Family endure 'holiday from hell'

A FAMILY from Essex who suffered a “holiday from hell” is taking action against the tour operator after their dream trip was ruined.

James Hore

A FAMILY from Essex who suffered a “holiday from hell” is taking action against the tour operator after their dream trip was ruined.

Stephen and Hayley Hughes from Colchester took their three young sons on an all-inclusive holiday to the Tropicas Hotel in Turkey.

However what should have been a relaxing break was “ruined” by a catalogue of problems and they were all struck down by violent illnesses.

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Problems the couple said they faced during the £2,500 holiday included exposed electrical wiring in their room as well as damp, mould and a bedroom that was in a state of disrepair.

The couple's youngest son, Rio, four, was so upset by what happened that he has said he does not want to go away again.

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Last night, the tour operator, Freedom Direct, said it was awaiting a response from the family to correspondence but said the hotel was still on its list of destinations.

When Mr and Mrs Hughes complained to both hotel staff and their tour representative about the poor level of hygiene after they became concerned with the quality of the food, which they said appeared to be left uncovered for long periods of time and exposed to flies.

After four days in their first room the family were moved but were alarmed by the sight of blood stained pillow cases.

Mrs Hughes, a customer services assistant for Asda, said her family had still been suffering from the effects of the illnesses they picked up whilst at the resort.

The 35-year-old said: “If you don't laugh about it, you would just cry. It was absolutely awful, like something you see on the television.

“It was not possible to lock the balcony door, there was no shower door, and electric wires were exposed and they ran out of drinks but that was the least of the problems.

“It really was a holiday from hell - my youngest boy has said he never wants to come on holiday again as he took it really badly.”

Mrs Hughes said the food choices were very basic, with salad, re-heated rice “from the night before” and meat.

The couple were told they could find themselves a new hotel but there was nothing available in the surrounding area.

Even though the trip was all-inclusive they spent about £1,000 on eating out at restaurants to avoid the hotel's cuisine.

Mr. Hughes, 43, said: “I was extremely disappointed with the whole experience of the holiday, it was unfortunate that we had saved all year to enjoy a family holiday abroad only to spend it being violently ill.”

The builder added: “I am frustrated at the fact that the staff and our tour operator were unable to help us during the whole holiday, I feel we have no choice left but to take legal action against our tour operator.”

Rajbir Somel of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who is representing the couple said: “Mr and Mrs Hughes and their family had gone on holiday for two weeks to enjoy themselves but with the illness, and poor health and safety conditions within the hotel, their holiday was ruined.

“We have had a number of enquiries this year from families who went to the same hotel, and reported similar problems. It is clear that there are issues with the hotel.

“It is vital that tour operators are researching and carrying out regular inspections on the hotels that they send their customers to in order to avoid the types of problems that the Hughes family faced.”

Owen Percy, complaints manager for Freedom Direct, said a letter had been sent to the family and the company was now awaiting their response.

He said: “We are going to try to get a resolution. At this stage we are within the timeframe allowed. A complaint was received on August 13 and a response was sent to the client on September 15, so we are still within the 28-day guidelines.

“If they are unhappy, they need to reply in writing to that and we then have 28 days to respond to them.

“There has been no call from the client in any format and nobody has been in contact so we have not had the chance to explain the next step in the procedure.

“If there is a particular hotel which has complaints made against it, we would then discuss it with the hotel providers we use and it would be up to them to remove it from their list - it is not us that removes them.”

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