'It was hellish' - Couple caught dysentery holidaying at five-star resort featured in TUI's TV adverts
PUBLISHED: 13:14 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 07 August 2019
A Norwich couple say their summer holiday became "hellish" after they contracted dysentery while staying at a five-star hotel featured in a travel firm's TV adverts.
Cindy and Stephen Greaves were attached to IV drips for up to 12 hours a day in a Turkish hospital after contracting the bug while at a TUI hotel.
They say despite TUI reps sending them to a doctor and booking their taxis to hospital, no-one visited them to check on their condition.
Dysentery is highly infections, according to the NHS, and can be passed on through poor hygiene.
And the couple are now taking legal action against the travel firm, who moved to reassure customers that they "regularly audit" hotels over health and safety.
But Mrs Greaves, 59, a retired Sainsbury's food buyer, said: "I think the behaviour towards us has been despicable.
"Every time I see their adverts on TV it makes me sick. We know the truth behind the glitz. People know to know what they are really like. "They have no customer service or manners and just want to fob you off, they advertise it as high end but when we were hospitalised there was virtually no assistance.
"We were hospitalised under their watch and they knew other guests had the same bug but didn't bother warning us. Now they have the cheek to suggest we are dishonest which is outrageous.
"There were reps in the hotel and treated our illness as an inconvenience. We could have been dead for all they cared."
The couple had been staying at the Sensatori Barut Fethiye, in Fethiye, Turkey, a resort which had featured in a multi-million pound television advertising campaign by TUI.
And Mrs Greaves said, to start with, the 2016 holiday was as luxurious as they had hoped.
"It was great, we had a swim up room and the resort was around 18 months old and luxurious," she added. "The first part of the holiday was great but the second week was hellish."
But she said her husband, 65, became ill and was unable to leave their room. She then became ill the following day and, despite warning staff, was forced to leave her hotel room to get the couple food.
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She said: "I tried to tell them I was ill and that I shouldn't be near food, which I knew from my work in the food industry, but they didn't care so I had to go into the restaurant anyway."
After speaking to their TUI rep the following day, they were sent to an on-site doctor, who referred them to hospital.
"The liaison who spoke English told us we have to stay in hospital for three to seven days because there is an amoeba bug in our systems which is contagious," she said. "I broke down crying."
They were later told another couple had ended up in hospital for two days with the same illness.
Mr Greaves said: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing. They must have known there was a problem and didn't warn anyone."
And he said despite staying in the hospital, hooked up to an IV for 12 hours a day for three days, nobody from the firm visited.
"We were in constant pain on the drips and the nurses were quite rough and had trouble getting the needles in, so our arms were black and blue," he said.
After getting the all clear and having been prescribed six strong antibiotic pills each per day, the couple spent the remainder of their holiday waiting to go home.
"It was almost as if they wanted to dismiss what had happened to us and acted as if I was an inconvenience," he said.
Their return home was followed by more than a year's back and forth with the firm, and the couple are now taking legal action against TUI over their ruined holiday.
Andrew Tarling, travel lawyer at Simpson Millar Solicitors, is handling their case. He said: "This is a very nasty bug and they experienced a horrific ordeal in a foreign country and are extremely lucky not to have their health seriously impaired for life.
"This was compounded by their treatment by TUI. Tour operators need to do much more to ensure the safety of their guests while abroad."
A TUI UK spokesperson said: "We're sorry to hear that Mr and Mrs Greaves became unwell on their holiday. As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
"We'd like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene."