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Sun, Sea, Sand And...Sickness For Holiday Couple

‘Luxury’ Anniversary Celebrations Ruined By Illness


A couple from Liverpool are taking legal action against First Choice after their New Year holiday in the Dominican Republic was ruined by gastric illness.  

Robert Bowden-Davies travelled with his wife Linda and nine other family members to the Dreams Palm Beach Hotel in the Dominican Republic between December 2011 and January 2012 to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Upon arrival at the hotel Robert and his party were informed that due to the hotel being overbooked they were being transferred to the Catalonia Bavaro Hotel for four days.

Just a few days into the holiday, booked through travel operator First Choice Holidays and Flights Limited, Mr Bowden-Davies began suffering symptoms of gastric illness, to include symptoms of diarrhoea, sickness and stomach cramps. His condition also caused him stress, anxiety and his blood pressure to soar and his wife also endured diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea.

The couple, of Hale Village in Liverpool, have instructed travel law specialists at Irwin Mitchell after their dream anniversary celebrations were ruined.

Mrs Bowden-Davies alleges their son’s hotel room had cockroaches and mosquitoes in it and needed to be fumigated, some of the food was undercooked and left uncovered, allowing birds to land on the buffet table.

She said: “This holiday was meant to be an idyllic, romantic and unforgettable 30th wedding anniversary celebration – but it turned out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

“We had initially planned to stay at the Dreams Palm Beach Hotel, but on arrival we were told it was fully booked. We were offered a room at the Catalonia Bavaro Hotel and reassured it was a quality, five-star establishment. Due to the mix up of hotels, we had a number of meetings with the members of hotel staff to resolve this issue, who at times were rude and uncooperative. 

“One of the bedrooms was riddled with bugs and had to be fumigated, which was an unpleasant welcome to the hotel. The gastric illness symptoms my husband and I suffered caused us a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety and ruined our holiday, particularly during the New Year period.

Vishal Mahay, an expert in holiday illness claims at Irwin Mitchell, is representing the couple. He said: "Mr and Mrs Bowden-Davies had most of their holiday, New Year and anniversary celebrations ruined as a result of the illness contracted at the Catalonia Bavaro Hotel, which is completely unacceptable.

“Experts at Irwin Mitchell are committed to campaigning for higher hygiene standards at hotels, both at home and abroad, and to achieving justice for those whose holidays have been ruined. We hope that First Choice will work quickly and amicably with us to allow the couple to try and put this nightmare ordeal behind them.

“It’s important that lessons are learnt from the couple’s experience because gastric illnesses of this kind can lead to long term health problems that people never fully recover from.”