Quick Questions

Holidays Start Here [Home] > Quick Questions [FAQ]

How do I optimise readability of the website?

1. You don't need to read on if you use Internet Explorer as your browser, or if your operating system is Windows Vista or later, or if you use a Mac.
2. If your operating system is Windows XP and you use Firefox, Google Chrome or other non-Microsoft browser, then one small adjustment will improve all your viewing:
> Right-click an empty bit of Desktop, select Properties, then Appearance tab.
> Click button labelled Effects.
> Second tick-box (tick if blank) "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts", select Clear Type from the drop-down box (default option in XP for this setting is "Standard").
> OK to apply change.

There's only 2 of us: do we get a rebate?

Yes, for all off-peak bookings we deduct a low occupancy discount based on the number of beds unused; this roughly equates to the cost savings per head in terms of laundry (provision of bedlinen and towels) and cleaners' time (making and unmaking beds, etc.). The online booking system automatically shows this discount, where applicable, in pricing your holiday.

What do you mean by "off-peak"?

Peak times are essentially school holidays, i.e. Easter, Whitsun half term (end May), summer, October half term, and Christmas / New Year. All other weeks are off-peak. The online booking system knows which weeks are which.

We can't come for a full week: do you do short breaks?

Yes, but only in off-peak periods, where the online booking system allows bookings other than Saturday to Saturday. The only exception might be when we have last-minute availability in a peak period, and then the best approach is to telephone us.

How are short break prices calculated?

The online booking system follows a formula which takes account of various factors including the fixed costs of letting the cottage.

What is your normal weekly changeover day?

Saturday (arrive 4 p.m., depart 10.30 a.m.). This sometimes changes at Christmas and New Year, depending how the dates fall.

Can we stretch the numbers a bit?

We are often asked if it's possible to squeeze in one or two extra people over and above the stated maximum number of beds. In the past we tried to be flexible, within the limits of what was reasonable. But we now face issues of insurance and of Fire Safety regulations: if there were to be a fire and a child failed to escape because the place was overcrowded or an exit route was encumbered by bedding on the floor, we would be in big trouble. The usual special pleading such as "He's only a 5 year old, we can bring a sleeping bag and a blow-up mattress" is simply irrelevant. So please don't go on pushing us on this, and even more importantly, please don't just bring extra people and hope to get away with it. Those whom we see doing this may have to be sent home.

Can we bring dogs / pets?

Yes, and there's no extra charge! See the page What We Offer (main menu, left). We prefer not to have large dogs (bigger than a Labrador) when young children are around, and we never really want more than one of those per house at any time. Otherwise we have a limit of 2 medium-sized or maybe 3 small dogs. All we ask is common sense: please keep them under control, don't let them chase sheep or hunt pheasants, etc. If in doubt, please just ask.

What extra charges are there?

Very few. Bedlinen, towels, electricity, heating, firewood are all included. The only extra charges are for optional extras such as cots, high-chairs, towelling bathrobes, extra beds (where available) - these are priced in the online booking system, where they can be added to your booking.

What about smoking?

We currently allow smoking in the courtyard houses, on the ground floor only, although we notice that nearly all smokers step outside anyway these days. Kirkmirren Cottage is no smoking.

When is the swimming pool open?

From mid-May to early September. See Courtyard Leisure Facilities for exact dates.

Is the tennis court ever closed?

We do take the net down in the winter months, especially in very windy weather, but are happy to reinstate it for keen players on request. It's an all-weather surface which drains and dries exceptionally fast - we spend a lot on keeping it that way (professional pressure-cleaning, etc.).

What are your office hours?

They are not very fixed, but there is usually someone in the office from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, intermittently on Saturdays, never on Sundays. Karen Monteith is normally in Monday, Wednesday and Friday from about 9.30 a.m. to about 3.30 p.m. There is a telephone answering machine where messages are picked up regularly, except Sundays.

Can larger groups eat together?

Not currently. Table seating in each house is roughly the same as the stated maximum number of beds, with the exception of Kirkmirren (sleeps 4) which can seat 6 in its dining room. We are looking for a solution.

Can I get internet access?

Yes, in the courtyard: free wireless broadband in most parts of the courtyard (depending on thick stone walls and angles), or from a desk in the office if you like; or you can just use a free office computer. For full details on telecoms see Gelston Castle Courtyard, Boring Practicalities.

How far ahead can I book?

There is no theoretical limit. But there are two provisos to this. First, we honour the loyalty of regular guests by operating a priority system to protect their usual slot against "predatory" advance booking (see the page How To Book, menu on left). Second, we generally don't set prices much more than a year ahead, and since we feel it is unreasonable to ask people to confirm a booking by paying a deposit before the price is known, we treat such advance bookings as provisional. When prices are set we will then ask for confirmation and deposit payment.

What about disabled access?

Please see the last paragraph on the page What We Offer (main menu, left). If in any doubt, please do contact us.

Are you graded by Visit Scotland (what used to be the Tourist Board)?

No, although we used to be, and got high gradings. But on the basis of our experience, and for reasons which we thought through very carefully, we opted out. Instead we have now started asking our guests for suggestions, which we find much more fruitful, because it addresses with the highest possible accuracy the things that matter most to the people who matter most. For a fuller rant on this, see Our Ethos (under the heading "No to standardisation").

I can't view the slideshows in the site - what's wrong?

To view most of the pictures you need to have scripting enabled in your browser. For 98% of users nowadays this is automatically the case by default. See Viewing Pictures for full details.

Can I plagiarise from your site?

Text, yes. Pictures, no (or not without permission). See Please Plagiarise for details - this can also be reached by the link "What you can copy" at bottom left in the page footer.

Are you connected with the website calling itself Gelston Lodge Cottages?

No. Gelston Lodge is located within Gelston Castle Estate, but is independently owned. Nice people, nice place, but don't get confused.

Why haven't I heard of you before?

Good question, and it's our fault. We have kept a very low profile and done hardly any marketing at all for the last 20 years. We survive because we have a very high return rate (over 85%, which speaks for itself), and most of our new guests have come through recommendations by others. They say it's the best way, but we have at last ventured into the internet age and built this website. It has taken us a ridiculously long time, and it's still not finished ... But perhaps you can help to ensure that others don't remain in the dark by forwarding our website address to your friends and family. Thank you!

Like to talk?

So do we. Ring us:
01556 502211
From abroad:
+44 1556 502211

holidays@gelstoncastle.com

Gelston Castle Holidays, Gelston, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway DG7 1SW
Self-catering holiday cottages Scotland, Luxury holiday accommodation Scotland
What you can copy
Last modified: Wed Aug 14 11:09:28 2013
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