Hotel of horrors holiday

SLEEPING on the floor, blocked toilets, graffiti on the walls and cramped conditions were not what Nasir Ahmed and his family had in mind when they planned their pilgrimage to Saudia Arabia.

But arriving in Madinah, they found the four star hotel they had booked back in the UK had no record of their reservation.

For the next 11 nights, they were moved between three different hotels and several rooms as various agents and local authorities got involved.

Mr Ahmed said: “We were allocated one hotel which I would not even give a rating.

“It had one sink, blocked toilets, broken doors and graffiti all over the walls.”

On some nights there were not even enough beds for the party of six, which included Mr Ahmed’s elderly parents.

Mr Ahmed, of Ravensthorpe Road, Thornhill Lees, paid £1,815 to Dewsbury Travel for accommodation and visas for the party of six.

He said he had lodged formal complaints about the ‘woefully inadequate’ service from the company and asked for half the payment to be refunded to compensate for the many problems.

But the 44-year-old said he had received no formal offer.

A spokesman for Dewsbury Travel, which has offices in Dewsbury and Batley, said it was still in negotiations with Mr Ahmed.

“We booked the hotel through agents in Saudia Arabia,” he said.

“He has had problems and we’re trying to sort out a compensation package for him.

“We’re working with the agents to try to find out what happened.”

He said the company usually tried to find a hotel of an equivalent standard if there were problems, but the volume of visitors during Ramadan had made that difficult.

But Mr Ahmed said: “They have shown no interest in resolving my complaint and keep making feeble excuses that they will sort something out. They’re just messing me about.”

He is now taking advice from Consumer Direct, a government-funded service.

He said it was important for consumers to challenge companies if their products and services were not up to scratch.

“If this happens to anyone else, there are people out there they can go to link the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Consumer Direct,” he said.

“It takes a bit of time but you have to do it.”