Anniversary trip a ‘holiday from hell’

Val's injured knee
Val's injured knee

A mother-of-three who had to have knee surgery after a ‘holiday from hell’ in Cuba has vowed to keep on fighting to get a full refund from Thomas Cook.

Valerie Smith, 50, of Luton, was disappointed with the ABTA arbitrator’s decision to offer her and her husband Brian £395.50 compensation from the travel agent.

The hotel

The hotel

The couple booked a £2,000 package holiday to celebrate their 20th anniversary in October last year.

When booking the holiday they told the travel agent about Mrs Smith’s disabilities, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal problems, requesting a room on the ground or first floor.

She said: “This was supposed to be a relaxing and luxury holiday but it was nothing short than a holiday from hell, Thomas Cook miss-sold the holiday to us.

“When we arrived at the hotel it got worse, it was falling apart, there were stray dogs wandering around, a dead bat hanging from a extractor vent, our room was on the fourth floor and there was no lift.

The hotel in the Thomas Cook brochure

The hotel in the Thomas Cook brochure

“We minimised the times I used the stairs but by the third day my knee had swollen to three times its size, we went to reception and asked to change rooms. They moved us to the ground floor, but the damage to my knee was already done.”

When the couple returned home Mrs Smith had surgery on her knee. She said: “I had torn cartilage in my knee during the first few days, I am still suffering now.”

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of our customers. We are always concerned to hear of any injuries reported while on holiday, as well as any disappointment about quality and service.

“We are in discussions with Mr and Mrs Smith’s solicitors on their claims. Where appropriate, we will of course work with our hotel partner to make sure all of our customers experience the high standards that they rightly expect from a Thomas Cook holiday.”

The pool at the hotel

The pool at the hotel

Stained bed sheets from the hotel

Stained bed sheets from the hotel