About Secret Escapes

As a service designed to tempt you away from your hectic life for some spontaneous travel, Secret Escapes claims to offer exclusive flash deals for last-minute reservations, including highly desirable lodgings and locations, delivered directly to your inbox.

Secret Escapes’s hand-picked selection of four and five-star luxury accommodations gives you the chance to enjoy high-end hotels, resorts, destination spas, and even complete boutique holiday packages at prices that are promised to be the lowest anywhere on the web.

The process is fairly straightforward: Secret Escapes advertises deals to members via a weekly newsletter released every Monday.

Signing up is free, but the lowest rates are limited in number and are only available for certain dates, which means you’ll need to act fast and be flexible if you’re hunting for the best deals.

How To Book A Secret Escape

When you receive an email notification that piques your interest, there are three ways to lock down your booking dates and the advertised discount rate:

Pay it all upfront! There may be a small broker’s fee for reservations over £99 (pounds sterling), but never above a fee of £25.

Put it on hold. For a fee of £25 you can “reserve” your opportunity to book an accommodation at the advertised rate for the 10-day listing period, and ensure another Secret Escapes member doesn’t snatch up the vacancy you have your eye on.

This feature is supposed to be helpful if you need a little time to plan, confirm with your travel partner, or arrange days off. However, the website does caution that a “hold” is not a booking confirmation, and explains:

“Unfortunately, because the hotels and holidays that we feature are available to buy elsewhere (albeit not at the exclusive rates our members enjoy), the supplier may occasionally sell out while you're deciding. If that does happen, the date will be closed to sale and all holds will automatically be cancelled and the money refunded as credit on your Secret Escapes account. We will, of course, notify you if this should happen.”

Pay a deposit. Some holidays, particularly all-inclusive packages that involve airfare, allow you to put a down payment with Secret Escapes to reserve your spot. Unlike putting a deal “on hold,” paying a deposit locks you into a rate and travel dates.

When to pay the remainder? Their website states the company you’re lodging with will contact you “at some point” before your holiday to collect the rest. Be warned however that if you decide to back out, your money is lost.

How Do They Do It?

Essentially a travel flash-sale site, Secret Escapes allows members to capitalize on unreserved rooms in luxury vacation spots. Because no hotel or resort wants to eat the cost of an empty bed, they’ll lower a last minute rate to try and recoup at least some of their costs.

Secret Escapes members are promised discounted prices of up to 70% off the average rate for “boutique hotels and luxury holidays.” The prices advertised are per person, not per room, so remember to factor in the cost for each if you and a partner are tempted to sneak out for an impromptu weekend away.

Anyone can join Secret Escapes, and even more reassuring is the fact that you can opt out of the Monday emails at any time. With nothing upfront for membership costs, Secret Escapes works hard to make deal hunters feel like there’s nothing to lose.

What Secret Escapes Promises

Secret Escapes’s advertisements promote their service as “The worst kept secret in luxury travel.” Each Monday, members will receive an email promoting prices for a hodgepodge of hand-picked destinations at prices they swear “can’t be beat.”

Secret Escapes “guarantees the best prices online,” and if you find otherwise, you’re encouraged to message their support team.

Secret Escapes Reviews

Forum chatter is supportive of the great deals offered by Secret Escapes, but cautions would-be savers to do some comparison shopping before booking.

Multiple users stated that they’ve found better prices offered on other sites, or by contacting the accommodation directly. Others suggest confirming the rating of a hotel or resort beforehand, and some feel their Secret Escape booking was disappointing and sub-par to what was initially promised.

Accountability is also a concern, as Secret Escapes is simply a third party broker who may not take responsibility for any problems once your booking is paid for.

Additional complaints mention that the service is less convenient for anyone who isn’t based in the UK, since the majority of Secret Escapes holidays packages depart from London’s Gatwick airport.

Final Thoughts on Secret Escapes

For last-minute travelers looking for a great deal, signing up for Secret Escapes provides a handy service, and prospective members have nothing to lose by signing up.

But it pays to be an informed consumer, so before you get swept up in photographs of luxurious destinations and slashed prices, be sure to compare prices, check ratings and reviews, and ensure that there are no extra fees after booking.

Secret Escapes may not be the Holy Grail of travel resources, but for those looking for a good deal, you can never have one resource too many.

READ NEXT: Getting the Best Deal When Booking Your Next Hotel

Read 18 Secret Escapes Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 1.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 0 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  17
Bottom Line: 0% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 18
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  • Avoid this law breaking amateur outfit!

    • By Jamie G.,
    • Essex, England,
    • Mar 28, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    SE has received refunds from hotels due to COVID-19 and are actively profiting from this deadly disease by refusing to pay back to customers what are legally obliged to refund per FCA rules and section 38.2 of their own T&C’s. This breaches many other civil laws which I have no choice in but to take to court, where it has been advised I will likely win, and SE will have to pay my legal costs, as they canceled on me due a service that could not be provided and have no certainty when venues will open again. People want their cash back not a voucher, we can't use for a year, if at all. Given the shady operation we are now learning of, who would want to rebook with them? CASH refunds required only.

    This is more a matter of principle that I get my money back now. The staff (if you can get through to them) are abnormally rude, unhelpful, and repeatedly ignore legislation as confirmed by a solicitor to continue unlawfully benefiting from this crisis. Their unprofessional and illegal conduct speaks volumes about their operations, as clearly CEO Alex Saint is the kind of person that spends his days flicking alphabet spaghetti at the wall in the hope a new debunked regulation will write itself. Avoid this mickey mouse shambles at all costs! They only respond when negative press is posted on social media platforms and never emails/phone calls, so let's make this happen. I've sent 17 emails and made 12 calls. Not ONE response. ATROCIOUS CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • We were cheated

    • By Jude C.,
    • Ischia, Italy,
    • Jan 9, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I booked a 7-night holiday in Ischia. I paid the full amount and a few hours later it got a confirmation that I had bought a 5-night holiday for the same price. Called customer services but was fobbed off with excuses. They have lied and I feel cheated they have committed fraud as far as I am concerned and looking through the internet it seems this is not unusual, do not use Secret Escapes or LateLuxury under any circumstances.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • They don't send documents on time

    • By Chris R.,
    • Scotland,
    • Dec 19, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Booked the Venice trip with a gondola ride.

    Took my money no problem, sent me confirmation.

    Didn't send much info so I asked for more info by email as my booking didn't even have the hotel name on it. After I emailed for info, I finally got the name of the hotel and they told me the hotel would deal with the rest once I got there.

    The hotel was more than happy to help but it was Secret Escapes that had to provide the tickets for the gondola ride, and after an hour on the phone in the hotel, they told me they would send the tickets but they sent the tickets after I was supposed to use them so the time slot was lost. And when I emailed back and several phone calls later was told nothing but lies. They told me it was my fault and they sent them on time when they clearly didn't.

    This is one of the worst experiences with a company and their customer service I have ever had.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Canceled the booking four weeks before traveling

    • By Paul K.,
    • Austria,
    • Sep 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    We had booked a lovely hotel in Tuscany, Italy called "The Sense Resort" - 10 days in June. Turns out that in May, 4 weeks ahead of our trip, Secret Escapes contacted us, that the hotel ist unfortunately still under construction and is about to open now in September! You can wonder why only in May Secret Escapes notices the opening will not be as planned in May?! Bad estimate?

    After long discussions, we got our money back two weeks after the annulation of the booking. Funny enough, Secret Escapes also deletes any information on this booking in your account. So, like it never happened...Stupid enough as we are, we booked another Hotel in the Cote d'Azur, France. This hotel was also meant to be newly opening. As we arrive, on Sunday, a lot of Instagram influencers are present, drafting lovely stories about this hotel (btw, it’s called "The Ultimate Provence"). Everything looks fine on our arrival, except the lift boy is quite unfriendly and doesn’t want to take our luggage to our room. The receptionist doesn’t speak English nor German, but we somehow managed. On Monday, the fun begins. Around 30 construction workers arrive, start digging, drilling, planting and on it went till Friday. We actually booked again a construction site. Even an excavator was moving around. Great experience indeed.

    My conclusion: Secret Escapes does not research the hotel they are offering - there only goal seems to be growth and profit. Very sad. NEVER AGAIN.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Awful

    • By Annabel L.,
    • Ealing, London, England,
    • Jun 26, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    If I could give Secret Escapes 0 stars, I would. I booked a hotel through them for end of November last year (2018) and had many, many issues with my stay at the hotel. Complained to Secret Escapes at the very beginning of December (2018) requesting some sort of a refund as I paid a lot of money for an experience I did not get...It is now approaching the end of June (2019) and Secret Escapes has put in very little effort to help resolve my case despite saying that they would try their hardest to help get me my refund. It is very obvious they don't care about their customers and they're probably just hoping that I'll eventually give up trying to get a refund. I will never book through them again as I know if I ever experience any other issues with a booking I'd have to endure someone who very clearly doesn't give a crap pretending that they're doing something to help me when in reality they're not even trying. I have had to be the one calling them and/or emailing them all the time for updates, just to have really short, unsatisfactory replies. Don't give this heartless company your money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Referred to agent going bust

    • By Chris N.,
    • Guildford, United Kingdom,
    • Jun 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have prior reports so will deal with the current only.

    Had an e-mail from "TrustPilot" referring me to SE for a discussion. No contact from SE. Phoned SE and was told I had been sent an e-mail. Despite previous telephone calls, this gave no further info than referring me to the CAA and ATOL. No info on the deposit I had paid directly to SE. They don't want to know.

    Book at your peril.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Not the cheapest rate even by their standards

    • By D B.,
    • New Jersey,
    • Apr 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I booked a stay for a Paris hotel this coming May with Secret Escapes, I went back on THEIR website a few days later and discovered the price was dropped by a significant amount.

    I emailed the company to ask for the new discounted price, and they refused.

    Not what they advertise "cheapest rate guaranteed" as they can’t deliver to their own members on their own site!

    Don’t use them as there is NO refund, seeing rates for less elsewhere, much less by them

    Don’t feel the need to lock in and book with them as you will be sorry when you realize, they didn’t give you the best deal. Not a way to go on vacation!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Non-existent seaplanes

    • By Mike D.,
    • London, United Kingdom,
    • Feb 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My wife and I paid over £3000 for Exotic Maldives escape with seaplane transfers and all-inclusive option.


    One of the big selling points was the seaplane transfer:

    "Highlights Pinching yourself as you glide over the paradisal vistas from your seaplane transfer."

    "You'll arrive James Bond-style by seaplane, ready to explore the island's natural lush foliage and sugar-white shores."

    Only one problem: there were no seaplanes! It was all made-up!

    When we complained, we were told "What we can do for you is to offer 50 pounds credit back on to your secret escapes account for you to use in your next holidays with us."

    Then we found out our return flights meant 8 nights holiday was really 7 nights. So they issued a revised itinerary for 7 nights which advertised (yes you’ve guessed it) seaplane transfers.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Never again!

    • By Charlie D.,
    • Suffolk, England,
    • Dec 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I wouldn't book ever again with Secret Escapes.

    Unfortunately for reasons (none of Secret Escapes), I was unable to take my trip, which I booked for myself and my partner for £500.

    I emailed trying to cancel the booking and claim a part refund. In my policy, it explained that if I was to cancel, I would not be able to receive the cost of my transport back but the cost of everything else would be fine. I contacted Secret Escapes with plenty of time to cancel and hopefully be partially refunded. Secret Escapes took DAYS to get back to me. After a lot of backing and forthing, I finally received information that I wouldn't be able to get ANY of my money back THE DAY of the trip. Not just the day of the trip, but after my train had already well and truly left the station. Having known that I wouldn't get ANY of my money back, I would have gone on the trip, but because Secret Escapes took their sweet time getting back to me, I missed out on not only the trip of a lifetime, however, £500 worth of hours and hours of working and saving.

    Moral of the story, don't book with Secret Escapes unless you have some darn good travel insurance.

    Also, they are USELESS at replying to emails.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Human error - not even empathy

    • By Tricia B.,
    • United Kingdom,
    • Nov 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I made a mistake in dates and cost booking a hotel in London. I thought I had booked two nights but had in fact booked one night, and the price was per person, not room, so it was a hugely expensive mistake. I have never made that mistake before but it was the anniversary of my father's death a year ago and family were meeting up. I wasn't thinking straight.

    I called Secret Escapes within 2 minutes.

    There was no empathy, no interest in me as the consumer, the call assistant said he would call the hotel and see what could be done, he called back and said not possible. He advised me to sell the room reservation to friends!

    I don't think he had called, and I did, and the manager said she would discuss with her manager and had no knowledge of Secret Escapes call.

    His manner was unpleasant and not interested in finding a way forward. He was unbending and inflexible wanting to know my actions and position, almost like an army official. I had a call this morning from Secret Escapes, same person. I wasn't expecting this call, and it was not in my interest but to see what the hotel had said. I asked to speak to a manager and was told I could only speak with him. I asked him why he had called as it was a chilling experience. It felt as if it wasn't about my situation but about keeping his booking. He complained that the hotel shouldn't have said it was all down to Secret Escapes' decision, which felt aggressive.

    It was an unhelpful and upsetting call.

    A few minutes after his call later the hotel emailed to say policy/terms/conditions don't allow cancellations. It feels as if David called me to find out what the hotel advised and then called them to avoid any attempt at a compromise or solution the hotel might make.

    Secret Escapes wasn't calling to help me but protect the booking made in error.

    This company is not interested in customer experience, human error or finding a happy compromise for the Individual. Two minutes into a booking there is loads of time for the booking to be used up by someone else four weeks down the line.

    It is only when there is an issue that a company truly shows its colors.

    This company is only interested in itself; it's not interested in its customers at all.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Stay away from them

    • By Afonso Z.,
    • Rugby,
    • Oct 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Secret Escapes business conduct is appalling, stay away!

    I had a huge car crash a few weeks before my booking, and I obviously tried to cancel my booking and get a refund, but here's what happened:

    I sent several emails to them weeks before my booking, because calling is useless - they NEVER answer the phone. My emails were ignored until the day I was supposed to come back from holidays and said:

    "Thank you for your email and your feedback about your booking.

    I'm sorry to read that you were not able to attend your reservation.

    Our offers are always pre-negotiated with our hotels and suppliers and as such are non-amendable and non-refundable according to our terms and conditions.

    Any amendment or cancellation request must be approved by the hotel/supplier prior to the check in date. Therefore, unfortunately as the booking has now passed, this is no longer possible.

    We are sorry for any inconvenience that this will cause but unfortunately cannot override the decision of the hotel/supplier, as the booking is now considered to be a no show.

    Should you have any further queries please don’t hesitate to contact us."

    In the meantime, I had spoken to the hotel, who told me they were happy to cancel given the circumstances, and they told so to Secret Escapes, but Secret Escapes waited for the day I was supposed to get back, to answer me and say "sorry, it's too late."

    A business like this doesn't deserve to be a business.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Showing 1-11 of 18

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