Holiday Spoiled As 'Four-Star Hotel' Turns Out To Be An Abandoned Ruin
There is a degree of trust involved when booking a hotel for your hols online, and as such, it is only natural to be a touch concerned that your room may not quite live up to its billing in reality.
At the very least though, you expect the hotel to exist in reality.
But this was not the case for Christine Sillman and her daughter Tonya, who had booked a room in a four-star hotel for their trip to Tel Aviv, Israel.
Mrs Sillman had paid £120 per night for the room at the 'beachfront' Royal Jaffa, which she booked through Booking.com. However, upon arrival at the site last month, there were none of the advertised sea views, flat-screen TVs and en-suite bathrooms; rather, there were crumbling walls, broken windows and rubble.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mrs Sillman, from Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire, said: "It wasn't quite the beachfront hotel with sea view balconies that we were expecting.
"Booking.com should have really checked that the place existed before allowing it to be advertised on their website.
"We were walking down the street and got to this building on the corner where the hotel was meant to be. But all we found was a ruin. There were some balconies, lots of ladders hanging about everywhere, and some stairs we walked up that led nowhere.
"At first we assumed we'd got it wrong so wandered around to a nearby five-star hotel and spoke to a man on the desk. He said other people had tried to check into the hotel before and that it was a scam."
Mrs Sillman - who runs a B&B - said that after some frantic searching, they were luckily able to secure some last-minute accommodation.
She said: "We could have been in real trouble as it was the night before Eurovision and everywhere was packed.
"As someone who runs a B&B I've always been sceptical about Booking.com as they are doing really bad stuff with the tourism market in the UK by monopolising bookings from foreign tourists, and then charging commission from the owners.
"We were lucky that the same concierge was able to find us a fairly reasonable hostel."
Booking.com has since agreed to refund the cost of the Sillmans' alternative accommodation, as well as the cost of their taxi and expenses.
A company spokesman told the Daily Mail: "Our top priority is to help guarantee a smooth and pleasant experience for our customers that empowers them to enjoy travelling wherever and whenever they choose.
"We are available to support them 24/7, especially in the very rare instance that something unexpected might occur at a property.
"As this is not the experience we want for any of our customers, we have apologised to this customer and refunded them in full for the cost of the alternative property that they booked, as well as for any relocation expenses they incurred."
Featured Image Credit: Christine Sillman