Unanswered Letter to Thomas Cook A review of Palma Rima Hotel

I'm writing to express my profound disappointment & on-going discomfort following our recent Sunset holiday to Palma Rima Hotel, Gambia.

All of the matters referred to below were discussed with the local representative (Lenny) during our stay.

I have 3 major complaints:

1.Hotel quality - fit for purpose

2.Hotel staff

3.Hotel food - hygiene

I will deal with each of the above in turn;

Hotel quality - whilst the picture in your brochure is accurate the hotel is dilapidated. We were initially allocated a room (319) that had not been adequately cleaned. In addition, it became immediately evident that the room was swamping with ants. The hotel reception staff were made aware of this and the following day sprayed the room with insecticide which had the room total uninhabitable since the room was filled with an acrid stench.

Whilst the insecticide did kill a vast number of ants, see attached photo, these were not cleared away for 2 days despite repeated requests.

The final stray was on the third night when we returned to the room @ 00:30 to find that the beds were covered in ants. I immediately went to reception and insisted that something be done.

The young man on reception telephoned our room 20 minutes later to say that he could not leave the reception unattended therefore we would have to await the arrival of another member of staff. An hour later another member of staff came to the room with the same foul smelling insecticide spray that had been used previously.

I insisted on reading the label of the spray can and explained to him that this type of spray should not be used in a confined space and could not be used in the room if we were expected to sleep in this room tonight.

The receptionist returned to the front desk without suggesting any solution.

We removed all the bed coverings, moved the beds away from the ants trail and spent a very uncomfortable night in the room. Thankfully this was our last night in room 319.

Hotel Staff - whilst it was difficult to explain to the night reception staff that the insecticide spray was harmful to humans this is not my major complaint regarding the hotel staff.

The following morning we spoke to reception about changing our room. The reception staff informed us that we would need to talk to the person responsible for allocating room when he arrived to start work @ 10:00.

The man responsible for allocating rooms was totally obnoxious and unhelpful. Initially he insisted that there were no other rooms although were aware that the hotel was not full.

Eventually we were offered another room provided we paid an additional 1500 Dalasi. This we did - receipt attached.

There was no help offered by way of assistance in moving from room 319 to the replacement room.

Hotel food - we, along with most of our fellow guests experienced stomach upsets during our stay. Unfortunately this complaint is still ongoing.

Yesterday I provided a stool sample to my GP for analysis. Results of this analysis are awaited although he suspects gastroenteritis.

Whilst I have no proof that the hotel food was prepared in an unhygienic manner, based on the number of guest affected, I would suggest that there is strong circumstantial evidence.

As mentioned earlier, all of the above was discussed with your local representative who unfortunately was immune to the above observations. This approach may be understandable given that similar comments were being made by most of the guests. In addition, I would strongly encourage your representative trainers to consider a more responsive approach to complaints. I don't want to hear about different peoples expectations or the fact that Gambia is a third world country which were regularly used platitudes from your representative. I wanted your representative to resolve the issues.

I believe that my expectations are similar to most, that is, that the hotel rooms are clean, the beds adequate and the food prepared in a hygienic manner. None of these reasonable expectations were meet.

Whilst we were in Gambia we viewed a couple of other hotels close to Hotel Palma Rima charging a similar headline room-rate. Suffice to say, both were vastly superior. As the number of hotels available increases, and hence the competition, is the strategy of the Hotel Palma Rima, to allow standards to fall further whilst maintaining their profits.

I believe you have a duty of care to your customers which based on my recent experience is not being met. Whilst the weather was superb, our holiday was spoilt.

We do intend to visit Gambia again shortly but we will not be staying @ the Hotel Palma Rima.

I intent to post a copy of this letter on the Trip Advisor website.

Your faithfully,

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Palma Rima Hotel
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