Unacceptable El Greco Hotel Hygiene Means Compensation for Family with Gastric Illness


A 29 year-old holidaymaker and her family who fell ill due to contaminated pool water in Ibiza have been awarded damages.

In October 2012, the family were holidaying at the Hotel El Greco in Portinax, accompanied by a friend.

6 affected – from a party of 8

Shortly before returning to the UK, 6 of the party's 8 members were struck with severe gastric illness, each experiencing nausea, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, fever, headaches, malaise, tiredness and weight-loss.

All these symptoms are indicative of gastroenteritis caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, itself usually passed on through contaminated food and swimming pool water.

Holiday Ruined

"The illness ruined the family holiday," Simpson Millar's Andrew Tarling said. "The long-term consequence, for the family's mother in particular, has been the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the effects of which are likely to last for 3 years.

"Other knock-on effects have been forced absence from work and disruption to routine activities, including cancellation of planned birthday celebrations."

Long-term Effects Uncertain

Andrew noted that our client was especially concerned about the prospect of her family not recovering from the illness, and the possibility of her children becoming permanently unwell.

Tellingly, the 2 individuals spared the debilitating illness were the only members of the group who had not swum in the hotel's swimming pools.

However, no one could help noticing during their stay the poor general standards of hygiene evidently kept by the hotel management.

Concerns for Hygiene from the Start

"There were significant concerns about the standard of hygiene at the resort," the medical report which supported the family's compensation claim stated.

"Hotel staff placed hot food on top of cold in the buffet area, food was often served cold or lukewarm, food was recycled by re-serving it at later meals, raw and cooked meats were placed together at the cooking bar and food was left to stand for long periods at unhygienic temperatures."

Dirty Cups and Flies in Swimming Pool

The report also noted "unacceptably" poor standards of cleanliness in and around the Hotel El Greco's pool. "There was sand in the pool for the duration of the [family's] holiday, with no evidence that the pools had been cleaned at any time during their stay. There were dirty cups, ice-cream pots and large numbers of flies, and children were swimming in their nappies."

Rats Spotted in Hotel Complex

The report went on to state that rats had been seen in and around the complex.

"We alleged that, between them, the travel operator and hotel were negligent in a number of respects and that the client was entitled to receive compensation in accordance with the Package Travel Regulations" Andrew Tarling said. "Thomas Cook was liable for the negligence of its supplier – in this case, the hotel. Had the firm and the hotel exercised all due care, our client's illness would have been avoided."

Praise for Simpson Millar

On receiving a compensation award of £6,000, our client praised Simpson Millar's service and expressed thanks that she had been kept up to date with how her claim progressed. "We received great advice when offers were put forward… thank you."

Top Tips to Take Away:

  • If you fall ill with gastric problems on or soon after a hotel holiday abroad, both the hotel and the firm you booked with could be liable
  • Regrettably, illness attributable to the Cryptosporidium parasite is becoming a common characteristic of package holidays in hot climates – if the pool is dirty, don’t swim in it
  • If you've been struck down with illness it's vital to talk to a specialist who understands holiday legal protection

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