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Frequently Asked Questions

ANSWERS TO SOME COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below you will find the questions our clients most frequently ask us. This page contains questions applicable to all of our destinations. If your question refers to Sicily, Puglia, the Ionian Islands or the Sporades islands, including how to get to your destination, please refer to our detailed brand-specific FAQ pages:

Sicily FAQs
Puglia FAQs
The Ionian Islands FAQs
The Sporades Islands FAQs
Trancoso FAQs
Corsica FAQs

Will migration in the Mediterranean affect my holiday?


For any other questions please send an email to info@thethinkingtraveller.com

 


Please use the links below to help you find the answer you are looking for:

CHOOSING A VILLA FROM THE THINKING TRAVELLER RANGE

WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE PRICE - AMENITIES AND EXTRA SERVICES

GETTING TO YOUR VILLA, CHECKING-IN AND CHECKING-OUT

DURING YOUR STAY AT THE VILLA

GENERAL QUESTIONS


 

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Choosing a villa from The Thinking Traveller range

Please see our how to book page for complete information about booking with The Thinking Traveller.

Q. Who can give me information about the villas I'm interested in?
A. Our Villa Specialists: they travel to Italy, Greece, Corsica and Brazil several times a year, visiting and sleeping in the villas and exploring the local areas. You will always be able to speak to someone who knows your preferred villas like the back of their hand! Just write to info@thethinkingtraveller.com or call the number at the top of this page.

Q. What is the maximum capacity of your villas?
A. For each villa the maximum capacity is clearly stated on the villa's description page and on the amenities table. NB This number includes children and infants.

Q. Where can I check prices and availability?
A. Prices and availability for our villas are shown on each individual property page. Simply click on the “Prices, Availability and Booking” tab and select your preferred month of travel, the length of your stay, the number of people in your group and your preferred currency* from the dropdown menus. Then click on your preferred week(s) and either book the villa on-line, or Add to your Enquiry List (if you are considering more than one villa), or Make an Enquiry for the villa in question straight away. If you send us an Enquiry List, our Villa Specialists will be in touch with you to offer tailored, expert advice and information. Please feel free to contact them at any time by emailing info@thethinkingtraveller.com or calling our London office on +44 (0)20 7377 8518.

*You may view prices in UK Pounds Sterling, US Dollars, Euros, Australian Dollars and Canadian Dollars and pay in UK Pounds Sterling, US Dollars or Euros.

Q. Once I decide on a villa how do I complete my booking?
A. Click here for a comprehensive answer! 

Q. Is it possible to arrive and/or depart on any day of the week or do you have a set arrival-departure day?
A. Most of our villas are rented weekly from Saturday to Saturday (in Sicily, Puglia, Corfu, Paxos and Antipaxos), Sunday to Sunday (in Lefkada, Meganissi and Corsica) and Friday to Friday (the Sporades Islands). There may be some flexibility in this regard for some properties, particularly in the low season. If you prefer to travel mid-week, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. Bookings for our properties in Trancoso, Brazil, can begin on any day of the week. 

Q. Are your villas safe for children?
A. Many of our villas are perfect for families with children. Usually, when we feel they are not, we add a note in the Think About section at the bottom of each villa page. Those villas we recommend as family villas (please see our Family Villas collections) have been tried and tested by numerous families with children, not to mention our own offspring too! We will of course give you as much info as possible in this regard should it be a concern for you - just let us know your requirements. Please see our dedicated Health and Safety page.

Q. Are your villas suitable for guests with limited mobility or disabilities?
A. We take accessibility very seriously, and believe that limited mobility or disability should not be a restriction when on holiday. However, every villa in our portfolio is different and some are better suited for guests with mobility impairments than others. We enrolled the services of a professional working in the field of accessible travel to audit some of our villas in Sicily and are adding to this project over time. Please click here for more information.

Q. Do you only arrange accommodation?
A. No, we will also be happy to arrange a series of add-ons and enriching experiences for you, including in-villa wine deliveries, in-house cooks, private drivers and transfers, helicopter rides, 4x4 Mount Etna excursions, speedboat and yacht hire and many other things. See our Think Experiences pages for more in-depth information or contact us. 

Q. Do you have a Health and Safety policy?
A. Yes, please click here for more information.

Please see our how to book page for complete information about booking with The Thinking Traveller.


 



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What's included - amenities and extra services

For complete information about amenities please see the individual pages of the villas you are interested in: each has a full amenities table, specifying what is included and what is available on request.

Q. Is electricity included?
A. Electricity is included in the rental price. We do ask guests to use electrical appliances and lighting in a responsible, ecological manner, making sure, for example that outside/garden lights are turned off during the day and that air-conditioning units are turned off when leaving the property or when windows are open.

Q. Is gas included?
A. Gas for cooking and heating is included in the price of your rental, except where otherwise specificied.

Q. Is water included?
A. Yes, water is included in the rental price.

Q. Is cleaning included?
A. All our villas have a weekly clean included, ensuring that your villa will be clean when you check-in. If you are staying two or more weeks you will also have a clean and change of bed linen/towels included every 7 days. Many villas also have one or more cleans included during the week while others have daily cleaning included. At the vast majority of villas it is possible to organise extra cleaning on request for a small extra fee. 

Q. Are sheets and towels provided?
A. Yes. On arrival you will find all the beds made up and towels for all your party. There will also be pool and/or beach towels for your use.

Q. How often are sheets and towels changed?
A. Generally, sheets and towels are changed once a week, though quite a few villas also include a mid-stay change of bed linen and towels. In many villas where a mid-stay change of bed linen and towels is not included, you may request an extra change, for which there will be a small charge payable locally.

Q. Is there a washing machine?
A. The vast majority of our villas have washing machines. Please check the amenities table on each villa page to make sure.

Q. Is there an iron and ironing board at my villa?
A. Yes, all our villas have an iron and an ironing board.

Q. Will I be able to access the Internet at my villa?
A. 99% of our villas have some form of Internet access, either an ADSL connection (usually wi-fi) or a Satellite Internet connection. In a very few more isolated villas, where hi-speed Internet is not available in the area,  a 3G Wi-Fi router or a mobile broadband dongle/key is provided. Click here to find out more about Internet connection types in our villas (as specified on each individual villa's amenities table).

Q. How often will my villa be cleaned during my stay?
A. Many of our villas have daily cleaning as standard. Others have cleaning every other day and some include one weekly clean. If you would like extra cleaning during your stay, just say the word and we will organise it for a small extra charge, paid locally. To find out how often your villa will be cleaned, check on the amenities table of each villa.

Q. Is it possible to have a cook at my villa?
A. Yes, in the vast majority of our villas, we will be happy to arrange the services of a cook for you. Please see our Think Experience pages or contact us for more details. In some of our Think Exquisite villas the services of a cook are included in the rental price. If you're arriving at your villa in the evening, why not organise for your dinner to be ready and waiting for you on arrival ? Please note that an administration fee of €20 (for up to three people) or €30 (for groups of 4 or more) is payable at the time of booking the in-villa cook service (for villas where the service is not included in the rental price).

Q. Ok, we would like a cook. What will we be eating? Can we choose from a menu or will the cook decide? Two of my party are vegetarians, will this be a problem?
A. Generally you will be eating traditional Sicilian, Puglian, Corsican, Greek or Brazilian food, depending on your destination. We can provide menus for some of our villas, or give you a pretty good idea of the kind of things you are likely to eat. Let us know your preferences/dietary requirements (i.e. fish, meat, no sea-food etc.) and we'll pass on your requests. Take a look at our recipes pages for an idea of the delicious things the locals are lucky enough to eat in Sicily, Puglia and on the Ionian Islands! A great many of the local dishes are vegetarian so members of your group who don't eat meat/fish will still have an amazing gastronomic experience!

Q. It is my wife's 50th birthday while we are on holiday. Can you organise a special dinner party and some live music, maybe a small jazz band?
A. Just let us know as soon as possible and we'll be delighted to arrange something special for you.

Q. We plan to relax as much as possible and would love to have a masseuse come to our villa once or twice. Is this possible?
A. Once again, we'd be delighted to organise this in most of our villas. Just let us know in advance.

Q. We plan to do a lot of touring round, sightseeing, but we don't want to drive every day. Can you arrange a private driver for us?
A. Absolutely! No problem. Speak to your Experiences Specialist before you travel or with your Local Manager whilst you are away.

Q. Can you provide guides to take us round historic towns or archaeological sites?
A. We often arrange guides for our clients. We work with tried and tested, fully-qualified guides who will give you great insights into what you are seeing. Take a look at our Think Experiences pages for detailed information.

For complete information about amenities please see the individual pages of the villas you are interested in: each has a full amenities table, specifying what is included and what is available on request.


 


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Getting to your villa, checking-in and checking-out

Q. How will I find the villa and get inside?
A. Before you leave we will send you detailed directions of how to get to your villa. If you are having problems you can call the Local Manager who will help you arrive. There will be someone waiting for you at your villa - either the owner or the caretaker/property manager. They will give you a complete introduction to the house and leave you the keys.

Q. When can I check in?
A. Check-in at your villa is possible from 16.00 on the first day of your stay. On receiving your flight details, your Experiences Specialist will send you an estimated check-in time at the villa, taking into consideration the normal time required to collect luggage, pick up a hire car and drive to the villa. We would be most grateful if you could confirm this estimated check-in time (or let us know a different time if you plan to do some shopping/sightseeing, etc. on the way) so that we can ensure someone will be at the villa to welcome you at an agreed time. Please do contact your Experiences Specialist if you have any queries regarding check-in. Should you be delayed on the day of arrival, please call the Local Manager.

Q. What happens if my flight is delayed and I arrive late at the villa? Who do I tell?
A. Just call your Local Manager. Their business card is in your joining pack and their number is also in the House Guide.

Q. When do I have to check out by?
A. Standard check-out time is by 10.00am. It is not generally possible to check-out after this time as the houses need to be cleaned and prepared thoroughly for the arrival of other guests. If there are no other guests arriving that day, and the owner does not need the house for their own purposes, it may be possible to extend check-out time by a couple of hours.

Q. I'm arriving late on Saturday evening - the shops will be shut. What can I eat?
A. In all our villas you will find a "Welcome Pack" with the basic essentials but not enough for a meal. If you are arriving late we will be happy to organise a welcome shop for you (a small fee is charged for this service).

Q. How many sets of keys will I get?
A. This depends on the size of the house and the number of people in your group. Generally you will get one set of keys for every 4/5 people.


 


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During your stay at the villa

Q. Who do I contact if I have a problem at the villa?
A. Our network of villa owners and caretakers is supported by a team of locally-based Thinking Traveller Local Managers, who are available 24/7 to ensure that your holiday runs smoothly. Between 2011 and 2016, readers of Condé Nast Traveller have consistently voted The Thinking Traveller as one of the Top Three Villa Rental Companies in the World, and our superb on-the-ground support team have been voted best of all on three separate occasions. 


 


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General questions

Q. Where do you operate?
A. From 2002 to 2010 we specialised in Sicily and, as such, we have incomparable local knowledge! In 2010 we launched a range of luxury masserie, chic trulli, superb seafront villas and historic residences in Puglia. In 2013 we moved across the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Islands, beginning in Lefkada and Meganissi and soon adding Corfu, Paxos and Antipaxos. Then, in 2016 came the unspoilt Sporades Islands of Skopelos and Alonissos, just off Greece's east coast. At the end of 2016 we launched a collection of dreamy properties in the chic, utterly laid-back beachfront town of Trancoso in Bahia, Brazil. In January 2017, it was the turn of Corsica. Our philosophy in all these regions is the same: a. we only work with the very best villas (all of which in Italy and Greece are exclusive to The Thinking Traveller, an aspect that allows us to guarantee standards); b. unparalleled local knowledge (all our London team visit our destinations regularly, so you'll always be able to speak to someone who has spent time at the villa you are interested in, seen the areas you will visit and done the things you like to do); c. 24/7 award-winning on-the-ground-support; and d. The Thinking Traveller's know-how and ability to exceed expectations.

Q. Should I take out travel insurance for my holiday?
A. It is a condition of booking with The Thinking Traveller that you take out adequate travel insurance. Many credit card companies include holiday insurance as do other more general insurance policies, so you should first check these. Please see our booking conditions for more in-depth information (point 7 for insurance).

Q. We're coming from America. What is the voltage in Europe? Should we bring adaptors or something?
A. Electricity in Italy, Greece, France and the rest of Europe is 220v (as opposed to 110 volts in the US). Most laptops are designed to work at both 220v and 110v. If you have an appliance which only works at 110v you should bring a voltage converter with you as they are difficult to find in Italy and in Greece. You will also need a universal plug adaptor as Italy's sockets are designed for 2 round-pronged plugs. Standard voltage in Brazil is 110/220 with a frequency is 60HZ. 

Q. We were planning on bringing some DVDs from America. Will they work on European DVD players?
A. Probably not, unfortunately. American DVD players and discs are "Region 1", while Italian, French and Greek ones are "Region 2", making them incompatible. Many of our villas have Sky Movies, though, so you don't need to be entirely without films!

Q. Will my US cell phone work in Europe?
A. If you have a GSM cell phone, it should work in Europe. Once arrived you can buy a SIM card (you will need your ID for this) and switch your American SIM card with it. Alternatively you can rent a GSM phone before you leave. We do, however, recommend you talk to your network provider or local cellphone retailer.

Q. Can I smoke in the villa?
A. Smoking is not permitted in our villas. Smokers are politely requested to take their hobby outside.

Q. Do your villas accept pets?
A. Pets are generally not allowed in our villas. However, some owners will accept pets depending on size, length of stay and other factors. Please speak to one of our advisors if you are thinking of travelling with your pet.

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