Instead of enjoying an all-inclusive ‘platinum’ experience during their first holiday in nine years, the family say they only discovered how massive Mauritian rats are – after the giant rodents repeatedly invaded their hotel room.
Jo Carroll and partner Steve Taylor, from Warwickshire, say their stay at Hotel Riu Creole in Le Morne SW Mauritius in April this year was ruined by:
* Having to move hotel room three times because of the huge rats in the room.
* Two days worth of continuous pneumatic drilling as renovations were carried out.
* Food poisoning.
* A child slashing his foot on glass in the swimming pool.
* A faulty air-con pipe leaking through the room’s ceiling.
* An invasion of locals on an all-night ‘all-you-can-eat (and drink)’ deal!
* Two sick children with raging temperatures of 40C who a doctor suggested had picked up a fever from the hotel’s faulty air con system.
Jo, who made a complaint through consumer action site A Spokesman Said said after all she, Steve and her two children, William, seven, and baby Bob, six months, had suffered, they were disgusted when Thomson offered them just £440 in compensation.
“We were furious,” Jo said. “We had spent a fortune on this holiday and this hotel is advertised as ‘platinum’ and top of the range.
“Not only do we want the full cost of this ruined holiday back, but I want people to know the kind of place Thomson are sending people to.”
Jo says she understands that things can go wrong, and that Mauritius is a tropical island and there will be rats around.
“But constantly IN our hotel room! No! And these were huge!
“We started off in room 3015, where after three days we saw a large rat run across the room when I was in bed nursing my sick son. Reception sent a man with a broom up and some spray, but he couldn’t find the rat.
“When it reappeared (I’m assuming here it was the same one, although I didn’t ask it to introduce itself while I was standing on the bed shrieking), I called reception again and this time they agreed to move us to another room.
“We managed two days in there before I saw another rat trying to get at a milk bottle in my son’s travel cot when I was up nursing him with a fever at 4am in the morning.
“We found the rats were getting in through a large hole in our bedroom wall that had a piece of cardboard placed in front of it and the bedside cabinet holding it in place.
“We filled the obvious gaps with towels and socks to stop any more rats getting into the room until morning. Further investigation of other rooms on the ground floor revealed that all had similar ill fitting, unsecured hatches.
“It was therefore hardly surprising that the rats appeared to be travelling unhindered from room to room, largely undetected by all but those unfortunate enough to be up all night nursing sick children and feeding babies.”
Joe says rats were able to enter the room through holes in the wall.
The couple say that, in addition, each weekend the hotel was invaded by around 400 to 500 rowdy and hard-drinking locals on the ‘Mauritian equivalent of a Groupon’.
“The all night drinking, standing-room only in the bar, fighting (our friend’s mother got punched in the neck by a drunk in the bar), reminded me of my trips to Kavos and Ibiza in my long-past youth, not the Thomson platinum family hotel we’d paid
£6.5k for,” Jo said.
During their stay, Jo says, they constantly had to call the local doctor out who implied that the couple’s children’s fevers had likely been caused by faulty air conditioning.
Jo says several other children were also sick during their time at the hotel.The family’s medical bill amounted to £1,400 by the end of their stay.
After their initial offer of £440, Thomson were twice contacted by a national newspaper over the case and each time they upped their compensation offer, Jo says – first to £1,000 and then finally to £2,000.
“But I’m still fuming over the way they treated us at first – they only came back with these increased offers because they were worried about publicity. Now, we’ve taken the complaint to ABTA for them to rule on it.
“Frankly, we won’t be satisfied until they fully recompense us so we can take an equivalent holiday elsewhere.
“But it’s not just the money anymore – I want people to see what kind of company they are. They should have stopped selling holidays at this hotel after our experiences.”
Thomson is defending the couple’s case and in a submission to ABTA it has argued that:
* It’s T&Cs state that building work is sometimes necessary and unavoidable.
* Jo and Steve haven’t been able to provide evidence their children were sick.
* And, even if the children were sick, it could have been caused by too much sun, or different foods and drinks, which can ‘disturb the digestive process’.
* Of the rats in the hotel’s bedrooms, Thomson says, “In respect of the ‘Mauritian rats’, “this is a tropical island and as such, there will be wildlife among the natural vegetation, this being the habitat of such creatures. It is expected that these creatures will be seen occasionally, and their presence is outwith the control of the tour operator and the hotel.” And anyway, the hotel is fumigated, Thomson told ABTA.
The case is now before ABTA, who will make a decision on whether to refund the family.