Caribbean holiday illness
A wedding party are to take legal action after a young couple’s dream wedding in the Caribbean was ruined by an outbreak of illness at their hotel which left the bride and best man on a drip and a bridesmaid needing an injection to ease her vomiting.
The nightmare break at the four-star Jamaica Grande Resort in Jamaica saw all ten members of the wedding party come down with gastric illness so severe that the ceremony had to be postponed for six days to allow them time to recover and the guests were told they couldn’t leave their rooms.
Louise Christie and her husband Gareth, both 28, say they almost called the wedding off altogether and have now instructed travel law experts at national firm Irwin Mitchell after their dream wedding at the hotel in Ocho Rios was left ‘in tatters’.
The couple, from Newark in Nottinghamshire, say their two children Troy and Tristan, aged just one and two, were also struck down by the illness, and claim their entire party were confined to their rooms by the hotel’s managers – despite other guests also being ill.
Louise and best man Ross Beasley’s symptoms were so severe that they suffered from dehydration and had to be put on a drip by a doctor, while the bride’s sister, Clare, who was due to be a bridesmaid, needed an injection to stop her throwing up.
The couple’s wedding, scheduled for 30th January, had to be postponed until February 6th as the ten-strong wedding party – who had paid £1,200 each for the two week trip – were too poorly to attend.
Mrs Christie said: "When we arrived, we were shown to the Bridal Suite which totally shocked us. It was dirty, had cracked tiles on the floor and smelt damp. The children could easily get onto the third floor balcony and the furniture was dated and worn. We had to ask for a room change as we were disgusted.
"After three days, I began to feel very ill and had profuse diarrhoea and vomiting. In the end, a doctor was called to my room who administered a drip as I had become very dehydrated. This turned out to be a joke as he attached the other end of the drip to a lightshade using a pair of my husbands old boot laces as he did not have a stand for it."
The devastated bride added: “We were due to get married on 30th January but, in the end, didn’t actually get married until 6th February, and meanwhile we were confined to our rooms for 72 hours at the request of the hotel.
"We were told we were the only guests who had been taken ill but knew that was untrue as we had heard others being sick in their rooms. When we were allowed out again, we were told only to use the North Side of the Hotel and the whole party was barred from the South Side. We did eventually speak to other people who had also been taken ill and they had also been told that they were the only ones."
"The night before our wedding, I was so upset and angry that I nearly called it off as I really did not want to get married there. I only went through with it as other people had paid in excess of £1,200 each to attend. On the day of our wedding, everybody seemed subdued and quiet as illness had taken its toll on us all."
To make matters worse, she also said that, for the wedding photographs, they were asked to take off the wristbands they were wearing to show they were all-inclusive guests, only to be told later on the same say that it would cost $100 each per day to have them re-attached.
"I was so angry at our treatment that I ended up on my wedding day having an argument with the Hotel Manager dressed in my wedding dress," Mrs Christie said.
"We had been planning and saving hard for our wedding since June last year and this was my dream wedding in tatters as far as I was concerned"
Bridesmaid and bride’s sister Clare Hurst, 26, was also hit by the illness and had to have a doctor attend to her in her room where she was given an injection to help ease her vomiting. Her symptoms continued when she returned home, Ms Hurst promptly went to see her doctor and she is currently awaiting her results.
Ms Hurst said: “The place was just awful. The standards of hygiene were very poor, especially in the restaurant. The food was cold and appeared to be reheated, there were flies around the food, and the chicken was often left uncovered.
She said she was appalled by the way their complaints were handled in the resort and claimed the holiday representatives were not helpful, adding: “As soon as she found out I was ill the representative did not approach me and her attitude in general seemed to get worse.
"To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was supposed to be celebrating my sister’s wedding and enjoying a holiday away with all the family. Instead, we had to concentrate on trying to recover so that the wedding could actually go ahead."
Best Man Ross Beasley, another member of the party who needed a doctor to put him on a drip, said: "I felt so ill, I don’t think I have ever felt so bad. I was extremely thirsty but could not drink as it would come straight back up again.
"The doctor gave me an injection to help stop the vomiting so I could drink and attached a drip to me, which he tied onto the bed. They told me to call the on-site nurse to change the drip bag but I fell asleep due to severe tiredness and, when I awoke, the tube was full of my blood."
"I also was asked to provide a stool sample but have never been given the results. The resort is not one that I would recommend for a dream wedding. It was a horrible place and I never want to go there again."
Mark Watts, from the Travel Law Team at Irwin Mitchell, confirmed the group were now taking legal action against Thomas Cook and said: “"Holidays are always supposed to be exciting times but when you are combining your holiday with your wedding and honeymoon you expect an extra special break.
"We deal with so many cases where brides, grooms and all their guests are left devastated by illness and disasters such as those experienced by the Christies in Jamaica.
“This wedding will certainly be a day to remember, but for all the wrong reasons. What should have been a dream day turned into nothing short of a nightmare – not just for them but for their young children and their family and friends.
"They are rightly very annoyed that the special event they have saved and planned for ended up being completely ruined as a result of illness contracted at the hotel. If basic health and hygiene guidelines were followed properly this sort of illness simply shouldn't occur.
"Everyone should be able to look forward to their holiday without the fear of suffering health problems, and it’s worrying to hear that other holidaymakers who were staying there also ended up suffering illness when they too should have been enjoying their break. Tour operators portray the Caribbean as a dream destination - it’s up to them to ensure that the hotels they use live up to that image."