WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

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Legal 500 (2016)

15/04/2014

A number of holidaymakers pursuing legal action after their holidays were ruined at a luxury Cuban resort say they are ‘shocked’ at new reports over the weekend of British people falling ill at the same hotel, with many needing urgent medical attention.

The luxury Cuban resort Playa Pesquero Hotel has been under scrutiny at the weekend again after up to 18 holidaymakers, including a wedding party, required hospital treatment for severe dehydration through IV drips.

Following the reports, one former guest who suffered Salmonella poisoning at the hotel last year has spoken out for the first time after the horrifying reports from Cuba.

Expert travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have secured nearly £50,000 in settlements for holidaymakers who suffered illness at the resort in 2008, 2009 and 2012, as well as pursuing legal action on behalf of people staying in 2013.

Amandeep Dhillon, a specialist travel law solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing the tourists, said: “We are very concerned to hear reports over the weekend that so many holidaymakers appear to have fallen ill at this resort, with many reportedly requiring medical attention.

“We have successfully acted on behalf of holidaymakers who fell ill at this resort in 2008, 2009 and 2012 and we have been instructed in respect of this hotel as recently as November 2013.

“A number of the clients in the 2012 and 2013 cases have been diagnosed with salmonella food poisoning which can be very dangerous and can cause long-term gastric illness problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.”

Philip Millar, from Weston-Super-Mare, called on Irwin Mitchell for help after he travelled to the Playa Pesquero Hotel last year and contracted Salmonella.

Whilst staying at the resort in November 2013, the 30-year-old suffered from stomach cramps and diarrhoea, and two days after returning to the UK needed treatment at Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

Philip, who works in the police service, outlined: “Since my holiday I have been severely ill and had to take two months off from work due to ongoing symptoms and being tired all the time.

“I am disappointed to find out that so many other people may have fallen ill seemingly due to the conditions at the resort.

“I have instructed expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate as I am determined to see justice for what happened to me and I hope the latest holidaymakers get the support they need too.”

Sarah Jane Hulett, 38, travelled with her husband Mark, from Clay Cross in Chesterfield,  to the resort in July 2012 with their children Benjamin, 4, and Samuel, 2, to celebrate their friend’s wedding day.

Unfortunately, celebrations were cut short when Mark and the two children fell ill with diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever and loss of appetite. Just days into their holiday illness struck when Mark and the children began to feel sick. Throughout the rest of their stay in Cuba their symptoms got worse and had to see the hotel doctor and Mark was given an intravenous injection.

The family instructed specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their case against First Choice Holidays after learning that the firm had also helped holidaymakers who were ill at the hotel in both 2008 and 2009.

Sarah, a housewife said: “We had such a terrible experience at the resort and are disgusted to learn that there are others apparently suffering from similar problems just a couple of years later. It was meant to be a five-star hotel but the problems we encountered would make you think otherwise.

“The hotel restaurant was not what we expected after reading about it and seeing photographs. The food was sometimes undercooked with some hot food served lukewarm and some foods that should have been chilled not kept cold enough.

“To make matters worse, we saw some food which was left out completely uncovered for long periods of time and ants and flies were often seen buzzing around the food. Other animals such as dogs, cats and birds were regularly seen in the restaurant near to the food.

“We are happy and relieved that our legal team at Irwin Mitchell have secured a settlement for us and that the proceedings have now come to a close but I’d hate for others to suffer as we did.”

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"We were very happy with the outcome of our case, especially as we were initially offered nothing from the Tour Operator. Irwin Mitchell were very professional throughout and we are very happy with the outcome."

Chris and Michael, Worksop