Holidaymakers Contact Travel Lawyers Following Dominican Republic Illness

Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana


A couple from Leicestershire have made contact with travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell after their dream holiday in the Dominican Republic was ruined by illness.

Susan Newill and her partner stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic in February 2010.

The couple were forced to move rooms due to flooding from the bathroom ceiling and things got even worse when Miss Newill had to spend three days in hospital with food poisoning.

Even when Miss Newill was released from hospital and returned to the UK, her symptoms, including stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea, continued.

The couple spent the next nine months trying to resolve the matter with tour operator First Choice. They could not reach a satisfactory agreement and their frustration led to them contacting Irwin Mitchell for help.

The specialist illness abroad team at Irwin Mitchell were already aware of the hotel, having successfully completed legal action for 39 people who stayed at the hotel in 2007. The firm have also worked with guests who fell ill at the hotel in 2008 and 2010.

When Miss Newill was struck down with illness, the hotel emergency doctor diagnosed food poisoning and gave her a number of injections. He then called an ambulance to take her to hospital, but the hotel would not allow her to leave without settling her bill.

Miss Newill said: "You don’t expect to get so ill on holiday that you have to spend three days in hospital. I even had to have a week off work when I got back home because I was still suffering from food poisoning symptoms.

"The hotel room was also far below the standards we were sold in the brochure. The flooding in the room caused real damp problems such as a pungent odour in the room, and a gunge-like substance seeping through and falling onto the floor and bathroom facilities below.

“The hotel food was often left exposed and covered in flies. The way the management of the hotel handled things was disgraceful, and First Choice needs to investigate and improve health and hygiene procedures at this hotel to prevent others from suffering with illness like I did.”

Suki Chhokar is a partner in Irwin Mitchell’s travel team and has represented many clients taken ill on holiday. Commenting on Miss Newill’s case, he said: "We are very concerned about the emerging pattern of illness among guests at this hotel. Our investigations, backed up by our clients experiences, indicate that there have been serious failings by the hotel management and a failure to adequately secure the safety of guests.

"If First Choice cannot guarantee the safety and well-being of its guests at the Gran Bahia Principe or any of the hotels that it uses, it should stop sending guests there.

"Tour operators need to take responsibility for their customers and ensure that their hotels are adhering to the basic health and hygiene rules that exist precisely to prevent guests becoming ill. Holidaymakers should be able to enjoy their holiday free from concerns about standards of hygiene at their hotel.

"We hope that First Choice will now work with us to resolve the matter on behalf of our clients promptly and amicably."