'Our holiday from hell': Ellesmere Port family claim Caribbean resort made them ill


Steve Creswell

A FAMILY endured a “holiday from hell” in the Dominican Republic, claiming their room was plagued with mould and made them ill.

Kevin Mansell, 39, and partner Caroline Cohen, 37, from Ellesmere Port, splashed out £3,458 on a two-week trip for them and children Amber, 10, and Harley, nine.

But soon after arriving at the Memories Splash Punta Cana resort – booked with First Choice – their dream began to disintegrate into a nightmare.

Caroline Cohen and Kevin Mansell with children Harley, eight, and Amber, nine, had a holiday  from hell  in the Dominican Republic

The couple, who are embroiled in a complaints procedure against the company, say they were only moved to a different room two days before the end of the holiday.

Harley was too ill to fly home and he and Caroline had to stay behind for four days while he received expensive medical treatment.

“It was a torrid experience from start to finish,” said Kevin, of Windsor Drive, Whitby. “A holiday from hell.

“It was very upsetting and caused a great deal of stress to our family when it was supposed to be about happy memories.”

Caroline said clothing was ruined due to damp and mould and at one point the couple had to pour Coca-Cola on a pillow to ensure it was replaced by cleaners.

“We had 12 nights of sleeping in damp bedding, breathing in mould spores and wearing damp clothes,” she said. “When we asked front desk they told us it was normal because of the climate in the Dominican Republic.

“We spent most of our days either complaining to the rep, going to the doctors, travelling to hospitals or having to stay in our room due to sickness.

“The only reason they moved us for the last two nights was because we questioned it being dangerous and we told them we had packed our things and would sleep in reception until they found us somewhere else.”

Over the course of the holiday, booked from November 3 to 17 last year, Amber developed a cough, all suffered stiffness and soreness and Kevin lost his voice and had bad headaches.

“As for my little boy, he really suffered,” added Caroline. “His eyes swelled up and he was crying with them, and then he got a bad ear infection to the point of screaming in pain. After seeing the doctor over there at the cost of 125USD and her then sending us to the hospital they said he was unfit to fly home.

“He ended up having to stay in the Dominican Republic an extra four days and make two expensive visits to the hospital. It was the worst experience of my life.”

The couple have provided photographs and a video to First Choice, which is investigating. There is currently nothing to suggest the travel company and resort are directly to blame for the health issues the family says it endured.

In a statement to the Standard, a spokesman for First Choice said: “We were sorry to hear about Mr Mansell and Miss Cohen’s holiday experience. We’re investigating the matter with our resort teams and are in direct contact with the customers to resolve the matter.

“We would like to reassure customers that we closely audit all our resorts to ensure that health, hygiene and comfort levels are maintained in line with industry standards.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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