FAQS - Your questions answered
- What does the price include?
- Are there any under-occupancy charges or additional supplements for guests?
- Does the number of people affect the price?
- Are there any additional costs?
- How can you be so much cheaper than the big operators?
- Are there any other travel options?
- When can I travel?
- Do you have any en-route accommodation if I don't want to do the whole journey in one day?
- What if I want to make my own travel arrangements?
- Do you organise car hire?
- Can you arrange a transfer from the airport?
- Do I need travel insurance?
- Passport, health and Visas. What about these?
- Exit checks (new 2015)
- How long can I take out an option on an apartment/chalet/hotel for?
- Can I make any special requests?
- Do you need to be advised of any special needs within the party?
- Do I have to fill out a booking form?
- When will I receive an invoice?
- When is the balance for my holiday due?
- How can I pay the balance?
- When will I receive my tickets?
- Do you charge extra for booking via telephone?
- When can we get into the apartment/chalet and when do we have to leave?
- Are bed linen and towels included?
- End of stay cleaning
- How do breakage deposits work?
- What will be in the apartments/chalets when we arrive?
- Do all apartments and chalets have comfy sofas?
- Do all apartments offer full home comforts?
- What is an alcove/cabin?
- What do I do if I have a problem with the accommodation?
- What is a mezzanine?
- Dogs and other pets
- Fitness rooms
- What do you call ski-in ski-out or doorstep skiing?
- Swimming Pools in France; what do I wear and what is the temperature?
- WiFi in residences
- Can I be guaranteed a non-smoking apartment or room
- Which resorts are suitable for beginners/intermediates/advanced skiers or snowboarders?
- Can I pre-book ski passes and ski school?
- What are the facilities for children?
- What clothing do you recommend I should pack for skiing/snowboarding?
- Do you have reps in resorts?
- Do ski resorts have building work?
- Is my money safe when booking with you?
- Is Peak Retreats ATOL protected?
- IMPORTANT!! Can I travel whilst pregnant?
Q1. What does the price include?
A. All our prices include a return standard crossing with Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais (Peak date supplements apply), all port taxes, accommodation, meals at hotels (unless otherwise stated), electricity, heating, water, Gas and VAT.
Q2. Are there any under-occupancy charges or additional supplements for guests at self catering residences?
A. As our prices are based on a 'per property' basis you can enjoy the comfort of a larger property with no extra charge for the accommodation. It is also acceptable for friends to come and stay with you provided the stated maximum number of occupants is not exceeded as each apartment/chalet is furnished, equipped and insured for a stipulated number.
Q3. Does the number of people affect the price?
A. All our self-catering prices are 'per property' plus one standard Eurotunnel crossing. Provided you don't exceed the capacity of the apartment/chalet, the price will not increase if you have more people. If you need another car on the ferry please add £200 plus any relevant supplement in winter. We could have priced our holidays on the basis of the first 2 adults (ie. apartment package price divided by 2) and then said all children and additional adults FREE but we don't subscribe to this kind of marketing ploy! For hotels the price is per person but after the second adult, it gets much cheaper (usually £100 off). Children are cheaper too.
Q4. Are there any additional costs?
A. Additional supplements may apply for Ferry, Eurotunnel (Peak times) and train travel (as detailed on the transport page); Personal Insurance (which we can arrange); Charges for facilities such a use of sauna (unless otherwise stated); Linen and end of stay cleaning for self-catering (unless otherwise stated); parking costs; equipment hire, lift passes and ski school (which you can pre-book); Deposits requested at self-catering locations on arrival (returnable deposit); Local tourist tax; credit card handling fees (1.85%) on balance payments and deposits.
Q5. How can you be so much cheaper than the big operators?
A. We aim to offer competitive prices and although we don't have a price match guarantee we are able to review prices if required. We are confident we won't have to! To find out why the large operators, whose brochure can be found in high street travel agents are so much more expensive please visit our 'Save with us' page.
Q6. Are there any other travel options?
A. Other routes and operators are available at an additional supplement (please refer to our transport page).
Q7. When can I travel?
A. We can arrange travel for you on any specified date depending on availability. Crossings are frequent, so notify us of your preferred travel dates and times and we will book you on the nearest one. (Supplements for P&O and Brittany Ferries may vary depending on the time and date you wish to travel as detailed on the transport page). Please note that the tickets are only valid during the relevant season eg. winter tickets are valid from December-April, summer tickets from May-November.
Q8. Do you have any en-route accommodation if I don't want to do the whole journey in one day?
A. We have a number of en-route hotels in convenient locations, such as Calais, Saint-Omer, Reims, Troyes, Dijon etc and are happy to take care of arranging an overnight stop for you. View our en-route accommodation for further details and pricing.
Q9. What if I want to make my own travel arrangements?
A. If you want to organise your own travel arrangements, in winter, please deduct £170 per apartment or chalet and £100 per person (from double/twin price) for hotels. This will give you the accommodation only price. Most of our resorts are within close distance of the major airports such as Geneva or Lyon. Please refer to our accommodation only page.
Q10. Do you organise car hire?
A. We can arrange very competitive car hire at a number of airports, train stations and other town locations such as Geneva airport, Lyon, Grenoble, Annecy, Cluses, Chambery, Turin... Please refer to car hire for more information.
Q11. Can you arrange a transfer from the airport?
A. We can pre-book your airport transfer by taxi from these airports - Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble, Lyon and Turin. Plus some trains stations too, such as Bourg St Maurice and Moutiers for instance. Please see airport transfers or call us on 0844 576 0170 (Calls cost 7p per minute + any network charges) for further information.
Q12. Do I need travel insurance?
A. We insist that every person travelling on our arrangement takes adequate insurance and while we do not insist you arrange cover through our company we do require proof that adequate insurance is in place. View Insurance for further information on cost and types of cover here.
Q13. Passports, Visas and health requirements. What about these?
A. Passports, visas requirements
British and EU citizens require a valid full passport with no visa required for travel to France. If you do not have valid documents you will not be able to travel. The carrier may be subject to a fine if you try to travel without the correct documentation and we reserve the right to recover any such charge from the passenger. For citizens of other countries, up to date information on passport and visa requirements can be supplied on request. It is mandatory that you have all necessary documents, e.g. passports and/or visas, to enter the countries which you intend to visit and for re-entry into the UK.
Some of our resorts are high altitude resorts and may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions. In any event always check with your doctor as to which health requirements are advisable before you travel. Information on health is contained on the Department of Health website. European citizens are advised to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) free online at www.dh.gov.uk/travellers or by calling 0845 605 0707 or by picking-up a form from the Post Office. Any treatment received may have to be paid for initially and only a percentage may be refundable. The EHIC is valid only in European Community countries.
Q14. Exit checks, brought into force in 2015. What about these?
A. The UK Home Office has published further information relating to previously announced plans to introduce exit checks at all UK airports and ports from 8 April 2015. These exit checks will take place at all airports and ports in the UK. Information that is included in passports or travel documents will be collected for passengers leaving the country on scheduled commercial international air, sea and rail routes. The checks will be carried out by staff working for the airline, rail or ferry operators. Whilst there may be some differences in the way checks are conducted at different ports, data will be gathered on all passengers as this is the requirement set by UK government. As with any journey, we recommend that you give yourself enough time to reach your destination. Have your passport or travel document to hand and ready to be checked. If you have any specific questions, contact your carrier or port operator in advance. All data will be processed in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidentiality.
Q15. How long can I take out an option on an apartment/chalet/hotel for?
A. You can hold options for up to 24 hours on selected accommodation. The option will expire if we do not receive confirmation from you within this time. Options can be held via email and telephone, however we recommend calling our team on 0844 576 0170 (Calls cost 7p per minute + any network charges) to secure your option straight away. A member of our team will confirm to you that the accommodation has been held and let you know when it will expire.
Q16. Can I make any special requests?
A. Yes of course but please advise us at the time of booking of any special requests, which will be communicated to our French partners. All special requests will be noted, but cannot be guaranteed. Cots, TV, telephone lines, bath towels hire, cleaning kit, end of stay cleaning and meal plans are some of the options which can be arranged at some accommodation (when not included in the basic package). Please enquire for the availability of these for your chosen accommodation by calling 0844 576 0170 (Calls cost 7p per minute + any network charges) or emailing your request to email@example.com
Q17. Do you need to be advised of any special needs within the party?
A. We are happy to advise and assist elderly, special needs or disabled customers choose a suitable holiday. Clients with mobility problems are strongly advised to enquire about self-catering accommodation and hotels before booking, as many have steps, steep stairs, narrow doors and awkward corners. Our team will advise you of the most suitable accommodation.
Q18. Do I have to fill out a booking form?
A. In order to complete your booking, we do require you to fill out a booking form. We will send you the booking form, along with confirmation, for you to sign and return. A phone call is all it needs to book.
Q19. When will I receive an invoice?
A. Once you have made your booking and paid a 25% deposit, a confirmation/invoice will usually follow within 7 days. It details what has been reserved, the cost of your holiday, and the date by which the balance is payable. Please check the details on the confirmation carefully and contact us immediately if you have any queries, as a binding contract will come in force between us when we issue a confirmation invoice. Should you make any amendments to your booking a new invoice will be issued.
Q20. When is the balance for my holiday due?
A. The balance of your holiday is due no later than 8 weeks prior to departure. If the booking is made less than 8 weeks prior to departure, the total cost of the holiday is payable immediately. We do not issue payment reminders but please note that any holiday which is not paid for by the balance due date may be cancelled without further notice and cancellation charges apply.
Q21. How can I pay the balance?
A. The balance can be paid by cheque, Visa, Mastercard or any debit card such as Maestro or Delta. In the case of credit cards, we make a 1.85% charge on balances paid in this way in order to cover for higher banking charges. You can also use Barclays Pingit. Unfortunately we are unable to accept payment via American Express (AMEX) at this time.
Q22. When will I receive my tickets?
A. Your travel documents will be sent to you two weeks prior to your departure. These will include suggested route itinerary, accommodation vouchers with directions, ferry or Eurotunnel tickets, resort information and where applicable, ski hire, ski school, lift pass vouchers and hotel voucher.
Q23. Do you charge extra for booking via telephone?
Unlike some well known holiday companies we do not charge you extra for making telephone bookings. We actually feel it is important we talk to you to fully understand your requirements and to advise you of the most suited options.
Q24. When can we get into the apartment/chalet and when do we have to leave?
A. Arrival day is Saturday unless otherwise arranged/stated. Your accommodation will generally be ready for you to arrive between 4 and 7 pm and you are requested to leave by 10 am. In case of planned later arrival you need to let us know in advance. If delayed on route, you must call the accommodation reception or the owner directly to inform them in advance. Chalets' owners or their representative will normally hand the keys directly to guests on arrival, unless otherwise indicated.
Q25. Are bed linen and towels included?
A. Bed linen and towels are normally provided for apartment residences but this is specified within each apartment description. Some may be charged at a supplement and in this case must be requested through us at least two weeks in advance so that we can advise the accommodation supplier. For chalets linen and towels can normally be hired locally and this is something we will arrange for you and again this must be done in advance. Bed linen and towels will be available to collect from reception for apartment residences and from the caretaker for privately owned properties. Beds are generally not made for you unless otherwise stated or unless an additional fee (where applicable) has been paid. You will be issued with bed linen packs by reception when you check-in. If you arrive after reception closing time and you have called them on the day prior to their closing time to advise as requested, the packs will normally be put in the apartment (you may want to reconfirm this when you speak to them on the day). At a number of our featured residences ‘beds made on arrival’ can be added at an optional cost. Please check the relevant accommodation description for this. In most residences at the end of your stay beds need to be stripped and the bed linen and towels should be left in a pile within the apartment or handed back to reception – the correct procedure will be advised to you by the residence staff.
Q26. End of stay cleaning
A. End of stay cleaning is not included with self-catering unless otherwise specified in each accommodation description and cleaning products are not normally provided. You can choose to do this yourself or pay a supplement in most resorts - this will be detailed in the description. In any case properties must be left clean for the next occupants. If this is not done, money will be deducted from your deposit. When end-of-stay cleaning is included or when optional end-of-stay-cleaning is paid for it never includes the kitchen area so the fridge still needs totally emptying, all the dishes need to be cleaned, the dishwasher needs to be emptied and the bins need to be taken out. In most residences beds need to be stripped and the bed linen and towels should be left where indicated by the accommodation staff.
Q27. How do breakage deposits work?
A. Breakage deposits are requested with all self-catering accommodation. Please refer to the specific accommodation description for details.
Breakage deposit are normally dealt with when you check-in at the accommodation. For most Residences and Hotels a credit/debit card imprint (ie. no money is actually taken from card) will be taken for the specified amount. For certain accommodation and particularly all the privately owned accommodation you will need to provide this in other ways (eg. cash, cheque) and this will be specified to you before travel. Breakage deposits are designed to cover the cost of any damage you may cause to the accommodation or the cost of any item that may need to be replaced. It is also designed to cover any cleaning issue (ie. if end-of-stay cleaning was not included in the price and you did not take the optional cleaning service and you did not leave the accommodation in the state it was found then a cleaning charge will be levied by the accommodation provider).
All self-catering accommodation have an inventory list which will either be handed to you on arrival or will be already in the accommodation (often displayed in kitchen cupboards). All accommodation are checked between lets but it is just not always possible for the local staff to spot everything immediately. If you notice anything missing/broken upon arrival you should report it as soon as possible to the reception/caretaker/owner of the accommodation. This is best done verbally but sometimes they may have maintenance forms that you hand back too. You generally have a maximum of 24hours to do so. Anything that is not reported within the stated time and that is found upon your departure will be deemed to be your responsibility and will generally lead to deductions from your deposit. If you break anything during your stay you should report it immediately and repairs will be carried out as soon as reasonably possible or a replacement will be sought. Generally you won’t be charged for a broken glass or missing tea spoon and it will always work in your favour to report it. As the deposits are held by the accommodation providers themselves Peak Retreats cannot become directly involved in situations or dispute that may occur although we will always provide assistance for speedy resolution.
Q28. What will be in the apartments/chalets when we arrive?
A. Most of our residences were built within the last four years and the apartments/chalets are all fitted and furnished to a very good standard of comfort and convenience and are fully equipped for basic holiday needs but we recommend that you take some basics with you such as tea towels, salt & pepper, coffee, tea etc and toilet roll. You will be able to buy all these things in resort but the local supermarkets are more expensive than those in the valley so it's a good idea to stop on the way.
Q29. Do all apartments and chalets have comfy sofas?
A. In all our apartments, and even those in our 4-star luxury selection, the living areas are generally designed to be used as additional sleeping areas. As a result there is likely to be a maximum of one or two sofas in even the largest apartments and these will be convertible sofa beds rather than the types of sofas you would usually have at home. Our individual privately owned apartments and chalets generally have more comfortable, homely sofas.
Q30. Do all apartments offer full home comforts?
A. Apartments in residences are designed for the rental market so they will be functional but they will not offer full home comforts. The kitchenettes for instance will generally be compact and may only have equipment suitable for basic cooking rather the full range that you may have at home (eg. no proper oven unless otherwise stated).
Our individual privately owned apartments generally have far more extensive facilities and equipment, particularly in the kitchen area. Please note that TV (when listed) generally means a television with only French terrestrial channels unless ‘satellite TV’ is indicated. In this later case the number of English language channels may be limited to news channels such as CNN & BBC World and other freely available international channels like maybe Eurosport anyhow. Most TV will allow connection to a DVD via SCART socket but please bear in mind that the French standard is SECAM whereas it is normally PAL in the UK. Unless one of the apparatus has dual PAL/SECAM capability you will normally only get a black & white picture. Unfortunately we are unable to check TV specs for any of our accommodation.
Q31. What is an alcove or cabin?
A. A separate sleeping area that is normally off of the living room or in the entrance hall, but has generally no door or window. Usually with bunk beds.
Q32. What do I do if I have a problem with the accommodation?
All our featured accommodation is checked after previous clients’ departure and therefore should be as you would expect it on arrival. Like with anything issues can of course arise on occasion eg. the cleaning team missed something or there is something broken that was not spotted.
As explained in our ‘Booking Conditions’ and in the various information that we send clients prior to their departure, it is absolutely essential that any issue is reported with reception/caretaker/owner of the accommodation immediately (ie. as soon as you enter the accommodation and notice anything). This is best done verbally but sometimes they may have maintenance forms that you hand back too. They manage the accommodation and they will have the resources to address any concern – it is simply part of their duties. As you can imagine our main concern is that any issue that may arise is resolved as quickly as possible. If for some reason the problem is still not resolved within reasonable time after it has been reported locally you should then contact us in the UK at the earliest opportunity. Obviously if issues are not reported to anyone they won’t get resolved and post holiday feedback will not achieve anything other than to bring the issue to management attention for the benefit of future clients.
Q33. What is a mezzanine?
A. A mezzanine is an open plan (sometimes closed off) bedroom above the lounge, usually accessed by means of a loft ladder or steep staircase. These bedrooms are generally not recommended for young children or the elderly.
Q34. Dogs and other pets
A. Dogs and other pets are only allowed at certain accommodation (generally apartments). It is essential that you check with us beforehand in any case. Otherwise please assume that dogs and other pets are not allowed in the accommodation and cannot be brought under any circumstances. When animals are allowed there may be a charge for this.
Q35. Fitness rooms
A. Fitness rooms in residences are not full blown gym or gymnasium. They are designed for occasional/casual use (obviously the emphasis is on the skiing side of the holiday; the facilities are designed as an addition) so have limited equipment and are usually fairly small.
Q36. What do you call ski-in ski-out or doorstep skiing?
A. This denotes that you should be able to ski to or from 50 metres of the accommodation. This is obviously weather permitting. When a residence is made-up of several chalets some chalets may be further away from the slopes and therefore this definition applies to the overall residence rather than to each individual chalet.
Q37. Swimming pools in France; what do I wear and what is the temperature?
A. The French Government’s Agence Regionale de Santé stipulates that for health & safety reasons pool temperatures should be between 25-27c for indoor pools and 24c for outdoor pools. This could mean that the water seems a little colder than what you may be used to in the UK. Please note that in France it is public swimming pool’s health & safety policy that swimming trunks are compulsory in the swimming pool, swimming shorts or similar are prohibited. Many residences and hotels with pools have a similar policy but that said sometimes the rules are not enforced as strictly in this type of pools so you could take both! Residence & hotel pools are not always open all day or every day, please check opening hours on arrival. Please note, that as it is not a legal requirement in France some of the swimming pools do not have depth markers and equally there will be no life guards on duty at accommodation pools.
Q38. WiFi in residences
A. Normally unless we state so wireless internet will only work in the vicinity of the reception area ie. You won't be able to get a connection from within your apartment. In those instances we will normally state "wi-fi at reception" or similar. If it is possible to get a connection from within each individual apartment we will normally say so. Normally we will indicate what charges are when it is payable. Connection in apartments are normally limited to one concurrent device with extra charges for subsequent devices but this will be detailed in each accommodation description. Please note that reception can be intermittent and slow at times so you can't always 100% rely on it. If we don't mention wi-fi at all within the description it normally means there isn't one at the accommodation.
Q39. Can I be guaranteed a non-smoking apartment or room?
A. Although most residences and hotels try to discourage smoking on their premises, it is clearly impossible to prevent people smoking in their apartments or rooms. When apartments or hotel rooms are checked between two sets of guests, the accommodation staff will always aim to eradicate any such odour but if somehow it wasn’t totally the case please report this immediately to the accommodation staff on arrival. There is currently no legislation in France that prohibits smoking in holiday accommodation (except in the public areas) or which makes holiday accommodation providers offer dedicated rooms for smokers and others smoke free but our accommodation providers will always encourage a respectful attitude by all guests.
Q40. Which resorts are suitable for beginners/intermediates/advanced skiers or snowboarders?
A. Please see our resort selector designed to help you choose the right resort to match your own specifications.
Q41. Can I pre-book ski passes and ski school?
A. Ski passes, ski school and equipment hire are all pre-bookable. You can see an overview of prices and information by viewing here for ski extras. However for more detailed information please refer to individual resort pages. Alternatively are team are here to help with your every enquiry so you can call us on 0844 576 0170 (Calls cost 7p per minute + any network charges) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request further details.
Q42. What are the facilities for children?
A. Each ski resort has dedicated facilities for children, such as ski kindergartens (usually 3-6 years old) and crèches (usually from 6 months). We can normally pre-book the kindergarten but for crèches you have to book direct -we will provide you all the necessary details. Please see the individual resort pages for more information or view here to see our ‘Family Skiing’ page. Some resorts also qualify for the ‘Famille Plus’ label.
Q43. What clothing do you recommend I should pack for skiing/snowboarding?
A. Tops – A heavyweight fleece or wool sweater and a light/medium-weight, synthetic long underwear shirt. A down or synthetic fill jacket with hood (waterproof, breathable), must fit comfortably over your sweater.
Bottoms – Waterproof / breathable lined ski trousers
Footwear – Wool or poly socks (medium-heavy thickness). Walking boots (waterproof) to be able to walk in snow
Hand wear – Wool or fleece mittens. Ski over mitts or gloves
Head gear – A wool or fleece hat. A pair of good sunglasses.
Q44. Do you have reps in resorts?
A. We don’t employ local representatives, as we do not feel that you will find them necessary. Instead we rely on our French partners to ensure that your stay is as enjoyable as it should be. We also provide all clients with an emergency out of office hours number.
Q45. Do ski resorts have building work?
A. Alpine ski resorts do expand and change, in the same way as all towns and cities. Undoubtedly the nuisance and inconvenience of building works seem worse when you are on holiday. As we don’t have staff in resorts we rely on our inspection visits and particularly on our suppliers to keep us informed about any kind building works. Whilst building work is something we have no control over, we will do our utmost to tell you about any significant work that we are made aware of and which is going on near your accommodation. We will aim to do this, if there is time before you start your holiday.
Q46. Is my money safe when booking with you?
A. When booking with Peak Retreats you can be rest assured that you are arranging your holiday with an ABTA bonded company. This is the best guarantee of complete financial security. Peak Retreats is fully bonded with ABTA for ALL arrangements that it offers and therefore not only for packages but also for each individual component booked separately. This means that accommodation only booked with us is protected for instance (it is not with many operators in the same way as flights only are almost never covered). This goes well beyond our legal requirement derived from the Package Travel Regulations and is the only total guarantee.
Peak Retreats is fully bonded with ABTA but does not require to hold an ATOL license run by the CAA as these are only for operators who offer flight inclusive packages that we don't offer.
Q47. Is Peak Retreats ATOL protected?
A. No and the simple reason for this is that ATOL protection from the CAA only covers flight/air based holiday packages. Peak Retreats does not organise flights and therefore it simply cannot be covered by an ATOL. It is for this reason that we are fully bonded with ABTA instead.
If you ever decide to buy a package holiday including a flight do however ensure that you are buying from a company that has an ATOL and that you are issued with a dedicated ATOL receipt with your holiday invoice confirming the name and ATOL number of the company.
More details on www.caa.co.uk
Q48. Can I travel whilst pregnant?
A. Should a member of your party become pregnant prior to your date of departure, please inform us immediately. We will not be held responsible if you do not inform us and the ferry operator then refuses your carriage. At present the following operators have no restrictions on the carriage of pregnant women but a certificate of fitness to travel will be required from your Doctor.
Airlines and rail companies may also have restrictions on carrying women who are pregnant. We therefore strongly advise you to contact your transport provider prior to making a booking with us or if you have already booked, as soon as you discover that you are pregnant. We also recommend that you discuss your travel plans with your doctor or mid-wife.