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Things to consider when booking a holiday cottage

Posted: Mon, 13th Jun 2022
Old Fox Cottage

You may have a lengthy list of things that you have to consider when booking a holiday cottage. Or, it might be as simple as where it’s located, and the number of people it can accommodate. Whatever your reason, we want to help you find the perfect holiday cottage. Below is a guide on what to look for and some important dos and don’ts. We also have a handy list of FAQs which will answer lots of questions.

What do you want?

This is probably the most important part of the process. Decide what is important to you when booking a holiday cottage, what would be nice to have and what is non-negotiable. If your ‘want’ list is extensive, you may need to be prepared to compromise. For example, if you want four bedrooms, five bathrooms and six parking spaces, then your search may be harder. The more realistic you are, the more likely you will be to find the holiday cottage of your dreams.

Book in advance

If you are looking for key dates such as Christmas, New Year, or the school holidays, we cannot stress enough the importance of booking in advance. A great example in the Cotswolds is the Cheltenham Festival, which takes place in March. Our properties close to Cheltenham book up 12 months in advance for this event, with many guests re-booking for the following year whilst they are still at the property. If there is another significant reason you are booking, perhaps to attend a wedding, event, or a festival, then please book early to secure the dates you want.

Read the description

All of our properties have been visited and inspected by us and the description on our website is as accurate as we can be. We list all the facilities and amenities available, and if it doesn’t specifically mention a washing machine, a tumble dryer, or even a TV, then that is because there isn’t one. One of the best examples of this surrounds parking spaces. We know how important parking spaces are for some visitors, and we tell you exactly what there are, where they are. and where to park if there isn’t dedicated parking.

Check what is included

At Bolthole Retreats, bed linen, towels and tea towels are included with all rentals. We also ask owners to leave an initial supply of tea, coffee, and milk. Again, this is usually listed if included and on the rare occasion it is not, we recommend taking your own. Some owners leave far more, but it depends on the individual owner, and it’s a lovely surprise if unexpected.

Dog friendly

We appreciate that for many of our guests a property not being dog-friendly can be a deal-breaker. We state clearly whether a cottage is dog friendly or not. If it is not, please do not arrive with a pet of any kind. Here at Bolthole Retreats, we are a company of dog lovers, and many of our holiday cottages welcome one, two and occasionally three or four dogs, and it will show in the listing if they do. We have a Dog Code of Conduct which you will be able to see before you book.

A few do’s and don’ts

Be realistic

If you are booking a beautiful old cottage or holiday home in the Cotswolds, one in the countryside with original beams, floorboards, and traditional features, then please be prepared for the odd cobweb (spiders are clever creatures and come out of their hidey-holes as soon as the cleaners leave), creaky and occasionally uneven floorboards and low ceilings. It is all part of the experience of staying in a wonderful, character-filled house.

Cancellation policy and insurance

Always check the cancellation policy for deposits, full payment dates and cancellation terms. We strongly recommend that guests take out travel insurance to cover any uncertainties in case you need to cancel your booking.

Read the Welcome Guide

We prepare a comprehensive guide for each property, which gives valuable details about your property including the Wi-Fi code, heating information and any quirks you may need to know about. It also has plenty of helpful information about the local area. You’ll find places to eat, visit, hidden gems, and recommended walks. You receive access to this upon booking.

Leave it as you find it

Before you leave, make sure you have emptied the rubbish, loaded and switched on the dishwasher (if not already done) and have a quick check to make sure you have all your belongings. If the house is left in a poor state, extra cleaning fees may be charged.


Remember that you are booking a self-catering cottage and if you are staying for longer than a few days, do not expect teabags, coffee, dishwasher tablets and toilet rolls for your whole stay. If you need something specific to prepare a meal and it is not listed, please be prepared to bring your own.


Do not turn up with or invite guests over the maximum occupancy of the house. Over-occupancy can lead to invalidation of insurance. At the very least, your holiday cottage is usually equipped for the number of people it sleeps, not more.

Check in and check out

Whilst we know it’s exciting to get your holiday started, our check-in and check-out times are in place to enable the housekeepers to ensure the house is prepared perfectly for your arrival. Whilst it is tempting to arrive early, it may not be ready and will simply hinder the preparations. Likewise, unless it has been arranged before your stay, please depart at the agreed time. The housekeepers need this time to prepare for the next arrivals.

And relax

This is your holiday, after all.

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