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Holiday Illness Complaint

Several holiday goers report gastric illness at the ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol in Spain

5th July 2017


A number of reviewers who stayed at the ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol have reported that they suffered the debilitating symptoms of a gastric illness during their stay, with some reporting that they believe they suffered from "bacterial gastroenteritis".

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The ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol in Torremolinos, Spain

The ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol is advertised on an all-inclusive basis to British holidaymakers by TUI-owned tour operators Thomson and First Choice. The beachfront resort features a range of facilities, making it an attractive proposition to families looking to enjoy Spain this summer.


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Reviewers report "bacterial gastroenteritis"

Rating quite highly on TripAdvisor, it's surprising to see so many negative reviews of the ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol. Below you'll find a selection of reviews from June that comment on problems with a gastric illness at the Spanish hotel, but there are too many from May and June to include them all here.

If you are planning on travelling to the ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol and are concerned about these reports, we recommend reading the most current reviews and contacting your travel agent.



'audrey j' from Glasgow wrote a review titled "Time Riu put their customers first and sorted this problem" in which she says that they "went well prepared and took anti-bacterial gels/wipes and also took probiotics for 2 weeks prior to going", and "were religious about cleanliness", but "within 48-hours of arriving, [her] partner was ill", suffering from "sickness, shivers, aching muscles and [he] almost collapsed at one point".

She explains that "he had the bug for 4 days out of [their] 7 day holiday and [she] also [was sick] 3 days into the [holiday]", although not as severely as her partner. She says that the "doctor had to visit [her] once and [her] partner twice", explaining that "the doctor is now provided free of charge", which they see as an "admittance that there is a problem". She does point out that "the doctor is employed by Riu and is very [non-committal] as to the cause".

She comments that the reception was playing down the illness, but the "Thomson reps in the hotel were really helpful, approachable and completely upfront and honest and confirmed there is a definite problem" at the ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol.

She does say that "there is a strong smell of sewage between the entertainment area and back bar in the evenings", and that they "also had a strong smell of sewage coming from [their] shower on a few occasions".


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Salisbury holidaymaker 'kelliekim' wrote a review of their stay titled "Nice stay but not very clean". Commenting about the reported illness, they say that "out of [the] 6 travellers [in their group] luckily only [their] 11 month [old] didn't get" sick.

They say that they are "not sure what is causing this other than [a potential lack of] general cleansing", explaining that "most days [they] had to ask for the high chair to be cleaned, and [that] tables in the main restaurant just don't seem clean", commenting that the hotel "staff were cleaning the dining room floor with napkins".

They explain that the "hotel [is] now providing doctor but he was useless and just wanted to brush it under the table and blamed the fact [that they] had [eaten] and [drunk too] much", and that "most days there was [an] ambulance at the hotel".


Hygiene standards and illness on holiday

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Birmingham holidaymaker 'tonyhawker' wrote a review titled "Sickness bug" in which he says that out of "5 in [his] family […] 3 […] have suffered" from a stomach bug. He believes that "the manager does not seem to care except trying to keep it quiet and Thomson has not said anything either".

He says that they "didn't know" about the illness until a member of his holiday party exhibited symptoms "within 48 hours of arriving", continuing to explain that "the bug gives you stomach cramps, makes you vomit and you cannot get off the toilet".


In her review titled "Such a Shame", 'HoneyB100' from Hoddesdon says that they "were aware of the stomach bug before [they travelled] because Thomson and the hotel had confirmed this after [they] emailed them both".

She says that despite being "very careful", her "husband [succumbed] to the stomach bug", explaining that he suffered from "violent [diarrhoea and vomiting]", as well as "stomach cramps that completely ruined [the] last days" of their holiday.

'HoneyB100' goes on to explain that she "witnessed two people being sick in two of the restaurants and one person [being] ill in the toilet by the middle pool", commenting that she believes that her "husband [contracted the illness] from this pool, as this was the only thing he did [differently…] before he became ill".


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In their review titled "A beautiful disappointment", 'jlnorman100' says that only "3 days [into their holiday] half of [their] party got the sickness" and "were stuck in [their] room for 48 hours" and "told to avoid [the swimming] pools and [to] use antibacterial [gel]".

'jlnorman100' goes on to say that while "they do not know the cause of the bug, one rep said it came from the pool, another said it was [airborne] and someone said it was the food".


Cardiff holidaymaker 'C S' wrote a review titled "All inclusive plus Gastroenteritis". In it he says that they "had to spend 5 out of 7 days [of their holiday] confined to [their] room with severe bacterial gastroenteritis while nursing [their] children who also suffered cruelly from it", stating that "the management at the hotel and Thomson are fully aware of the epidemic".

'C S' continues to explain that they "were all violently ill" and his "eldest son suffered acute [diarrhoea and vomiting]", as well as "low blood pressure, severe dehydration, fever and a racing pulse from the bacterial gastroenteritis". He comments that "after just 1 day of being sick, he required urgent medical treatment to prevent him being hospitalised", and "he is still not fully recovered".

Commenting on potential problems at the ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol, 'C S' says that there are "too few toilets and no sanitary bins" with "used sanitary products on the floors of the toilets". He also comments that there was "bird excrement over the outdoor dining tables, chairs, napkins [and] cutlery", the "bar staff picked up the ice for people's drinks by hand" and "none of the serving staff handling food at the restaurant wore gloves".

He also says that the "serving utensils were not changed" and he "personally witnessed dirty serving spoons being taken off empty food platters and put on top of the fresh food platters", and "old leftover food was put on top of new food […] instead of being discarded".

The Cardiff holidaymaker also says that "food was left out in the buffet area uncovered for at least 1 hour before the restaurant opened", the "food temperature in [their] opinion was not sufficient to prevent bacterial growth" and there was "flies were all over the fruit".

He comments that the "staff on reception openly acknowledged [that] there was a gastroenteritis infection going around the hotel".


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Antibacterial soap and preventing the spread of holiday sickness

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'jpnesbitt' from Washington wrote a review titled "Bug ruined the holiday". They say that a few days into their holiday they started to experience "stomach cramps" before "the sickness struck".

They say that they "lost three days of [their] holiday" and that they feel that "the hotel and tour operator (Thomson) have not taken this seriously". They continue to say that "the vast majority of people [that they] spoke to had at least one person who had been ill" in their party, before explain that the "bug is still affecting [them] a week after coming home" and that they "lost half of [their] holiday".


In her review; "Tummy Bug", 'Kim S' says that "5 [members of her party] came down with the vomiting and diarrhoea bug". She explains that they "were not told about the bug prior to travelling and feel let down by Thomson", explaining that it "spoilt the holiday".

She says that "there [were] hand gel and anti-bacterial wipes in use, but very few toilets present for use by the many guests near the pool and restaurants".


In their review titled "Potentially lovely but for the bug", '87cornwall' from Cornwall says that "Thomson and First Choice are in denial". He explains that "on day 2 of [their] holiday [he] came down with the dreaded sickness bug, then Saturday was the turn of [their] baby and finally, [his] wife has now come down with it".

He says that "it was only after [his] wife came down with it that [he] found out this was a hotel [wide] issue and one that has been on-going since April". He says that he "called Thomson and they told [him] that this was the first reported case of sickness at the hotel".


'John T' from Glasgow wrote a review titled "Save your Heath and Holiday don't book here", in which he says that the issue of "food poisoning […] is being ignored by the hotel". He goes on to explain that the "dirty restaurants" are serving "undercooked food, reheating old left food and dirty utensils being wiped rather than washed".

He believes that the "reps know there are problems but are ignoring [them]".


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Hotel responds to holidaymakers

The Online Reputation Manager at the ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol has responded to some of these reviews, and in response to 'kelliekim's review, they say that "during these last few weeks some of [their] guests have reported feeling unwell with gastric discomfort, however, the number of reported cases has since reduced significantly".

They continue to say that they "have strict hygiene protocols in place, but as a precautionary measure in light of the reported illness cases [they] have implemented additional health and safety procedures", and "are also monitoring the situation closely", advising guests "to take all possible precautions" and to report "if they are feeling unwell".

They explain that they have "been investigating the possible cause", and at present, their "medical services team indicates that [the symptoms that guests are reporting are] compatible with an airborne virus", however, they have yet to confirm or deny the possibility that their guests are suffering from a bacterial infection.

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Receive help if you've been sick abroad

If you've suffered the symptoms of a gastric illness, including profuse diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, then it's vital that you see a medical professional as soon as possible, whether you go to the resort doctor or your GP.

If you're sick abroad - visit a doctor

Doing so allows the relevant tests and most effective treatment to be carried out, ensuring that you make a speedier recovery, and potentially prevent a long-term condition from developing.

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Find out if you can claim compensation

If you've been ill on an all-inclusive package holiday and want to find out more about claiming compensation, get in touch with a member of our travel law team. We can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation on your case, and advise you of the best method of pursuing a claim, including whether we can represent you on a 'no win no fee' basis.



James Blower - Senior Holiday Claims Specialist

Contact us about your holiday illness claim

To find out more about claiming compensation for illness at the ClubHotel Riu Costa del Sol in Spain; speak to James Blower by calling us on 0808 145 1353 or complete our enquiry form and we will call you back.



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