firewood are always at additional cost and must usually be paid for locally.

Booking deposits

You can reserve your holiday by sending us a completed booking form along with a deposit for the accommodation. Booking deposits are either 30% of the total rent or £250, whichever is the greater amount. You can pay this deposit by cheque, credit, charge or debit card. To keep our prices as competitive as possible, a charge of 2.5% will be added to all credit and charge card transactions (this does not apply to transactions made by UK debit cards). By adding this percentage we do not have to cost into our prices the charges levied by the credit card companies, thus we do not penalise those clients who wish to pay by alternative means. Your booking will be confirmed to you in writing when the booking form and full deposits are received. If you book within 8 weeks of the departure date, the full holiday cost is payable on booking.

Refundable security deposit

We hold a security deposit on all villa reservations, payable with the holiday balance and refunded automatically approximately two weeks after your tenancy. If there is a claim for damages by the owner or local manager, this has to be made to us within the two week period and we always ensure that the claim is investigated and approved by us before a deduction is made.

Altered bookings

A charge of £20 will be payable for EVERY alteration made after we have sent the first confirmation/invoice. If we have booked flights on your behalf name changes will be charged at the carrier's discretion. All amendments MUST BE MADE IN WRITING but please telephone us first to discuss the alterations you may wish to make. Changes of villa, dates or party members will be treated as partial or full cancellations. In the event of a partial cancellation, each member of the party who cancels will incur a cancellation charge which will be dependent on when the cancellation occurs.

Final payment & tickets

Final payment is required 8 weeks before departure. For bookings within 8 weeks of departure, full payment is required at the time of booking. Please note, WE DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF PAYMENTS UNLESS A RECEIPT IS SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED. Full villa details, directions, maps and our local representative's contact details plus flight tickets and a car hire voucher (if booked by us) will be posted or emailed approximately 10 days before departure. PLEASE CHECK THESE VERY CAREFULLY and read all other literature included in the travel documents. No refund can be made in respect of unused portions of flights, accommodation or car hire. It is essential that you let us know if you do not receive your holiday information.

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Important Villa Information

We have a varied selection of properties, most of which have private swimming pools. They range from simple cottages and apartments to luxurious villas accommodating up to eighteen people. We spend a great deal of time ensuring that the information in our brochure and on our website is as accurate as possible but please ask if there is anything specific you would like to know about an individual property. Perhaps you want a villa which is totally private but do not want to feel isolated, or maybe you have an aversion to bumpy tracks. We can't guarantee that the neighbourhood dogs won't bark during your holiday but we can certainly tell you if this has been a problem in a particular area in the past. By giving you honest answers to your questions, we can help to ensure that there are no nasty surprises awaiting you on your arrival. Please note some properties do not accept single gender bookings (although couples are welcome) and in all cases, when you have such a party, it is essential to check with us before making your booking.

Descriptions

We try to make our descriptions as factual and informative as possible. "Bathroom" means a bathroom with a bath, "Shower Room" means there is no bath but a full size shower and a "Wet Room" is a shower room where the shower area is level with the surrounding floor and usually does not have a shower curtain or screen. "Washroom" usually means a hand basin and lavatory. If we say "Car essential" it means that you will not be able to walk to shops or restaurants. If we say "Car recommended" it usually means that there are one or two facilities within walking distance, or that the less agile might prefer to drive. If we state that there is an "Enclosed garden", this does not imply safety but indicates that the property has gates and is surrounded by walls, fencing, hedges, bushes or a combination of the four. "Barbeques" may be built-in, gas or portable. CD/Radio may be part of a home entertainment system, hi-fi or a portable player.

Distances, pool sizes & pool depths

All distances and pool measurements are approximate, intended purely as a useful guide and may not be completely accurate. During the summer months, depths can fluctuate due to hot weather and constant usage.

Property locations

Please bear in mind that some of the roads in Portugal may not be as good as those in the UK and many of our villas are off the beaten track. Where possible, we mention particularly bad terrain in the property description; however, heavy rain can sometimes change a reasonable lane into a bumpy track overnight. Inevitably, the ever increasing number of tourists, particularly to the Algarve, has meant more cars and improved main roads. Consequently, even at some of our more remote villas, you may occasionally hear the distant rumble of motorway traffic if the wind is in the wrong direction. On the plus side, better roads mean that even if you choose an inland property you will not have too long a journey to the nearest beach.

Local representation

All of the properties featured on our website have English speaking staff on hand should you encounter a problem. In the event of a dire emergency you may use the out of hours UK telephone number. Details of all these numbers will be provided in the holiday information pack sent before departure and in the villa information folder.

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What others might not mention

It is our belief that in order for you to enjoy your villa holiday, you should be in possession of as much information as possible. Even with the most careful screening of properties and locations and the most honest evaluation by our staff, sometimes things happen which are beyond our control.

With the best will in the world...

We have very stringent rules when selecting properties and are careful to ensure that the surrounding area is free of any building work or other potential nuisance. However, we have no control over building regulations and occasionally, to our horror, a building site appears overnight, right next to one of our villas. When possible, we will offer an alternative should this happen. Sometimes other people's music and barking dogs can cause offence. Our overseas representatives can tactfully ask the offenders to lower the volume (dogs or music) but may not be met with a positive response!

Inanimate objects...

Inanimate objects have a habit of breaking down at the most inconvenient time. If a piece of equipment stops working during your holiday, we will try to rectify the problem as quickly as possible. To create maximum inconvenience, this usually happens on the Friday evening before a bank holiday when, despite our best efforts it is impossible to repair or replace the offending machine. Hot tubs and Jacuzzis are particularly temperamental; if you book and pay for one which breaks down, please inform your villa manager and we will refund you for the days you were without it.

Safety first...

No swimming pool is ever completely 'child proof' and all children should be supervised when playing on the pool terrace. For toddlers, we strongly recommend the use of arm bands. Always check the pool depths in advance and be aware that some rooms, including bedrooms, have direct access to the swimming pool area. Most of the villas have glass doors so if you have young children, we suggest you arm yourself with a packet of sticking plasters to mark the glass.

Road rage - Villa Agency Style...

The local authorities are constantly striving to improve roads to meet the growing demand. Often a diversion is set up overnight and despite our persistent pleas to be forewarned, regrettably, like everywhere else in the world, local councils are a law unto themselves and to date have yet to give us any advance notice. Our maps and directions are frequently updated but sometimes, to our frustration, we revise a map to show an alternative route and the diversion or road closure is changed yet again. On a positive note, we have never yet mislaid a client! Inclement weather can quickly turn a track into an off road rally course and it is impossible for us to forewarn in every case.

Nature and wildlife...

Please be aware that the Portuguese countryside may not be as you expect! Instead of green fields and hedgerows, constant heat often leaves the landscape brown and barren and instead of frolicking lambs, you are more likely to see the occasional goat meandering along the roadside.

Battling against the elements...

We know how important first impressions are and always ensure that pools and terraces are cleaned and swept before clients arrive. However, within a few minutes, a gust of wind may cover them with leaves and bougainvillea petals.

Power crazy...

Cuts to water and power supplies are not infrequent so we would suggest that you stock up with bottled water and some candles for emergencies. If power cuts occur during the evening or at weekends, it is usually impossible to arrange plumbers and electricians so it is best to be prepared, just in case.

Back to basics...

Portuguese plumbing is very different from ours. Each villa contains a folder of information with details about what should not be flushed down lavatories, but sadly not all clients heed this advice. The systems can take a while to malfunction and it may not be those people who disregard our advice who are affected - it is the clients visiting the house later in the summer who suddenly find themselves without a loo or two!

Better safe than sorry...

It is an unfortunate fact of life that incidents of theft from villas are on the increase and we would recommend that you are as vigilant on holiday as you would be at home. Do not take valuables on holiday with you and remember to close and lock windows, doors and shutters when you go out. It is also advisable to keep the front door locked while you are enjoying the pool.

Bugs and pests - not necessarily of the insect variety...

The growth of tourism means that traffic noise is on the increase. It is not always possible to guess from which properties you might hear traffic noise as, if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, even the most remote farmhouse might be affected. Barking dogs have always been a problem but a more modern inconvenience is the increasing number of discos - often with laser shows - and a variety of other attractions, such as clay pigeon shooting and bike rallies, which have appeared in the last few years. Ants, mosquitoes, wasps and flies arrived long before the tourists and even before the Moors. There are certain, sensible precautions but they will never be eradicated altogether.

Do unto others...

If the batteries fail in a remote control or a light bulb blows please be kind enough to leave a note for your villa manager so that the next clients will find everything as it should be on their arrival.

Give us a chance...

If anything is less than perfect during your holiday please, please tell your villa manager straight away. If you are still unhappy, contact our UK office. Please give us the opportunity to put things right on the spot as we provide a multitude of telephone numbers and can almost always rectify a problem, if we know about it. On the rare occasion that we receive a complaint it is generally because our local staff were not informed and in this situation we are unable to offer any compensation.

And finally...

If these points paint a rather less than glamorous picture, then we have done our job. We believe that honesty is most definitely the best policy. Take heart - in 99 out of 100 holidays none of these things cause any problems whatsoever and the huge amount of our clients who return year after year are proof of this.

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