How to spot a fake AirBnB listing

As the owner of a holiday company, I really hate hearing stories of guests who have been scammed with a fake holiday or fake AirBnB listing, losing their money and not having the holiday they thought they had booked. It must be awful when you have been looking forward to something for so long, as well as parting with a considerable amount of money, to then discover that you have lost your money, and the holiday you were so looking forward to.

Not only this but it is so damaging to the holiday rental industry which is made up of so many small companies like us, providing an honest service but finding ourselves having to defend our business and our legitimacy.

fake airbnb listing Holiday Rental Portugal

The fake AirBnB listing, hosted by ‘Fernanda’.

I am familiar with stories in the press of it happening in cities like Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain, but I didn’t really think the scammers would make it Praia del Rey. Well, this week a guest who has booked a beautiful villa got in contact to say he had been talking to his brother in law telling him about their upcoming holiday. The brother in law had said he had seen an amazing villa on AirBnB and lo and behold, it was the villa the guest had booked! Only this villa was being advertised by ‘Fernanda, a dentist from Lisbon’! I couldn’t believe it, they had copied the photos from our website and set up a fake listing! As I looked at it I panicked: could people have already ‘booked’ with ‘Fernanda’ and lost money? As I explained to the guest what had happened, I thought, how is someone to know this is a fake AirBnB listing? Well these are the things to look out for:

 

 

 

 

What to look for if you think an AirBnB listing is fake:

Look at the host:

Do they have any reviews? This show previous guests have stayed with them before. Be suspicious of no reviews.

Do they have other properties listed? If it is a scam it is unlikely they will link other properties to their profile.

What is their verification? AirBnB ask for various methods of verification. ‘Fernanda’ only had a mobile number and an email verified. Anyone can set up a mobile and email address. Look for social media channels and a LinkedIn profile.

When was the listing set up? Look for longevity. If the profile was recently set up, be aware.

Lastly contact the host. Ask them about the property, the location, the facilities. A genuine host will be able to give you informed responses.

 

Price:

If it is too good to be true, it probably is!

 

What to do if you think an AirBnB listing is fake.

I had to google this as I couldn’t find it anywhere on the AirBnB site:

On the listing you can flag it with ‘Report this listing’.  You can also send a private message to @AirbnbHelp, they say they will respond within 24 hours.

fake AirBnB listing report this listingFake AirBnB listing AirBnB help

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did both of these things and I am glad to say that the fake AirBnB listing featuring our property photos is now no longer on the site. The important thing to remember is to apply common sense checks when you are looking for a holiday, and if you think a listing is fake, whatever website you are looking at, and a number of these pointers don’t ring true, then don’t book!

10 Tips for travelling with children to Portugal

I’m a mum of two (Agnes 2 and Ava 4) and guests often ask me for my tips when travelling with children to Portugal. Actually my tips probably count for travelling anywhere so here goes.

1. Hey Pesto

10 tips for travelling with children to PortugalThis is my top tip – a bag of dry pasta and a jar of pesto! Whatever time your flight or worse if your flight is delayed, chances are you are going to arrive somewhere with hungry kids bored of snacks and wanting a proper meal. If it’s a late flight you just want to get them fed an in to bed asap. 2 ingredients and you can have a meal done in minutes. I’ve been saved by a jar of pesto on many an occasion!

 

 

2. Black out blinds.

10 tips for travelling with children to Portugal black out blindThe one with the suckers. All our properties at Praia del Rey have external  shutters so total darkness can pretty much be guaranteed but on other holidays we have had
sheer curtains that do nothing to block out the early sun. Anything that keeps them asleep, or gets them asleep is worth having. Have one (or more) of these in your suitcase to keep kids’ bedrooms cosy and dark.

You can buy black out blinds here

 

10 tips for travelling with children to Portugal obidos

Pottering around Obidos with the children

3. Know when to budget and when not to.

Save on flights but splurge on airport valet parking. If you book well in advance it really isn’t much more than the ‘cheap’ option but when you are travelling with kids, buggies, car seats, suitcases etc the minibus transfer from the car park is really not a great start to your travels. Also on arrival back you just want to get home and having your car waiting for you in the airport is so much easier. Look online for your best options.

 

4. Equally splurge on transfers from the airport and get your hire car delivered to your accommodation.

Most of Europe seems to have a different concept of time to what us Brits are used to. Little sense of urgency, seemingly taking ages with everything and nowhere is this more apparent than at the car hire desks in the airport (it doesn’t help that I am VERY impatient). Italy and Spain seem to be the worst for this (we once waited nearly 3 hours for our hire car in Sardinia, thankfully pre-kids). Lengthy queues for a car having already been on a long flight, with all the luggage, plus kids who want nothing more than to run the length of the terminal is enough to drive anyone crazy. Save your sanity, get out of the airport asap!

 

5. Also car hire related – book car seats / baby seats with your car.

We had a baby seat come back in pieces after a TAP flight from Lisbon. No idea what they did to it on the flight but we were then in trouble when we tried to get home with it. Don’t risk your own, hire someone else’s!

 

6. Don’t fly longer than your kids age

This isn’t actually my tip, I got it from Melissa Biggs Bradley (@MBiggsBradley) Founder of Indagare Travel although with a 2 year old and a 4 year old I try and keep flight times to 3 hours max anyway (Portugal is around 2 and a half). It’s a great rule of thumb to apply to planning family holidays.

 

7. Apps

10 tips for travelling with children to Portugal 10831-iplayercbeebiesFor the flight – get the iPlayer app and download all their favourite shows to your phone / iPad. Yes it’s overdosing on screen time but getting through the flight is a matter of survival, anything that keeps them quiet is fine. That being said sugary snacks are not a good idea, way too hyper and then they want to run. Get popcorn: low sugar but still a treat.

 

8. Airport Softplays

At the airport find out where the kids’ softplays are in advance. Heathrow and Gatwick have them and it’s a great chance for the kids to burn off some energy. Forget the shops, get a coffee and get the kids in the softplay. At Lisbon airport it is in Terminal 1 near gate 44. (BA and TAP usually go from gates 41 up).

Family facilities at Heathrow airport

Family facilities at Gatwick airport

 

9. Have enough time!

However much time you think you will need on travel days, add an hour, add 2 hours, everything takes so much longer with kids in tow. I’m pretty sure the family queues at Gatwick are there to prevent you from making everyone else’s journey worse (but actually make yours longer). Make sure you have enough time, everyone will be happier if you aren’t in a mad rush.

 

10. And relax10 tips for travelling with children to Portugal flight

Lastly, wine. It is served on flights for a reason (just out of shot here). Have a glass, take a deep breath and remember once you’re lying by the pool it will all be worth it!

 

 

 

 

One of our favourite towns, Caldas da Rainha, on Portugal’s Silver Coast

I’m always amazed at how many people go on holiday and never leave the resort they are staying in. Now in some places where there isn’t much to see outside the resort I can quite understand why, but at Praia del Rey we are spoiled with a number of beautiful towns within an easy 20 minute drive. One of our favourites is Caldas da Rainha, and if you want to see what a typical Portuguese town (unaffected by tourists) is like then a visit here is well worth it.

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Caldas da Rainha is a typical market town. The daily fruit and veg market is a riot of noise and colour with huge displays of fresh flowers, cheeses, meats, nuts, bread, fruit and vegetables. Each stall is a local grower or producer displaying their wears. Nothing beats a hoard of fresh, warm tomatoes, local cheese, local honey and fresh bread for a casual lunch of market produce and the market at Praca da Fruta offers this and all sorts of other tempting, delicious things. We are all so used to picking up groceries at the local supermarket, but nothing is as fun as shopping at the market, and the kids love it too. My two children love pointing out fruit and vegetables they want to try and accepting the little tasters of biscuits and cakes they are frequently offered.

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Ceramics

IMG_1851 (1)There used to a number of large ceramics factories around the town some of them supplying the large high street stores guests from the UK will be familiar with. Sadly they have all closed, but the passion for ceramics lives on (even in the street signs which are just beautiful), and there are a number of small ceramics studios reproducing classic Portuguese styles, some with a modern twist. Be sure to visit A Venda, (one of my favourite shops for interesting things and children’s toys) which features some of these (just off the market square). iagonally opposite in one of the tall, narrow, beautiful buildings that are so common here, is a ceramic artist creating hand made tiles, as well as jugs, bowls and other beautiful items. If you peer in and wave she may well show you her studio and latest designs.

Parque Dom Carlos I

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From the market, the park, Parque Dom Carlos I is a short walk away. Trees tower over head providing soft dappled shade, very welcome in the summer heat. Wide dusty paths lead you through gardens, to clay tennis courts, lawns and the cafe. There is a large children’s playground catering to toddlers as well as older children which we will inevitably spend half an hour at (probably longer!) where the kids enjoy the slides and swings. The cafe in the park has had a recent upgrade and a toasted sandwich and chilled beer while the kids enjoy an ice cream is a delightful break after the market shopping and the children’s playground.

 

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The park also has a large boating lake. We have never tried it, but enjoy watching others as well as the family of rare black swans that live here.

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Location

Caldas is easy to reach from Praia del Rey. Take the IP6 back to the A8. Go North 2 junctions and then come off for Caldas da Rainha. All our properties have an information book with detailed directions and you an pick up maps from our office.

Welcome drinks at West Cliffs, Praia d’el Rey

West Cliffs Praia del Rey Holiday Rental Portugal 3

Praia d’el Rey residents were invited to drinks at West Cliffs this week, the first opportunity to take a look at the new West Cliffs course and the clubhouse. The building is extraordinary, completely different in style to the Praia d’el Rey clubhouse which has a more traditional Portuguese style. At West Cliffs the building is natural wood, light and airy and designed to make the most of the stunning views.

From the outside, the warm colour of the building blend with the sand dunes, it almost has a beachy feel.

The new West Cliffs golf course is 3 miles north of Praia’del Rey on the mouth of Obidos lagoon. Stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean and Obidos Lagoon will come as standard at West Cliffs which will offer a mix of undulating sandy terrain and coastal vegetation.

Currently 9 holes will open in June 2017 with the other 9 holes following later in the year. With 4 courses (including Royal Obidos, Bom Successo and Praia d’el Rey), there is even more reason for a visit to the Silver Coast of Portugal.

West Cliffs Praia del Rey Holiday Rental Portugal 4West Cliffs Praia del Rey Holiday Rental Portugal 5West Cliffs Praia del Rey Holiday Rental Portugal 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Cliffs Praia del Rey Holiday Rental Portugal

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Reasons to book a self-catering holiday a Praia del Rey

Why book a self-catering holiday over a hotel?

Why would you want to go self-catering over having people waiting on you hand and foot? Well that is just it – you want lunch? You have to order it, and wait for it, and only order what’s on the menu. What if you want something different? Or the kids won’t eat the options available (or you’d prefer them to eat something a bit more nutritionally balanced than the usual pizza / burger and chips that is typically on offer?). Hotels can be limiting and if you do fancy something different, eating out every night can be expensive.

All our properties have full kitchens that are well equipped and most have barbecues as well, so you have the freedom to cook whatever you want and to eat whatever and whenever you want. And if you’d like a private swimming pool a villa holiday is the perfect choice, especially if you know the kids will spend more time in it that out of it!

Take a look at some of our self-catering properties at Praia del Rey and start planning your next dream holiday:

 

fregenal-24Villa Fregenal

A super-stylish 5* villa. Beautiful interiors, private swimming pool, Wifi, barbecue and games room, a short walk from the beach and Marriott Hotel, what more could you need!

5 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10.  

From €2389 per week

View Property


1 Casa Ulla Silver Coast Portugal

NEW: Casa Ulla

A large villa with heated swimming pool and large lawn, built in barbecue and outside dining, perfect for you holiday on Portugal’s Silver Coast.

4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8.

From €1694 per week

View Property


4 silver coast casa palmeira

 Casa da Palmeira

Bedrooms:  3
Type:  Townhouse
Price Per Week (€):  €924 – €1470
View: Gardens

View Property


Villa Berlenga - Luxury three bedroom Townhouse at The Beach Village Praia Del Rey

Villa Berlenga

Enjoy an uninterrupted view of the ocean, over the sand dunes and golden sand beach from Vila Berlenga’s large terrace.
3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6.

From £680 per week

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Casa da Prainha A9 Vila dos Principes is a lovely ground floor apartment with a sheltered terrace at the rear that is great for sunbathing and family meals.

Casa da Prainha

Bedrooms:  2
Type:  Apartment
Price Per Week (€):  €770 – €1085
View: Gardens

View Property


beachfront apartment 1

Beachfront Apartment

Incredible views: swaying palm trees, beautiful blue ocean and golden sand, a couple of minutes walk from miles of sandy beach.

2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4.

From €784 per week / €112 per night

View Property


West Cliffs Golf Course opens June 2017

Could this be the best Links course in the world? That is what we are hearing from those in the know lucky enough to have played the newest course on Portugal’s Silver Coast.

This new course is 3 miles north of Praia’del Rey on the mouth of Obidos lagoon. Stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean and Obidos Lagoon will come as standard at West Cliffs which will offer a mix of undulating sandy terrain and coastal vegetation.

Currently 9 holes will open in June 2017 with the other 9 holes following later in the year. With 4 courses (including Royal Obidos, Bom Successo and Praia d’el Rey), there is even more reason for a visit to the Silver Coast of Portugal.

 

The Spin_ Course and book (Twist RD PDF)

 

 

Kids Club News

IMG_1434The kids club has moved over to the Beach Village from it’s home last year next to the Clubhouse. The space is much bigger and it looks like there are lots of fun things to keep kids of all ages entertained.

Sessions are run in the morning and the afternoon. In the club there is table tennis, arcade games etc and outdoors there are all
sorts of activities like paint balling, mountain biking etc which take place in and around the resort.

Friday and Saturday nights have Cinema club so you can enjoy dinner upstairs in Argento and the kids can watch a movie with popcorn in the kids club.

We tested the kids club on 2 very discerning customers (my daughters) and both were very happy with what was on offer!

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Kids Club Prices, 2016:

Morning or Afternoon €25
1 Day €40
3 Days €110
5 Days

(after the 5th day the price is €35)

€180  

 

Nights (Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 18:00 – 22:00, including Cinema club): €10

Adventure Activities, 2016

Morning or Afternoon  €35
1 Day €60
3 Days €150
5 Days

(after the 5th day the price is €45)

€230

Office Makeover

We thought it was time to give our office a fresh, new look. All crisp white with accents of turquoise and orange. New awnings and outside signage should be up in the next couple of weeks and then the transformation will be complete!

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Baleal Beach

A beautiful afternoon at Baleal beach, followed by a beautiful sunset!

Activities Summer 2015 – so much to do!

There is so much to do on the Silver Coast and this year it’s seems like you could be busy every day of your holiday with different water sports and activities. 10628440_884464148250228_1573617586604755768_nFrom kayaking on Obidos lagoon to trying your hand at surfing at Baleal beach there is plenty to do, or to keep kids entertained if you just want to relax in the sun! For the less sporty an afternoon winetasting at Quinta do Sanguinhal is highly recommended.

Obidos lagoon is beautiful and one of our recommendations would be that you get out on the water and experience the tranquil setting and beautiful views from the lagoon. Silver Coast Tours offer a number of different activities including boat tours, kayaks, and this year pedalos so there is plenty to choose from.

Holiday rental portugal wine tasting Quinta do sanguinhal 1The area is also renowned for it’s winemaking and there are numerous quintas producing excellent quality wine that you just don’t see outside of Portugal. We love Quinta do Sanguinhal, which is still family owned and operated, for it’s beautiful traditional setting as well as excellent wine. Nearby Louridos is also worth a visit and is also the location of Buddha Eden, the largest private collection of Chinese statues and Buddhas outside of China.

 

Lastly if want to venture a bit further Lisbon is a vibrant, dynamic city with so much  going on. Fascinating history, beautiful views, and great shops and cafes make it well worth a visit.

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Silver Coast News