‘Luxury’ holiday anything but, claim family
ADISABLED mother was shocked to find ant-ridden beds, dirty accommodation, drug use and fighting during a stay at Pontins Southp port.
Claire Ashton, 37, visi ited the holiday camp f for a family break over h half-term and vowed never to return.
The family booked in January to visit Pontins from their home in Sheffield, but had to alter their plans when Claire needed spinal surgery after suffering p prolapsed discs.
Claire, who travelled w with husband Matthew, 33, son Joe, 13, motherin-law Sharon, 63, and n nephews Luke and Ben, 9 and 6, was happy when she rang Pontins and advised she could upgrade to a ‘luxury bungalow’ which was neces sar y as she would now be using a wheelchair.
That change, combined with upgrading to half-board, boosted the cost of the holiday from £269 to more than £750.
But they were left shocked by what they found when they arrived at Pontins, owned by Britannia Hotels - which also owns the Scarisbrick and Prince of Wales hotels in Southport.
She said: “It was ridden with ants, nothing was working, the cupboards were broken, the blinds wouldn’t open, nothing had been cleaned.
“There were ants in our bed. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrific it was.”
On top of this, Claire said, the toilet wouldn’t flush when they arrived and, later in their stay, a glass shelf fell from above the sink while the children were brushing the teeth underneath it.
“We spoke to the manager about how disgusting it was. He went in and mopped it himself and said the cleaner couldn’t go in because she was scared of dogs and we had our chihuahua with us.”
Things got worse when they went for their evening meal and, despite only being allowed a half-hour slot to eat, couldn’t find any suitable space to fit Claire’s wheelchair in. This problem continued each day, with the family often deciding it was better to eat elsewhere, pushing their total spend to well over £1,000.
After complaining to the manager, the family was given a £20 drinks voucher.
“We could have gone abroad for that much money. We were sold something by the man on the phone that was nothing like the actual place.
“They didn’t cater at all for me and it was certainly not a luxury bungalow in any shape or form.”
According to Claire, it was not uncommon to see and smell people smoking drugs from as early as 9am.
“I have to say security were very good and quick to get rid of anyone causing trouble,” she added.
“But I’ve never seen people fighting, taking drugs in a family resort. Our children were physically scared. For people to be physically fighting in front of you is not on.
“For £779 we expected something, especially bearing in mind we’d upgraded and explained my disabilities.
“It’s called Pontins Southport and it gives Southport a bad name. It’s beautiful there, but they need to shut that place down and build it again.”
But Claire said they all had a fantastic time in the town and were keen to return.
Pontins was approached for comment but did not respond at the time of publishing.
The Ashton family were shocked by their luxury bungalow at Pontins Southport Pictured: Ben, Luke, Sharon, Claire and Joe on Southport Pier with (inset) examples of what they found