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October 25th 2019

Accidents & Illness Abroad

‘Serious concerns’ over latest guest illnesses at five-star Cape Verde hotel

Michelle Nurse

Michelle Nurse

Trainee Solicitor, Travel Litigation

‘Serious concerns’ over latest guest illnesses at five-star Cape Verde hotel

We are currently representing more than a dozen holidaymakers taken ill at the same five-star hotel, with outbreaks being reported for the last three years in a row.

We are currently representing more than a dozen holidaymakers taken ill at the same five-star hotel, with outbreaks being reported for the last three years in a row.

We are representing families with regards to illnesses suffered whilst staying at the Hotel Riu Touareg, in Cape Verde.

It comes as many guests of the hotel have taken to the review site TripAdvisor to complain of widespread illness and allege poor hygiene standards.

We are representing several people who were diagnosed with food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia after staying at the hotel. Holidaymakers have suffered symptoms lasting anywhere between six days and a number of months. One client has had ongoing health issues ever since their holiday two years ago, which continue to be investigated today.

Recent guests have even stated on the review site TripAdvisor that some holidaymakers were prevented from getting on aeroplanes to travel home and were ‘put in quarantine’ in another hotel, such was the extent of illness.

Couple were both taken ill on £1,800 week long break and missed work on return home

Niall Quinn, 45, from Kent, stayed at the hotel with his partner at the end of September 2019 and both returned home ill from their one-week break, which cost them around £1,800.

Niall says he became ill on day three of his holiday, suffering with agonising stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

He was so poorly that on their return home he had to be admitted to hospital, where he was hydrated via an intravenous drip and given painkillers.

He says the couple had serious concerns as soon as they were first shown into their accommodation.

“We were really excited for this holiday and had booked into the adult only area of the hotel to ensure we had a relaxing time, as it was our only break of the year,” he said.

“When we arrived it looked amazing from the outside, just like it does on the brochures and websites, but once we were inside it was very different and soon turned into a nightmare.”

“There was a strong smell of sewage in our room coming from the toilet which we reported to reception, but that remained throughout our break. There was also what appeared to be cockroaches roaming around the room, especially around the fridge area, and in the toilet area. One even came out of the safe!”

“We never left the hotel as it is really in the middle of nowhere and we ate in the restaurant on site.”

“On the second night I had a mixed kebab which just didn’t seem right. I wasn’t sure whether it was just because things are cooked differently abroad, but I had my concerns.”

“The next day I was in agony with stomach cramps and really suffering with constant diarrhoea which lasted for the remainder of the holiday. It completely ruined our break as I was unable to leave the room.”

“A couple of days later my partner started suffering from the same illness, and it was clear other people were suffering too, as many people were not eating at all towards the end of the week and were just having water.”

“The whole place just didn’t feel hygienic. There were cats roaming around the swimming pool area and they were drinking out of peoples’ glasses that had been left on the floor by their sun loungers when they were swimming.”

“On one occasion my partner saw dead flies in the banana yoghurt. By this stage we were both poorly and desperately seeking natural yoghurt, as we had been told it would help, but there was none and we would not have touched any further food after seeing that.”

Annual illness issues

Our solicitor Michelle Nurse, says repeated outbreaks of illnesses affecting a number of guests each year is a clear concern. She is handling cases for damages on behalf of people taken ill having travelled with holiday operator TUI.

“Sadly we are being contacted regularly regarding illnesses suffered whilst families are staying at this hotel complex and as a result we have been instructed to represent people in seeking damages in each of the past three years. It is a real matter of serious concern,” she said.

“We are talking serious illnesses in some cases which have had a long-standing impact on the people we represent. We have one client whose illness remains serious two years after they became ill whilst at the hotel, the causes of which are still being investigated.”

“Others have been diagnosed with food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia.”

“Our advice to tourists would certainly be to take extra precautions regarding hygiene if travelling to this island. We would advise taking over the counter medication such as Dioralyte and Immodium with them on their travels.”

“These types of medication have been recommended to people who have become ill and it has cost them in the region of 100 Euros.
“Of course, if symptoms persist, people should make sure they see a doctor.”

Hotel responds and admits to ‘an increase in reports of cases of gastric discomfort’ of guests

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

The hotel states: “During the first days of October we perceived an increase in reports of cases of gastric discomfort by some guests, which has now ended. Our specific hygiene protocols were immediately activated.”

“To put your mind at rest, we would like to inform you that we are experiencing a favorable evolution of the reported cases of gastric illnesses and that our guests are enjoying their stay as usual.”

In response to complaints about hygiene standards, and cats roaming the site, the hotel said: “All our hotels fulfill the international health and safety regulations, including the maintenance of the swimming pools which are cleaned on a daily basis. We pay constant attention to the water chemistry and filtration and check the pH throughout the day.”

“These cats have been spayed/neutered, vaccinated and dewormed and are monitored by us. Also, we follow strict procedures to prevent food risks, therefore, cats and dogs are not allowed in our restaurants.”

If you’ve suffered an illness abroad which could have been avoided, you may be eligible to claim compensation. In order to make a claim, our solicitors must be able to show that the sickness was caused by health and safety breaches, poor food handling, inadequate hygiene standards, or a hotel, tour operator or cruise company’s failure to contain the spread of a bacterial infection.

If you feel you may have a claim, contact our team for a free consultation.

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