Rip Off Britain: Family's Jamaican holiday ruined by festival-goers
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Rachel and Katie are based in Liverpool and booked a dream holiday to Jamaica. Katie’s husband live in Jamaica and they often take their children to visit family there.
She told the BBC: “Jamaica is our second home. We’re really really proud of the island and love the culture.”
She said it had been hugely important to her family and helped to connect her children with their dual heritage.
Due to the pandemic, the children had been separated from their grandparents in Jamaica for two years.
The family booked a two week holiday and were set to travel as a group of 24 family and friends.
The booking with TUI cost around £15,000 and the group were due to stay at the Luxury Grand Palladium Resort and Spa in Montego Bay.
The five star hotel boasts off family friendly facilities including watersports and a kids pool.
Katie said the “holiday meant the world” to the family and they were so excited to get back to Jamaica.
At first the holiday lived up to the family’s expectations with excellent food, staff and stunning grounds.
However, four days in the family holiday was ruined when they discovered the hotel was hosting a four day music festival called Fantasy Island.
Around 700 people came to celebrate. The sisters said: “All hell broke loose. The main pool was overtaken.
“People were drinking like fish. It’s fine if it’s in a nightclub, not morning time round a pool with children.
“There was sexual behaviour going on at the pool bar for all to see. They didn’t care if there were children there.”
The festival had been advertised to partygoers as an adult only weekend and seemed to be living up to their expectations.
Katie complained to the hotel manager and the TUI rep but said she was only offered four free nights by the hotel.
TUI offered the family £150 per person in vouchers or £100 in cash as compensation. They felt it was not enough.
NHS worker Emma Owen and her family were also staying at the hotel when they were shocked by the festival.
She had booked an 11 night all inclusive holiday for £7,000 due to the family appeal of the resort.
She said she saw Fantasy Island revellers “vomit in the pool” and the family friendly atmosphere had gone.
Travel expert Lisa Minot said: “It really is down to the tour operator to inform their guests that there is going to be a significant change or impact on their holiday.”
She said it was purely down to the tour operator to tell guests significant changes.
TUI told Express.co.uk: “We’re very sorry that some of our customers’ holidays were impacted by this unexpected event at the Grand Palladium Resort and Spa in August 2021.
“While the hotel did not make us aware in advance, we understand how upsetting this was, and have offered a refund for the full four days, along with our sincere apologies.
We’d like to reassure customers that this hotel will no longer be hosting this event.”
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