A family was left in “tears” after their dream holiday at a five-star Cornwall resort fell through and were offered alternative accommodation 250 miles away in Uxbridge.
Ian Tomlinson and his family had booked their stay at Retallack Resort near Newquay, Cornwall six months in advance.
The hotel’s overall rating on Google is 4.3 stars, and has an aqua park, a floating volleyball court, a wave pool and wakeboarding.
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(Image: Grahame Larter)
The alternative was a hotel with an 18-metre swimming pool and sauna.
But after a treacherous four-hour drive, Ian was told by the hotel that there was no record of the booking through Booking.com and there was no chance of fitting them in.
Booking.com then sent an email to Ian and his family that they had found a similar alternative in Uxbridge. The email said it “hoped they were having a great day”.
(Image: The Wharf)
Despite multiple attempts to contact the travel website by phone and email, Ian was unable to reach out to a Booking.com representative and had no choice but to return home.
He told The Guardian: “Uxbridge was 250 miles away and not a place anyone would choose to have a holiday.
“I had two very tired, upset children who were looking forward to all the resort’s attractions including a FlowRider wave machine for surfing, and my wife was in tears. We were not having a great day.”
Luckily, Ian had not yet paid for the hotel, though they had pre-paid tickets for he Eden Project and lost out on petrol money.
“Plus, we lost the holiday we’d spent all year looking forward to,” Ian added.
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It wasn’t until 11 days later when Ian finally received an email from Booking.com. They claimed the hotel had overbooked and that it would consider refunding his costs but would not provide compensation for upsetting his children.
An Aria Resorts spokesperson, which owns the hotel, said: “Unfortunately, it seems the booking was not confirmed correctly through Booking.com into our reservation system.
“We have had no further contact from Booking.com regarding this guest’s concerns.”
After Guardian Money contacted Booking.com, Ian and his family were awarded £700 in compensation and refunded the cost of petrol and the Eden Project tickets – but didn’t comment on why the error arose.
A Booking.Com spokesperson said: “In exceptional circumstances where a property is unable to accommodate a guest, we always seek to rectify that immediately and will be working with this partner to ensure all future guests have a good experience.”
Have you had a terrible holiday experience this Summer? Get in contact with Ruby at [email protected] with your stories.