Illness outbreak at Dominican Republic hotel
Hundreds of guests have reportedly been struck down with gastric illnesses following their stay at the Riu Bachata hotel in Bahia Maimon, in the Dominican Republic. Many guests reported severe symptoms including sickness and diarrhoea. Many of the guests have instructed Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who are proceeding to investigate claims for compensation.
Irwin Mitchell have previously acted on behalf of thousands of clients in relation to holidays taken in the Dominican Republic and have won significant damages for clients.
Not the first time for the Riu hotel chain
Suki Chhokar of the International Travel Litigation Group at Irwin Mitchell said "This is not the first time an outbreak of illness has occurred at this resort. We dealt with cases of similar outbreaks in the Riu chain, including the Riu Bachata hotel, in 2005 involving group actions of over 100 clients."
Mr Chhokar continued "Personally, I have seen an increasing number of claims against the Riu chain of Hotels in the Dominican Republic, following outbreaks of illness at hotels including the Riu Bachata, Riu Merengue and Riu Mambo. It is disappointing to note that the hotels affected are seemingly failing to maintain basic standards of hygiene and limit outbreaks of illness amongst guests.
"The hotel and tour operators need to urgently look at ways of preventing the spread of illness by ensuring that improved hygiene measures are implemented straight away."
David and Pauline Smith were on holiday at the resort, celebrating a friend's 60th birthday. Mr Smith recalls the outbreak:
"When we arrived at the hotel, there was no mention of a possible bug present within the complex."
"I was the first person in our group to fall ill, on the second evening of our arrival. I confined myself to our room until I felt well enough to get out. By this time my wife and our friends went down with illness
"If Thomson had told us that there could be a possible bug within the hotel and to be extra careful with hygiene matters, such a large number of guests may not have contracted the bug".
Advice from leading travel and hotel illness lawyer
Listed below are a number of top tips to help a traveller avoid their dream holiday from becoming a holiday from hell:
Before you go:
- Only book your travel arrangements with agents who are ABTA members. If your travel includes flight arrangements, ensure these are ATOL protected
- Make sure you buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday. A key element is cancellation cover, should you be unable to travel due to ill health
- Don't assume all travel insurance cover is the same. Read the policy documents and make sure you know what is and isn't covered. Do ensure your cover includes legal expenses insurance and assistance.
- Take photocopies of your passport, credit cards and help-line numbers. Leave one with someone at home at home and keep another in a different place to the originals while away. Store help-line numbers on your mobile phone
- Holiday brochures are not gospel. Ask questions about any current building work, outbreaks of illness or previous complaints. Also, ensure that you are familiar with any relevant climate and destination information
While you are there:
- Attend welcome meetings and take note of information given out by the holiday company reps. Note the times they will be visiting your accommodation
- Pay attention to the food preparation, hygiene and sanitation standards at your accommodation. Try to implement good hygiene practice at all times
- If you suffer an illness seek appropriate medical attention both abroad and when you return home. Make sure you are tested for the presence of infection. Remember to get a doctors report
- Make the holiday rep aware of any complaint immediately. Record all aspects of your complaint on a written customer complaint form and keep a copy
- Speak to other unhappy holidaymakers and exchange information and contact details
- Take photographic and video evidence of the matters you are complaining about
- Do not accept compensation payments on the spot and without the benefit of legal advice. Do not sign any document which waives your right to pursue the complaint further
When you get back:
- Get a claims form from your insurer as soon as possible
- If you are still unhappy with the tour operators response and are interested in pursuing an action consult Suki Chhokar of Irwin Mitchell solicitors.
Do you have a claim? If you or someone you know has been affected by hotel illness, our solicitors may be able to help. Visit our accidents and illness abroad section.