Q: How has your TV reception been affected by the removal of UK Freeview channels from Spain and Portugal
A: In Feb 2014 the UK freeview channels were moved from the satellite feeding southern Europe – all BBC, ITV, C4 and C5 channels were lost. The only viable solution to access these channels is to use the Internet and stream them into the TV. In April we invested in a 4G wireless system and Internet TV receiver. As such we can now receive live streaming on many UK channels (incl BBC, ITV etc as well as Sport, Music, Films, Kids and American channels) into the TV downstairs. We are early adopters, the system can be flaky but on the whole we are happy it provides a good service. Many villas in the area have decided to remove TV altogether, so we hope you appreciate our efforts to retain a service to you. Please note there is no TV listing services with the new system so please bring them with you or be prepared to look them up on the Internet.
We have also now installed WiFi throughout the Villa (running at 15-20Mb) and installed two Film/TV media servers in the downstairs and upstairs TV, these contain a wealth of popular films and TV series for your enjoyment, instructions are provided.
Q: Do I need a car if I visit Larga Vista
A: Realistically yes you do. Larga Vista is approximately a mile off the main road, it’s very quiet and not overlooked but to get anywhere will require you to hire a car
Q: Whats the best way to hire a car
A: We have found the most inexpensive but good value and reliable car hire company is Portugal Cars, check them against the other hire companies at http://www.portugal-cars.com:
Q: What do I do if I use the A22 toll road
Most hire cars now come with a transponder fitted, you buy from the hire companies an initial amount and if you use more you pay on your credit card after you return home. We now recommend you use the A22 – its safer and quicker, toll to the villa is approx. €2.50. Please speak to your hire company on arrival – Portugal-cars as well as many other popular hire companies are A22 ready.
Q: Do I really need the pool heated
A: That depends when you go, in the summer definitely not but outside Mid June, July, August and early September the answer is probably yes if you intend to use it a lot. Please note our prices don’t include heated pool so please ask if you think you need it heated
Q: What if something goes wrong, or something doesn’t work while we are there
A: We provide details of all emergency numbers on our contact boards in the kitchen, failing all else we also supply our UK number and we will get help to you as soon as possible. Emergency number in Portugal is 112 – use the phone located in the upstairs kitchen
Q: How do I find the Villa from the airport
A: We will provide you a very detailed map and directions of how to get to the Villa. If you have a GPS we can give you the Lat and Long of the main turn off or by giving you the name of the nearby town will get you onto the road you have to turn off for the villa. We also provide contact numbers if you get lost and we can arrange for a meet and greet service when you arrive.
Q: What is the Meet and Greet Service (if applicable)
A: Bianca will arrange to meet you, either on the main road or at the villa, she will show you the rooms and facilities and explain where things are and how things work. She can provide a welcome food pack with basic essentials to get you started i.e. until you can hit the supermarket. Please note we can supply a list to Bianca for you but you must settle this directly with her on arrival and she will include a small fee.
Q: Is there a maid service ?
A: On arrival your beds will be made with fresh linen and your towels will be laid out (towels for the bathroom and pool are provided – please dont take these to the beach). If you are staying for two weeks then Biancawill change the bed linen and towels mid way through your stay. If you need a further service from Bianca e.g washing up, cleaning the villa, washing clothes then Leanne offers this service at €15 per hour, booked and paid locally.
Q: What if I need to do some washing ?
A: We have a washing machine and the best sun drier in the world, you are most welcome to use both, the first will require some washing powder, the second is totally free and we even provide airers for you to hang your clothes on !
Q: Do you supply pool toys for guests use
A: No we don’t as if you injure yourselves then we may be at fault by supplying toys. However you may find previous guests leave their pool toys you may use these at your own risk.
Q: Can I take glass into the pool area or onto the pool patio or the outside dining area.
A: No, you must use the plastic cups and plates provided in the kitchen, if you use glass then there is real danger of injury, if you break a glass in the pool then it will have to be closed, emptied and refilled – this wont happen during your holiday time so you will miss out and it will cost a lot for the water as it has to be tankered in.
Q: I noticed there are signs about a septic tank – what does this mean
A: Larga Vista, like many other properties in the area, isn’t connected to mains drainage all waste from the loos and showers goes into a big tank in the garden. So after using the toilet, only put toilet paper down and nothing else or the drains will block and it wont be a pleasant experience!
Q: Is the water safe to drink
A: Our water comes from a bore hole and is pure. However is doesn’t have all the additives in it we have in the UK, and to avoid issues we suggest; boil the tap water for teas and coffees and use bottled water from the supermarket for cold drinks (water is very cheap in Portugal).
Q: Can I get a mobile phone signal at the Villa
A: Yes you can, as long as your phone can be used in Europe it will work fine, any doubt contact your provider. To call home you will need to enter 0044 and don’t include the first digit of your number (normally the 0).
Q: Can I smoke in Larga Vista
A: Not inside the Villa, I’m an asthma sufferer and any smell of smoke will set me off, you are more than welcome to smoke in any of the outside areas.
Q: How do I get flights to Portugal
A: There are many flights into Faro airport, Birmingham, Bristol, Gatwick and Southampton have regular daily services, please shop around for the best deals. We use BA, Monarch or EasyJet – but there will be others also. One tip I advise is always try to get the first flight of the day, this is rarely delayed but it can mean a very early start to your day
Q: At what time do we have to vacate the Villa
A: We ask please that you vacate by 10am so Bianca (our manager) can get to work and make the Villa ready for the next guests (often new guests will be arriving on the day of your departure), we have high standards of cleanliness and this can take several hours to achieve. When you arrive for your stay and you have taken the meet and greet service then please discuss with Bianca around timings, but expect to have to vacate at 10am. Can I also request that if you arrive early in the morning then Im sure Bianca would be OK with you dropping off your bags so you can go food shopping but please dont expect to have the Villa until 2pm.
Q: Will I need to take my own soap/shower gel
A: Yes you will, or you can buy some in the supermarket (these are such personal items we don’t provide them) – but you don’t need towels, bedding, etc.
Q: What are the drink drive rules in Portugal
A: They are more severe than the UK, less alcohol is allowed than the UK to drive safely. Polica can stop you for no reason and will automatically breathalyse you
Q: If I hire a car what should I look out for
A: Like everywhere Portugal will give you all the necessary cover as standard, but be careful of having to pay up to €1500 in the case of accident or damage, best to take out the CDW top up to be safe. Also sometimes the cars come with some fuel in already it wont take much to get you to Larga Vista so don’t fill up straight away, you will be surprised how little you use. If like us you travel to Europe often then why not take out an annual insurance/length of holiday to cover the CDW top up, these cost around £45 a year and 2-3 trips per year will easily cover the expense. If you have an accident then you pay the excess (up to €1500) and reclaim against the insurance policy. Whichever company you use check the car carefully before you drive away, ensure all dents and scratches are mark on the copy, the tyres are in good order and there is a spare wheel present. STOP PRESS: One of our guests recently saved €100 on car hire cost by taking out a UK policy to cover the optional super CDW charge on hire cars. In principle you don’t take the Super CDW from the hire company, if you have an accident you pay and then claim back from the UK policy. Its something we have done for years with an annual policy but in this case the guest took a policy (£24 for 12 days) just to cover the hire period. We cant recommend any particular company but he used www.carehireexcess.com there are others.
Q: If Im taken ill what should I do
A: There is a very well equipped hospital in Portimao; take the N125 and go thru Lagoa, as you approach Portimao the Hospital is signposted and is on the left just off the N125. Please dont forget to take your E111 card (or whatever its called these days). For emergencies call 112 and give them the GPS co-ordinates on the Emergency sheet in the kitchen.
Q: You mention WiFi and a PC. are they free?
A: Yes, upstairs in the kitchen is a WiFi router, this is connected via the internal wiring to all areas of the house with repeaters in the bedroom upstairs and in the downstairs lounge, you can access with a common passcode but you will need to select the router nearest to you to get the very best signal. We also have a Laptop PC which has MS Office and full internet access for your use – we ask this laptop remains in place in the computer room. You can also use MS Office to send and receive Emails as a guest of the villa. Parents please note that although there is a virus checker on the PC there is no guard on the internet content.
Q: Ants are driving me mad – what can I do
A: Ants are attracted to food – any food, no matter how small the particle is. So prevention: make sure no scrap of food is left out anywhere, clean down work surfaces after cooking, then action: use the Ant powder in the cupboards or buy some from the local supermarket and leave a trail on the floor across the external doorways, we also supply ant boxes at the start of the season, they are very cheap and effective and can be bought from the local supermarket.
Q: Are mosquitos a problem ?
A: Most of the time no but in high summer they can be, even if you have all the nets over the windows unless you take precautions they can still seem to get in and bite. So keep your bedroom doors shut during the day and especially early evening – spray the room an hour before bedtime and keep doors shut and windows open with the slide netting pulled over – this will stop the little devils !. For 2014 we have included mosquito nets in all 4 bedrooms – please ensure these are tucked into the bed before you retire to sleep.