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Cuban hotel probed after spate of food poisoning and bad hygiene reviews

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Sep 11, 2017

A luxury Cuban hotel hit by a swathe of horrific reviews is being probed by a holiday company.

First Choice holidays, part of the TUI group, says it is looking into standards at the four-star Memories Paraiso in Cuba - pictured above - following complaints and after we contacted the company.


Megaphone silhouette

One traveller who booked to stay at the hotel from 19 September has demanded a refund or a change of hotel after seeing the reviews.

Kenneth Lamb, 30, from Dundee paid £1,240 for he and his partner, Robert, to stay a week at the hotel.

But the couple raised concerns with First Choice after seeing how many people had criticised standards of hygiene and complained about food poisoning there; Kenneth has also registered a complaint with A Spokesman Said and we have contacted First Choice.

Guests have posted photos on the hotel's TripAdvisor page of filthy towels, tattered bedding, broken electrical appliances and lack of cleanliness. Other pictures show the pool has turned a dirty shade of green:


"You just feel trapped"

“I’m really not satisfied with the way First Choice have handled this,” Kenneth told us.

But the fact is he and others do not have any consumer rights with regard to bad reviews, no matter how many there are.

“We booked the holiday at the beginning of August,” Kenneth told us.

“Then the bad reviews started coming through about health issues and food poisoning. It’s hard to believe people are still being sent there at all.”

The problem was that, even though Kenneth raised concerns within the 28-day cancellation period, by the time email exchanges had taken place, the cancellation period had expired.

“They want £2,600 to change to a different hotel, which is crazy.

“Their health and safety team have admitted there are these reports, but have only vaguely reassured us. You just feel trapped.

“They could have reassured me they’re doing something specific in the resort, instead of just acknowledging there was something wrong. I never got the sense they were taking any action.”

For in-depth advice read: Cancelling a holiday - when should you do it? And what are your rights?


Terrible reviews reflect couple's concern

A selection of quotes from the reviews from TripAdvisor reflect couple’s concerns:

'Hygiene very poor' 'bad stomach since day 3'  

'Holiday ruined by bad food and upset stomach'

'It was truly awful'

“My husband was so poorly all he was having bread and tonic water/bottled water very expensive all-inclusive holiday for bread and water.”

'Both my husband and I were ill with stomach cramps and severe diarrhoea from the second day we arrived to the day we left.'

‘Staff taking plastic cups from the bins and washing them to reuse'

‘Do not use the coffee machine as when it was opened to refill a load of cockroaches fell out felt sick as had been using the machine during stay!'

'I have just returned, both me and my partner have parasitic infections from the food and the entire coach from the hotel to airport was full of people that had had an awful stay and were ill'.

After we contacted First Choice holidays, they said they would look into the problems at the hotel and the complaints Kenneth had raised.

In a statement, the company said: “We’re sorry to hear of Mr Lamb’s concerns regarding his upcoming holiday. 

“We’re currently looking into his query and will be in touch with him in due course. 

We’d like to remind customers that we regularly audit all accommodations we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.”

First Choice have promised to get back to us once they have carried out further inquiries.

If you need help with your holiday issue, make a complaint on A Spokesman Said.

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