A family-of-six has slammed holiday company TUI after their £6,800 trip to Montenegro turned into a ‘nightmare’.
Joanne Humphreys, 53, and her husband Kevin, 46, booked a ten-night stay at The Holiday Village Montenegro for themselves and their children, Louis, 21, and Beth, 14, and the children’s godparents.
The complex was advertised as an all-inclusive four-star hotel, that boasted four restaurants and spas and the group decided to book a deluxe suite for their trip at the ‘dream holiday village’.
The hotel was being built when the Humphreys’ booked the trip and TUI had assured them it would all be ready for their arrival on June 17.
But when the party arrived they were met with construction workers with wheelbarrows and a stench of sewage and later even had to endure raw food at the restaurants.
Joanne and Kevin (right) spent £6,800 on the holiday for themselves and their children Beth and Louis (left) as well as the children’s godparents
Outside the hotel (pictured above) workers were seen with wheelbarrows as they continued to complete the complex
The food at the hotel (pictured above) hadn’t been to the taste of the family and Joanne said it made her and Beth ‘poorly’ one night
After viewing artists’ impressions of what the hotel was meant to look like at their local TUI branch in Basildon, they parted with their money and were excited for the trip – which they said just went from bad to worse.
Joanne said: ‘It looked amazing and the TUI store staff spoke so highly of the hotel. ‘We were all really looking forward to it, especially our children.
‘It had everything we’d want in a holiday; bars, restaurants, a spa, gym and adult only pool areas.
‘We thought TUI was a reputable company so we trusted everything would be as they described. To say it was a nightmare would be an understatement.’
The hotel was due to open at the end of May this year and the family were arriving on June 17. After researching online, Joanne became concerned that the hotel would not be finished in time for their arrival.
The broken shower (pictured above) which Joanne claimed fell off and hit her during the stay
The family took pictures of the holiday site during their stay which appear to show heaps of mud and dirt on the floor
She visited the TUI shop and called the customer care phone line numerous times to discuss her worries but was assured everything would be complete.
But Joanne said her fears had subsided just a couple of weeks before arrival, when she was informed that while the hotel would be completed, some facilities would not be available, such as a spa, hairdressers and waterslides.
‘This led me to look on social media. There was a Facebook page full of people complaining how bad it actually was and that the resort wasn’t anywhere near finished.
‘People were cancelling their holidays left, right and centre. We made our way back to the TUI shop to bring this to their attention but they insisted everything was on schedule and it would be fine when we got there.’
During their stay the family also said light fixtures were hanging from the walls and that tiles were risen on the stairs
The family (right) said when they arrived at the hotel their worst fears came true due to works still being carried out (left)
The couple knew that the children and their grandparents were really looking forward to the trip, so they hoped for the best.
The family arrived in Montenegro, only to be met by their worst fears, they say.
Joanne said: ‘We stepped off the transfer bus to be greeted by the stench of sewage and building noise. The closer we got to the resort reception, the more we saw construction workers walking around with wheelbarrows.
‘TUI reps met us at reception and we were taken to what was supposed to be a deluxe suite. On the way, we came across half complete stairs, loose paving slabs and dust everywhere.
‘The first thing we saw when they opened the door was half eaten toast on the side and a bed that hadn’t been made. It was a sight for sore eyes.’
She added that they then went back to reception and explained the situation to the manager.
‘We were tired from travelling all day and the whole thing was a mess. We were taken to various other rooms which were not at all suitable for us or what we had paid for.
‘In the end, we were told to wait while they cleaned the room we were first taken to.’
According to the family, things continued to get worse, they stated rooms were not satisfactory and that things were either incomplete or not working at all.
At one point, Joanne said the shower head fell off while she was in the shower, hitting her foot and injuring her toe.
‘Everything kept falling apart,’ she added. ‘The soap dispenser in the shower was not fully secured and kept coming off and the shower floor tiles were uneven. It was a disaster waiting to happen.’
‘We got to the point where there wasn’t a single day where something hadn’t gone wrong. The bedroom door didn’t close properly and on a few occasions, the safe would not open before we were due to go out.
‘The key cards to our room were faulty and almost every night we had to go to reception to get this rectified.’
One evening Joanne said that the door handle to their room came off, bruising and cutting her leg. She stated that this was reported to the TUI rep but was not followed up.
According to the group, it wasn’t just the room which was a disaster area, as the family saw the rest of the resort was full of hazardous conditions.
They recall loose wires lining the pools where the lights had become detached and the umbrellas around the pool were already falling apart. There were also digging tools and building materials left lying around.
Joanne said: ‘It was very messy and noisy and not only ruined the ambiance of a relaxing holiday with lots of dust, but it was a health and safety hazard, especially for holiday makers walking around barefoot.
‘We witnessed several people fall, breaking bones and injuring themselves.’
TUI are said to have told Joanne and Kevin that there would be a buffet restaurant and three a la carte restaurants available for unlimited visits, but they were told by their rep that only the buffet restaurant was available as the other restaurants weren’t fully functioning.
‘The Italian restaurant opened halfway through their holiday but the family was unable to ever get a table.
‘Again, it was not what was promised but we had no choice but to just put up with it,’ Joanne said.
‘In actual fact, the buffet was extremely poor with very limited choice.
‘There was raw food being served which made both myself and my daughter poorly.’
After a number of complaints were made about the food hygiene, microwaves were alleged to have been put out for holiday makers to warm up their own food if it wasn’t fully cooked or had gone cold.
She added: ‘None of the staff seemed to know what they were doing or appeared to have the necessary training. At one point, we were told that they had to get a chef from another hotel to teach the chefs how to cook certain dishes.
‘Beth even found a big piece of glass in her chocolate mousse which I personally gave to the head chef.’
‘In 35 years of going on adult holidays, I’ve never complained but we were at reception every single day complaining to the TUI reps. The maintenance worker must’ve been run off his feet with the amount of problems there were.’
Despite constantly speaking to their allocated TUI representative during the holiday and on one occasion, spending a whole hour going through all the problems, upon arriving home they were not contacted by TUI to discuss their experience.
This led to Joanne making a formal complaint to the company directly.
The family were offered a holiday voucher to spend with TUI for the sum of £1025, less than a quarter of what they paid for the whole holiday.
‘We couldn’t believe it and so we contacted head office but the staff were rude and had no customer care,’ Joanne said.
‘They weren’t willing to listen and even put the phone down on Kevin at one point.
‘We had a catastrophic holiday experience. On top of this, TUI were not willing to address things and didn’t care that we were out of pocket.
‘As a result, we have instructed Bott and Co to claim compensation for the awful experience endured. We came home feeling as though we hadn’t even been on holiday and less rested than we were before we went.’
David Bott, Senior Partner at Bott and Co said: ‘This family were tremendously let down by TUI. They were led to believe the hotel would be finished and were promised so many things that didn’t come to fruition.
‘What was meant to be a stress-free and enjoyable family holiday turned out to be filled with many blunders. We believe they were faced with substandard amenities and should be compensated for their disappointment.
‘It is a great shame that TUI thought this was acceptable. An increasing number of people are contacting us after going through poor holiday experiences. We are fighting for Joanne and her family to secure fair compensation for their disappointment and loss of enjoyment.’
A TUI UK spokesperson said: ‘We are very sorry to hear of Ms Humphreys and her family’s experience in Montenegro.
‘As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.’