Our travel litigation team has recently been contacted by a number of people who have returned from holiday in Cape Verde alleging poor standards of food and hygiene at the Hotel Riu Touareg caused them to suffer gastric illnesses.
They have spoken of suffering from sickness, diarrhoea and possible food poisoning whilst on holiday at the hotel in December 2018.
Of course, suffering illness when abroad is not uncommon given the change in climate and foods we eat. However, in cases where it is established that poor hygiene standards of a hotel have caused such illnesses, it is only right that the hotelier and tour operator be held accountable.
Not only are gastric illnesses and infections such as salmonella and campylobacter very unpleasant, but also hard earned and much needed, expensive holidays can be ruined.
Interestingly, many holidaymakers have taken to the review site TripAdvisor to comment on illnesses suffered whilst staying at the hotel from October of last year onwards, and into the New Year.
One reviewer, who dates their stay as in November 2018, refers to ‘flies and bugs on all food in the buffet’, adding ‘myself and my partner suffered from food poisoning, vomiting and diarrhoea throughout the two weeks of our stay’
The reviewer adds ‘We were unable to eat any of the food in the buffet and came back malnourished and having lost almost 10kg of weight between us.’
Another holidaymaker, who says they stayed at the hotel in October 2018, believes the number of cats around the hotel, and their faeces, were a hygiene risk, adding ‘both myself and my wife had diarrhoea and vomiting for one week of our two week holiday. The flies were numerous too.’
Other reviews between October 2018 and January 2019 make reference to reheated foods and sickness and the onsite hotel doctor being very busy dealing with guests suffering from gastric illnesses.
Hotel has good overall reviews, but a problematic history of illness issues
The hotel, in the Boa Vista region of Cape Verde, is offered on an all-inclusive basis by travel operators and does have a good overall reputation from visitors on Trip Advisor, as it scores 4.5 out of 5 and is ranked as excellent by 49% of reviewers. However, 17 % rate it as average, poor or terrible, and it has been subject to health and hygiene concerns in previous years.
It has responded to all recent suggestions of an illness outbreak, with its online reputation team providing extensive replies detailing that a relevant increase was not detected to suggest a significant outbreak.
The hotel says that when such an outbreak is detected, all affected guests are treated individually and measures put in place to ensure the control and avoid it spreading.
However, given the details provided to us by holidaymakers who have contacted our specialist team for advice, the fact that a significant number of illnesses have been reported over the past four months, and the problematic history of the hotel in previous years, we will be seeking further information and answers on behalf of the clients we have agreed to represent in recent days