Five-Month Old Amongst Group Taken Ill At Bulgarian resort
The conditions at a four-star resort in Bulgaria have come under fire as the mother of a 5-month old baby taken seriously ill with gastric symptoms whilst staying at the hotel demanded answers from tour operator Balkan Holidays Limited.
Concerned for future holidaymakers, Claire Bowden, 31, said she felt she had no choice but to seek legal advice after being ‘mortified’ to see several other families suffer illness and infection at the Sun Palace Hotel this September.
Now travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell, who are representing eight victims of illness who have stayed at this hotel, say an urgent review of the health and hygiene standards must be conducted so that improvements can be made and lessons learnt.
Two families, including four children – one of whom was just 5-months old – contacted Irwin Mitchell after visiting their GPs complaining of painful gastric symptoms including stomach cramps, sickness and diarrhoea.
Both groups reported similar complaints, describing undercooked chicken, lukewarm and recycled food being served in a restaurant overrun with animals and bugs and also a dirty pool. Both groups also reported other tourists in the resort complaining of similar symptoms.
The Sun Palace Hotel has also been blasted by reviews on the Trip Advisor website. Several users who had also visited the hotel this summer complained about the food, with one user stating the family had suffered from upset stomachs.
All members of the Fyles family, from Radcliffe, Manchester, fell ill at the resort. Dad Michael, 50, mum Karen, 43, and their twin children Connor and Stephanie, 12, continue to suffer from the symptoms of their illness, which include diarrhoea and vomiting.
The Bowden family, from Stalybridge, Cheshire, also fell ill at the resort. Claire, 31, Anthony, 27, Jake, 5, and Madison, 5 months, all continue to suffer gastric symptoms and are awaiting the results of tests taken by their local GP.
Claire, who is currently on maternity leave from her job as an auxiliary nurse said:"We arrived at the hotel, and immediately knew it was not four-star quality. The hot food was tepid at best, and the fact that the hotel had to provide microwaves for guests to re-heat their food just shows that it should not have been served up in the first place. Dinner was just a rehash of lunch, and in the end the food was so bad that we just ended up eating out despite paying for full board. Surely no one could deny that the conditions were plain terrible!
"We were so ill and couldn’t wait to get home. But I was mortified to see so many others also suffering as a result of really serious gastric symptoms and infections as a result of the hygiene in the hotel and pool. No one at the hotel seemed to care much though, we complained but it didn’t feel like we were being taken seriously.”
Jatinder Paul, a travel law specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The reports we have received from our clients and other guests indicate that the hotel fell well short of acceptable standards in a number of respects. As well as contracting serious illness during their stays at the Sun Palace the reports we’ve heard suggest staff have shown a lack of care when guests fell ill - even when one of those guests was a 5-month-old baby.
"Tour operators have a clear duty of care to their customers to protect their safety. From the evidence available it is clear that important and fundamental standards of health and safety were breached.
"We hope that Balkan Holidays will work with us to resolve this matter swiftly and amicably on behalf of our clients and that a full investigation into conditions at the resort are carried out so the two families involved can attain answers, justice and assurances that lessons have been learnt as a result of what they have been through.”