Frequently Asked Questions
Have you seen the villas?
We take pride in the fact that someone from Doorways has visited, or even stayed in, all of the villas we represent. This firsthand knowledge allows us to help you select the villa that best fits your desires and needs. If the consultant working with you has not personally inspected a property, she will be happy to let you speak with someone who has.
What is included in the price?
Prices vary from villa to villa. All villas and apartments are cleaned before arrival. Linens are included and are changed weekly unless another arrangement is specified. Heating and air-conditioning are almost always at additional cost. In some cases, there is a final cleaning fee. Any charges over and above the rental (utilities, telephone, cleaning, head tax and security deposits) are usually payable directly to the owner or key holder.
As of March, 2012, there is a new head tax for guests visiting Italy. Your key holder is required to collect it when you check in, along with copies of your passports. The head tax varies according to locality but generally ranges from 1-3 Euros per adult per day. Children up to a certain age are exempt but this varies from 6-12 years. Collection of the head tax varies, 6-12 days’ maximum. If you are traveling to Italy, please bring Euros in cash as well as photocopies of your passports.
How do I know I got the best price for my villa?
Doorways, Ltd. offers exceptional service that begins with your first contact. We are here for you before, during, and after your villa vacation. We know our villas and their owners intimately and can help match your needs to the villa that is just right for you. With Doorways, you will have peace of mind knowing you are getting the lowest price available at the time of booking. If you find a lower price listed on any website for the same villa, for the same dates and services, we will try to match it, still offering the outstanding service and insider knowledge for which Doorways is known. Email us within 24 hours of booking and include a link to the website showing the lower price. Remember that you must contact us within 24 hours, and the rate must be publicly displayed. For additional details, visit our Best Price Guarantee.
How is the security deposit paid? When will it be refunded?
Most villas require a refundable security deposit. For many villas, Doorways collects the security deposit in advance of your trip, in which case it will be refunded, minus any fees for damage, a month after your trip. Some villas require the security deposit to be paid in cash (euros) when you arrive, in which case the deposit will be refunded at the end of your stay minus any fees to be paid on location, such as heat, telephone, or breakage. For additional details, visit our Travel Planner.
Will my villa have a pool? How about air conditioning?
If your villa has a pool or air conditioning, it will say so on the property description on our website. If there is a pool, there will most likely be a photograph of it as well. If the description does not state that there is a pool or air conditioning, assume there is none. If these features are important to you, be sure to mention that to us when selecting your villa.
Can I bring my pets?
Pets are esteemed throughout Europe, but bringing a pet to your villa presents a number of problems. Some owners simply will not allow it. Other properties already have pets living on the premises that may not take kindly to interlopers. Many guests are allergic to animals. We love pets, but we do not allow them in any of our properties.
Can I insure for job loss?
You can insure for job loss or for any reason. For additional details, visit Doorways' Insurance Information. Call or e-mail us about what is the best kind of insurance for your group.
Can you arrange for additional services?
At most villas, we can arrange for special services such as housekeeping, babysitting, wine tasting, cooking lessons, guided tours, and chef services. If you need a villa with staff or daily housekeeping, please be sure to mention it when you call to book your villa. If you would like to arrange for a chef to prepare dinner one or two nights before your stay, the best time to make arrangements is 2-3 months before your trip. For more details, visit Additional Services.
Can you help with our travel arrangements before and after our villa stay?
Doorways works with AutoEurope to offer special rates on rental cars. If you find a lower rate, they will try to beat or match it. You can also book flights through AutoEurope. Call them at 800-730-8036 and mention discount code 12010778 to receive a 5% discount.
Doorways can help with train and hotel reservations, or we can help you to do it yourself. If Doorways books rail or hotel reservations, we charge a fee of $25 per hotel, $25 for train research/reservations. In many locations, we can also arrange a private car service to meet you at the airport and escort you to your villa. For additional details, visit Additional Services and Rental Cars.
Will there be a hair dryer in my villa?
All of our properties come with a hair dryer. If you arrive and find yours missing, you can buy one and leave it for future guests. In fact, for any small essential item that you buy (up to $50), leave it in the villa and send us the receipt when you get home. Doorways will reimburse you.
Can you make arrangements for disabled travelers?
Europe is not as accessible as the U.S. but many of our villas have a ground floor bedroom that is suitable for wheelchairs. It is crucial that we be informed of the nature of your situation in advance, so we can help you make the best decision and so that there will be no surprises when you arrive. We require you to bring a small, portable, folding wheelchair (you can find a good selection at Easier Living) and to travel with someone who is able to lift you. We will do our best to find a villa for you that is appropriate for your needs.
How can I get a cell phone to use in Europe?
One option is to rent a cell phone that is delivered to you in advance of your trip. However, the calls are expensive this way. It’s a good option if you plan to use the phone only for emergencies. For most guests, we recommend purchasing a cell phone on location. There is usually a cell phone store right in the airport so you can get a phone as soon as you arrive. European cell phones do not require a service contract; you purchase prepaid phone cards as needed. This way, you are not charged for incoming calls, and calls made within the country you are visiting are considered local. If your U.S. phone is an “open” or “unlocked” phone (T-Mobile and Cingular use this technology), you may be able to use it with a phone card you purchase on location. Check with your provider to see if this is an option for you. If you have an iPhone, you can add international service for phone and data just for the time you are traveling. (Tips for using your iPhone when you travel abroad.)
Can I use my laptop computer in my villa?
You can use your laptop with a modem connection in any villa that has a telephone. You will need an Internet service provider with local access numbers. Check with Batteries.com to purchase any needed adapters. Alternatively, leave your laptop at home and use local Internet points and cafés to check your email. If it is important that you have high-speed Internet access, be sure to mention this to us when you book your villa.
Do I need to bring a converter for my appliances?
If your appliance is not adaptable for dual voltage, you will need a converter to allow your appliance to run on European voltage. If your appliance runs on dual voltage, you will need a plug adapter to make your appliance cord fit the European outlet.
Is it difficult to drive in Europe?
Driving is not difficult, but there are some issues to consider. Roads to villas can be unpaved, and driveways may be winding, hilly, or rutted. If this is a concern for you, be sure to tell us when selecting your villa. When choosing a rental car, we recommend renting the smallest car possible. Guests who rent vans often regret their choice; European cities are not van-friendly with their ancient, narrow streets. It is usually better (and less expensive) to rent two smaller cars, which also gives you the flexibility to pursue different activities at times. We suggest you pick up and return your rental car at the airport rather than a downtown location, if possible. You are required to have an IDP (International Driving Permit) for Italy. You can get one at any AAA office or apply online via their website.
Do I need an International Drivers’ License?
International Drivers’ Licenses are now required in Italy and Spain. France does not require an IDL at this time. You can get one at any AAA office or apply online via their website.
How will I find my villa?
Your final package will be sent to you a month before your trip. It will include complete directions for your arrival, including driving directions, a map, and contact information for the owner or key holder of your villa. It will also have contact information to leave with family and friends while you are abroad. Arrivals are typically on Saturday between 4-5 pm. If you find you delayed, call your host to let them know and to arrange a new rendezvous. Otherwise you may find you are unable to get into your villa until the following day, in which case you will have to spend the night in a hotel, at your own expense. If you are arriving on Sunday, traditionally a family day, special arrangements must be made in advance. For additional details, visit When You Arrive.
What time must we leave the villa?
You are expected to vacate your villa by 10 am on the morning of departure. If you plan to leave very early in the morning, please notify the owner or key holder on arrival day so that you can arrange to return the keys and take care of any fees to be paid. There is no need to scrub the floor when you leave, but dishes should be clean and put away, garbage should be disposed of, and your villa or apartment should be “broom clean.” For additional details, visit When You Arrive.
What if we have a complaint?
If you feel that the property you rented is not prepared to your satisfaction (for example, if it is not clean or the appliances do not work), contact the key holder or designated contact person immediately so that the problem can be rectified and you can enjoy the rest of your stay. If the problem isn't solved, call Doorways and we will try to help. Don't suffer in silence! We want you to be comfortable and enjoy your stay. Likewise, if something breaks while you are there, please contact the person responsible for the property to let them know.
More questions? Email us or call us at +1 (800) 261-4460.