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Ruined holiday compensation of £4,200 after Mexican holiday ordeal

Holiday spoilt by illness


A couple have been awarded £4,200 compensation for their ruined holiday after spending the bulk of their break in Mexican confined to their hotel, suffering from a serious gastric illness.

Dennis Walls, 66 and his wife Jean, 65, of Gipton Wood Crescent, Oakwood, received the sum at the end of a two-year fight for damages. Their ruined holiday compensation claim was part of a group action, involving 127 cases, brought by national law firm Irwin Mitchell, which has offices throughout the UK and Spain, against tour operator My Travel.

The couple were on a family holiday with daughter Marianne Francey, son-in-law Ronnie and seven year old granddaughter Jessica, when they were all struck down with diarrhoea and severe abdominal pains four days into their two-week holiday at the Viva Azteca Hotel, Cancun, in the summer of 2003.

Ruined holiday compensation claims

Cases brought by the Franceys are amongst 20 still outstanding against My Travel, for which Irwin Mitchell will be issuing proceedings shortly.

Recalling the illness, Mr Walls said: The conditions in the Viva Azteca were appalling. The pool had a layer of scum and the food in the restaurant was kept warm on hotplates and left uncovered. My wife was the first to be struck down with the bug but all of us suffered from terrible stomach pains and diarrhoea and were still out of sorts when we returned to the UK.

It was supposed to be a dream holiday but it was totally ruined. We were stuck in the hotel for almost the entire fortnight and couldn't enjoy any day trips. My daughter still suffers from abdominal pain, three years on, which has been attributed to our time at the Viva Azteca.

A total of 127 holidaymakers were affected at the hotel that summer, the majority of which were struck down with illness after guests reported a series of health and hygiene problems.

They claimed food, in addition to being left uncovered, was often undercooked, various creatures - including lizards, cats, flies and birds - were in the eating area, and crockery and cutlery were frequently unclean. Other guests also reported the swimming pool was dirty and had litter floating in it.

Unhelpful tour representatives

Many holidaymakers said the tour representatives were also unhelpful in dealing with their complaints. They claimed at one point so many people were taken ill the hotel was barely able to cope and the scene was one of almost complete chaos.

Suki Chhokar, the partner with Irwin Mitchell handling the cases, said: "Around 10 of the clients in the group action were so badly affected that, according to medical experts, they will never make a full recovery.

"The majority of our clients have now agreed compensation settlements with My Travel and we hope an agreement will soon be reached with the company in cases like the Francey's which have yet to reach this stage.

"It's regrettable we continue to be contacted by hundreds of people every year who have serious complaints relating to health and hygiene issues at hotels throughout the world and who have become ill through no fault of their own. With the correct health and hygiene procedures, this type of situation can so easily be avoided."

Have you got a ruined holiday compensation claim? If you or someone you know has been affected by a similar incident, please visit our accidents and illness abroad section to find out how we could help you.