Travel lawyer calls for First Choice hotel to be shut down

Travel lawyer calls for First Choice hotel to be shut downPA

A lawyer representing 140 families who fell ill at the Holiday Village Red Sea in Sharm el-Sheikh this summer, is calling for the hotel to be "closed down".

British tour operator First Choice markets the all-inclusive resort, where holidaymakers reported poorly-prepared food, human faeces in swimming pools and vomit in dining areas.

Travel law specialist Nick Harris, from law firm Simpson Millar told The Sunday Times: "Clients have reported human excrement in the swimming pools, irrigation of the grounds with raw sewage, raw food served in the dining rooms and, in one case, a family vomiting over a dining table that was simply wiped down with a wet rag before the next family arrived."

So many guests fell ill this summer that the hotel set up an in-house clinic to care for them, with some guests becoming ill within hours of arrival.

One holidaymaker, Paul Tuncliffe from Bristol, said that conditions at the resort were "life threatening" and told the newspaper: "All four of us fell sick after the first night. The food was uncooked and covered in flies, and kids were so sick, they were defecating in the pool. The reps were worse than useless - one actually described the hotel as 'Camp Death'."

Another guest, who visited the hotel in July, was traumatised when a worker sent to fix a leak in her room touched a live wire and died in front of her and her family.

Once they were aware of the problems in the resort, Mr Harris argues that First Choice should have closed the resort down, rather than continuing to accept bookings.

However, First Choice said that the hotel was "meeting targets for food value and quality" and apologised for the "unusually high level of reported sickness."

A spokesman for the travel company told the Sunday Times: "An expert has been appointed at the hotel to monitor water quality in our pools. In addition to providing extra training to catering staff, more food-quality supervisors have also been hired. We are confident these extra measures have resolved the problems."

Mr Harris has been assisting BBC1's Watchdog in their investigation of the outbreak of food poisoning which affected the resort this summer.

Information on the Simpson Millar website explains that, in one block of guest rooms, holidaymakers in all 12 rooms were affected by "unbearable" stomach cramps and "uncontrollable diarrhoea" which developed within days of arrival.

The hotel swimming pool was closed five times over three days as a result of holidaymakers being so unwell that they lost bowel control or were sick in the pool. Some guests required rehydration therapy and were placed on a drip.

Watchdog heard from more than 70 holidaymakers who were affected this summer, but Simpson Millar has been dealing with hundreds of cases of food poisoning at the hotel over a period of several years.

Some guests who reported illness while staying at the resort have received a full refund and compensation.

If you have stayed at the resort and suffered food poisoning during your stay at any point in the last three years, Simpson Millar recommend that you should contact their travel claims team for a free assessment of your case.

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