The following information is not intended to put you off but is an honest guide to the way of life in Portugal. As at home, things occasionally go wrong and whilst we have only chosen those villas which we feel will provide the perfect holiday accommodation, we can't guarantee that things won't happen that are beyond our control.
Our local representatives will be waiting to meet you at the airport. You will find them located at a stand displaying an “Affinity Villas” sign so please make yourselves known to them. If they are away from their stand it is likely that they are providing assistance to other guests and will return shortly. If you have car hire or transfers booked with us, they will show you where the car hire office is or guide you to where your driver is waiting. Our representatives are there to help you from the moment you arrive and for the duration of your stay.
We will endeavour to have the house fully cleaned and ready for you by 3pm on the day of your arrival. We receive many requests asking for early access but unfortunately this is something we are unable to arrange in advance. Villa managers and maids are authorised to refuse entry until the scheduled access time therefore, to avoid any disappointment or embarrassment, we would kindly ask that you do not attempt to arrive any earlier than 3pm.
We endeavour to have complimentary food hampers delivered by 4pm on your arrival day but should you decide to go out after your arrival we may not be able to access the property to leave your hamper.
Building Work & Disturbance
As with any country, building work in Portugal is sporadic and can start at any time. Even villas in developments that are well established, can be affected if a neighbour suddenly decides to renovate or improve. Likewise local councils may start road works with little or no notice. We do not control such work and we do not always receive advance notice of when it will begin. However, if we are made aware of any such disturbance that is likely to affect your enjoyment, we will contact you as soon as we are aware of it. If this happens, you will be entitled to exercise the options outlined in section 5 of our Terms and Conditions although compensation will not be payable unless the work is being carried out by, or on behalf of, one of our own suppliers. If building work starts during your holiday we will do our best to try to move you in resort but this may prove difficult, particularly in peak season.
Beaches, Swimming Pools & Water Safety
Where we advertise the distance to the nearest beach, please bear in mind that access may be difficult for those with limited mobility. Please familiarise yourselves with the flag safety system that operates at most large beaches and exercise care at smaller beaches where no such system is in operation. No swimming pool is safe for unsupervised children and many villas have bedrooms with direct access to the pool. Pool dimensions, where provided, are only approximate. Swimming pools are generally 1m – 2m deep so are without a very shallow end so we would strongly recommend that upon arrival at your villa, you check the position of the shallow and deep ends. Pool sizes are approximate and may include, or exclude, pool features such as steps or integral whirlpools. Please refrain from diving into the pool at any time. Please take extra care with children if your pool is described as an 'infinity'. This style of pool will have an open drop from the pool edge. Towels for use by the pool are only provided if stated in the villa description and must not be taken to the beach.
Cats, Dogs & Other Animals
Stray cats and dogs can occasionally be a problem in some areas. Should either beg for food at your villa, however sweet they look, please do not feed them. They may not be strays – just opportunists looking for an extra meal! The next clients may not be as tolerant. Many local families keep dogs, which live outdoors and may sometimes be heard barking. Villas in rural areas may be located close to farms and smallholdings so wild animals and farmyard noises are likely.
As we know, children are naturally curious, especially when on holiday where there are lots of areas and things to be explored. Please ensure that children are not left unsupervised at any time during your holiday and take extra care with swimming pools, balconies, roads, unfenced areas, tiled or marble floors etc, as it is likely the accommodation will not have the same child precautions as you are accustomed to in your own home. Parents are responsible for the actions of their children at all times.
Cots, High Chairs & Extra Beds
These are not necessarily in each villa as a matter of course but can usually be arranged for you. Cots will either be the folding travel-type or standard wooden frames, but may not necessarily be to British safety standards. In either case, cot linen is not supplied. Extra beds suitable only for children under the age of 10 may be camp beds or divans and may be supplied at additional cost, subject to availability and the villa owners agreement. Please note that any additional cots or high chairs must be requested in advance at the time of booking and it is important to note that during the peak summer months additional cots or high chairs may not be available.
We accept that accidents do happen, and if you break something, please either replace it or report it to the house manager who will endeavour to replace it for you. All breakages should be paid for before vacating the villa. If replacement items are required, you will be expected to pay for these in full and no adjustment will be made for wear & tear unless the damage is deemed as a result of excess usage. Your travel insurance should cover you for accidental damage or breakages whilst on holiday but keep all receipts as they will be required for any claims on your return. If you are unable to obtain an official receipt, a letter from the house manager should suffice. Unreported damage or breakages will result in a deduction from your security deposit so it is advisable to report anything, however minor, before you depart. Please also note the information regarding Security Deposits below.
We would also ask you to vacate by 10am on the day of departure and failure to vacate the villa at this time may incur a charge for a late check-out that will be deducted from your security deposit. We receive many requests asking for a late check-out on departure day but unfortunately this is something we are unable to arrange in advance but it may be possible for you to arrange this directly with the villa manager once you are staying at the villa. It is not uncommon for maids, gardeners, pool technicians and other resort staff to begin working at the villa prior to your check-out time - work must continue to keep villas maintained and this cannot always be done during the changeover period.
All accommodation is equipped with a fridge or fridge/freezer, cooker, kettle, iron and ironing board and sufficient utensils, cutlery and crockery appropriate to the maximum occupancy of the property. Barbecues may be gas or charcoal, fixed or portable. Extras such as washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, TVs, CD players, DVD players, iPod docking stations and games consoles, where they are installed, are noted in each individual villa description. Please bring your own CDs, DVDs, iPods and games plus a small supply of washing and/or dishwasher tablets, where appropriate, as these are not generally provided.
Pool heating, Jacuzzi & hot tub heating, central heating (including electricity for mobile heaters and fuel for open fires or log burning stoves) and air conditioning are NOT included in the villa rental price unless otherwise stated and must be booked and paid for in advance. Should you request the use of additional facilities whilst in resort that incur a charge, these must be paid for at the time by calling a member of our reservations team or by paying online using our secure website.
In general a pool heating system can heat water between 3 and 8 degrees Centigrade higher than an unheated pool under normal circumstances at the relevant time of year. Heavy rainfall, high winds and/or exceptionally cold nights will have a detrimental effect on water temperature and can seriously reduce the effect of the pool heating system and under these circumstances, no refund will apply. If a pool cover is provided, the pool should be covered at night and when not in use to minimise heat loss. Not all pools are provided with a pool cover. Pool heating supplements are non-refundable irrespective of what temperature the pool reaches. Under normal conditions the heating system should generate a beneficial warming and will not provide a 'hot' pool. As the majority of the cost is incurred in the first few days of heating, any cancellations will not be possible after the heating is initially switched on. It is not recommended to heat the pool during the hot summer months when heated pools can sometimes turn green with a reaction to the chemicals. This can be rectified and your house manager should be notified immediately, but we cannot accept responsibility if you opt for pool heating in July and August. Please note that unheated pools will feel cool in early and late season. Any problems with pool heating MUST be reported during your stay and failure to do so will negate any claim you may wish to make upon your return. In the case of any malfunction, we will endeavour to rectify it as soon as possible and our liability shall not exceed the amount paid for pool heating as shown on your confirmation invoice.
Hot tub's and Jacuzzi's can be temperamental and will occasionally go wrong. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that the facility is in working order for your stay, we cannot make any guarantees as obtaining spare parts can be very difficult in Portugal and therefore our liability shall not exceed £75 per week
Air conditioning, where provided, should provide sufficient cooling within a property to reduce the internal temperature. The type and age of the system will have a bearing on the efficacy however, the majority of systems will cool rooms within 10-20 minutes of being activated and therefore clients are respectfully asked to not leave air conditioning units switched on 24-hours a day and to switch off units when rooms are not in use or when external doors are open. We recommend an operating temperature of 20-24 degrees centigrade is applied to ensure optimal cooling, any lower and the units may freeze or malfunction but please bear in mind that external temperatures and the age of the units will have an effect on the efficacy. As with other facilities, air conditioning can go wrong and every effort will be made to ensure that repairs are carried out as soon as possible but it is not always possible to arrange for engineers to visit or obtain spare parts at short notice. If any problems with air conditioning are reported during your stay, portable fans will be offered to help alleviate the problem where possible and our liability shall not exceed £120 per week.
During the cooler months, at the beginning and end of the season, villas are likely to feel much colder inside. If a villa is equipped with air conditioning units, it is usually possible to use the units to provide heating and any advertised air conditioning charges will apply. Some villas are equipped with central heating and underfloor heating and should you wish to use these facilities, an additional charge will apply, payable in advance or locally. If it is possible to use an open fire or woodburner, logs will not be provided but these are readily available but please check with the house manager before using this facility.
Maids, Gardeners & Pool Maintenance
The frequency of maid service is stated in each villa description. The maids duties include general cleaning (but not washing up or personal laundry), sweeping the floors and cleaning the bathrooms. They will ensure clean bed linen and towels are provided once per week and most will perform an additional mid-week towel change. Please note that maids do not work on Sundays or public holidays and that the frequency of service includes the change over day. If your stay coincides with a public holiday, any maid visit scheduled for that day will not be rescheduled. Therefore, if maid service is twice per week, the first clean will be on the day of arrival and you will only see her once more during that week. Maids do not dispose of household rubbish, which should be bagged up and taken to one of the many local public bins. Where it is indicated in a villa description that a washing machine is not available, for maid’s use only or that laundry is by arrangement, it should be possible for you to make a private arrangement with the maid to do personal laundry. Swimming pools need regular maintenance in order for them to remain in sparkling condition and the gardens need regular work. Our staff, however, will be as unobtrusive as possible but this work is likely to happen while you are in residence. Sometimes essential maintenance or repairs need to be carried out at the villa but any arrangements to complete work will be made with you in advance by your house manager. Should you notice anything that needs maintenance during your stay it is essential that you advise your house manager. We will do our best to ensure that anything that needs repair or replacement will be done with the minimum amount of disturbance to you and your party. To repair swimming pool lights, or make any other repairs to the pool below the waterline, may require the pool to be drained of water therefore any repairs will be delayed until the end of the season to ensure you have full use of the pool during your stay. It is likely that organic debris will fall into the swimming pool and a pool net may be used by yourselves to clear the water. Guests are asked to shower before entering the swimming pool to remove any traces of sun lotion, body creams or oils that may affect the quality of the pool water and reduce your enjoyment of the facility.
Mosquitoes, Ants & Other Pests
As with all hot countries, insects can be a problem. Use plug-in mosquito repellents in bedrooms, and a lotion to protect exposed skin when eating out. Uncovered food will attract hoards of ants so store all food in the fridge or in airtight containers and make sure surfaces are wiped down to remove crumbs. Ant powders will solve the problem if it occurs and can be purchased at most supermarkets, but prevention is the best cure. Likewise accessible food is a great temptation for mice and other rodents so please remember to store provisions carefully and dispose of refuse appropriately.
Satellite, Cable TV & Internet Access
Please note that where a villa description contains satellite and/or cable television, where advertised, it does NOT give access to the subscription channels (e.g. Sky which includes movies, sport and entertainment). Eurosport and News are usually available but may be the only channels available in English. Some owners have provided ‘free to air’ channels which will give access to a limited number of English terrestrial channels. We therefore cannot guarantee, or be held responsible, for any specific channels that may or may not be provided. If there is internet access at your chosen villa, there may be an access charge in common with many wireless ‘open zones’. We cannot be held responsible if the service develops a fault or is unavailable for any reason and our liability will be limited to the amount you paid for the use of this facility. Similarly, once access has been requested and granted it is not possible to refund any, or all, of the access charge applied. Internet access and download speeds will not be equivalent to the service we expect and receive in the UK and may have a limit on the amount of download available therefore clients should not expect to be able to download large files, use online gaming services or stream movies or music. If internet access is essential, we would suggest clients explore obtaining an alternative means of internet access (such as a prepaid international mobile broadband service) prior to travel. Affinity Villas will not be held liable for any illegal activity, such as downloading of illegal movies or music, by any guests using an internet connection whilst staying at a property.
Security & Personal Safety
Be as security conscious whilst on holiday as you would be at home. Unfortunately the number of thefts from villas is rising and opportunist thieves are very good at finding an unlocked window or patio door, day or night so always be sure to secure the villas doors, shutters and windows when going out, if you are by the pool or going to bed. We recommend you do not take items of great or sentimental value on holiday with you. If your chosen villa has an alarm system, this will be switched off for your arrival and your house manager should visit to explain how to use it. We do not advertise the availability of safes at villas and do not ask owners to provide them but if a safe is installed and available for you to use, please understand that it is entirely at your own risk. Do not leave valuables on view in cars and do not leave your car unattended whilst packing or unpacking.
We understand that accidents happen but should you or a member of your party cause damage to a villa or its contents, villa owners have the reassurance that we hold a security deposit. Security deposits are between £500 and £2,000 and payable 8 weeks prior to departure, with the balance payment. We cannot hold credit card details or accept post-dated cheques for this purpose. Security deposits are usually refunded in full within 14 days after your return as most clients treat the villas with a great deal of care and respect but if there are any problems, we will get in touch with you as soon as possible. The maid will have checked the villa prior to your arrival to ensure everything is in good order but should you notice anything broken or damaged, please report it immediately to the house manager. It is imperative to ensure that you have adequate travel insurance as charges incurred for damage can usually be claimed back from your travel insurance provider. Please also note that any outstanding balance that remains on your booking following your departure may be deducted from your deposit.
Toys, Games & Sports
Where advertised tennis courts, table tennis, snooker and pool tables are there to provide enjoyment but please don’t expect them to be of championship standard! We recommend that you take bats, racquets and balls with you as these may not be provided. Occasionally owners and departing guests will leave toys and games for the following clients to enjoy but please exercise caution if you decide to use them as we cannot be held responsible for any accidents that may occur as a result. Please also be aware that villas near golf courses are at risk of stray golf balls entering the garden!
Each villa we feature is individually owned, and furnished to the owner’s personal taste.We have given each property a star rating but, as no official classification exists for villas, the ratings are subjective and based purely on our opinion and are intended as a guide to assist you in choosing the right house for you. Where we state that a bed is a double, it could mean that there are two single mattresses on a double base made up as a double bed. Cloakrooms consist of a WC and hand basin. Bathrooms will have a bath and may have a shower, shower rooms will have walk-in showers but no bath, both will have hand basins and a WC unless otherwise stated in the description. The distances quoted in the brochure and on the website are approximate and intended as a guide only.
Water, Electricity, Gas & Solar Power
With little or no rain, shortages do occur which may result in a low water pressure or supplies being cut off for short periods. Please bear with it as the locals will be suffering in the same way. The water is safe to drink, but may taste different and we therefore recommend you stick to bottled water for drinking and washing salads etc. Portuguese plumbing is not as efficient as we are used to and cannot cope with the disposal of nappies etc. If a blockage occurs, the floor of the villa may need to be dug up which will undoubtedly cause disturbance to your holiday. Hot water supplies will generally be from a tank and therefore it is unreasonable to expect each party member to be able to shower or bath at the same time or in quick succession. Most villas have a restricted supply of electricity and it is not unusual for circuits to trip when a number of appliances are being used at the same time - to avoid this issue try not to use items that draw a large amount of electricity at the same time. Electricity cuts, especially after storms, are not uncommon. Some villas have gas hobs that are supplied via bottled gas that is stored outside. Should your gas supply fail, please contact your house manager if you are unsure how to swap the supply over to a new bottle or if a new bottle is not available. Some properties rely on solar power to heat water and if there is insufficient sunlight, shortages of hot water may occur although there is normally a back-up system which should prevent this from happening. Insufficient sunlight may also affect the water temperature of solar heated pools.
Weather in the Algarve is generally good throughout the summer, with a low average rainfall. Buildings are designed and furnished to be comfortable in hot temperatures, and may not be as well suited to wet or cold periods as houses in northern Europe. Humidity can be a particular problem in countries where temperatures are usually high. In very wet periods, villas may give the appearance of being damp. However, as soon as the weather reverts to normal, and houses can be aired properly, any sign of dampness will quickly disappear. With long, hot and dry summers there is a risk of wildfires so please remain mindful of your own personal safety and do not attempt to dispose of hot charcoal.
To save you the chore of shopping immediately on arrival, we will provide an initial food pack to get your holiday off to a good start and this should be delivered before 4pm. This will be sufficient for a light meal on arrival and breakfast the following morning and will include bread, rolls, butter, milk, tea, coffee, sugar, eggs, water, ham, soft drinks, wine, fruit and salad (items may vary subject to availability). Please note that an initial supply of toilet paper, bin bags and washing up liquid will also be provided. Clients staying at more than one villa during the course of their holiday will only be provided with a hamper at their first villa so please remember to take supplies with you when you move. Welcome hampers are not provided where a discount has been applied to the booking but can be purchased in advance - please contact a member of our reservations team for details.