LONDON, England, Wednesday September 23, 2015 – What was supposed to have been a dream holiday to celebrate Dave and Nadia Lonsdale’s fifth wedding anniversary and Nadia’s 31st birthday turned into a nightmare that left the couple vowing never to return.
The Daily Mail reports that the British couple say they were sprayed with sewage during a “holiday from hell” at a Cuban resort – and were told “it is good for the flowers” when they begged staff to turn the sprinklers off.
Dave and Nadia Lonsdale, from Brighton, East Sussex, forked-out £3,300 (about US$5,000) for the two- week, all-inclusive stay at the Paradisus Rio De Oro in Guardalavaca, Cuba.
But after emerging from their ground floor room they say they were hit with a “horrendous stench” from liquid being sprayed around the lawns.
The resort’s staff refused to switch off the sprinklers, despite guests having to brave a “mist” of fine drops of fluid as they headed out for breakfast.
The couple’s problems didn’t end there, moreover, with the hotel’s official pictures of the grounds conflicting with Mrs Lonsdale’s holiday photographs, which depicted patches of brown grass, construction materials, broken pathways, rubble at the poolside and litter on the beaches.
The hotel’s pool was out of action for up to 13 days of the Lonsdale’s two-week stay. When the couple went down to the beach to escape the construction work, Mr Lonsdale, a 57-year-old school teacher who suffers from Anaphylaxis, was bitten nearly 300 times by sand-flies, according to the Mail.
In Mrs Lonsdale’s words: “The place may be described as a Paradise, but it was more like a hell hole. We would open the patio doors of our apartment and be virtually knocked off our feet by the smell. The spray was like a mist that would hit you as you passed.
“The stench was horrendous and it was everywhere, all the way through the main building. They have sprinklers all over and one was right outside our room.
“You woke up, opened the balcony and there was a raw smell straight away. Their attitude was to tell us they were having a drought. Everything looked really dry, and I appreciate that, but you can spray it at night. It should be on the ground too, not like a sprinkler system.
“Because it was like a mist, it was going everywhere – your clothes, your skin – just everywhere. It was all over the place, you had to try and dodge it but there was a breeze and it was blowing in that.
“There was no pool and rubbish everywhere. There were all these working cables around, it was absolutely filthy, just crazy.”
The vacation, booked through travel agent Thomas Cook, was problematical from as early as on the flight to Cuba. Mrs Lonsdale was seated next to an overweight passenger and claimed she was squashed and unable to move, for the duration of the long-haul flight.
She said she lost the feeling in her fingers and hand, which then slowly travelled up to her shoulder and meant she couldn’t feel her arm at all. In Cuba she was taken to a medical clinic where she was given pain relievers.
Mrs Lonsdale, who has since been prescribed the muscle relaxant and tranquiliser, Diazepam, and Gabapentin, which is used for nerve damage, went on to say: “We had been allocated seats and had to move, we were fine with that and said we would go to the other seats. When we got there, there was this huge guy who was about 25 stone. The arm rest wouldn’t go up so I couldn’t lean on my husband.
“I told my husband I was feeling really tingly, we got to the hotel and I explained that I couldn’t feel my fingers. I had a sleep and woke up and couldn’t feel my arm. Then I couldn’t feel my elbow and then my arm pit. It was terrifying.
“I still can’t move my hands now and I’m spaced out from the medication. We went shopping the other day and my husband said he was embarrassed.”
Mrs Lonsdale, a marketing lecturer at the University of Brighton, said: “I’m supposed to start teaching next Monday. I can’t drive, I’m a marathon runner and a diver too so I can’t do anything. I feel so frustrated, I want to cry.”
“I will definitely never go to Cuba again. It was just horrendous,” she concluded.
The Daily Mail quoted Thomas Cook as saying that the hotel used “non-potable” water in sprinklers which “can occasionally smell due to the heat in the resort,” adding that the couple did not complain about the spray at the time.
“We were sorry to hear that Mr and Mrs Lonsdale were unhappy,” a spokesman said.
“Our records show the couple were notified that the main pool would be closed during part of their stay, but that they would be able to use the pool at the quality hotel situated next door.
“We would like to apologise that they did not receive compensation for this they were entitled to prior to travel, which we will be reimbursing them for now.
“Both our reps in resort and the hotel management did everything possible to address Mr and Mrs Lonsdale’s concerns while they were in residence.
“The couple were offered a free upgrade, which was declined, and were also provided with complimentary access to the Royal Service beach area.
“Our customer services team is looking into the claims that Mr and Mrs Lonsdale have made, and we will continue our conversations with the couple with a view to resolving this matter to their satisfaction,” the spokesman said.