How to ensure that a holiday cottage or villa is exactly what is advertised

Many of us book a holiday cottage or villa by choosing one from a list either in print or on the Internet. We read the descriptions, check the facilities, the price and admire the photographs.

How can you ensure that the information is accurate?

We have heard of people complaining about the standard of their holiday accommodation after booking what looked like stunning accommodation in the photographs. How do you make sure that this does not happen in your case?

Everyone has their own standards and expectations of holiday accommodation and the quality is often (but not always) reflected in the price.

It is often possible to assess the quality of self catering accommodation by photographs of the accommodation but again that is not 100% reliable if the photographs are old and the property hasn't seen a lick of paint in years. You can check the age of photographs by clicking the right hand button of your mouse over a photo and checking the creation date in Properties.  You can also ask the cottage owners when the property was last redecorated, if the photographs are a true representation of the accommodation presently, and request they send you recent photos?.

Sometimes just one cottage in a holiday complex, the most attractive one,  is shown. Customers are often disappointed if their allocated cottage or villa does is not of the same standard. You can of course ask to stay in the illustrated property if it's of a suitable size but the best method is to ask cottage owners and agencies direct questions regarding the holiday accommodation.

Ratings can be a useful guide but again are not always accurate. Property owners can get their friends to add good ratings and reviews.

Possible questions

  • If the cottage or villa is advertised with any portals or agencies, ask if they have ever received any complaints about the property you are interested in and the nature of the complaints.
  • Ask how good a real representation the photographs provide.
  • Ask for phone numbers of a couple of previous guests so that you can check the accuracy with them. People who have stayed previously are often willing to share their experience and opinions.


Everyone wants value for money and the product as shown, so do obtain the reassurances you need before booking. If you are unhappy with the quality or condition of your accommodation on arrival you should contact cottage owners or managers immediately who may be able to offer alternative accommodation or remedy any problems.

We have come across a situation where a certain well-maintained holiday cottage changed hands. It had a 4 star tourist board rating and scores of satisfied guests. The new owner unfortunately did not maintain those standards and people began to complain about the cleanliness of the cottage. The only way that anyone could have prevented disappointment was to talk to previous recent guests. Thankfully this new cottage owner decided that the self catering business was not for her and sold the cottage on to a person who restored it to its former charm and high standard. 

Cottage Gems for Luxury Holiday Accommodation
Cottage Gems for Luxury Holiday Accommodation
Cottage Gems for Luxury Holiday Accommodation
Cottage Gems for Luxury Holiday Accommodation
Cottage Gems features luxury holiday cottages, stylish lodges, 5 star retreats and country houses.
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