From December 26th, Our Bench Holiday Cottages are closed to holiday guests. You are still able to book online, please be aware that we do not know when we are able to reopen to holiday guests, your deposit will secure your dates if we are able to open - see more details below. We can not refund you - your deposit is non returnable.
If you currently have a holiday with us, please do not make any further payments as we are unable to refund you your credit card payments, as they take a commission.
We ask you to let us know when your balance is due if you still would like to take your holiday, if you intend the holiday to go ahead if the restrictions are lifted we will need payment within 24 hours of the restrictions being lifted in the New Forest, if we are approached by a family in need of accommodation - we will cancel your booking.
If are looking for a holiday for essential reasons - then we are still able to accommodate you - we need you to confirm this as soon as your balance is due, once paid in full - no refund will be offered, are only able to offer accommodation on those terms on request.
The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know - if you need to cancel you holiday please get in touch as soon as possible so we can try and relet.
Updated 20th December when Tier 4 areas were introduced: Guests can not come and stay from a Tier 4 area from 0.01am on 20th December. " Restrictions on leaving home 1.—(1) No person who lives in the Tier 4 area may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse' .... please notify as soon as possible that you are facing these restrictions. Do not pay the balance of your holiday, instead please contact us as soon as possible so we can try and relet and return your money. In Wales, Scotland and overseas the guidance is different - you are responsible to check the guidance in your area and ensure that you are safe to travel.
If you want to take the risk that restrictions will be listed in 8 weeks, then you do so at your risk. We are still open for essential stays and failure to notifiy us may prevent our business from surviving or us offering the accommodation to someone with a specific need. The legislation is here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/.../pdfs/uksi_20201611_en.pdf
You can download a summary chart here, and there will be one in your holiday cottage.
Guests booking direct automatically get sent a Welcome document prior to arrival, and we asking now that you contact us on the day before leaving for the cottages on our mobile to ensure there are no problems with the departing guests, and if you can let us know your approximate arrival time. We can then confirm everything with you, and let the cottages air as much as possible. We have enhanced our cleaning routine - which we have explained in the departure section - we may have not finished the outside spaces by the time you arrive.
We have always offered a key lock entry - so it is essential now that you make sure you have your key code, we have added hand gel nearby ready for you to use. Please let us know when you have arrived, and we will still pop by and say hello - but we will be respecting social distancing - we will wear masks on request (for some we know this is a barrier to communication) and we will happily answer any questions about your stay.
The cottages will be cleaned ready for you, the beds made up - there will be the homely touches that make our holiday cottages a home away from home. We have considered carefully whether to include information on the local area, personal touches like plants, soft furnishings etc and we have done research on what we think guests would like - you are coming for a holiday, and over the years our guests have clearly said that is what they value. We will steam the soft furnishings between guests.
During you stay if you show any sign of infection whilst staying with us, you must return home as soon as possible and notify us of the potential risk - as you could be putting other guests and ourselves at risk. This is as per the Government guidelines. If you are unable to return home you are liable to any costs of emergency accommodation, Guest First for example offer insurance in this occurs, this could include the costs of extending your stay and could be the costs occurred by the arriving guests as their holiday would be canceled.
If any guidelines change during your stay, and we become aware of them, then we will be contacting you and may request you leave early depending on the information received. We appreciate your understanding and co-operation at this unprecedented time.
In all properties we have included extra soap and cleaning supplies. There is a basic first aid kit. We recommend that you bring hand sanitizer with you, and take it out and about with you - particularly if you are planning on enjoying some walks in the forest or coastal picnics - as there are some lovely accessible walks that have gate latches that you would need to touch to keep the ponies out.
If you are staying in Little Bench or Bench Cottage please be aware of social distancing when using your front door, the shared laundry area and garden. There are lots of reminders around the cottages and as you enter along with hand gel available for any visitors.
We ask now that you send us a text on departure - letting us know that you have vacated the property, we will ask that you turn the heating down, and open all the windows that are not visible from the road, then lock up as normal and leave your key in the key safe. This is to ensure the property is aired fully before the next set of guests, and to help reduce any risks to ourselves, by sending us a text - we can ensure we can pop along as soon as we can.
We ask that you wipe down all surfaces on departure to reduce the risks for ourselves, in addition to our standard terms where we have always requested you leave the cottage as you would like to find it.
If you become ill or anyone if your party does with suspected Covid-19 within 48 hours of your departure, it is your duty of care to let us know, as soon as possible.
Guest's whom have stayed with us before will know that the cottages have always been cleaned ready for your arrival. We have always cleaned the cottages thoroughly, ready for the next guests. This has always included comprehensively cleaning of kitchens and bathrooms, wiping all cupboards, vacuuming and floor washing as well as cleaning and tidying any shared spaces.
We have added extra cleaning equipment - we now have a specialist carpet cleaner and a steam cleaner - so that we can ensure that the soft furnishings can get a deep clean. We can share our cleaning checklist with you, and our risk assessment, based on guidelines provided by the Professional Association of Self-caterers.
Due to the additional work - lawns may not be mowed and gardening maintained on changeover days so we may be doing this during your stay, but we will be maintaining social distancing as we work.
We ask for contact detail of all guests staying overnight in the cottages for Test and Trace details - from 24th September we understand that everyone can use the Covid-19 app - there will be a QR code to scan as you enter your holiday cottage - it keeps you logged in for 24 hours - so we advise logging in daily, and if you have any visitors (no more than 6 are allowed on the premises socially) that they log in too - so they be contacted if necessary - the app and further information can be downloaded here: https://www.covid19.nhs.uk/
The New Forest is following the same guidelines as the rest of the England, we are currently in National Lockdown.
Everybody booking direct with us ticked a box on booking saying that they agreed our holiday terms and conditons and acknowledged that they were advised to take out travel insurace. We are a small business - we have huge ongoing costs, that need to be covered to ensure that we are able to offer accessible holidays to our clients - we totally understand that you may be sheilding, or a higher risk group - we are doing everything we can to ensure our accommodation is as safe as possible, but all our guests have chosen to book with us because of the enhance facilities that we offer. We would love to be able to refund everyone if their situation changes, but we can't afford to do that unless we relet ... with as much notice as possible - and your help, sharing our accommodation with your friends and collagues - we will try and relet - we are also offering potential guests the opportunity to join a waiting list or possiblly stay for a last minute weeked or mid week break.
We appreciate as much notice as possible that you have changed you mind, and that circumstances have changed. Please get in touch as soon as possible, we can suggest offering you a full refund if we are able to relet (with more than 8 weeks notice) at this stage, we can offer the booking for sell - and honor your credit if you choose to rebook the same dates closer to the arrival day. If you choose instead not to pay the balance - then the booking is automatically cancelled.
Fantastic - we are delighted you booked direct for the best prices. If you have fully paid directly with us and your circumstances change then a reminder of our cancellation policy
We have booked through a 3rd party agent - we have to deal with that company direct and the terms they have set. Our Book with Confidence is for direct bookings only - these terms are not agreed with your 3rd party booking agent or OTA and we will be working with the terms they have specified. Please note if you are unable to attend once you have paid your balance then this is considered a cancellation and no refund will be given.
7th January Update: Disabled Holidays currently are not fulfilling their contract with us - they have paid the deposit of holidays, our contract with them specifies they pay the balance 10 weeks prior to your arrival - we are contacting them and reminding them of this, if they do not confirm your holiday then we have a right to cancel it based on none payment and none commnication, and can not be held responsible. When contacting Disabled Holidays to chase payments we recieve an automated response that states: "
If we have not been able to contact you in time regarding your holiday if affected by the pandemic or you have missed us calling please do contact the property owner if you are unable to travel and we will contact you with your options once our team are back in." - our contract is with them, we have not been paid for your holidays and are unable to resolve th`1is situation.
You are able to book contact free through our website. We no longer take direct bookings from OTA's through our web site - they need to book via phone or email. This is the only way to book as your terms are not the same as the ones for Direct Bookings, the bookings on the agency are often less flexible.
If you are coming to stay from outside the UK then please check the UK Government Website to see if any restrictions are in place, that may affect your travel.
We are delighted to receive last minute bookings - if the week is available and you are fit and well to travel - we would love to see you. Our web site holds the most up to date information - but you are welcome to call us - we are updating with cancellations, hold a waiting list for key dates in case people do cancel - so if you have any questions then please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0775 1064167
We do not know when the restrictions will be updated - we find out whenever there is a new Government annoucement. All we ask is that all guests make sure that they are at all times following the latest UK Guidance / Law regarding holidays, if you are not you are possibly putting us at risk, and are not fulfilling your contract, and in return we will do all we can to follow and implement the latest guidance as soon as we can.
We ask that you remember your duty of care to ourselves, our community and our other guests. If you are traveling in breach of this guidance / law and we have to shut down then you will be liable for any cancellations & loss of income that may occur.
Restrictions can change at any point and we will be following guidance that is in place on arrival day - or as soon as we become aware. We recommend as always that guests take out holiday insurance.
From Wednesday 2nd December Regional Tiers will be in place within England - if you put our postcode (SO41 8HH) if you will see we are at the lowest level - and what restrictions are in place locally. If you put in your postcode you can check what restrictions are in your local area, these apply whilst on holiday too - https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions and we ask that all guests check they are aware of their restrictions and stick to them during their stay.
If you are unable to travel home and need to self isolate at our property then
you will be held liable for the extra costs occurred and the cost of your extended stay payable immediately but also due to the specialist nature of our accommodation we feel that you would impose too higher risk to our other guests, and could be liable for the cancellation of guests in the neighbouring cottage too. Self Isolation guidance is here.
If you forget your face mask / face covering and would like one then we have a disposable one we can sell you (£1 each) but we would encourage you to use a reusable one and wash it often as per our green ethics - the disposable ones contains plastic particles and take a while to bring down. You can get them locally.
If you are exempt from wearing a face mask - the government advise downloading this PDF and saving it to your phone so it is always with you, it also includes a page to share if you can not hear someone and need to lip read. We would recommend wearing a sunflower lanyard if this is the case - details of the scheme can be found here: Hidden Disabilities - and we have some available at the cottages you can purchase for a £1.
Please follow the advice in your Regional Tier and in our local tier - this advice is always changing. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing and their FAQ's, which includes advice on what happens if you become unwell whilst on holiday, or if you get contacted by NHS Track and Trace. At Our Bench, our largest cottage can only accommodate 5 guests, so all our holidays are within these guidelines, our terms and conditions highlight the maximum number of people on the premises at one time.
The restrictions vary depending on where you are traveling from. The UK guidance is here: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control - if you have traveled into the UK you are not allowed to leave the place you are staying for the first 14 days - the guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk - please be aware that if your stay is extended with us due to this you are liable for all costs (refunding arriving guests and then paying for their stay - as per our terms and conditions). You may need to quarantine on return from the UK too. Please ensure your have holiday and medical insurance.
We have been supporting the Covid Symptom tracker since it was first started... a recent updated announced a "new feature introduces the idea of a permanent home address (where you live most of the time) and an additional address for where you are currently staying." This means you can change your location whilst you are on holiday (use SO41 8HH) , so that you can continue to monitor wherever you are. https://covid.joinzoe.com/data
Last Updated 26th November 2020
Tel: +44 77510 64167 Email: email@example.com
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