How to spot fake holiday rentals

We have some friends who were recently scammed by a fake villa holiday website and we have had a few clients concerned about booking directly. We thought it would be a good idea to share some hints to make sure that when you book a holiday you do not get taken advantage of.

If you follow these tips you should be able to book direct and still feel safe.

  1. Check when the website was created and it's history, does it confirm what the owners are saying? Way Back Machine allows you to check not only the dates but actually see how websites looked in the past. We have had Villa Begur since 2003, www.villabegur.com in Way Back Machine shows this where you can see not only our original site but how it has evolved over time. We have had Villa Sa Riera since 2016 but the url www.villasariera.com for longer and you can see here how it used to point to the Villa Begur site until 2016.
  2. Speak to the owners on the phone. You should be able to ask questions about how long they have owned the property, what their favorite places to visit are and a genuine owner will know all about the layout of the property which should match up with what is on the website. You can also confirm their bank details before payment. We have our phone number on our website and you can call and speak to Claudia, we are always happy to talk to clients! For extra security you can send us your phone number on the Contact Us page on our website and we can call you.
  3. Check if the villa is listed on other sites, do the photos and owner's details match up with the website? Our villas are listed on the following sites
    Airbnb - Villa Sa Riera , Villa Begur
    Spain-Holiday.com Villa Sa Riera   Villa Begur
    If you wish to pay by credit card you can book directly through Airbnb if you prefer. We charge a little bit more through their site to cover the extra cost to us and there is also a service charge of 3% that the booker pays. If you like you can message us through either of these sites and we will contact you back
  4. Check social network profiles, do they all match the villa you are looking to rent? We are on Facebook , Instagram and youtube and are happy to be contacted through any of these sites as a double check.
  5. Finally use your common sense, is the price too good to be true? Was the website set up last week and is it based in Russia? Are they very keen for you to make the full payment in advance? If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

30% off June 2019 Bookings!

June is a beautiful month to visit Begur, temperatures are on average 26C and there is usually only 5 or so days of rain in the whole month. We have some availability in both Villa Begur and Villa Sa Riera and we are offering anybody who either subscribes to our emails or follows us on Instagram or Facebook a whopping 30% discount! from €2625 to €1838 per week for a villa that sleeps up to 13 people in comfort. Check availability here and get in touch if you fancy a wonderful break.    

What makes us different to other villa rentals?

The Summer of 2019 is starting to book up quickly and the Winter in the UK seems to be lasting forever. If you are thinking about booking your Summer holidays, here are few things that we feel differentiate us from the norm.

We provide a welcome pack with some essentials when you arrive.

If you arrive at the villas late in the day and do not fancy a trip to the supermarket, there will be a few essentials waiting for you so you can have some bread, cheese, ham etc and even enjoy a glass of wine!

We provide a mid week clean 

Nobody likes cleaning on holiday but everybody loves a clean home!

We have fast chargers for electric cars

We own a Tesla and love to drive to Begur every Summer, we have 30A three phase chargers in both villas and do not charge anything extra for the electricity 

There are no silly extra charges

All bed linen, bath towels, beach towels are provided for no extra cost. We also have travel cots, high chairs and even a push chair available for your use.

We love cooking and we love cooks

Some places come with the minimum number of pots and pans, cutlery and plates for the guests. We use the villas ourselves and love to cook, so we have stocked them with everything we and hopefully you will need.

We have a couple of our recipes here and plan to add more.

We are here to help!

We have a local agency in Begur and provide our home number for emergencies. We genuinely care that you enjoy your visit.


50% Discount on Villa Begur August 2018!

We can offer the week starting 25th August to our Facebook and blog followers for a 50% discount. That is €2450 from €4900 for the week for a sleeps 13 people in comfort, surely a prefect end to the Summer holidays? Have a look at this virtual tour if you need to be persuaded...

If this does not work on your browser or phone try these suggestions on the Matterport site.

If you are interested in the virtual tours of your own  property, our son Henry will be offering his services creating 3D tours like the one above in the Kent and London area, as well as around Begur. His website is here.

Mackerel escabeche recipe

Please share this or tag somebody who loves mackerel!

Pete's Mackerel Escabeche

I am lying slightly on this title as the recipe really belongs to the lovely Montse or the wonderful June (Pete's mum) who both cook it superbly. Escabeche is a mediterranean marinade that can be used to cook almost anything. The Spanish love to use it on oily fish like mackerel or sardines but also use it for chicken and rabbit. The only ingredients that are vital for a escabeche are onions, flour and wine vinegar. The rest can be adapted and tweaked as you wish. This recipe is for Mackerel, which in Begur is particularly delicious as the fish you buy in the fish monger in the evening is fresh from that days catch. This dish should be prepared at least a couple of hours before you wish to eat it.

Ingredients - for 6 people (ish)

1kg of mackerel - gutted and heads removed

Flour

white whine vinegar

3 large onions

peppers

a fresh chilli

red peppers

olive oil

peppercorns 

bay leaves

 

Raw Mackerel

fresh mackerel

Method

  1. Coat the mackerel in flour and add some salt
  2. Fry the mackerel in olive oil until it is brown both sides, do not cook throughout, should take a couple of minutes each side
  3. Remove the mackerel and put it aside to use later
  4. Slice the onion, chilli and peppers and fry in some more olive oil in the same pan that you used for the fish
  5. Once the onions and peppers are soft, add the mackerel back into the pan
  6. Add a 50:50 mixture of water and white wine vinegar until all the fish is covered
  7. Add a few peppercorns and maybe a few bay leafs
  8. Cook for a couple of minutes and the turn off the heat
  9. Cover and leave to stand for a couple of hours

Serve with plenty of fresh bread as the best bit of this meal is the dipping! (mojar as the Spanish say)

Mackerel Escabeche


Villa Sa Riera – 40% off for the week starting 14th July

We have one week left in Villa Sa Riera in the peak Summer, as there is only two weeks until travel and some schools are not off yet, we have decided to discount it by 40% to €2940 for the week. The villa has 6 bedrooms and sleeps 13 people comfortably. Have  a look around using our virtual tour or check out our youtube video below.

 

 


Pete’s sea food paella recipe

Please share this with someone who loves paella!

Pete’s Paella Recipe 

There are as many paella recipes as there are people who cook paella, mine is loosely based around the ones my family cooked when i was a kid in Madrid. The ones we had usually had some pork, as well as sea food (never Chorizo, Jamie Oliver!) 
 
Because Claudia is a pescatarian, this one subsititutes the pork with fresh tuna.
 
I am a firm believer that the secret of a good paella comes down to three things
 
  1. A good stock - paella is primarily a rice dish and rice doesn’t have a lot of flavour. If you use a stock cube, that’s what the paella will taste of.
  2. Don’t stir - the difference between paella and risotto is cheese and starch, to release the starch you stir risotto The texture of paella is different so, after the initial quick stir, leave it to cook slowly. That is why they use a wide shallow pan.
  3. Use good quality fish and seafood - kind of obvious but you don’t actually need a lot of seafood so buy good stuff from the fish monger, it really makes a lot of difference. The fish monger in Begur is excellent.
 
Ingredients
 
I adapt amounts depending on how many I’m cooking for, but the left overs warm up well so I tend to err on the side caution and make too much!
 
I am assuming a decent sized paella in a pan around 18 inches wide which will feed 8-12 people. The villas sleep 12 so we tend to cook in quantity.
 
1kg rice
Olive oil
Frozen cooked Atlantic prawns in their shells (for the stock) about 500g - defrosted
8-10 large good quality raw prawns in the shell (to decorate the top)
2-3 large squid (or more smaller ones)
A fat tuna steak (about 2 inches cut from the fat end of the loin, ask the fish monger, they often open a fresh one for this)
500g of mussels
300g of clams
A large carrot
2 large onions 
2 red peppers
A handful of olives
1 teaspoon Turmeric or pinch of saffron, my Spanish family usually use “colorante” from Spanish supermarkets which is mostly turmeric 
 
Method 
 
Time to prepare including stock - 1 hour 
Time to cook - about 25 minutes
 
The first job is to peel the prawns (the small cooked ones, not the large ones). Put all the shells into a large sauce pan and the peeled prawns in a plate to use later. Add around 1 litre of water to the pan and bring to the boil, them lower the temperature and simmer for at least half an hour.
 
While the stock is simmering I like to prepare all the other ingredients. This recipe lends itself to TV show style cooking, and having everything peeled and chopped makes it much easier than chopping as you go along. So while the stock is cooking, I do the following
 
  1. peel and grate the carrot
  2. peel and chop the onions into small pieces
  3. chop the peppers into slices, getting rid of the core
  4. clean and cut the squid into rings and the tentacles into small pieces
  5. clean the mussels and clams and remove the beards
  6. Chop the tuna into cubes that are about 1 inch squares
 
40 minutes or so before I want the food I start the fun bit
 
  1. Heat some oil in the paella and add the onions peppers and stir - cook for about 5 minutes until it starts to soften
  2. add the squid and shallow from for a couple of minutes
  3. add the rice and grated carrot and more oil if needed, you want to fry the uncooked rice for a couple of minutes, while stiring so it doesn’t stick.
  4. add some of the stock from the saucepan and the turmeric or safron, enough to cover all the rice, I usually add about half of what was in the pan
  5. Lower the heat and spread rice so it is equally spread over the paella pan, on a barbecue I would raise the level above the fire here. No more stirring from this point!
  6. After it has cooked for about 5 minutes, start placing the tuna chunks around the pan and arranging the mussels and clams. I like to arrange the mussels, hinge down in a circle and arrange the other stuff around them.
  7. about 5 minutes later put the large prawns on in a circle, all facing the same way.
  8. The prawns and tuna will need to be turned once to make sure they are cooked both sides, so lift occasionally and flip them when needed.
  9. As the rice cooks, you can move the pan, and shake the pan (use a tea towel as paella handles get hot), but remember, no stiring! If you get a bit of burning on the bottom, lower the heat and don’t panic, the burnt bits are many people’s favourite.
  10. When the rice is nearly done, turn off the heat, sprinkle on some olives and the small cooked prawns you put aside after peeling them for the stock. Cover with a tea towel and leave to sit for 5 minutes while you reward yourself with a glass of wine.
 
Place the paella pan in the centre of the table and when the guests are all sat down, whip off the tea towel to thunderous applause.
 
Serve people a small amount on their plate and encourage them to help themselves to more.
 
Wine pairing - goes well with a full bodied white wine like an anbariño or an aged white Rioja but don’t be scared to have red wine with it. The flavours are strong and a chilled red Rioja is what my Spanish father would have.

Begur Villas – last minute offers and GDPR

We have some last minute availability in both villas in May and June, If you book with 4 weeks of the first day of your booking we offer a 10% discount, within 2 weeks, the discount is 20%!

You can check what is available here 

If you have not yet seen them, the 3D walk throughs of the villas are amazing, you can  explore every room and even walk around the outside. Choose your room before you travel!

GDPR

If your inbox is anything like ours, it’s recently been filled with emails asking you to read new privacy policies or asking permission to email you. This is because of a new European privacy law called the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR), which comes into effect on May 25.


While this is an EU law, the basic principle behind it - treat people's personal data the way you'd want your own data to be treated - benefits everyone. We have always followed this principle in caring for your data, but I've taken this opportunity to review my processes and policies yet again. You can view the updated privacy policy at http://www.begurvillas.com/privacy-policy/


Our blog posts automatically feed Facebook and our email list. if you are reading this on e-mail, it's because you've either rented one of our villas, or you signed up on our website. You can opt out at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of each newsletter email. I hope you're finding the emails useful, and thank you for subscribing.


3D Walk throughs, floor plans and doll’s house views of our villas !

We have created some 3D models of our villas using Matterport technology. Click on the links below and see the intro videos after which you can look around the villas or explore the plans or dolls house views. If you can not see the models on your browser try these suggestions on the Matterport site.
Villa Begur
Villa Sa Riera

Villa Sa Riera now has a heated pool!

Villa Sa Riera is in the process of having pool heating added. We will soon have an environmentally  friendly air source heat pump and a safety pool cover which will keep the temperature of the pool to your ideal level without compromising on safety. To use the heating there is an extra charge of €95 to cover the electricity costs. This addition makes the villa perfect for guests who wish to avoid the busy period at the height of Summer. You can check the availability here.
If we have last minute availability and you book with 4 weeks of the first day of your booking we offer a 10% discount, within 2 weeks, the discount is 20%!

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