“My daughter’s hotel refused guests under 21 – now she can’t get a refund” |  Travel

“My daughter’s hotel refused guests under 21 – now she can’t get a refund” | Travel

✉ My daughter booked a 7 night stay at the PH Hotel de Entree in Amsterdam via Booking.com for £1,006 but when confirmation came through we found that the minimum check in age appeared to be 21. My daughter is 18 and this was a special birthday trip that she saved as a surprise for her friend. Booking.com was very friendly and said they would be happy to cancel and waive any charges, but they needed the hotel’s approval. Unfortunately the hotel refused and will not refund the cost of the stay. Can you help?
Nikola Ford

When I scrolled down the hotel listing on Booking.com, the minimum age restriction was shown under “House Rules,” but that’s such an unusual requirement that it really should be highlighted in the property description – it’s much more important than knowing that the hotel is 0.2 miles from the Basilica of St. Nicholas or 0.8 miles from the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, as per the website above says. It should also be noted that the hotel requires a deposit of £128 which is only refunded after seven days. Luckily, after my intervention, Booking.com relented and your daughter was reimbursed. “All properties, including PH Hotel de Entree, have full control over their booking conditions, which are clearly marked on their listing page, along with their refund policies,” it said. “Our goal is to make travel easier for people, so we will take this opportunity to issue a full refund to the customer as a goodwill gesture.”

The Ottawa River and Parliament Hill, Ottawa

The Ottawa River and Parliament Hill, Ottawa

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✉ My husband and I were in Vancouver and took an Alaskan cruise and a Rocky Mountaineer train ride. We are now looking to visit Eastern Canada but are unsure of the best cities and places to visit. What do you suggest?
Eunice McConnach

The biggest hits are Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston (for the Thousand Islands Archipelago), Montreal and Quebec City and – of course – Niagara Falls. The easiest way to tick off that crowd is to join an escorted tour. Canadian Sky offers an eight-night itinerary including all of these, with cruises to Niagara Falls and the Thousand Islands, as well as a chance to learn more about the country’s national snow sport – you’d meet a hockey player and don the gear and go on one Ice rink to test your skills with a puck. It costs from £2,399 per person, including flights and some meals, and the tour can be extended at either end (canadiansky.co.uk). If you prefer a more leisurely flight, Trailfinder’s 15-night Eastern Canada Highlights itinerary covers a similar area and starts at £2,022 per person, including car hire and hotel accommodation, plus two breakfasts; Flights are extra – you can take excursions including a helicopter flight over the magnificent Mont Tremblant National Park (trailfinders.com).

Corfu Old Town, Greece

Corfu Old Town, Greece

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✉ We are four families of four who want to vacation together in Europe next summer. We are looking for separate self catering units to give each family a bit of space but with a shared pool and facilities. We have a budget of up to £3,500 per family for accommodation. Ideally we are within walking distance of a village or town and reasonably close to the coast. Is there such a place?
Louise Herrington

Perched on the hill above one of the prettiest hamlets on Corfu’s fashionable north-east coast, Kalami Bay Apartments offer stunning sea views and a communal pool (with separate children’s area). It’s a short walk to tavernas and the beach, where you can hire kayaks, paddleboards and pedalos, and you probably won’t need a car, as boats run to other tavernas and coves along the coast, as well as to Corfu Town. A week at the end of July next year costs £3,500 in a one-bedroom apartment for up to four people, plus an additional £312 for flights (with luggage) and transfers (sunvil.co.uk).

Alternatively, head to one of France’s major campsites and enjoy family activities. The Domaine des Ormes is set in the grounds of a 16th-century castle, a 40-minute drive from St Malo in Brittany and close to medieval Dinan, on the banks of the River Rance and the beaches of the Emerald Coast. It features Center Parcs-style indoor and outdoor pools, and activities ranging from horseback riding and archery to water skiing and high ropes courses. There is a wide range of accommodation including classic mobile homes, gîtes, tree houses and safari tents; its seven traditional Breton houses each sleep four and cost £1,592 for a week at the end of July (lesormes.com).

✉ I am due to travel to France next month, more than 270 days after my third Covid vaccination. Can you tell me what I have to do to be allowed to enter the country? Is it just an antigen test before departure or do I need to be tested on arrival as well? I see conflicting advice on different websites.
Lucy Wiseman

There still seems to be a lot of confusion about French entry requirements. If you’ve had a booster shot (your third Covid shot) you’re considered fully vaccinated and there’s no expiry date for validity, so you don’t need any testing at all – the 270-day rule only applies to adults who do didn’t get a refresher. You should fill out a passenger locator form (app.euplf.eu) and be ready to show your NHS Covid travel pass or letter as well.

✉ My family of four travels Interrail and will be using a Eurostar service early next month. However, Eurostar trains aren’t free with an Interrail pass – you have to pay a seat reservation fee of around £27 – and a few weeks ago I made a small but very expensive mistake. I started making the bookings, but then our younger child had a medical emergency and during trips to the hospital I accidentally reserved Standard Premier instead of Standard seats for the outbound trip; A few days later I realized that standard Premier reservations are not valid with our passes. When I finally managed to get through to Eurostar, the only thing the customer service agent could do was refund my reservation fees and sell me new tickets for £650. I know it was my fault but can you help me?
Steve Wren

You made a small mistake at a time of great stress and when I sent Eurostar details of your case they were understanding while pointing out that fares booked on Interrail for pass holders must be in the correct class of service and that all information is clear are indicated on its website. “Given the circumstances, as a gesture of goodwill, we have managed this time to find a solution to accommodate the seats requested in Standard on the August 1st train,” it said. “This means we can refund the additional amount you paid for standard Premier tickets. We hope the family enjoys their European adventure.” Make sure you arrive at least 90 minutes before the scheduled departure time as queues at St Pancras can be very long.

If you have a complaint, suggestion or question about your holiday please email traveldoctor@thetimes.co.uk

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