18 Feb, 2021 @ 15:10
3 mins read

Spanish hotel refuses to refund hen party voucher worth €1,200 SIX MONTHS after accommodation destroyed in dramatic blaze

A BRIT bride has been left fuming after being told that she could still use hen party refund vouchers at a swanky Marbella hotel – SIX MONTHS after the accommodation went up in flames.  

The Sisu Boutique Hotel in Spain burned down in August last year just days after hen Victoria Tompkins accepted vouchers worth €1,200. 

Owners of the TOWIE haunt, loved by by Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan, tried to argue that Victoria couldn’t claim a refund her vouchers because she has ‘no evidence’ that the hotel destroyed by the fire has even been closed. 

Victoria and Aaron tied the knot in the UK last September after their dreams of a Spanish wedding were dashed by COVID travel bans

The 31-year-old was due to jet off to Marbella with 12 pals in August to celebrate her upcoming nuptials in Fuengirola before the airbridge between Spain and England was brought to a halt. 

Victoria told the Olive Press: “Sisu offered me a voucher to use in 2021, I didn’t want this but felt like I had no choice or I would completely lose all my money.

“This is a voucher I felt bullied into taking and a voucher to a hotel not even open, in a country I can’t currently get to.” 

Victoria was then ‘shocked’ to discover the hotel had been destroyed in a dramatic blaze that saw frantic guests leaping from the windows to escape the flames and left one French tourist dead.

One survivor told Olive Press at the time that the blaze had turned the hotel into ‘a war zone’.

“My friends started sending me the articles about the hotel being on fire and I was shocked,” Victoria said. 

“It just seemed like another crazy thing to happen in 2020. It looked awful.”

Victoria, who is now happily married to partner Aaron Whiteley, tried to get in contact with Sisu in order to secure a refund for the voucher but was never able to reach someone from the hotel. 

She said: “I received no communication as to what would happen to my voucher, I was promised events for 2021 would be published prior to the end of 2020 but there have been no announcements of any sort from the company, not even a date of a potential reopening.” 

Sisu 3
Flames could be seen for miles when the hotel caught fire last year

Victoria then tried to claim a refund through her credit card company and was further enraged when she was told by her bank that Sisu were disputing the claim. 

She said: “Halifax approved the refund back in November and warned me Sisu had 25 days to fight it. Sisu then responded after 47 days saying I wasn’t entitled to a refund because the voucher is still valid. It’s ridiculous.

“I went back to my credit card company and told them all about the fire. The event I had booked didn’t go ahead, the hotel had burned down. The fact that Sisu are trying to say otherwise is mad.”

Image 21 08 20 02 00 4
DAMAGE: Sisu hotel appears destroyed after early morning blaze (COPYRIGHT: Olive Press)

It comes as dozens of unhappy customers took to Sisu’s Facebook page to complain they had been left out of pocket by the hotel, with no one responding to their concerns.

One fuming guest wrote:  “I booked for last May they said we could use the money for another date haven’t been able to get hold of them since.’

Another added: “At times like this £1,800 is a lot of money. I’m not the only person you are doing this too. There is a lot of people and we want our money back!”

Victoria said of the comments: “So many people are complaining and they have lost thousands. I want to shed light on this because I want others to feel confident enough to fight to get their money back.” 

Olive Press contacted Halifax with proof of the blaze and the bank confirmed that the refund had been finalised. 

A spokesman told the Olive Press: “We’ve looked into it and for your background, as part of the chargeback process, the merchant has an opportunity to challenge the disputed transaction. When the merchant chooses to do this, the customer will be notified, as part of the usual chargeback steps.

Sisu 4
Sisu has remained closed for 6 months after being severely damaged by the blaze that claimed one man’s life

“In this case, the merchant’s challenge was not upheld, so the refund has been finalised and will remain on the customer’s account. Ms Tompkins has received confirmation of this.” 

Victoria said of the resolution: “I am very happy it has been sorted but from what I understood the bank was taking it as a loss due to the claim timing out.

“So happy that I have the money but disappointed that I don’t think Sisu will have to pay it which also doesn’t seem to help with other peoples arguments for getting money back.”

We reached out to Sisu Hotel for a comment but received no response. 

Kirsty Mckenzie

Kirsty is a journalist who has reported on news, entertainment, food and drink, travel and features since 2015. She lives in the south of Spain.
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