29 Dec, 2012 @ 08:54
1 min read

‘The worst hotel in Spain’ lands UK tour operator in costly settlement case

Beach Club Hotel Torremolinos

By Frances Leate

SEAVIEW rooms that look out over skips and bins, filthy water in the swimming pool and insects in the dinner…

It sounds more like the hotel from hell comparable to Fawlty Towers, not a four star hotel being offered to tourists by a reputable travel agent. But these are just some of the things that scores of hapless holidaymakers experienced during their 2007 and 2008 stay at the Beach Club Hotel, in Torremolinos.

The nightmare holidays at the hotel, which has now been dubbed ‘the worst hotel in Spain’, forced tour operator and Thomson’s parent company, TUI UK Ltd, agreeing to a €252,978 payout days before a court battle involving 69 guests. The guests say they suffered violent sickness, with some ending up in hospital and still suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome five years later.

Susan Ray, 65, from Darlington, Co Durham, still suffers bowel illness diverticulitis after being struck down with diarrhoea and vomiting.

She said: “The hotel wasn’t very clean. The holiday was a disaster and I won’t ever go back.”

The action was brought by legal firm Irwin Mitchell on behalf of the guests, who each received up to €18,400.

Gurpinder Chana, a specialist travel lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This trauma has had a major effect on the lives of some of our clients, as they are still suffering with bowel conditions.


“The complaints we received suggested that that there were serious and unacceptable food hygiene issues at the hotel.

“We also received general complaints about the cleanliness of the hotel and the lack of support from staff.

“Our clients decided to take on the tour operators and because of their determination and commitment, justice has been done.”

The payoff follows a €3.8 million compensation deal made in 2008 to 1,000 Brits who stayed at the hotel.

Karl Smallman

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  1. Three things to note.

    1. As you might expect in Torremolinos, there is more than one hotel with the words “Beach Club Hotel” in its name. For example, there is the Marconfort Beach Club Hotel, and the Palm Beach Club Hotel in La Carihuela. There may be more. The article does not make it clear which hotel is referred to here. It may even have closed (see 2 below).

    2. The report refers to the customer´s stay during 2007 and 2008. Therefore any hotel reviews should be read with that in mind. Things could have improved by then, or have worsened.

    3. Anyone who believes what they read on the Trip Advisor reviews deserves everything they get. You don´t even have had to have stayed at the hotel in question to submit a review. With good reason, the website is thoroughly discredited in the UK.

  2. trip advisor I find is good and I have contributed to it many times, as for being discredited in the uk that really dosent mean very much as most hotels in the uk are disgusting and british peoples standards are poor especially in food.

  3. Carla, I suggest you read my post again. Especially the bit about not having had to stay at the hotel in question in order to submit a Trip Advisor review. The submitted reviews are not even moderated.

    That is why the website is thoroughly discredited in the UK. It was exposed on TV as a sham.

  4. Carla, I guess it must be ok by you to be able to submit a review for a hotel that you have never stayed in, or for a restaurant that you have never eaten in. I have very different standards.

  5. Of course, you are right carla. Tripadvisor is invaluable when travelling and you very soon find out from personal experience whether or not its a sham. Inevitably a few loaded comments creep in but to describe the whole thing as a sham is like banning driving because of a few bad drivers. The tv program was driven by a few disgruntled hotel and restaurant operators-maybe Tony Bishop is one of them?

  6. Trip advisor is as honest as it can be, you always get people who will write incorrect reviews usually other local businesses in competition.
    I like it and will carry on writing my reviews.

  7. Stefanjo, you dont make sense,
    I simply like Trip advisor and give credit where its due and if its rubbish I say so.

    Roger of course hotels can promote themselves but do you think they sit there all day doing so.

    Also the comments that i make are usually very similar to other posts made on a certain establishments

    why do people always think people who have an opinion have an axe to grind, strange. I like to speak as i find

  8. Carla, nobody said that people who have opinions about places have an axe to grind.

    However, it is impossible to discern which posts are genuine and which are complete fabrications.

    And nobody suggested that hotels spend all day in front of the computer promoting themselves on TripAdvisor.

    On the other hand, on the British TV exposure they found hoteliers and restaurant owners who freely admitted to writing ALL the positive reports about their establishments, and several who had written bad reports about the competition.

    Yes, there are bona fide reports about hotels and restaurants on TA. The problem is to tell which those are, and which are make-believe.

    There is a hotel, now closed, in the Spanish village where I live. The village is tiny; maybe 1000 inhabitants on the electoral roll; far less who actually live here. There are two other small hotels/B&Bs in the village.

    There were favourable TA reports of that hotel written by people who live in the village and would never have a reason to stay in the hotel. For a start, it was maybe a 2-minute walk downhill from where they live. I knew who they were because of their names. A casual reader would not have access to the same information.

    For what it is worth, I often stay in hotels that I have booked through booking.com. Not always, because sometimes I can get a better deal by booking direct with the hotel.

    There are reviews on the booking.com website. I know from experience that you have to have stayed at the hotel in question, and not just have booked to stay there, before being invited to submit a review. That review is moderated before it goes live online.

    I am sure there are other similar websites to booking.com but I know which websites I would trust.

    Of course, you still have to read the reviews on booking.com with a BS detector. (For example, I have seen people complain about waiters in a very basic, rural Spanish hotel-restaurant who did not speak a lot of English.) Nevertheless, at least I knew that they had stayed there.

    And, to save you asking, I have no connections with any hotel or restaurant review website.

  9. Jon Clarke (Publisher), this may have something to do with my fading eyesight. Whatever, you will have to excuse my not seeing your post above. And it has been there for two days.
    Thanks for the endorsement anyway.

    Now, about this hotel in Torremolinos. That was the subject of this article, remember. Does anyone have anything more to add about the hotel?

    It seems like its identity is shrouded in confusion. Looking through the Google results it appears that plenty of other newspapers call it the Beach Club Hotel. Is it now called the Marconfort Beach Club Hotel, or is that something completely different?

    So maybe that is why people have homed in on the review websites.

  10. Tripadvisor reviews you need to take with a pinch of salt – there are professional whingers who think they should get a full refund on their €20 a night room if there isn’t a chocolate on the pillow and the bathtowel isn’t shaped into a swan. Brits are more likely to mark down hotels if they can’t get Sky Sports or have a kettle and teabags/coffee sachets in the room. Spaniards if they can’t park directly in or outside the hotel. Germans if the breakfast doesn’t have 20 varieties of bread. You get the picture. I

    f you read the reviews with that in mind, and ignore the nutters – and there are lots – it can provide a good general guide.

  11. On your behalf, but not at your expense, I have being researching diligently. I have to report that the plot thickens. In order to remain completely impartial, I have shown TripAdvisor reviews.

    Is it this hotel?
    But, there were just three reviews on TA between 2006 and 2009. With such an appalling track record in 2007 and 2008, I would have expected more than that.

    Or is it this hotel?
    No reviews for that hotel before 2012 so it can´t be that one either. The same was found on booking.com.

    And, believe it or not, those were the only two hotels with Beach Club in their names in Torremolinos. I think those marketing people should get a grip on whatever you should get a grip on in these circumstances.

    That leaves us with two possible scenarios. Either the hotel changed its name or it closed down. Which of those could it be?

    Well, I can let your suspense subside. I did some further research. The hotel closed down and, in keeping with its surroundings, it was very sensitively converted to a ten-pin bowling alley in 2009.

    (At least I think so.)

  12. Possibly, carla. Benalmádena is 7 miles/11 km from Torremolinos and the article clearly says Torremolinos. But you might be right. Is there any particular hotel you have in mind in Benalmádena?

  13. I had booked an 8 night stay in this hotel.. now called Marconfort Beach Club Hotel in Torremolinos but previously called the Torremolinos Beach Club Hotel. My husband and I ran away after the first day… it was in one word terrible! We arrived on a rainy day and there were far too little seats inside to accomodate every guest. We explicitly asked for a seaview room but got a room with view on a close nearby hotel on the shade side. The lunch and dinner buffets were absolutely the worst we had ever seen… just some rabbit and turkey meat and few fat cooked tilapia fish filets… long waiting lines to get a drink from the bar… checking out the receptionist was couple of times interrupted by her manager, phone calls and co-worker… spending at least 20 minutes on it while we had to wait over and over again. Glad we got our money back but it was an expensive and terrible experience… Today in the wonderful appartments in Torremolinos we had stayed already in January, we read the feature article about that Marconfort Beach HOtel in the Feb.21-March 6, 2013 edition of theolivepress…. the entire article reflected 100% our experience in that hotel. Just can’t help but wondering where the good reviews on TripAdvisor and Booking.com come from… it’s not that we are spoilt by luxury hotels or are extremely criticasters… it just was the most horrible hotel we ever stayed in and the description Inside Faulty Towers and Spain’s worst hotel are so much appropriate!

  14. Jeannette Waanders,your stay sounds horrible.

    Just a couple of questions.

    You say that the Marconfort Beach Club Hotel in Torremolinos was previously called the Torremolinos Beach Club Hotel. How do you know that?

    The earliest review on booking.com for the hotel where you stayed for one night, the Marconfort Beach Club Hotel, was posted on 2 June 2012. So how do you know that the hotel is the same as the Torremolinos Beach Club Hotel and why did you choose to stay there?

    I´m simply curious.

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