Covid19 - Customers FAQs

Updated: Wednesday 2 December 2020 

To all our valued customers and homeowners,

As a family-owned business people are at the heart of everything we do, so your safety and health has been, and continues to be, our top priority. In order that we all do our bit to look after one another, we ask all of our guests to familiarise themselves with and adhere to the Government restrictions in place.

The Government rules in relation to Covid are constantly being updated and are therefore subject to change. We will continue to update this page with more information as and when we can, but in the meantime, we would like to thank each and every one of you for your understanding and support during this difficult period. You are the reason our teams come to work every day and love what they do - so we thank you for working with us to ensure we can continue to provide you with the best UK holidays again in the future.

Christmas period (23 December - 27 December)

The UK Governments have announced that the restrictions currently in place (see below) are to be relaxed over the Christmas period, between 23 December and 27 December and replaced with ‘Christmas bubble’ rules.

Under these rules, a Christmas bubble of up to 3 households can be formed. If someone is in your Christmas bubble, you can visit each other’s homes and stay overnight, including in private rented accommodation. Once at your destination, you should follow the rules in that Tier.

If your booking spans the Christmas bubble period (23-27 December), the days outside of this period will be covered by the restrictions set out below.

Current restrictions excluding Christmas

There are now a number of different legislated restrictions in place in England, Wales and Scotland. We will contact all guests affected by the different restrictions with instructions on what their options are and how to access these options.
 

England

From 2 December 2020, the localised restrictions (Local Covid Alert Levels (the Medium, High and Very High Tiers)) set out below apply. The areas falling into each Tier will be reviewed by the Government on 16 December 2020. If your holiday is due to start after 16 December 2020, we politely request that you wait and see what the position is nearer the time. If there are further restrictions put in place, we will contact all affected guests as soon as possible and let you know what your options are.

Please rest assured that if it is impossible for you to take your booked holiday due to legal restrictions then the options set out below will be available to you. If there are no legal restrictions in place at the date your booking is due to start our normal terms and conditions will apply.

Localised restrictions (for bookings starting between the 2 December and 16 December):

You can see which Tier you/your holiday property are in by visiting the following Government website: Post code checker

Tier 1: Medium alert

If you live in a Tier 1 area and have a holiday booking in a Tier 1 area, your booking can go ahead subject to the ‘Rule of 6’ restrictions. That is, any bookings with a party size of 7 or more cannot currently take place unless the party members are from the same household or support bubble.

Tier 2: High alert

If you live in a Tier 1 or a Tier 2 area and have a holiday booking in a Tier 2 area or you live in a Tier 2 area and you have a holiday booking in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area, your booking can go ahead provided you only travel with your household or support bubble.

Tier 3: Very high alert

Whilst the UK government has not made it illegal for single households/support bubbles who live in a Tier 3 area to travel to a self-catering holiday property in England in either Tier 1 or Tier 2 areas they have advised people not to travel out of Tier 3 areas. As such, we ask that all of our guests who live in Tier 3 areas take this Government guidance seriously and that they contact us to discuss their bookings. We will assist you and will work with our property owners to defer your booking until later this year or next year or to discuss other options that may be available. However, as this is not a legal restriction the final decision will be down to the property owner as to what options are available.

However, if you have booked a property that is now located in Tier 3, unless the reason for your stay falls within one of the legal exceptions, properties in Tier 3 are unable to accept your booking and therefor your booking cannot go ahead. In this instance we will be able to assist you with transferring your booking or discussing other options.

Wales

Holiday bookings in Welsh properties are currently able to go ahead but only for people who live in Wales and they are restricted to only one household in the holiday property.

If you live outside of Wales you are currently not legally permitted to take your holiday. Further, people living in Wales are not legally permitted to go on holiday outside of Wales.

 If your holiday is due to start after 17 December 2020, we politely request that you wait and see what the position is nearer the time. If there are further restrictions put in place we will contact all affected guests as soon as possible and let you know what your options are.

Please rest assured that if it is impossible for you to take your booked holiday due to legal restrictions after the end of the national lockdown, then the options set out below will be available to you. If there are no legal restrictions in place at the date your booking is due to start our normal terms and conditions will apply.


We will do our best to contact all guests we believe are affected by the legal restrictions, however, it remains the responsibility of guests to ensure they are complying with the law.

Any customers unable to take their booked holidays due to Covid-related legal restrictions have the following options:
  • Transfer your holiday to new dates in 2020 or 2021, free of charge. Furthermore, if you choose the equivalent dates in 2021 (taking into account any changes in public or school holiday dates), and you booked before 15 September, we will freeze the price.
  • Get a credit voucher for the amount previously paid for your booking, to spend on any Original Cottages break, to take place before the end of 2021.
  • Change your booking by either reducing the number of people travelling or changing the composition of your party such that the booking can still legally go ahead (this option is not available in relation to properties in Tier 3 areas).

Further, to the above, you would also be entitled to cancel your booking and receive a refund of the amount already paid for the holiday.

If you are only able to take part of your holiday (for example only the days during the Christmas bubble period) you would be entitled to a partial refund.

Due to the volume of bookings affected by the restrictions, in order to ensure we can look after all of our customer requests as best we can, our team will prioritise queries based on holiday start dates. However we are working through all queries as quickly as we can and therefore will come back to you on your request as soon as possible. 

If you have not yet heard from us, please complete the contact us form to advise us which of the above options you wish to choose and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

We advise all our guests to keep up to date with the latest Government rules and guidance on travel (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and https://gov.wales/coronavirus) and take this and their own personal circumstances into account before booking and deciding whether to travel.

We have put measures in place to ensure you can have a safe and enjoyable holiday. To read more about this, visit our Safety First page. Furthermore, you can book without worrying about what may happen in the event of further restrictions. You can see the details on our Book with Confidence page.

- The Original Cottages Family

 

FAQs

The property details pages on our website provide information about individual properties and you can find the answers to other Frequently Asked Questions below. We hope that this information is helpful. It includes the information our teams will be able to give you if you do contact us.

If there are legal restrictions in place preventing me from taking my holiday, what options do I have?

When you book with Niche Retreats, you can be assured that our team will be ready to move or cancel your booking if the need arises.

Booking with us gives you the reassurance that if you are unable to go on holiday because:

There are UK Government restrictions on travel due to the Coronavirus outbreak in place at the date your holiday was due to start which make going on your holiday impossible, and/or the property or location you have booked is legally closed to visitors due to the Coronavirus outbreak at the date your holiday was due to start, then you will be able to choose one of the following options:

  • Transfer your holiday to new dates in 2020 or 2021, free of charge. Alongside our property owners, we shall do everything we can to help you transfer your holiday to another date. Furthermore, if you choose the equivalent dates in 2021 (taking into account any changes in public or school holiday dates), and you booked before 15 September, we will freeze the price. If you decide to transfer your holiday to a different (non-equivalent) date in either 2020 or 2021, any difference in the price of your new dates will be applied or credited as appropriate at the time of transferring.
  • If you are not in a position to decide on new holiday dates now you can choose to receive a Credit Voucher for the amount previously paid for your booking, to spend on any Original Cottages break, to take place before the end of 2021. Terms and conditions can be found here.
  • We encourage all our customers to transfer your holiday to another date and alongside our property owners, we shall do everything we can to help you to do this. If you do not wish to do this, you will be entitled to cancel your booking and receive a refund of the amount already paid for the holiday. If you are only able to take part of your holiday (for example only the days during the Christmas bubble period) you would be entitled to a partial refund.

All other booking terms and conditions remain unchanged.

How do I know what Tier of local Covid restrictions apply to me or the property I am due to go to?

You can visit the following Government websites: England and Scotland

What if the area in which my holiday property is located changes to Tier 3 during my stay?

You are allowed to finish your holiday, but you will need to comply with the Tier 3 rules during the remainder of your stay.

What is the position where the Government has issued guidance which means I may not wish to travel?

We appreciate that some guests may have bookings that are affected by Government guidance (as opposed to legal restrictions). Since this guidance is subject to regular review and updates, we recommend you wait until closer to the start of your holiday before deciding whether to change your arrangements.

However, if you would like to make a change to your holiday, because the property is legally available and because you are not legally restricted from travelling, then our normal terms and conditions apply. We are happy to approach the homeowner to try and find you a suitable alternative or a refund, however this remains at the discretion of the homeowner. To request a change to your booking outside of legal lockdown restrictions, please contact us on 0333 2020 899.

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I’ve got an E-Voucher, how do I redeem it?

In order to redeem your e-voucher, please follow these steps: 

  • Log in to your customer account via the 'My Account' link at the top of this web page. If you have not yet registered an account please select 'Create an account' and follow the instructions.
  • Select 'Vouchers' in the main menu. Voucher terms and conditions can be found here.
  • You’ll then see a list of all your vouchers and can click on each one to see more details, including the holiday dates that the voucher is valid for.
  • Select the voucher you want to use and click 'Use this voucher'. 
  • You’ll be taken to our website where you can select the property and dates you’d like, and make your booking.
  • The voucher will be automatically applied to the booking and you’ll see it deducted from the total cost. If the value of the voucher is less than the cost of your new booking, you’ll need to pay the remaining amount. (Deposit payments are due immediately and balance payments are currently due 12 weeks before your holiday starts.)
  • If the value of the voucher is more than the cost of your new booking, the balance will stay on the voucher and you can use it towards another holiday.
  • If you have any issues, please contact us here.
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What happens if I or one of my party feels unwell during my stay?

If you or a member of your party show symptoms that could be related to coronavirus you must follow the appropriate government advice. In addition, please contact us and we will be able to assist you. When contacting the NHS, please specifically state that you are staying in a holiday property. If you are advised by the NHS to remain at the property, we will work with the owner to facilitate this as best we can and you will be required to pay the amount due for an additional stay in addition to any related costs.

Where can I find more information on Coronavirus?

To find out more about Coronavirus and read the most recent Government advice, we would advise you to visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirushttps://gov.wales/coronavirus or https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19