A couple hoping to celebrate their wedding anniversary on the banks of the River Nile are taking legal action against tour operator Thomas Cook after food poisoning left them too weak to leave their hotel.
Christine Jackson, 46, and husband Michael, 43, both suffered from severe stomach cramps, sickness and diarrhoea just days into their two-week dream stay at the five star Sunrise Royal Makadi Hotel in Makadi Bay, Egypt.
Mr and Mrs Jackson, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, are now among six clients to have instructed travel law experts at leading national firm Irwin Mitchell, and have warned other holiday-makers of fly infested eateries and a 'scum encrusted' family swimming pool at the luxury site.
The couple claim they were among dozens of guests at the all-inclusive hotel to be struck down with symptoms of severe gastric illness during May this year – and say they had to cancel a trip to historic temples as they were too ill to travel.
Mrs Jackson said: "Our trip didn’t start off well after we were shown to a pokey room with twin beds that was more like a dungeon than a luxury hotel room. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind for our anniversary.
"Despite them moving us to a much more spacious double room things only continued to get worse as Mick became violently ill before we even had the chance to go on any excursions.
"The day after the nightmare started for me too after I began to experience similar symptoms. It completely wiped us out for the majority of the holiday.
"We barely ate anything and Mick's condition became so bad he ended up losing half a stone in a week."
Amandeep Dhillon, from Irwin Mitchell's travel litigation team, said: "The problems suffered by Mr and Mrs Jackson ruined what should have been an enjoyable anniversary.
"In many cases we find that illnesses like this are a result of a failure to ensure basic health and hygiene procedures are being correctly implemented by the hotel owner or properly enforced by the UK tour operator.
"Thomas Cook needs to look very closely at what happened here and ensure lessons are learnt so no future guests at the Sunrise Royal Makadi Hotel have their holidays ruined like this."
Mrs Jackson added: "There were clearly serious hygiene issues at the hotel. Everyone we spoke to had at least one member of their party who had become ill.
"It doesn’t surprise me as the buffet was a free for all, kids were allowed to pick up food with their hands and there were no staff managing the food area, so most dishes were left uncovered.
"The restaurants were plagued by flies, the salad bars although refrigerated were completely wilted and the food was never hot just luke warm as it was left out in big kettles heated only by a single tea light candle.
"I also had massive concerns about the cleanliness of the pool area. A young child soiled themselves in the pool and no one made any attempt to clear it up. There was a white scum around the waters edge and they were actually re-grouting the tiles whilst people were swimming.
"The resident doctor was completely overrun with call outs to rooms and when we visited the chemist to pick up antibiotics he knew where we were staying before I had even said a word!
"One lady who had just arrived told me she had nearly cancelled her trip because the reviews the hotel was currently getting on the internet from recent guests were so bad she was scared to come.
"To make matters worse the rep was completely unsympathetic and kept telling me that we weren't feeling well as we weren’t used to the heat. He only really seemed interested in collecting money for excursions.
"We had been looking forward to celebrating our 26th anniversary at Luxor's temples for months and booked and paid for the trip as soon as we got there. I was absolutely gutted that we were too ill to go."