By Charlotte Nisbet
A British dad-of-four has been left hospitalised after claiming his luxury five star trip turned into a ‘holiday from hell.’
Niall Quinn, 45, was staying at the Hotel Riu Touareg, in Cape Verde, on September 25, when he says he fell ill just three days into his ‘luxury’ getaway.
After returning to the UK, Niall says he went straight to his local hospital to be hydrated via an intravenous drip and given painkillers – it was here that Niall was officially diagnosed.
Niall says the illness completely ruined his £1800 all-inclusive holiday with his partner – who does not want to be named – after claiming he was only able to eat yoghurts for four days after falling ill.
He has since sought legal advice from travel litigation specialists Hudgell Solicitors.
The specialists are acting on behalf of more than a dozen holidaymakers taken ill at the same five-star hotel in Cape Verde say they have ‘serious concerns’ given outbreaks have been reported in each of the last three years.
Niall, an operations manager, who is the latest in a number of holidaymakers claiming they’ve taken ill at the hotel, said: “We were really excited for this holiday and had booked into the adult only area of the hotel to ensure we had a relaxing time, as it was our only break of the year..
“When we arrived it looked amazing from the outside, just like it does on the brochures and websites, but once we were inside it was very different and soon turned into a nightmare.
“We never left the hotel as it is really in the middle of nowhere and we ate in the restaurant on site.
“On the second night I had a mixed kebab which just didn’t seem right. I wasn’t sure whether it was just because things are cooked differently abroad, but I had my concerns.
“The next day I was in agony with stomach cramps and really suffering with constant diarrhoea which lasted for the remainder of the holiday. It completely ruined our break as I was unable to leave the room.
“A couple of days later my partner started suffering from the same illness, and it was clear other people were suffering too, as many people were not eating at all towards the end of the week and were just having water.
“The whole place just didn’t feel hygienic. There were cats roaming around the swimming pool area and they were drinking out of peoples’ glasses that had been left on the floor by their sun loungers when they were swimming.
“On one occasion my partner saw dead flies in the banana yogurt. By this stage we were both poorly and desperately seeking natural yogurt, as we had been told it would help, but there was none and we would not have touched any further food after seeing that.”
Niall had been due to start a new job on his return from holiday but due to his illness had to delay his start by a week, because he was still so ill. His partner also had to miss four days of work after returning home.
TripAdvisor reviews allege widespread sickness, poor hygiene people left too ill to fly home.
Recent comments on Trip Advisor have included a number which have referred to widespread sickness of guests.
Michelle Nurse, of Hudgell Solicitors, says repeated outbreaks of illnesses affecting a number of guests each year is a clear concern.
She is handling cases for damages on behalf of people taken ill having travelled with holiday operator TUI.
Michelle added: “Sadly we are being contacted regularly regarding illnesses suffered whilst families are staying at this hotel complex and as a result we have been instructed to represent people in seeking damages in each of the past three years.
“We are talking serious illnesses in some cases which have had a long-standing impact on the people we represent. We have one client whose illness remains serious two years after they became ill whilst at the hotel, the causes of which are still being investigated.
“Others have been diagnosed with food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia.
“Our advice to tourists would certainly be to take extra precautions regarding hygiene if travelling to this island. We would advise taking over the counter medication such as Dioralyte and Immodium with them on their travels.”
In responses to complaints on TripAdvisor, the Hotel Riu Touareg’s Online Reputation Manager has admitted a recent ‘increase in reports of cases of gastric discomfort’.
The hotel states: “During the first days of October we perceived an increase in reports of cases of gastric discomfort by some guests, which has now ended. Our specific hygiene protocols were immediately activated.
“To put your mind at rest, we would like to inform you that we are experiencing a favorable evolution of the reported cases of gastric illnesses and that our guests are enjoying their stay as usual.”
A TUI spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear of Mr Quinn’s experience. As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.“