A woman whose birthday celebrations at a Mexican hotel turned into a nightmare when she became seriously ill has won compensation.
Natalie Daymond said her holiday was ruined after she fell ill with severe sickness and diarrhoea while at the Barcelo Costa Hotel near Cancun.
The 27-year-old still suffers ongoing gastric problems, and instructed personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the conditions she faced.
Natalie claimed the hotel had filthy bedsheets and bedrooms, served up pink chicken, and re-used foods during meal times.
She also said surfaces around the swimming pool were dirty.
“Me and my boyfriend at the time booked the holiday expecting a relaxing break for my 23rd birthday in luxury surroundings,” said Natalie.
“However, this couldn’t have been further from the truth and we were disappointed from the first day by the poor hotel conditions especially the pool, bedroom and food, which was on occasion not well cooked and appeared to have been re-used from other meal times.
“I continue to suffer gastric symptoms now which can affect my work and it has been very frustrating that Thomas Cook would not agree to settle my case sooner, for a realistic figure.”
Four days into the two-week holiday, Natalie was struck down with food poisoning that left her in a hospital hooked up to emergency machines for four days.
As well as being diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, which medics said was caused by eating E.coli-infected food, she was taken to hospital suffering bouts of diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and back pains.
A legal team took the matter to court after tour operator Thomas Cook would not agree a settlement which was felt reflected the severity of Natalie’s illness and the impact ongoing symptoms have on her day-to-day life.
A three-day trial was due to begin at the County Court in Birmingham last month, but Thomas Cook agreed to pay damages to Natalie ahead of the trial beginning.
The hairdresser, who lives in Ryhope, Sunderland, declined to disclose how much compensation she receive.
Jennifer Downing, a specialist travel lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Natalie suffered gastric symptoms during her stay at the Barcelo Costa Hotel that continue to affect her life now.
“It is essential that food hygiene and health guidelines are followed by hotels to keep their guests safe. Tour operators have a duty to ensure the hotels they work with are up to standard.
“We are pleased to have secured a successful conclusion for Natalie at the doorsteps of the court. We hope the settlement now allows her to move on from her ordeal.”
Thomas Cook said its customers’ health and safety was it its number one priority.
A spokesman said: “We are sorry that Ms Daymond fell ill when staying at the Barceló Costa Cancún in Mexico in 2009. We can confirm that we have reached an agreement with Ms Daymond’s legal representatives, and that this matter has now been resolved to her satisfaction.
“Thomas Cook closely audits all the properties to which it operates to ensure that the very highest health, safety and hygiene standards are maintained.
“The Barceló Costa Cancún is a popular destination with our customers, and we are confident that those due to stay at the property will enjoy the quality holiday experience they would come to expect from Thomas Cook.”