Two sisters who suffered 130 horrific bites by bedbugs at a London hotel have each been awarded £1,600 damages in an out-of-court settlement.
The money was awarded to Melanie Carmen from Seasalter, near Whitstable, Kent and her younger sister Joy McDonagh from Sidcup, Kent, to cover medical expenses and lost earnings after their hotel room was know to have an infestation.
The sisters spent three nights at the two-star Airways Hotel in Victoria in February 2010 to celebrate McDonagh's 50th birthday. But the stay was ruined when Carmen was bitten 86 times and McDonagh 52 times during their stay. It took the sisters four months to recover from their ordeal.
Carmen told the Mail: "We hesitated at first to stay there but although the curtains were a bit grubby, the linen in the room looked clean. It wasn't until the following morning I woke up and thought I'd picked up a rash from something. The irritation increased and started spreading to my arms. Joy had the same thing and that's when we asked to move rooms."
A spokesman for the hotel said: "It's very unfortunate what happened to these two ladies but we have no way of being able to trace exactly where these infestations came from.
"Experts say there are 20,000 cases of bedbugs in hotels across the UK every year, that's five-star hotels included, so we're not immune to the problem. We have a full-time contract with a pest control company and when problems are reported they come in immediatley to deal with any issues."
Since the sisters' stay, travel website Tripadvisor has been flooded with 'poor' or 'terrible' reviews from other guests. On the web site, 147 people have rated the hotel 'terrible' and 70 'poor'.
Earlier this year, British Airways' passenger, Zane Selkirk, 28, was bitten by bedbugs on a flight from London to Bangalore. She set up a web site (www.ba-bites.com) showing pictures of her ordeal because she was furious about the way BA staff handled her complaint.