Holidaymaker Demands Answers After Falling Ill At Luxury Hotel

Illness At Riu Bachata Hotel


An angry father whose family fell victim to a serious outbreak of sickness at a luxury Caribbean hotel that left them ‘desperate to get out of the country’ has joined dozens of holidaymakers demanding answers from their tour operator. 

John Smith, 48, joined more than 40 other furious holidaymakers who have contacted travel experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell in recent months for help after suffering illness at the five-star Riu Bachata Hotel in the Dominican Republic, where he was holidaying with his wife and two children in March 2010.

Speaking about his experience, John said: “We were all so excited about the holiday. I am a self employed builder and work extremely long hours so the idea was to go away and spend some quality time together. Instead I was so poorly I could barely speak, and my family were reluctant to leave the room in case they got poorly too.”

The family, from Wootton, Bedfordshire, said the conditions at the hotel were a real cause for concern. John said: “It is no wonder people got ill. The food at the hotel - including eggs, burgers and chicken – was often undercooked, I saw the meat and vegetarian food being cross contaminated with serving spoons and there was a strong smell of sewage in both the restaurant and our room.

“I felt so rotten that my family and I just wanted to come home, but even when we got back I still felt ill, I was off work for almost two weeks and had to go to hospital to be checked over by a doctor.

“To discover since that Irwin Mitchell has been helping holidaymakers who stayed and fell ill at either the Riu Bachata or one of its sister hotels every year since 2004 has just made me even angrier. Why on earth are tour operators continuing to send people there, putting the health of families like mine at risk! It is an absolute disgrace and I want answers.”

Juliette Eden, travel law expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “The stories from our clients returning from holidays at this hotel are horrendous and show that there has clearly been a serious issue at the Riu Bachata which staff and tour operators are failing to resolve and it is understandable that our clients want an explanation.

“The Smith family are among many guests who stayed at the Riu Bachata and suffered illness as a consequence, which is completely unacceptable. When people put their trust in a tour operator they deserve to be sent somewhere decent, not to a resort with a long history of people becoming poorly during their stay.

“It is deeply frustrating to see that tour operators, Thomson in this case – who are well aware of the risks to long-term health that outbreaks of illness like this present –appear to have failed to take sufficient action to improve standards to safeguard the health of the holidaymakers who put their trust in them.”

Every year since 2004 Irwin Mitchell’s travel team has been contacted by horrified holidaymakers, totalling more than 100, who were struck down with illness following a stay at either the Riu Bachata or one of its sister hotels, the Riu Mambu and the Riu Merengue, all of which share facilities.

Juliette said: “We have been calling for a review of hygiene standards at these hotels since 2004 and yet, again, we are receiving reports of illness – it seems that vital lessons have not been learnt.  The absolute minimum that guests at this or any other hotel deserve is to be able to enjoy their holidays without becoming ill and to return home fit and healthy. Urgent action is now needed to ensure that this is the last time that we hear of guests becoming ill due to conditions at this hotel.”