Lawyers Call For Action After Tourists Taken Ill In Tenerife

Holidaymakers Report Illness At Los Gigantes Hotel

17.03.2011

Lawyers working on behalf of more than 70 tourists taken ill at a hotel in Tenerife have repeated calls for tour operators to take action after yet more holidaymakers suffered gastric symptoms at the resort.

Travel law experts from Irwin Mitchell first spoke out about conditions at the Los Gigantes Hotel after being inundated with calls from angry holidaymakers last year. The firm represents 75 clients who travelled in 2010 and are demanding answers from tour operator Thomson.

The firm is now calling for an immediate review of hygiene standards so that improvements can be made before the busy Easter period.

Joyce Fulstow and husband John, both from Weston-super-Mare, travelled to the Los Gigantes Hotel early this year. Soon after arrival they began to suffer gastric symptoms including diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, high temperatures and aches. They both continue to suffer symptoms since returning to the UK.

The couple reported seeing a live slug in a salad dish, food in the restaurant being left uncovered and served at the wrong temperature and a sign on a microwave urging guests to heat up their food if it was not hot enough.

Amandeep Dhillon, a travel law specialist at Irwin Mitchell who is acting for the couple, said: "It is always tremendously disappointing when we see easily avoidable, repeated problems at a resort we have previously been contacted about.

"It has not even been a year since we received initial enquiries from guests who were taken seriously ill at the Los Gigantes and once again we have seen the problems flagged by tourists. This obviously raises clear concerns that lessons are simply not being learned at this hotel.

"When we were approached by holidaymakers last year we said that alarm bells should be ringing for Thomson. Sadly, it would appear they were not ringing loud enough."

Joyce Fulstow said: "I was so excited that we were getting to enjoy a bit of winter sun, but we quickly became disappointed with the standard of decoration in the room which also had  a very strong musty smell on occasion. We just wish that was the only problem we experienced."

The most serious question marks were raised over the quality of the food served at the hotel. The problems first came to light as Joyce sat down to eat just two days into their holiday.

Joyce said: "I was happily tucking into a salad when I noticed something on my plate that my instincts told me really should not be there. My stomach completely turned when I realised it was a slug.

"You just expect when you're abroad that the hotel you're staying in would take care when it comes to the food they are serving. It was not long after that both of us started to struggle with illness."

With more than half of their holiday remaining, Joyce fell ill with gastric symptoms. John took care of her but just a few days later he too was struck down. The couple noticed further issues with the hotel food.

"It soon became obvious that food hygiene just didn't seem to be on the hotel's agenda. Food served by the restaurant was usually uncovered and the hot dishes were barely even lukewarm," Joyce continues.

"Quite frankly, we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when we saw a microwave in the dining area with a sign on it calling for guests to heat up their food if it was not hot enough. It’s horrifying! Why would anyone ever think that is acceptable?"

The problems that the couple experienced while at Los Gigantes continue to take their toll, with both of them still suffering bowel problems they believe are linked to the holiday.

Joyce says: "We both expected to spend the week sat by the pool relaxing, rather than in our room too ill to even move. The holiday was not in any way enjoyable and we are even more concerned now that it looks like the hotel had a reputation for problems in the past.

"What is probably most frustrating is the reaction of Thomson to the problems, as we lodged a complaint but have been refused any support in the aftermath. We feel like they have put us at unnecessary harm by not informing us and others of such issues – and we are desperate for action to be taken to ensure no one else suffers like we have."

Amandeep Dhillon adds: "It is simply unacceptable that the operator continues to market and send tourists to resorts which have serious safety issues. Are they not taking notice of the complaints we have received, as well as the deeply concerning reviews on sites like TripAdvisor? Comments on that site describe the resort the 'worst Thomson hotel that we have ever stayed in of any rating' and state it has 'appalling hygiene standards'. More worryingly, one holidaymaker advises that ‘after talking to many of the other guests, almost half of them were ill with upset stomachs, including one who was hospitalised'.

"We are demanding answers on this issue for the sake of the Fulstows and all of the holidaymakers who have suffered both during and after stays at the hotel. Considering the long-term health problems that can be caused gastric illnesses including salmonella, we want reassurances that the issue of hygiene is not being taken lightly at the resort.

"Ultimately of course, we want lessons to be learnt to ensure that anyone else who stays at the resort is able to enjoy a break without facing the risk of serious health problems that could potentially affect them for years to come. We will continue to fight to get the answers, fair compensation and the justice that our clients are entitled to."