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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Secret Escapes?
So how does Secret Escapes actually work?
At Secret Escapes, we think booking a holiday should be a fun, enjoyable and stress-free experience, so we decided to create a website where we hand-pick the best hotels and holidays and curate exclusive offers available only to our members. Our rates are the best you'll find online during our sale, that's our guarantee.
Every week we'll run short 'flash sales' lasting around ten days each - the time left is indicated on each individual sale. There may be as many as 140 sales going on at any one time, but we'll email you to let you know what's coming up during the week.
It's worth noting that, although all of our prices are better than anywhere else online during a flash sale, the availability of our lowest advertised rates may be limited.
By hand-picking hotels and holidays for members, Secret Escapes acts as an agent for the suppliers, tour operators and hotels featured on the site.
Why book with us?
Our ethos from day one has been to offer luxury hotels and holidays, at home and abroad, at prices better than anywhere else online - guaranteed.
As a member of Secret Escapes, you can rest assured that our rates are exclusive to you and cannot be beaten while our sale is live, leaving you safe in the knowledge that you needn't shop around once you've found your perfect getaway. In fact, if you look elsewhere online for the best price, we’re certain to beat it. There's no fuss - you pick the dates you stay before you pay.
We also try to make sure that all of our members see the value of booking with us. All of our offers are hand-picked by our team of travel experts, and we always try and secure little extras, like room upgrades, spa treatments or discounts, welcome gifts or even evening meals and cream teas - anything to make your stay extra special.
The Secret Escapes Price Guarantee
Guaranteed best rates online
What is the Secret Escapes Price Guarantee?
Our contracting team works hard hand-picking some fabulous deals, and our flash sale offers beat the best price you will find on the open market during our period of sale. We scour the internet far and wide to make sure we offer the lowest rates available. You shouldn't have to shop around - we guarantee our exclusive rates are not bettered elsewhere.
If we were to ever see a lower price for one of our flash sales, we'd immediately cancel the sale and either push for better discounts and extras for our members (like champagne on arrival, a room upgrade or a three-course meal) if we were to feature that hotel or holiday again, or just drop the deal altogether.
Flash sales is what we do, and we hope you agree we do it well. We'll do our best to inspire you to try something, or somewhere, different. But, we also know that you may come to our site already with an idea of where and when to go away. If you search for a specific destination, with dates, and we have none – or a limited number – of flash sales available, we may show you hotels from our collection – these hotels are marked in teal colour displayed underneath our flash sales, and are price-matched against the best price online. They're not flash sales, but recommended hotels that we don't have a flash sale for right now. These hotels – though displayed at the best online price, are not as discounted as our flash sales, which are better than the best online price. We just want to make sure you get what you need at the best price possible.
What happens if I find one of your flash sales cheaper elsewhere?
It's up to us to make sure that this never happens - and luckily it hasn't, so far. But, should you find a price elsewhere that has sneaked under our radar, please contact us on email@example.com and we'll remove the offer from our site and renegotiate with our supplier.
How do you calculate the price and the discounts?
All of our flash sales are sold at exclusive members-only rates, cheaper than anywhere else online. The top rate advertised is the highest possible saving you can achieve with a particular offer and usually - but not always - represents the lowest price you could pay. Sometimes you may end up paying even less than the rate advertised, but there may only be a few available dates at these super low prices. The 'up to' price reductions are valid when the sale is set live.
We advertise the price after checking and re-checking the rates numerous times before setting a sale live. When a sale is set live on our site, we always ensure that our 'lead-in' rate - the price advertised at the top of the offer page - constitutes at least 10% of our total number of available dates for that sale.
Naturally, this leading 'best' rate advertised is usually the most popular, and often sells out before the remaining dates. Therefore, you may notice that a few days after the sale goes live, we're advertising a slightly higher 'lead' rate. This is only when the original rates have sold out and, if this happens, we will inform you of this change next to the new price. Full details of how our prices are calculated are available in the 'more details' section of each individual offer.
What do I get?
What do I get when I join?
We offer our members discounts of up to 70% on hand-picked boutique hotels and luxury holidays. If it's on flash sale on Secret Escapes, you won't find it cheaper anywhere else while we sell it - that’s our guarantee.
Who can join?
Everyone, we love you all.
How often will you send me emails?
We'll be sending a weekly summary (on Monday) of all the sales that are coming up during the next seven days, as well as reminders when the new sales start - just so you don’t miss out. You can opt out of any of the emails at any time, and we’ve recently launched a new contact preferences selector, where you can take a break from our daily emails and just receive our weekly summary.
Making a purchase
Why can’t I see your prices?
You’re probably not logged in yet. Once you're logged in and have selected an offer that appeals to you, the price should now appear with full offer details to the right of the picture gallery.
How do I buy?
You can buy just as you would on any other travel website, or you can pay £225 to hold a room while you decide.
What’s a ‘hold’?
Our members can ‘hold’ a date until the end of the sale by paying £25. Organising a holiday takes time, we know that. Especially when you’re travelling with others, organising several trips or just need time to plan - we understand that you may not be able to commit to a booking straight away.
To give you a bit more time to ponder, you can pay £25 to reserve a date in the calendar while you decide, meaning that no-one else will be able to book the date you hold (which will remain held until the offer expires). If you decide to book your trip, the £25 will automatically come off the total price and, if not, no problem - we'll credit the money back to your Secret Escapes account.
Important - a hold is NOT a deposit on a booking and is not a guaranteed, completed or confirmed booking. It's just a handy feature to prevent other members from pipping you to the post and booking this date.
Unfortunately, because the hotels and holidays that we feature are available to buy elsewhere (albeit not at the exclusive rates our members enjoy), the supplier may occasionally sell out while you're deciding. If that does happen, the date will be closed to sale and all holds will automatically be cancelled and the money refunded as credit on your Secret Escapes account. We will, of course, notify you if this should happen.
Please see our terms and conditions for more information.
Booking fees and charges
What fees are included in the total price?
We do our best to keep fees and taxes to a minimum, but we may have to charge a small booking fee and a separate surcharge dependent on your method of payment. If these charges apply, you will be notified of the fee before you buy.
What is the booking fee?
A booking fee is a small administrative fee charged by Secret Escapes when you pay for your hotel or holiday with us. This fee helps us provide customer support and helps us cover the cost of transactions on our website. For total transaction values that cost less than £99, there will be no booking fee at all, and the most we'll charge per total transaction is £20 regardless of whether you've just spent £350 or £35,000.
What do I get for my booking fee?
Regardless of what you pay, by charging a small booking fee (depending on the size of your overall transaction value), we're able to provide our members (that's you) with a dedicated team on hand to help with any queries you may have about your booking. And importantly, even WITH a booking fee, the total price of your booking on Secret Escapes is still absolutely the lowest you will find anywhere else online.
Where can I get a VAT invoice?
Secret Escapes acts solely as an agent between the customer and the hotel or tour operator, and therefore cannot issue an invoice for a sale made by the hotel or tour operator.
Should you require an invoice displaying the VAT paid, this can only be obtained directly from the hotel, which, legally, is the entity that provided the service for you. Of course, through our selection of partners, we always try to ensure that customers receive an invoice at check-out. However, Secret Escapes is first and foremost a portal for leisure travellers, which is why individual hotels may not issue an invoice displaying the VAT for business travel. Unfortunately in this case, Secret Escapes cannot intervene because of its intermediary role.
Invitations and credits
How do I share Secret Escapes with my friends?
We love it when people share - in fact, we’ve totally incentivised it. You receive credit when the friends you invite (using your very own referral link) join Secret Escapes. £55 when five of your friends join, £280 when 25 join and £730 when 50 of your friends have joined using your link. You also get £225 credit for each purchase your friends make with us.
What happens if more than one person recommends Secret Escapes to someone, who gets the £225 credit?
The person eligible for the £225 credit would be the one whose email the user clicked on.
Will there be a cash alternative to £225 credit for recommending a friend?
No. The £225 credit can only be used against purchases on Secret Escapes.
Our offers - the small print…
What is my relationship as a customer with Secret Escapes once I’ve booked?
Secret Escapes is a travel agent, hand-picking and showcasing unbeatable and exclusive deals for its members. Once a customer has made a booking on Secret Escapes, the customer has effectively entered a contract with the hotel or supplier with which the booking was made. Why? Well, Secret Escapes is selling the hotel or tour operator’s product, and therefore it is up to the hotel, tour operator or supplier in question to ensure the customer gets what they paid for.
Where do you get your star ratings from?
We hand-pick the hotels and holidays we offer to you guys - our members. The star rating is a useful classification of the accommodation and reflects the standard of the establishment in its own country. A five-star London hotel may feel different to a five-star hotel in Athens or Istanbul, but we go to great lengths to ensure that each hotel we sell reaches and exceeds OUR standards, which we feel are far more important than an arbitrary star rating.
I’m not happy with the flight times I’ve been given?
As we’re acting on behalf of a supplier or tour operator when offering holidays that include flights, we’re not in control of the flight times and cannot offer alternatives directly. If you’ve booked a holiday with us that includes flights and you’re not happy with the times of travel, but they are as advertised when you made your booking, unfortunately, we can’t do anything about it. If the flight times have changed since you have made the booking and do not fall within the parameters suggested, please contact the supplier or tour operator directly.
My holiday includes flights - when do I get my exact flight times?
We always strive to ensure that our members have all of the information they need ahead of booking with us. If we sell a holiday that includes transport - be it flights, ferry, cruise or train - we will display the latest, most accurate travel times as supplied to us by our tour operator.
However, as we’re an agent acting on behalf of a tour operator, the exact travel times are out of our control and may be subject to change according to the tour operator’s terms and condition. We link to these terms and conditions in the ‘travel details’ section of each offer that includes travel, and we’ll supply the flight times or range of flight times accordingly. You will receive your final, confirmed flight times from the tour operator when your booking has been confirmed by them. Suppliers differ in how they operate their confirmation process, but it is up to them to send you accurate flight times once your booking is confirmed.
For more information on flight times, please see our terms and conditions.
Do I need to book travel insurance?
We would always recommend you book travel insurance whenever you book a break. Travel insurance has to be the least glamorous aspect of buying a holiday, we understand that. But it's also one of the most important steps in ensuring your holiday is a great success. We recommend that all of our members booking with us should purchase adequate travel insurance for the type of trip they take - whether it's a foreign holiday or a UK break.
Depending on your level of protection (and we'd always recommend a comprehensive plan), travel insurance covers you against cancellations, healthcare, family emergency, baggage, supplier failure and a whole host of other potential issues. It’s always best to be on the safe side...
What if I have a complaint while I’m away?
If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your hotel or holiday and you feel the experience you bought is/was not up to scratch - be it your room, the service, the food or the cleanliness - please take this issue up with the hotel management, your tour operator or resort representative. They will be able to deal with any issue you may have there and then, and we will assist you as much as possible in getting a resolution.
If you have an issue with your flight - such as delays or cancellations - please contact the tour operator directly (an emergency contact number will be on your booking confirmation).
What if my booking is changed or cancelled?
We take immense care in making sure all details, prices and information we provide is correct. Very occasionally, we may have to correct an error in a deal we’ve advertised - this may take place before you book or just after. If we have to make a change to your booking after it has been made, we will do so having informed you as soon as possible, in line with our terms and conditions. Again - this is very rare.
In very rare cases (we’re talking yeti-spotting, and the like), a supplier, tour operator or hotel may cancel a booking after it has been made on our site. This is completely out of our control, as the provider may have sold out of rooms or seats without updating us and is therefore unable to honour the booking. As we’re an agent, and your contract once you’ve booked is with the provider, we’ll support you in getting a refund or changing your dates. We (Secret Escapes) are not responsible for costs associated with a cancellation by the provider (for instance, you may have booked a hotel in Spain and immediately booked separate flights only for the hotel to cancel the booking) - this is why we always recommend that you buy travel insurance to cover against cancellations.
For further information about changes and cancellations, please see our terms and conditions.