A British family struck down by a sickness outbreak at a five-star resort in Greece has been joined by dozens of tourists in demanding a probe after they saw rat droppings on sun loungers and guests vomiting in the pool.
Danielle Faulkner, 44, spent £3,000 on a family holiday to the luxury Apollonian Asterias Resort and Spa on the island of Kefalonia with her two daughters Amelie, 15, and Isobel, 17.
But their first trip together in five years soon turned into a holiday from hell as Ms Faulkner and Amelie experienced sickness and diarrhoea on just the second day of their week-long summer break after arriving on July 16.
Ms Faulkner, who has a suppressed immune system from having the incurable condition lupus, even needed help from one of her daughters after losing consciousness before she was treated by a resort doctor with antibiotics.
The business change manager from Newport, South Wales, said: ‘The last thing you expect when you book a five-star luxury holiday is for it to be wiped out by illness. I wish we’d never have booked the holiday.
‘We know nothing can turn the clock back and make up for what’s happened, but the least we feel we deserve is answers as to why the holiday turned into a nightmare.’
The action taken by 35 holidaymakers has ignited somewhat of a feud with the resort which defended itself to MailOnline by blaming sunshine-seeking tourists for bringing the virus over to Greece and refusing to isolate in their rooms.
Danielle Faulkner (C), 44, spent £3,000 on booking a family holiday to the luxury Apollonian Asterias Resort and Spa in Kefalonia with her two daughters Amelie (R), 15, and Isobel (L), 17
Ms Faulkner (pictured), who has a suppressed immune system from having the incurable condition lupus, even needed help from one of her daughters after losing consciousness before she was treated by a doctor with antibiotics
Pictured: The luxury Apollonian Asterias Resort and Spa in Kefalonia. The family said they saw guests vomiting by the pool
Lawyers are now demanding answers as to how the tourists became so unwell on a five-star holiday
Three days after Ms Faulkner and Amelie were struck down, Isobel also suffered the same symptoms. The family said that they saw rodent droppings on loungers and guests being sick at dining tables, in the swimming pool and in reception.
‘The holiday quickly went from what we hoped would be a dream trip to a disaster. What’s even more concerning is that we weren’t alone’, Ms Faulkner, who booked her holiday through TUI, added.
‘We saw other holidaymakers being sick in front of the other guests and others were complaining about hygiene standards.’
She added: ‘It was awful. We couldn’t even keep down water down and in 40-degree heat that was incredibly worrying. Amelie said that she’d never been so ill in her life.’
Ms Faulkner said that after they fell ill, notices were put up outside the restaurant and pool area telling guests there had been sickness in the luxury resort which features a tennis court, spa, outdoor cinema and health and fitness centre.
She also claimed waiting staff were wearing masks and gloves, which she assumed was a Covid measure; tables weren’t cleaned between guests dining, plates of food were left outside rooms of guests and bags of rubbish were left overnight in corridors.
Ms Faulkner said: ‘After the last few years and what everyone has been through with Covid and because we’ve not been away together as a family for so long, we felt we deserved a break.
‘My daughters have worked incredibly hard at school and have achieved amazing exam results.
Ms Faulkner (pictured) said the ‘holiday quickly went from what we hoped would be a dream trip to a disaster’
The stunning hotel overlooks the ocean but dozens of guests had a miserable experience in July
‘We’d researched where to go for weeks and looked at various options. We chose the resort as it looked like everything we wanted.
‘We made sacrifices and saved hard for months to enjoy what we thought would be a special holiday on which we’d create memories together.
‘However, the enthusiasm and excitement we had about our holiday quickly vanished.’
Jatinder Paul, the specialist international injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who has been instructed by the Faulkners as well as other families to investigate, said: ‘We continue to be contacted by a growing number of people from across the UK who fell ill during holidays to this resort this summer.
‘What’s of particular concern is that multiple families are reporting suffering the same serious symptoms and in a short timeframe. The ages of those affected range from one-year-old to 57.
‘Naturally Danielle, Amelie, Isobel and others we represent, want answers as to how they became so unwell on a five-star holiday.
‘We’re now investigating those concerns to provide them with the answers they deserve.
Ms Faulkner said she wishes she never booked the hotel. Pictured: One of the hotel rooms at the Apollonion Asterias resort
The hotel resort defended itself by blaming tourists for bringing the virus over and refusing to isolate
‘Gastric illness can lead to serious and long-term health complications and its impact should never be downplayed.
‘It’s vital that those with concerns about the resort are now supported.
‘If during our investigations any issues are identified, action needs to be taken to reduce the risk of other holidaymakers falling ill in the future.’
A spokesman for the Apollonian Asterias Resort and Spa denied that the hotel was responsible and blamed tourists for bringing the ‘unprecedented diarrhoea and vomiting outbreak’ to the hotel.
They said that the first cases appeared on July 14 – the day after ‘we had new arrivals mostly from the UK’.
The spokesman told MailOnline: ‘D&V is something that appears during holidays and it is a routine of all hotels to have an odd case so when we had the first cases of course we never thought that this can turn out to be an outbreak.
‘Then, we did not know much. For example we did not know that the UK government had announced an increase of D&V cases and norovirus at the British Schools back in March.
‘Little did we know then that there has been and increase of norovirus and this was travelling around the world. Unfortunately we found out the hard way.
‘People need to blame always somebody. This was proven not to be caused by the hotel or because we did not do something correctly.
‘This virus was brought to us by travellers. Being a big resort with many restaurants cross-contamination was quick.’
They continued: ‘We asked that guests being ill to stay in their rooms, nevertheless many would not listen and actually decided to go to the pools.’
In June, MailOnline revealed that a widower whose wife died after she fell ill during their dream holiday to a five-star resort in Cape Verde was one of 350 guests taking legal action against TUI.
Jane Pressley, from Gainsborough, travelled to the Riu Palace Hotel in Santa Maria with her husband Michael for a two-week holiday to celebrate her birthday in November last year.
Two days into her stay, the mother-of-two, who was also due to become a grandmother for the first time, fell ill with gastric and flu-like symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea.
After she returned home, Jane’s illness worsened and she was admitted to hospital, where she died in January. ‘While nothing will ever bring her back,’ her husband said, ‘we need some answers. It’s the least we deserve.’
A TUI spokesman said in a statement at the time: ‘Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the Pressley family. As this is now a legal matter, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further.’
In relation to Ms Faulkner’s holiday, a TUI spokesman said: ‘We are sorry to hear about these experiences as the health and safety of our customers is our biggest priority.
‘Unfortunately, as this is now a legal matter, we are unable to comment any further.’
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.