have decided on a property, how do we book it?
you send me a brochure featuring your
we come to your office to plan our trip?
much is a cottage in England?
a minimum stay required or is there a specific
is there a minimum stay? Why can't I stay for
just one or two nights?
you provide me with a high-quality one bedroom
villa in Tuscany or Provence?
much deposit is required and when do I pay my
do we locate and access the property we have
am arriving early, will I be able to access
the apartment immediately?
am arriving late, what are the implications of
I have to pay a security deposit? Is this paid
by cash or credit card?
there any additional costs payable?
do I need to fill in a booking form?
a cot be provided?
can I make a payment to Eurovillas?
we squeeze a couple of extra people in?
you have any properties on the Cinque Terre in
is your cancellation policy?
Yes. Eurovillas Pty Ltd is a fully licensed travel agent (No. 32860) and a member of the Travel Compensation Fund, operating and complying with the obligations set out in the Travel Agents Act 1986. ACN 086 298 704
Eurovillas has been in business since 1983 and has a large repeat clientele. We have very close professional relationships with the owners and representatives of all our properties, whom we meet with personally at any opportunity. We work closely with the tourist bureaux of the countries we are active in and regularly take part in their workshops and marketing publications. All bookings are fully pre-paid here in Australia which means you are dealing with a registered Australian business, liable under Australian law. The owner or their representative receives the payment in full before your arrival.Back to top
Eurovillas is Australia's largest specialist provider of self-catering accommodation in Europe. Self-catering accommodation refers to apartment, villa and cottage style accommodation that offers a greater level of freedom, especially with the provision of a kitchen or cooking facilities. We act as a booking agent and have used our experience and network of European contacts to establish our extensive portfolio of properties. Our major destinations are France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Ireland, but we also offer Austria, and the cities of Barcelona and Prague.Back to top
Our website does not enable you to check if a property is available for your required stay. If you are travelling shortly, in one or two months time, or planning to stay for a peak period, for example Christmas in a city, Provence or Tuscany during Summer or Venice during Carnival, there will be greater demand. If you are travelling at a later stage and it is not a peak period then with a bit of luck your first choice will be available for your chosen dates. Simply email, phone or fax your shortlist of properties, making sure you provide dates and the number of people as well as your name and contact details, and we will get back to you as soon as we are able.Back to top
Once we have established a property is available for your required dates, in many cases we can hold this property on option for you. We are unable to hold options for all properties, but for those that we can, we will do so for around 48 hours. The purpose of a hold is to give you time to complete and return our booking form along with your deposit payment. Once this has been received we will confirm your accommodation.Back to top
We no longer provide printed brochures to our clients. The costs of printing and distributing brochures are very high and in the end these costs are met by the consumer. Printed brochures are also far too inflexible for an industry as dynamic as the travel industry. Instead of brochures we use our website to display property details, photos and prices. The website is continually evolving and we are constantly updating the website. We update our prices daily with the latest currency rates and add client feedback along with better images at any opportunity. Our website features more photos per property than a brochure does and in many cases it is simpler to calculate the prices.Back to top
The language used in property descriptions can vary from country to country, and there are sometimes anomalies between languages which may influence a property description. For example, in Europe a bedroom described as a 'double bedroom' does not necessarily mean there is a double bed, there may be twin or bunk beds. Please check with us if this is a concern. Likewise, a bathroom may not necessarily have a shower, it may only have a bath, or vice-versa. As a general rule descriptions will mention only what is provided. If a washing machine is not mentioned, don't assume there will be one. Likewise, if there is a washing machine, there may not be a dryer. Some descriptions specifically mention a facility that is not available, such as 'No Elevator' - this does not imply that apartment descriptions that do not say 'No Elevator' actually have one. We endeavour to keep our property descriptions and images up-to-date and accurate. However, from time-to-time a property or its facilities may change without our being aware of it; a sofa might be replaced, a coffee machine removed, or a bath changed to a shower. Again, if this is a concern please contact us and we will verify the accuracy of a description and images.
Unlike some internet travel companies, we operate an office from a fixed address at 3 Male Street, Brighton, Victoria, 3186. We are not simply a website which exists somewhere in cyberspace. However, it is an office, not a retail shopfront and we are not equipped to see clients without an appointment. Aside from this, the process beginning from an initial enquiry to confirming a booking, finalising payments, and distributing accommodation vouchers often involves a large amount of correspondence backwards and forwards. If the properties you selected are not available we will offer you some alternatives. You may have questions about some aspects, or you may wish to add more properties to your booking. It is a collaborative process and the quickest and most efficient method is by email and telephone. We will of course mail invoices, receipts and accommodation vouchers to you.
Yes, we actually get asked questions like this! Prices vary according to a vast range of factors including seasonality, the duration of the stay and the number of guests. Prices often vary week to week. As a result of this we cannot quote prices without knowing what the precise dates would be and in some cases the number of guests, for any given property.
Yes, each property has its own particular rules, for example some have a required start day on a Saturday and a minimum stay of one week, others may have a flexible start day, but a five night minimum stay. As a general rule properties in the countryside are let on a weekly basis from Saturday to Saturday. Some properties in England and Ireland will allow Friday to Friday bookings and a few properties in France will allow this. In major cities the minimum stay is usually 5 nights beginning any day of the week. Some of our apartments in Paris do not allow a Sunday check-in. In Rome and Venice most properties have a 3 or 4 night minium stay and flexible start days. We also have some properties that can be let on just a nightly basis, please contact us for more details.
There are several reasons for this, since the apartments are private it is generally necessary for a keyholder to meet you on arrival to give you the keys and show you how things work, there is also the need to clean the property between client stays. These factors make it unfeasible to let a property on just a nightly basis. A couple of our London apartments and selected properties in other areas will permit a stay of just one night but the cost is much higher than our apartments that impose a minimum stay of 5 or 7 nights. A booking of just a couple of nights also prevents a property from being let for longer stays.
We also encourage you to have a longer stay in one location to get more out of your time. As a comparison, if you book a series of B&B's throughout the United Kingdom, for example, staying one night at each, you will pack your luggage and depart from one B&B, travel to another B&B and unpack again, every day. This is a waste of valuable time and you will resent 'living out of a suitcase'. You will also have to buy every meal out. It is much more relaxing and productive to base yourself in a cottage for one week and make day trips. You will cover a much larger area and actually develop some familiarity with the region, your cottage will feel like a home and you will truly feel as if you are living like a local.
We have many clients seeking an independent villa for just two people but would like it to be of a high standard with a pool, etc. In practice this is an almost impossible request to fulfil, as most quality independent properties with a pool have more than one bedroom. If you think about comparable properties in Australia it would be unusual to find a country house of a high standard with just one bedroom. Likewise for clients seeking a certain number of bathrooms. It is not uncommon for a two, or even three, bedroom house in the countryside of France, Italy or the United Kingdom to have just one bathroom. If you are seeking two or more bathrooms it will often be necessary to look at larger properties with three or four bedrooms, even if you do not actually require these.
The required deposit is 50% of the total cost. This will secure the booking for you. The balance is due eight weeks prior to your departure from Australia. Most clients have a rough idea of when their balance is due and contact us to organise the payment. We will follow up with clients in due course if they have not contacted us to organise their balance payment.
We will send you a detailed accommodation voucher around 1 month prior to your departure from Australia. For all properties the voucher will contain the address and contact details for the owner or their local representative. For stays in our city apartments the document will provide one or more telephone numbers for the keyholder along with instructions for meeting them. In most cases we will have advised the keyholder of your arrival details ahead of time, however, it is often still necessary for you to call the keyholder on your arrival at the airport or train station. In most cases the keyholder will meet you at the apartment, they are normally waiting inside the apartment for you so you will have to ring the intercom. Please check your personalised accommodation voucher for full details and precise instructions.
For stays in country properties we generally provide detailed driving directions to enable you to find the property. We advise you to purchase a good road atlas and can personally recommend the Michelin range. In most cases you will also have to call the owner or keyholder before your arrival, sometimes up to a week in advance, but normally 2 or 3 days prior to your stay. This enables you to set a meeting with the keyholder and the opportunity to get further driving directions. Again, please check your personalised accommodation voucher for full details and precise instructions.
In city apartments normal check-in time can be as early as 11am or as late as 4pm. Normally an arrival after 7pm will be considered a late arrival but in some cases an arrival after 6pm will be considered a late arrival. In country properties check-in normally begins at 3pm or 4pm until 7pm or 8pm. Your accommodation vouchers will carry specific details on this.
With early arrivals we can never make guarantees as to precisely what will happen, however the following should help clarify the situation. Please be aware that we always advise the local agent of your arrival details when they have been provided to us ahead of time.
The local agent always tries to accommodate guests who are arriving early. In the case of clients checking out of the apartment on the day you are due to check-in, the check-out time is normally around 10am or 11am, but could be even later. This naturally means you cannot access the apartment before that time at the absolute earliest. In this case you would meet the keyholder at the apartment (after organising an appointment) and leave your luggage there while the apartment was cleaned, and then return at your leisure later on. Please remember that these are private apartments and they do not have a reception desk or luggage room like a hotel does.
In the case of an apartment not being occupied on the day you check-in, then the local agent will try to meet you at the apartment as early as possible. However, the meeting must be arranged between you and the local agent once you have arrived into the city. This is so that the keyholder is not left waiting in or outside an apartment if a flight or train is delayed. Given that you have to arrange this meeting before you proceed to the apartment it is possible your initial phone call may go unanswered, if for example, the flight arrives early and you are trying to phone at 7.45am. In this case it is best to leave a message advising that you have arrived and if you have a mobile phone advise the number and they should phone you back. Otherwise keep calling until you speak to someone and set the appointment at the apartment. Check-ins will not normally be before 9.00am at the earliest. Clients who have pre-booked the night before are in this same situation but will be given priority check-in.
Whether you stay at the airport while trying to contact the keyholder, or head into the city is up to you. If it was me and I had a mobile phone and not too much luggage, I would probably take a taxi to a point near the apartment, find a cafe for some breakfast and call the keyholder en route. This way once the meeting was set it would just be a short trip to the apartment. On the other hand if you have a lot of luggage and no mobile phone it is probably easier to stay at the airport, using the public phones there, and make just one trip straight to the apartment to meet the keyholder once you have agreed on a time.
Unless you have a private car transfer to the apartment already booked it does not change things whether you know ahead of time if the apartment is occupied or not. In either case you must still schedule the meeting first and then proceed to the apartment. Please also remember that the normal check-in time may be as late as 3pm or 4pm and any service prior to this time is a gesture.
Please refer to your accommodation voucher for other details.
In some cases an arrival after 6.00pm is considered late. The implications of a late arrival depend on the property. Some of our apartments do not charge late check-in fees, while others will refuse a check-in after 6.00pm altogether! Hence the importance of advising us of your arrival details ahead of time. The policy depends on the keyholder for the apartment. As an example, some of our Paris apartments charge a late check-in fee of $USD 100 for an arrival between 7pm and midnight and a charge of $USD 150 after midnight. Since all the apartments are private there is a need to be meet personally, and with the prospect of clients checking in beyond 12.00am it is natural for this service to be compensated. Where late charges are due, they are normally paid directly to the keyholder.
For many properties a security deposit is required. For properties in the countryside of France and Italy you will normally be required to provide a security deposit in cash on arrival. This is normally around €150 to €250 but may be much higher. Your accommodation voucher will advise on this. For properties in the United Kingdom often there is no security deposit required. For stays in city apartments a security deposit is normally guaranteed to a credit card. Most properties are like private homes or apartments and have all kinds of equipment including washing machines and dryers, televisions and even laptop computers. There are also services available such as telephones and utilities. The security deposit is in place to provide a level of protection against damage to, or theft, of property, and for any unpaid local charges. In practice very few claims are made against a security deposit and we would always contact you regarding any issue. Most honest people have no problem in providing a security deposit and recognise there is potentially more at stake for the owner of a property than for the temporary tenant, and appreciate that fact.
Each property is different but as a minimum you will normally be required to pay for any telephone calls you make and you may have to pay a small amount for the cost of line rental. The other costs you may have to pay locally are utilities, linen or final cleaning. In France and Italy the cost of heating can be exorbitant compared with Australia. This is especially so in the middle of Winter in old stone villas, such as those found in Tuscany, which may take a long time to heat up. Heating in Italy, especially for a large villa in the countryside may cost up to several hundred Euros! Please factor this into your budget and be aware that heating is normally paid on consumption at around 5 Euros per cubic meter. If you leave the heating on all day and night you will pay a premium. The specific local costs payable are shown on your accommodation voucher. If you wish to know if there are any local costs payable for a particular property please contact us.
Electricity in Italy is used more carefully because of the high expense. For instance, in Italy, houses will have a maximum between 3 KW and 7 KW. This will be the maximum amount that can be used at any one time without blowing a fuse. Appliances use the following amounts of electricity: electric oven (2.5 KW), dishwasher (3 KW) or iron (2 KW). Each electric bulb uses 60 watts. Please respect the European custom of turning lights off that you are not using and when you go out.
The basic purpose of the booking form is for you to confirm in writing your intention to rent a specific property for specific dates and that you agree to our booking terms and conditions. The booking form is also required by our overseas property owners and their representatives for insurance purposes. We ask for your address so that we can mail invoices, receipts and accommodation vouchers. We also send a follow-up form after you have returned to elicit your feedback and personal comments on the properties you have stayed at. The booking form has provision for arrival details which are most important for any arrival into a city so that an appointment can be set with the keyholder. There is also provision for credit card details if you wish to pay a deposit, full payment or authorise a security deposit.
For city apartments a cot can usually be organised at additional cost. For country properties we can always check if a cot can be provided but there is less flexibility. If not, you are best advised to select a property with enough beds or to use a travel cot.
We accept payment by credit card but please be advised that there is a surcharge of 3% applied to payments made by American Express and Diners cards. There is no surcharge for Visa or Mastercard. You can also send a cheque made payable to Eurovillas Pty Ltd and mailed to Eurovillas, PO Box 272, Brighton, Vic, 3186. If paying by cheque it is appreciated if you can fax a copy of the cheque to us before you mail it. This way we can confirm your accommodation immediately. You can also make a direct deposit into our account (please contact us for our account details). Likewise with a direct deposit, please send some proof of the payment by email or fax so that we can confirm your booking immediately. Without this there may be a delay or difficulty in confirming your booking.
The answer is firmly no. Every property specifies the maximum number of guests permitted and this must be strictly observed. This is due to public liability and in some cases fire department regulations. If the number of guests exceeds the maximum, the owner or their representative is within their rights to deny access to the property without compensation. This is one reason why we request details of your guests on our booking form.
The Cinque Terre is so named because it comprises five points of land. Each of the towns along the Cinque Terre are quite small and can be densely populated with tourists especially during the high season and has many walking tours taking place through the area. We favour a town called Levanto which is larger, has fewer tourists and features a good range of shops and restaurants. There is good access in and out of Levanto and most importantly it is within easy access of the towns of the Cinque Terre.
Yes, you are required to hold an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in all European countries, this is in addition to a current Australian drivers licence. In Australia, the Government appointed the Australian Automobile Association as the only authority to issue permits. In Victoria the RACV, as a member of the AAA, issues IDPs through RACV shops. For other states please contact your local motoring association to enquire about IDP's.
Self-catering accommodation is not like hotel accommodation and cannot be as easily re-let as a hotel room. Any cancellation made by the Holidaymaker for any reason must be in writing. The minimum cancellation fee is $100 per week plus the fee levied by the Owner of the property. Companies or individual owners may vary their cancellation charges depending on the circumstances however the following are the normal cancellation terms:
within 7 days of departure date: 100% of cost
8 - 28 days: 90% of cost
29 - 55 days: 50% of cost
56 days or more: deposit only
We strongly advise clients take out travel insurance at the time of booking. This will not cover you if you simply change your mind, but may cover you if you have a legitimate reason for your cancellation, such as a sudden illness.
Yes, you can download our booking form below. Our booking form requires a signature and therefore cannot be completed online. Please print it and return by fax or regular mail. Our booking form requires that you agree to our terms and conditions set out in the document Booking Conditions also below, please review this document.