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What if Your Holiday Hotel is Not What You Expected?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 13 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
What If Your Holiday Hotel Is Not What You Expected?

If you've arrived at your hotel and found that the description in the brochure bears no relation whatsoever to the hotel you see before you, you have a right to complain.

If you bought the holiday as a package, you have the protection of the Package Travel Regulations, and you can expect the tour operator to do their utmost to put things right as soon as they know you're not happy.

What Should I Do if I Really Can't Stay in The Hotel?

If the hotel is undergoing extensive renovations, the pools are closed and the whole resort looks like a building site, you could argue that the 'quiet' holiday you booked is not being provided - and ask the tour operator (through the rep) for an offer of alternative accommodation.

If there's no way that they can do this for you, and you really can't stay, ask for transport to an airport or station so that you can get home of your own accord. If you have to do this, remember that you can claim reasonable compensation from your tour operator for any extra costs.

Holidays are one of the areas where you can claim for 'lack of enjoyment' if the trip turns out to be a disaster and it's not your fault. If the tour operator did not try to help you, or if they offered you another grotty hotel in place of the one you thought you'd booked - but you decide to stay anyway, you may still be able to claim compensation - either for the difference in the cost of the accommodation you were given, if it was of a lower standard than where you booked, or for disappointment and inconvenience.

If the problems could be blamed on 'unforeseen circumstances' however - such as a hurricane devastating the hotel the day before you arrived, you probably wouldn't be able to claim anything as this is beyond the tour operator's reasonable control!

Who Should I Complain To?

If your holiday was booked as a package, anyone who went on the holiday can complain, and it doesn't have to be the person who booked it.

You should make a complaint to:

  • The tour operator if you went on a package holiday
  • The provider of the hotel/accommodation or the transport you had problems with if it was not a package holiday
  • Your travel agent if your complaint is about services they arranged on top of the package.

What Should I Do First?

You should really make your complaint as soon as possible. If you have a problem while you are away, it helps your case to make a complaint about it while you are there and not wait until you get home.

Take photographs where possible, keep copies of any receipts for extra expenses, and keep a note of any complaint forms you've completed. Always write to the tour operator you are complaining to, even if you previously telephoned. The letter should include as many of the following details as possible:

  • your invoice and confirmation number, ticket numbers and any other reference numbers
  • the date of your holiday
  • how much you paid
  • what the problems were and the effect they had on your holiday
  • any brochure or advertisement descriptions you believe were misleading
  • anything you were told that turned out not to be the case
  • details of any travel agent
  • what you would like them to do - a refund or compensation for example
  • a time limit for a reply
  • copies of any documents or any photographs that you took of the problems
  • statements from any witnesses.

Remember that under the Sale & Supply of Goods Act, you are entitled to receive goods (that is, a holiday in this case) which fit their description, and which are suitable for any purpose you made known at the time. So if you ask for a holiday suitable for children, there should be facilities for kids. If you ask for wheelchair accessibility, you should not expect a room on the fifth floor, with a broken lift.

If your hotel is not as it was described, or if the quality and standards are appalling, most of the facilities are being refurbished and there's nothing to do in the evenings despite the brochure advertising an entertainment programme...you have every right to complain!

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[Add a Comment]
Hussain - Your Question:
Hey, I wondered if you could give me some advice. I booked a holiday package with jet2 for a hotel in Mallorca. It was a self catering apartment. Upon arriving there I was missing stuff like kettle, toaster and a cooking facilitie as promised on the package deal. I complained to the hotel who advised me jet2 hadn’t updated there website with there refurbishments. I complained to jet2 24/7 helpline who then sent me somebody the next day late in the evening to resolve my issue. So upon her arrival 45 minutes later she upgraded us to half board and said she can’t get us a self catering apartment today. I refused this offer as I’m Muslim and most of the food catered around was not suitable for me and my family to eat and I needed a cooking facilitie for my sons baby food. She then advised me 15 minutes later the hotel is fully booked up and there is no room available with cooking facilities and she could only upgrade me to half board. Now I spent 6 days out there literally eating chips and fruit for my breakfast lunch and dinner. My son had to eat his breakfast meals for dinner and stuff Aswel, I was left with food I had brought to the holiday to cook which I couldn’t cook and I had to buy more baby food for my son. It was the same food everyday. Do I have a right to be conpensated for them providing me an apartment which wasn’t as described and being given half board which I didn’t even want?

Our Response:
You should make a claim for compensation against the holiday package company. If they do not compensate you, you can take it further via the small claims court.
YourTravelRights - 14-May-18 @ 12:40 PM
Hey, I wondered if you could give me some advice. I booked a holiday package with jet2 for a hotel in Mallorca. It was a self catering apartment. Upon arriving there I was missing stuff like kettle, toaster and a cooking facilitie as promised on the package deal. I complained to the hotel who advised me jet2 hadn’t updated there website with there refurbishments. I complained to jet2 24/7 helpline who then sent me somebody the next day late in the evening to resolve my issue. So upon her arrival 45 minutes later she upgraded us to half board and said she can’t get us a self catering apartment today. I refused this offer as I’m Muslim and most of the food catered around was not suitable for me and my family to eat and I needed a cooking facilitie for my sons baby food. She then advised me 15 minutes later the hotel is fully booked up and there is no room available with cooking facilities and she could only upgrade me to half board. Now I spent 6 days out there literally eating chips and fruit for my breakfast lunch and dinner. My son had to eat his breakfast meals for dinner and stuff Aswel, I was left with food I had brought to the holiday to cook which I couldn’t cook and I had to buy more baby food for my son.It was the same food everyday. Do I have a right to be conpensated for them providing me an apartment which wasn’t as described and being given half board which I didn’t even want?
Hussain - 13-May-18 @ 5:55 PM
We booked an adult only hotel - Le Sante Blu, in Zante. Whist the hotel was beautiful as new, opened May 17.Our holiday was Aug 17, on the first full day of our holiday we were woken up in the early hours, by music from the adjoining room.There was only one adjoining room as we were at the end of the block. It transpired that the guests in that room were not doing anything wrong, but the adjoining walls not adequately sound proofed .The Front House Manager experienced this himself and agreed that it could be a big problem.The rep from Jet2 was made aware from the beginning of the issues, and mid through the first week, we were offered an alternative room in that hotel but the front house manager could not assure us that this problem would not be the same in the new room, therefore we requested to be moved to an alternative hotel or a flight home.In the end we were offered a room in the sister hotel, The Le Sante Hotel & Spa, which is marketed as a family hotel and not adult only or sea facing.As we felt we could not stay in the first hotel, and felt if we did not take up this offer, this would go against us, as Jet2 would potentially say that an alternative had been offered and not taken up. A complaints form was completed and signed by the resort rep, following the Jet2 complaints procedure. On arrival home to the UK, we submitted the form and the reasons for our request for a refund on the grounds of loss of enjoyment, distress, upset and that the 2nd hotel was not what we had booked.To be turned down by Jet2 as they felt that they had fulfilled their obligations at the resort, that the holidays prices change daily due to being on line (which they don't seem to have, as I have been checking this) . We appealed & turned down.We wrote to the CEO, only to be answered by a customer service assist, again no change in their decision, and ABTA. The response was receive from Jet2 on 17/01/18 that their decision remained the same.We now have the option of paying to move it to arbitration, but would like views on whether this is the right place to move to now.The holiday was booked to celebrate my husband's 60th birthday, and was memet to be a holiday to remember as costly, and has turned out to be very memorable but for the wrong reasons.The motto of Jet2, is 'package holidays you can trust' - we dont believe they have fulfilled this at all.
TVO - 18-Jan-18 @ 2:17 PM
Ferret - Your Question:
I recently returned from a holiday at the hideaway at the Royalton, St Lucia. When I booked the holiday the brochure and Thomson staff confirmed the hideaway section only had 94 rooms housed in 2 blocks. When I got there I found there to be 166 rooms housed in 3 blocks. I was in block 3 and this block was outside of the designated "hideaway" zone. I believe I was mis-sold the holiday but Thomson are fobbing me off. Can you help me?

Our Response:
Hopefully you have kept all the details that you were given at the time you purchased the holiday. If the firm are not willing to agree you were missold the holiday/ they misrepresented it, then you might have to take a private legal action.
YourTravelRights - 8-Jan-18 @ 1:58 PM
I recently returned from a holiday at the hideaway at the Royalton, St Lucia. When I booked the holiday the brochure and Thomson staff confirmed the hideaway section only had 94 rooms housed in 2 blocks. When I got there I found there to be 166 rooms housed in 3 blocks. I was in block 3 and this block was outside of the designated "hideaway" zone. I believe I was mis-sold the holiday but Thomson are fobbing me off. Can you help me?
Ferret - 5-Jan-18 @ 6:35 PM
Char1 - Your Question:
Booked with Thomson all inclusive to San migel hotel Ibiza when we arrived the hotel is actually hotel cartargo no rep when first arrived we are a group of 11 on web site it staits that the rooms would have a double and 2 extra beds this was not the case there was just two double beds in 3 rooms and with a mix of boys and girls not ideal then reception staff rude and not helpful rooms was dirty and dirty towels had to go and buy our own made complaints first day of holiday and nothing got sorted for the whole 11 days we was there when we was having food it was raw from main dining hall and Chinese buffet that cost us more to eat out of hotel was chasing rep all holiday who done nothing to help us not enough beds for all of us and no day time activities for the children age range until the last 4 days of holiday

Our Response:
We hope you took lots of photos and made notes about the hotel staff/holiday rep's inattention to your complaints. If your room wasn't where you booked and wasn't as described, you should be able to claim compensation.
YourTravelRights - 27-Sep-17 @ 3:32 PM
Booked with Thomson all inclusive to San migel hotel Ibiza when we arrived the hotel is actually hotel cartargo no rep when first arrived we are a group of 11 on web site it staits that the rooms would have a double and 2 extra beds this was not the case there was just two double beds in 3 rooms and with a mix of boys and girls not ideal then reception staff rude and not helpful rooms was dirty and dirty towels had to go and buy our own made complaints first day of holiday and nothing got sorted for the whole 11 days we was there when we was having food it was raw from main dining hall and Chinese buffet that cost us more to eat out of hotel was chasing rep all holiday who done nothing to help us not enough beds for all of us and no day time activities for the children age range until the last 4 days of holiday
Char1 - 26-Sep-17 @ 6:13 PM
Hi, I booked a holiday and wedding with Thomas Cook 18 months ago.One of the major reasons we chose our hotel was that it had a water park as children will be going.It is a new hotel but all building was supposed to be completed in April.Now, 3 weeks before we are due to travel, we have received an email saying the water park will not be complete. They have said we have the right to change hotel however, this clearly isn't possible due to the fact we have planned a wedding at the hotel and the large number of guests staying at the resort. This is clearly going to affect the enjoyment of the holiday but I also cant cancel due to the wedding. What rights do I have?
Rory - 13-Jul-17 @ 5:38 PM
krokyhead - Your Question:
Hi there, Hope you can give me a bit of advice. I booked a self catering apartment through a 3rd party company (not direct with the owners) for 9 nights based on the fact that it had a pool (shared with only one other apartment - so really very private). On arrival (Wednesday lunchtime) a note from the local rep stated that the pool was out of order - huge disappointment (esp for small child). Looking at the pool it was clear it had been out of order for a while - when talking to the rep they were hoping to get it resolved 'for the weekend'. To cut a long story short (and after much chasing on my part) it was not fixed and finally the following Tuesday I managed to get them to move us to a smaller apartment in a complex that had a shared pool, so that was something, but it took 6 days out of our stay with no pool. My complaint has yielded an offer of £200 compensation ('good will gesture') and a transfer to the airport (approx Euro 40). I'm particularly annoyed as the company knew we were already on the island as we'd booked a previous accommodation a few km away with them the week before - I feel I should have been informed before we arrived (as I would have made alternative arrangements - the only reason we went to that accommodation was for the pool). In addition, the complex we were moved to is about half price of what we paid (from a quick air bnb search). Could I ask if you feel their £200 offer is appropriate? Many thanks for any advice.

Our Response:
We can't give advice on individual figures and there is no real guidance on the amount of compensation holiday operators should offer. Any compensation should be direct reflection of the actual losses you've incurred, in this case, it's loss of enjoyment.So consider how much your holiday was affected adversely by the lack of (virtually) private pool as a proportion of what you paid for the accommodation. If the third party company is ABTA registered, you could try contacting ABTA for advice too.
YourTravelRights - 21-Jun-17 @ 12:42 PM
Hi there, Hope you can give me a bit of advice. I booked a self catering apartment through a 3rd party company (not direct with the owners) for 9 nights based on the fact that it had a pool (shared with only one other apartment - so really very private). On arrival (Wednesday lunchtime) a note from the local rep stated that the pool was out of order - huge disappointment (esp for small child). Looking at the pool it was clear it had been out of order for a while - when talking to the rep they were hoping to get it resolved 'for the weekend'. To cut a long story short (and after much chasing on my part) it was not fixed and finally the following Tuesday I managed to get them to move us to a smaller apartment in a complex that had a shared pool, so that was something, but it took 6 days out of our stay with no pool. My complaint has yielded an offer of £200 compensation ('good will gesture') and a transfer to the airport (approx Euro 40). I'm particularly annoyed as the company knew we were already on the island as we'd booked a previous accommodation a few km away with them the week before - I feel I should have been informed before we arrived (as I would have made alternative arrangements - the only reason we went to that accommodation was for the pool). In addition, the complex we were moved to is about half price of what we paid (from a quick air bnb search). Could I ask if you feel their £200 offer is appropriate? Many thanks for any advice.
krokyhead - 19-Jun-17 @ 4:50 PM
johnboy - Your Question:
We have just returned from a 14 night stay at the Barcelo Corralejo Bay hotel in Fuerteventura, we have stayed here many times of the years and have worked our way up from a standard room to this year a "deluxe suite", supposedly one of the three most luxurious rooms in the hotel, in my opinion it wasn't as luxurious as the standard suite we stayed in last year, it was big but totally soulless, there was damage to the decor, cracked floor tiles, furniture scratched and stained, there were problems with getting uk tv channels, not fully resolved after 4 reports, they offered to move us to a standard suite that we had stayed in before but there no mention of refunding the difference! and annoyingly the room next door to us was also a "deluxe suite" that was vacant until the day before we checked out, so I feel we had been fobbed off as when we've had any issues in the past we've not made a fuss, maybe we should have, i've been in contact with the hotel since our return and highlighted our issues, there have been apologies and promises of doing better next time but no mention of any refund or special deal for our next visit, there were other issues regarding dietery requirements which are always achallenge here.

Our Response:
If this is a booking you made directly with the hotel, then your contract was with them and they have in effect not delivered the services you expected from them. EU consumer rights will apply, so you should write to the hotel mentioning your consumer rights and be specific about what remedy you will be happy with, such as a partial refund or a discount off a future holiday. The EU DIRECTIVE 2011/83/EU on consumer rights is the relevant legislation.
YourTravelRights - 26-May-17 @ 12:19 PM
We have just returned from a 14 night stay at the Barcelo Corralejo Bay hotel in Fuerteventura, we have stayed here many times of the years and have worked our way up from a standard room to this year a "deluxe suite", supposedly one of the three most luxurious rooms in the hotel, in my opinion it wasn't as luxurious as the standard suite we stayed in last year, it was big but totally soulless, there was damage to the decor, cracked floor tiles, furniture scratched and stained, there were problems with getting uk tv channels, not fully resolved after 4 reports, they offered to move us to a standard suite that we had stayed in before but there no mention of refunding the difference! and annoyingly the room next door to us was also a "deluxe suite" that was vacant until the day before we checked out, so I feel we had been fobbed off as when we've had any issues in the past we've not made a fuss, maybe we should have, i've been in contact with the hotel since our return and highlighted our issues, there have been apologies and promises of doing better next time but no mention of any refund or special deal for our next visit, there were other issues regarding dietery requirements which are always achallenge here.
johnboy - 24-May-17 @ 11:51 AM
Mothertrucker - Your Question:
Hi, I have booked a holiday 4 days from now, my parents were in the same hotel and returned yesterday and it seems it is absolutely not as it is advertised, the pool complex (advertised as complex) is a 3' deep kids pool, superior rooms are far from superior, sunloungers are all broken, it advertises centrally controlled air conditioning but has none, apparently the hotel staff are fully aware of the misleading advertising and constantly apologise about it. Help, do I contact agent now or have to wait till I get there

Our Response:
Contact the agent first and see if there's anything they can do at this late stage. If not, when you get there, make a note of everything that is wrong/misleading about the description you were given and take photos for evidence. When you get back submit a claim for compensation to the agent.
YourTravelRights - 9-Sep-16 @ 11:49 AM
Hi, I have booked a holiday 4 days from now, my parents were in the same hotel and returned yesterday and it seems it is absolutely not as it is advertised,the pool complex (advertised as complex)is a 3' deep kids pool,superior rooms are far from superior, sunloungers are all broken, it advertises centrally controlled air conditioning but has none, apparently the hotel staff are fully aware of the misleading advertising and constantly apologise about it. Help, do I contact agent now or have to wait till I get there
Mothertrucker - 8-Sep-16 @ 12:41 PM
Hi, we booked a months holiday this year to a 5*luxury resort in the Gambia. Worst hotel ive ever been in. Only one umbrella at pool, meal choices were not available,no wine to buy for dinner, no brandy after. Water off numerous times, leaking dirty pool and much more besides. After 12 days we couldnt stand it any more, and asked for a refundfor 16 days, so we could rebook. Refundwasfar less than we paid. (£500 short). We paid in full to Travel Republic in July 2015 £4,631 for a holiday commencing the middle of January.Given that the hotel fell far short of the luxury resort it was advertised at and the hotel hadnt been paid at all i expected to get a full refund. i have raised this with Travel Republic but not getting a positive response (they are only asking the hotel for compensatory refund for the 12 days we spent
jojojo - 16-Mar-16 @ 6:38 PM
Patthedog - Your Question:
Thanks for your reply. We didn't complain at the time although I guess we could have or should have. Instead we cleaned the dirty hob and downstairs floor ourselves as it just seemed easier. We didn't touch the damp areas as they were out of the way but they were not something we would have expected from a 5 star property. Should we ask for a fixed amount of compensation? what is normal? Half the cost of the week? Thanks for any help or suggestions.

Our Response:
Whatever you feel is realistic...it depends on the impact it had on your holiday. Without evidence, it will be difficult to prove.
YourTravelRights - 27-Aug-15 @ 12:58 PM
Thanks for your reply. We didn't complain at the time although I guess we could have or should have. Instead we cleaned the dirty hob and downstairs floor ourselves as it just seemed easier. We didn't touch the damp areas as they were out of the way but they were not something we would have expected from a 5 star property. Should we ask for a fixed amount of compensation? what is normal? Half the cost of the week? Thanks for any help or suggestions.
Patthedog - 27-Aug-15 @ 12:46 PM
Patthedog - Your Question:
Hello, In July this year (three weeks ago) I stayed with my family in self catering accomodation in the UK. We felt the house was not fully clean when we arrived: the oven hob needed a clean and the downstairs living room floor looked grubby and there was sand under the rugs. There were also patches of damp in the kitchen near the back door which looked unsightly. I didn't mention anything at the time but have just written to the owner. We felt this ruined our holiday. Am I entitled to claim for compensation? How much should I claim?Many thanks.

Our Response:
Your first step is to complain at the time to give the company/owner a chance to put things right. Did you do this? You could try sending photos as evidence and asking for compensation, but if you do not have these, it will be quite difficult to get a result.
YourTravelRights - 27-Aug-15 @ 11:06 AM
Hello, In July this year (three weeks ago) I stayed with my family in self catering accomodation in the UK. We felt the house was not fully clean when we arrived: the oven hob needed a clean and the downstairs living room floor looked grubby and there was sand under the rugs. There were also patches of damp in the kitchen near the back door which looked unsightly. I didn't mention anything at the time but have just written to the owner. We felt this ruined our holiday. Am I entitled to claim for compensation? How much should I claim? Many thanks.
Patthedog - 25-Aug-15 @ 11:33 AM
jenks - Your Question:
I booked trough a coach firm for a 5 day holiday at llandudno upon arrival the staff were rude and swore when I saw my room I just cried I couldnt stay there ai complained to the manager who changed my room but the second one was worse I was then told that they didnt have any other rooms so I took pictures and the next morning traveled to rail station where at my expense traveled home has it was to far for my husband to pick me up I am a disabled woman I understand the coach firm didnt check out this hotel just went online where do I stand for claiming money back

Our Response:
Did you phone the coach firm/tour operator while you were there, to see if they could do anything? That's usually the first thing to do. If you were unable to do so, taking photographs was the right idea. Write to your tour operator including all the information mentioned in the above article under the heading "What Should I Do First?"
YourTravelRights - 6-Aug-15 @ 12:07 PM
I booked through a coach firm for a 5 day holiday at llandudno upon arrival the staff were rude and swore - when I saw my room I just cried I couldnt stay there & complained to the manager who changed my room but the second one was worse. I was then told that they didnt have any other rooms so I took pictures and the next morning traveled to rail station where at my expense traveled home has it was to far for my husband to pick me up I am a disabled woman I understand the coach firm didnt check out this hotel just went online where do I stand for claiming money back
jenks - 5-Aug-15 @ 7:17 PM
Hi I went away Xmas for 16 days and apartment wAs only cleaned once made two complaints and called and left message, came home complained to agent and basically the response was 'well you should have complained more' sent my complaint to TTA who has now given me the option of trading standards, small claims court or arbitration, can't really afford big costs so please advise what should I do, should I just drop it? This holiday spoilt m,y Xmas and I just got on with it for sake of children
Jj5663 - 26-May-15 @ 5:45 PM
@Maggiedog. Did you book the hotel directly or via a holiday company?
YourTravelRights - 30-Apr-15 @ 12:59 PM
I have just returned from holiday after a very disappointing stay in a five star hotel. The hotel gardens were undergoing a fairly large refurbishment and as a result the stay was far from tranquilas described in the hotel manifesto. When I booked the holiday no mention was made of this position. The noise at times was really intrusive and upsetting. It was impossible to relax. Some mornings I was woken at around seven o clock .to me this is totally unacceptable. Who will help me?
Maggiedog - 25-Apr-15 @ 4:29 PM
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