Hotel illness solicitors at Irwin Mitchell secured £5.5m in compensation for almost 1000 holidaymakers who fell ill at the Bahia Principe Hotel in San Juan, Dominican Republic, in 2007.
In total we represented 963 guests who booked holidays at the hotel through a number of tour operators: First Choice, Thomas Cook, My Travel and Thomson. Our clients contracted serious illnesses like salmonella, shigella and campylobacter during their stays at the Bahia Principe, ruining special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and honeymoons.
Guests described shocking hygiene conditions at the hotel, including:
- Dogs, birds and mice in the dining area
- Cockroaches and ants in bedrooms and bathrooms
- A stench of sewage, urine and vomit around the resort
- Toilets that were often blocked, overflowing and flooding waste into bathrooms
There was also a distinct lack of kitchen hygiene, with food undercooked and left uncovered. Some of the meals appeared to be re-served and some was also stored at the wrong temperature. With ambulances taking holidaymakers to hospital every day, guests likened the hotel to a “casualty ward.” But hotel staff were often unwilling to help and representatives from the tour operator were reluctant to record complaints.
The illness outbreak was so severe that a plane taking guests back to the UK was quarantined at Gatwick airport so that doctors could treat passengers before they disembarked.
Clive Garner, a Partner and Head of the International Personal Injury team at Irwin Mitchell which represents thousands of people affected by illness and injury abroad, said: “We are delighted for our clients that they have now received a fair settlement from the tour operators after enduring such terrible times at the Bahia Principe.
“The long history of guests suffering illness at this hotel makes grim reading. There have been problems at the hotel on and off for 10 years in the lead up to the 2007 outbreak, and we are still receiving complaints from guests 5 years after that dreadful outbreak.
“We remain very concerned that hotels and tour operators have not learned vital lessons and that all too often holidaymakers suffer illness, sometimes with life changing consequences due to inadequate health and hygiene standards.”
“We want the general public to be safe while on holiday and we urge the travel industry to clean up its act and take all possible steps to prevent illnesses which can so easily be avoided.”
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