Holidaymakers who recently stayed at the Hotel Playa Pesquero in Cuba have made further reports of possible gastric illness and poor hygiene at the Holguin resort, suggesting that the previously reported issues may not have been addressed.

The Hotel Playa Pesquero in Holguin

The Hotel Playa Pesquero is located in the popular Holguin region of Cuba and advertised by British tour operator Thomas Cook on an all-inclusive basis. Featuring at least 6 restaurants and a variety of facilities, this Cuban resort has a lot to offer.

Unfortunately, there have been further reports of holiday illness and hygiene concerns, following on from reviews that we reported on in March and January.

Concerning hygiene practices reported by reviewers

The Hotel Playa Pesquero is almost unanimously praised by reviewers on TripAdvisor, where the hotel holds a 4.5 out of 5 overall rating and has received their Certificate of Excellence award, however, some reviewers have said that they encountered problems with hygiene and illness during their stay in May.

In their review titled “Very large resort” ‘amcptravel’ says that they “enjoyed [their] stay until [they] got really sick on [their] last day“. They explain that they “ended [up] at the [doctors] when [they] returned” home, and subsequently had to take “medication for a bacterial infection“, adding that they “know that someone else [that they] met also had the same symptoms“.

Lowestoft holidaymaker ‘scotty402’ wrote a review titled “Lovely place but got sick BADLY!“, in which they say that they were “very sick from eating in the poolside buffet” and witnessed the “cross-contamination of raw and cooked meats on the BBQ“.

They continue to explain that “the buffet food was warm at best and still warm when it was [meant] to be cold“, and the buffet restaurant was “full of flies“, as well as “birds [that were] pecking at the food“.

‘scotty402’ also says that they “had to have pills” to treat their condition, as well as “an injection“. They imply that they were told that they should “be put on a drip“, but “refused as [they felt that] the [doctor] on the complex was not up to [a] standard” that they would have preferred.

In his review titled “[Couldn’t] Wait to come home – Honeymoon Ruined” ‘Andy F’ says that they stayed at “the Playa Pesquero for two weeks for [their] Honeymoon“. In addition to some initial problems with his room, he says that “the buffet restaurant […] food was pretty good, however, birds were occasionally [allowed] to eat straight off the buffet towards the end of breakfast“.

He continues to say that they “watched a chef on one of the fresh cook stations take a utensil out of a bowl of what looked a lot like raw chicken, wipe it on his apron and then spoon peas onto a child’s plate“.

The risk posed by cross-contamination

Cross-contamination is an easily avoidable hygiene error. When kitchen utensils are used to handle uncooked high-risk produce, they shouldn’t be used to handle any other food without being properly cleaned, especially not food that is being served onto a guest’s plate. In instances where produce such as raw chicken is handled by serving utensils, the risk of spreading Salmonella through cross-contamination can be quite high.

Cross-contamination, chicken and Salmonella on holiday

Wildlife can also cause contamination

Hotel buffet contamination doesn’t necessarily have to be caused directly by human error; wildlife can also be to blame. In our experience, birds and flies are notorious for making holidaymakers sick, which is a shame because they can so easily be deterred.

One of the simplest solutions that practically every all-inclusive hotel could implement is ensuring that buffet dishes are kept covered when not in use. Doing so would deny birds or flies access and could reduce the chance of faecal matter contaminating food and making guests ill.

Food temperatures and holiday illness

Different types of produce need to be prepared differently. Some need to be cooked thoroughly and others need to be kept chilled or even frozen before they are considered safe to consume, but practically every type of food is safer or more hazardous at certain temperatures.

It’s not just important that hoteliers ensure that their food handling team members are aware of this, but that they also ensure that temperatures are regularly monitored, especially in dining environments such as a hotel buffet. Food temperature testing kits are readily available, so there’s no excuse for not using them.

Find out how to claim compensation from your tour operator

If you’ve become unwell on an all-inclusive package holiday due to a hygiene error that could have been prevented, then under The Package Travel Regulations 1992 you could be entitled to claim compensation from your tour operator.

Our travel law specialists can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation, during which we can advise you of our ‘no win no fee‘ terms and what the best method to pursue compensation will be for you.

Claire Rabbetts – Holiday Accident and Illness Claims Specialist

Get in touch

If you want to find out more about claiming for illness at the Hotel Playa Pesquero in Cuba; contact Claire Rabbetts by completing our enquiry form, call us on 0808 145 1353 or visit our On Holiday Claims website.