Stevenage couple in claim over holiday from hell

GRIME, faeces in the swimming pool, and undercooked food – a couple from Comet country have joined dozens of holidaymakers in suing for compensation after a trip to Egypt turned into a holiday from hell.

Nicholas and Meral St John, of Ashdown Road in Stevenage, had saved all year to take their two children - three-year-old Ella and two-year-old Shae - on a two-week trip to Sharm el Sheikh, staying at the Holiday Village Red Sea.

“The whole place was filthy,” said Mr St John, “and on the second or third day we got food poisoning. We were ill throughout the whole holiday.”

They are among more than 80 people who have joined together to sue Tui Travel plc, trading as First Choice Holidays, over their stays at the holiday resort between May 2008 and January 2009.

Most of the claimants suffered from gastro intestinal illness, including vomiting and diarrhoea, while some developed salmonella and C difficile, according to a writ issued at London’s High Court last week.

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“Everybody was dropping like flies,” said Mr St John, who holidayed at the resort in June 2008.

“The children’s meals were so badly cooked that the chicken was pink.

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“The swimming pool wasn’t cleaned out – there was human waste in it, with people sat in there.

“There was a mini bar in our room with drinks in it that were out of date.”

Mrs St John added: “We paid over �2,000 for that holiday. They called it a family resort, but it wasn’t clean.

“The high chairs were absolutely filthy. They were mouldy, with leftover food in them from whoever had used them before.

“Somebody else’s hairs were in our shower, and our room had plaster hanging off the ceiling.

“It was absolutely disgusting.”

Mr St John said dozens of guests would head on a daily basis to a McDonald’s close to the hotel for meals, despite having paid for an all inclusive package, because “the food in the hotel was unbelievably awful”.

“We were promised a luxury resort, but it was horrific,” he said. “It was dirty and grimy, and half of it was still being built.

“Everybody we spoke to couldn’t wait to get out of there, and we just couldn’t wait to get home.

“There were people queuing out the doors to complain, and the reps were so stressed out they left.”

Mr St John said he wrote a letter of complaint to First Choice and was offered a �150 voucher, which he refused.

Holidaymakers suing for compensation also include Amanda Thomson, 27, Vera Thomas, 56, and Gracie Wan, two, of Wellington Road, Stevenage.

According to the writ, those suing the travel company blame their illnesses on food and drink supplied by the hotel, and accuse First Choice of negligence, alleging they failed to ensure reasonable skill and care was used in preparing food and drink, and to ensure infection was eliminated.

Their legal team says First Choice has not accepted liability for its suppliers’ negligence through the booking conditions.

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