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Holiday ruined as woman and disabled daughter switched to hotel miles away from destination

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Dec 22, 2017

What was supposed to be a dream getaway to Rome has turned into a nightmare for a woman and her disabled daughter.

Sue McCarthy booked a two-day trip for January with Weekender Breaks - staying at a hotel overlooking the Vatican.

But when it came to confirm her accommodation, the company switched her to a different hotel nearly three miles away and has refused to refund her.


Megaphone silhouette

"It was just going to be a really nice trip - this has ruined the whole experience," Sue told A Spokesman Said.

Sue, 53, from New Forest, Hampshire, was taking her son and 19-year-old daughter, who has learning difficulties, on a family trip.

While her daughter was OK on planes, Sue did not want to stress her out by having to travel on crowded busses or trains.

"I don't want to put more pressure on her than I need to."

Sue was promised a hotel close to the Vatican.

Sue paid £520 for the trip as part of a deal offered by Wowcher and was excited to be so central.

But when she rang to confirm the trip, Weekender Breaks said it would "upgrade" her to a different hotel.

"The salesman made out as if he was doing me a huge favour.

"He didn't say where the upgrade was and he didn't give me an option, he just said 'I'm going to upgrade you'."

When Sue got an email and found out where the hotel actually was, she rang up straight away – but was told it was too late.

"The Wowcher deal was for right next to the Vatican, why would you think otherwise in any way shape or form that they were putting you miles outside the city?

"You assume they are being honest and upfront."


A hotel "upgrade"

The original Wowcher deal was for a hotel called the Hearth, just seconds from the Vatican.

The "upgraded" hotel - the Raganelli - is miles away.

Wowcher has refunded its share of the tickets and requested Weekender Breaks do the same, saying it falsely advertised the trip.

In an email Wowcher told the booking company: “We really push that you could refund our customer for the independent amount of £260 that you charged, as there was a matter of false advertisement here, as they did not know where the hotel was situated.”

Weekender Breaks offered Sue other hotels, but these were not up to the standard or location of the original, she said.

A Spokesman Said asked Weekender Breaks to explain why it would not offer a refund. The company has not responded.


Out of pocket

Sue booked on 22 November and has exchanged dozens of emails with Weekender Breaks trying to resolve the problem.

The trip was booked for 6 January, but now Sue was unsure if she could go.

“I am now £260 out of pocket, unable to take this trip and they are refusing to refund me.”