A couple who endured a holiday from hell in the Dominican Republic are among more than 100 angry travellers seeking compensation.
Pete and Mandy Gladwin, of Anthony Nolan Road, Fairstead, Lynn, arrived at the 5*-rated Riu resort on June 24 for a two-week, all-inclusive stay.
Mrs Gladwin, 53, and her 54-year-old businessman husband enjoyed an idyllic few days before the first weekend of their trip saw an influx of about 1,500 local guests.
She said: “Things went downhill rapidly after that.”
Food in the restaurant became scarce. Some of the incomers used the pool and surrounding area as a toilet. Others swam in the pool fully-dressed and wearing shoes. Towels and belongings left on sunbeds were pilfered and prostitutes were working in the bar, she said.
The new arrivals also “took mattresses from the pool area and large amounts of food from the restaurant to their rooms for their friends who had been sneaked in.”
Resort staff were overwhelmed and she felt the Thomson reps were unhelpful. “We complained and they said we just had to grin and bear it. They were trying to sell us excursions to go out but we didn’t want to because they were very pricey.”
Problems continued into the next week and on Wednesday the couple heard 2,000-2,500 people would be arriving before the second weekend of their stay.
They joined 300 other British guests who staged a sit-in protest in the hotel reception and are now seeking recompense through the Irwin Mitchell law firm.
The couple were moved to another hotel for the last three days of their holiday but not before both developed stomach upsets, which they attributed to poor food hygiene. “There were flies in the dining hall and birds coming in pecking the food,” she said. They also saw rats and cockroaches. Mrs Gladwin said some distressed guests were “crying to go home.”
A spokesman for Thomson said: “ We are sorry that Mr and Mrs Gladwin were unhappy with their stay at the Riu Merenge Hotel. As this case is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for us to comment further. Thomson holds customer satisfaction in the highest regard. We do everything possible to ensure customers have a fantastic holiday.”