Couple's fury at £5K Caribbean holiday next to noisy construction site

‘I saw the building work and said oh my bl**dy god’: British couple’s fury at £5,000 ‘luxury’ Caribbean holiday next to 7am-4pm construction site that towered over the swimming pool

  • Video shows drilling and machinery as nearby holidaymakers try to relax
  • Dawn Brett and husband David had splashed out £5,000 on the holiday
  • Travel agent Tui informed the couple of ‘sporadic’ building work but Dawn says she was told it wouldn’t impact the holiday

Dawn Brett and husband David, both 59, had splashed out £5,100 on the two-week holiday booked with Tui at the Riu Palace Antillas Hotel on the island of Aruba. But when they arrived, they found a noisy building site towered ‘over the pool’

A furious couple have demanded a £5,000 refund after their luxury Caribbean getaway turned into the holiday from hell as a noisy building site towered ‘over the pool’, leaving them needing painkillers every day.

Dawn Brett and husband David, both 59, had splashed out £5,000 on the two-week holiday booked with Tui at the Riu Palace Antillas Hotel on the island of Aruba.

For five grand, they were expecting the holiday of a lifetime.

But the mum-of-two claims that when she arrived at the adult-only hotel last month, they were met with a building site where a hotel was being constructed next door.

Footage shows the building work towering over the pool and almost ‘obscuring the sky’ as the sound of banging rings out as nearby holidaymakers try to relax.

The ‘horrific’ noise from drilling and machinery was so bad that Dawn claims it forced her to take painkillers for headache relief every day.

The ‘horrific’ noise from drilling and machinery was so bad that Dawn claims it forced her to take painkillers for headache relief every day


The holiday is pictured as advertised on the left, with the couple finding the noisy construction of the hotel ongoing when they arrived on the right

The GP receptionist says the noisy machinery whirring up at 7am every day except Sunday and didn’t finish until 4pm.

She considered cutting her holiday short by a week because of it, she added.

Tui claim they sent a letter to the guests explaining that building work was ongoing – however the letter said it could only be heard ‘sporadically’ and Dawn says they never would have gone if the extent of the work had been made clear to them.

Now the couple are demanding a full refund from Tui and are ‘refusing to let the issue drop’ until they do.

Dawn, from Orpington, Kent, said: ‘When I first saw the building work it I said “oh my bloody God”.

‘We’d been saving a while. It’s a lot of money and we’d been looking forward to it.

‘It’s heartbreaking. It was constant banging, drilling and machinery. You just couldn’t get away from it. It was horrible.

‘We’re sitting around the pool people but you couldn’t relax, it was horrific. You can turn your head to not look but you can’t shut your ears.

‘I’m not letting it go and accepting what’s happened. I won’t book with them again. ‘It was such a shame and really sad.

‘It was bang, bang, bang all the time and you couldn’t get away from it. It was the whole of our holiday.

‘That’s why I’m demanding my money back. I could demand compensation. I could ask for 10 x 20p for the Ibuprofen because I had to take headache tablets all the time.

‘It wasn’t great at all, it was awful. We had to suck it up. If they’d have shown us the building works, we would have cancelled.’

Dawn says that by day seven of her holiday, they were so desperate to escape the noise that they considered packing their bags and catching a flight home.

Tui claim they sent a letter to the guests explaining that building work was ongoing – however the letter said it could only be heard ‘sporadically’ and Dawn says they never would have gone if the extent of the work had been made clear to them

The pair had been to Aruba three years ago and always book their holidays with Tui so felt confident with their choice of hotel.

Dawn said: ‘We couldn’t handle the noise. It was on top of the pool. There was no relaxing.

‘We spend the majority of the holiday around the pool area. There are beautiful beaches but I’m not a beach person. I don’t like the sand.

‘We were next door a few years ago and it was quite peaceful and we loved it but this time it was horrific to say the least.

‘It was nothing the second time as we expected. We’re supposed to be going for out wedding anniversary next year and I don’t want to go.

‘We’ve always booked through Tui. We’re valued customers and we use the same person. I just feel let down. On the website, it didn’t show us any building work.

‘I get that covid gets in the way and they need to make their money and don’t get me wrong, the hotel will probably be beautiful when it’s done but it’s just a horrible sight.

The advertised holiday is pictured. The pair had been to Aruba three years ago and always book their holidays with Tui so felt confident with their choice of hotel

But Dawn says that by day seven of her holiday, they were so desperate to escape the noise that they considered packing their bags and catching a flight home

‘We approached the rep who offered to check for seats for a flight home but it wasn’t a quick, easy decision because it’s a nine and a half hour flight and we didn’t know if we’d get compensation if we came home a week early.’

Dawn received a letter from the travel company in April advising her that building work would be taking place nearby but decided to go ahead as planned as she believed her holiday wouldn’t be affected.

The letter said site activity had ‘increased more recently’ and ‘become more noticeable’, but said the work was taking place ‘sporadically’.

Dawn said: ‘We got a letter from Tui telling us about the building works and a rep from Tui called us about two weeks before saying they wanted to make sure we got the letter.

‘I asked if it would impact the holiday and they said no, it wouldn’t cause a problem and it was nothing major.

‘If they’d shown us the picture and told us that the noise would be going on from 7am to 4pm every day, we wouldn’t have gone or we would have changed the hotel but they didn’t give us that option.’

Dawn Brett and her husband David are pictured. Dawn said: ‘It’s a lot of money and we’d been looking forward to it. ‘It’s heartbreaking. It was constant banging, drilling and machinery. You just couldn’t get away from it. It was horrible’

She added: ‘There was no peace, it was really hard work. If they offer me £200 Tui vouchers they can shove it.

‘Should have I been more diligent? No, I’m not one of those people who looks up comments because I’m not brought up in that era who researches the hell out of a coffee shop that I go to.

‘I’m not of that era that googles reviews for everything. I believe what they tell me, that’s why I booked with Tui.’

A spokesperson from Tui said: ‘We understand Ms Brett’s frustration following her holiday experience.

‘We contacted Ms Brett and other affected customers on two separate occasions before they departed to let them know about the nearby building work. We can confirm Ms Brett acknowledged receipt of these communications and decided to continue with her holiday booking as planned.’

Prensa Riu Hotels & Resorts said they had nothing else to add to Tui’s statement. 

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