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November 8th 2019

Accidents & Illness Abroad

Family’s £6,500 holiday ‘ruined’ as all were taken ill at Cape Verde’s Hotel Riu Touareg

Michelle Nurse

Michelle Nurse

Trainee Solicitor, Travel Litigation

Family’s £6,500 holiday ‘ruined’ as all were taken ill at Cape Verde’s Hotel Riu Touareg

Another holidaymaker has turned to help from Hudgell Solicitors’ travel litigations specialists after his family holiday was ‘completely ruined’ by illness.

Another holidaymaker has turned to help from Hudgell Solicitors’ travel litigations specialists after his family holiday was ‘completely ruined’ by illness.

The traveller, Mark, paid around £6,500 for himself, his wife Blanche, 50, their 19-year-old daughter Abigail and son Josh, 12, to enjoy a two week stay at the five star Hotel Riu Touareg, in Boa Vista, Cape Verde this August.

However, he says that within days of arrival their eagerly anticipated break turned into a ‘hellish experience’ as all were hit by diarrhoea and sickness.

Mark said: “Most of the hotel is a buffet service but we wanted to go to a restaurant where a meal is served to your table. My daughter ordered a seafood platter and the rest of us had the kebab on a skewer.

“That night, when we had gone to bed, we were all very badly ill, so much so that one of us was in the toilet at all times.

“Thankfully we were well prepared as we always take Dioralyte and Imodium, but this was much worse than anything we have experienced before. We were basically on and off the toilet all night and it was horrendous.

“It impacted on all of us for the rest of our holiday. Thankfully, for the rest of my family their symptoms lessoned over the coming days to a point where they could control it with medication, even though they never felt right.

“For me though, it just got worse about half way through our break.

“One night I was up all night long and I became weak in my legs. I was shivering but also sweating from my brow. I could feel my heart thumping and it was honestly quite frightening. I put on my Fit Bit to check my heart rate and it was 160 beats per minute when I was lying down.

“Thankfully we had lots of bottled water in the room and I was able to keep hydrated. Every time I was ill I drank about half a pint of water to keep trying to flush it out. It was horrendous though, and I was worried as there are no hospitals nearby.

“Thankfully I managed to get through that night as that was the worst, but when we spoke to the reps in the morning they advised against seeing the doctor as they said it would cost around £60 just to be told to keep taking the Imodium.

“It was at this point that I became angry over what had happened to our family holiday and I complained to the senior management. I told them it had been hellish and the worst experience of my life.

“The resort is promoted as being a five-star attraction but it all feels unclean and dirty. Outdoor areas are completely infested with flies so it is impossible to eat and keep them off the food. We also saw staff serving meats and using their hands to pick it up without using any gloves or tools.  I told them there is no way it is a five star hotel and that the standards were appalling.”

Hudgell Solicitors advising over potential legal claim

The father, a manufacturing supervisor, says that over the two week break, he lost almost a stone in weight due to the illness, and his lack of desire to eat at the hotel in the final few days.

And he says it was TUI’s response to his official complaint which led to him seeking advice from Hudgell Solicitors over making a holiday illness compensation claim.

“In the second week I only really ate melon, and I wasn’t keen to do that as one time at the buffet I saw a maggot on them,” he said.

“I lost a stone over the two weeks and I usually put between half a stone and a stone on as I like to relax, have a few drinks and enjoy the food.

“When I got home I made an official complaint to TUI and I was disgusted to receive an offer of a £100 holiday voucher from them. This holiday cost us £6,500 and was something we as a family really had to save for and had looked forward to. For them to offer a £100 voucher, for another break with them, was an insult as far as I am concerned.

“I’m 53-years-old and have travelled to many foreign countries on holiday and I have never experienced anything like this.

“Had TUI actually given me a proper apology and suitable offer to make amends I wouldn’t have been going down the legal route but it is simply not right for families to lose their money, and their holiday experience and them not to care.

“We have two children who are a bit older now and this was a chance for us as a family to spend some quality time together. We are all busy at home throughout the year and I like to ensure we have a good couple of weeks together. That was completely ruined.”

Hudgell Solicitors has been instructed by a number of families taken ill when staying at the Hotel Riu Touareg, in Cape Verde.

Amongst those who suffered illness were guests diagnosed food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia after staying at the hotel.

Cases have been taken on by the firm in each of the last three years, dating back to September and October 2017, but also as recently last month.

Many guests of the hotel have taken to the review site TripAdvisor to complain of widespread illness and allege poor hygiene standards.

Michelle Nurse, of Hudgell Solicitors’ Travel Litigation team, says: “The difficult time experienced by this family sadly mirrors that of many others when staying at this particular hotel and as a result we have agreed to represent a number of people.

“The sheer number of visitors who have contacted us, and who have taken to TripAdvisor to say they became seriously ill when staying at this hotel, is of concern and it is only right that the causes of this are fully investigated as part of our legal representation.

“Hotels and travel firms have a duty to ensure the highest levels of hygiene are maintained at all times.

“In our experience, when a number of people are taken ill at the same time at the same hotel, and consistent, independent concerns are raised by a number of guests over issues such as cleanliness of rooms, fly infestations and food preparation and quality, further investigation is required.

“Given all the concerns shared by guests and the responses of the hotel management, it appears clear there have been some continuing issues which are still to be addressed.

“We are advising holidaymakers travelling to this island to take extra precautions regarding hygiene and to take over the counter medications such as Dioralyte and Imodium with them to use should they become ill.

“Of course, if symptoms persist, people should make sure they see a doctor before they come home, and should report their illnesses to the travel operator so that it is a matter of record.

“Any photographic evidence relating to concerns over hygiene and cleanliness is also helpful.”

In responses to complaints on TripAdvisor, the Hotel Riu Touareg’s Online Reputation Manager has admitted there was a recent ‘increase in reports of cases of gastric discomfort’.

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