Holidaymakers who recently stayed at the Hotel Polynesia in Benalmadena have commented on the standard of their food serving practices, and some reviewers have said that they were sick during their stay.

The Hotel Holiday Polynesia in Spain

The Hotel Polynesia, also known as the Hotel Holiday Polynesia, is situated in Benalmadena in the Costa Del Sol region of Andalucia, Spain. Advertised by TUI (formerly branded as Thomson) on an all-inclusive basis, this Spanish resort features a lagoon pool and access to a beach club and waterpark via shuttle bus.

Reviewers comment on problems with meals at the Polynesia

The hotel is reviewed positively on TripAdvisor, with reviewers awarding the Polynesia an average score of 4.5 out of 5 based on 2,605 reviews at the time of writing. There are some less positive reviews, with the following highlighting potential problems in the dining areas at the Polynesia.


TripAdvisor user ‘4L89’ wrote a review of their stay in November that was simply titled “Food Very Concerning“. In their review, they say that the “hotel looks very impressive when you first arrive, but you soon find out it’s all smoke and mirrors“.

They say that they and their “partner suffered [from] food poisoning on [their] 3rd day and [they were] unable to leave the suite for 2 days“. They go on say that they “informed reception” but “they couldn’t care less“, and “the food is very concerning at this hotel“.

‘4L89’ explains that “the food is always cold” and the “chef [was] clearly not worried about cross-contamination” so far as “raw fish and meat” were concerned. They comment that “meat sat on hot plates for hours” and “food that [was] left at lunch [would] be served at dinner“, adding that “breakfast leftovers [were] served at the pool bar“.

Before concluding their review, ‘4L89’ says that “it Smells of sewage/dirty drains when sat by the pool bar“, and “the cleaners don’t clean the room properly, just [making the] beds and [replacing the] towels“, commenting that their “room was filthy when [they] arrived“.


‘Gillian M’ from Glasgow also wrote a review of her stay in November titled “Not worth the trip! Paid to change hotel“, in which she echoes ‘4L89’s sentiments by commenting that “on arrival, the hotel looks very grand, however, after check-in it was obvious that looks can be deceiving“.

She says that they “had to ask for the bed to be changed as there were bodily fluid stains and possibly the [remnants] of makeup on the pillows and sheets“. She also says that they “were all-inclusive […] but the food was really unappetizing and caused both [her] partner and [her] to become unwell“.

‘Gillian M’ explains that “most of the food was on hot plates that were not hot, the burgers looked like road kill and [they] witnessed the chef touch raw fish and then raw meat without washing his hands“, stating that “there is no concern over cross-contamination“.


Warrington holidaymaker ‘BellasmummyUk’ stayed at the Hotel Polynesia in October, and in her review titled “Mixed bag this visit“, she says that “the poolside food was dire“, explaining that her “husband found a burger bun with green mould inside“, commenting that “the bread was obviously carried forward to each sitting“. She also says that “the “hot” food was sat there for ages“.

She states that their “last day was marred by [her] and [her] husband having holiday tummy” which meant that they were “stuck in the room“.


In her review of her stay in October titled “Three and a half stars if this was an option… A bit of a mixed bag“, ‘Louise77Nurse’ from Edinburgh says that “the food is pretty average, never hot“, going on to say that at breakfast “the eggs [were] hardly cooked” and “the black pudding seemed to be served completely raw“.

She says that while the restaurant “looked clean enough“, she “did get the feeling that they recycled some of the stuff that was left uneaten, particularly the bread and rolls which seemed hard all the time“. She adds that “the all-inclusive snacks at the poolside bar were [definitely] the leftovers from breakfast“.


Portsmouth holidaymaker ‘Lewis S’ also wrote a review of his stay in October titled “a great holiday” in which he says that he “quickly realised [that] the food isn’t that great and appears to always be only lukewarm“.


Hotel responds

In response to the review by ‘Lewis S’, the Director General at the Holiday Polynesia had the following to say:


Dear Lewis

Thank you for taking the time to write this extensive opinion about your stay at our hotel.

We are glad to read that you had a nice stay and would like to come back as you would recommend to other people.

Do not hesitate to take note of their comments about the food, we will continue to work on continuous improvement.

We hope to see you again here.

Best regards,

H. Polynesia


Avoiding food poisoning on holiday

Although hotel buffets can be a great way to make a variety of different options available to guests at an all-inclusive hotel, it’s important to follow hygiene processes, such as those outlined in the HACCP guidelines. If a hotel fails to follow such guidelines, they could be putting their guests at risk of food poisoning. Poor hygiene practices such as not properly monitoring a hotel buffet can be a cause for concern, as hot dishes that aren’t kept above a certain temperature can breed bacteria.

Recycled food and the risk of food poisoning on holiday

Recycling food is another hygiene error that can make people sick on holiday. Often this is done by an hotelier to save costs, but repeatedly serving dishes over more than one sitting can cause changes in temperature that introduce an element of risk. The process of recycling meals introduces the possibility that the contents of any given dish will be exposed for longer than is safe to do so.

You might be able to claim compensation

In the event that you’re sick on an all-inclusive package holiday, under The Package Travel Regulations 1992, you could be entitled to claim compensation from your tour operator.

We can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation, during which a member of our travel law team can assess your case and advise you if we can help you to make a ‘no win no feeholiday illness claim.

Get in touch

If you want to find out more about claiming for illness at the Hotel Polynesia in Spain; contact Paul Rimmer by completing our enquiry form, call us on 0808 145 1353 or visit On Holiday Claims.