Vacationer demands apology, refund following hotel norovirus outbreak

A vacation in the sun turned disastrously wrong for a Beaconsfield family.

Jennifer Conn, her husband and her four year old daughter all became seriously ill shortly after checking into a resort on the Caribbean island of St Maarten.

The family is claiming the resort didn't take enough precautions to prevent a massive norovirus outbreak that affected dozens of guests.

Jennifer Conn says both the hotel and her tour package operator Sunwing are to blame.

The hotel for not disinfecting its grounds, and Sunwing for partnering with a hotel that isn't up to hygiene standards.

Conn says she believes Sunwing should have cancelled packages to a resort that was known to have had a norovirus outbreak.

But what bothered her most, she says, was the lack of compassion or cooperation from both the hotel and Sunwing.

Conn is asking for a refund and an apology.

Sunwing response via email to a request for comment:

Unfortunately, we can not disclose any specific information about our customers in order to protect their privacy.

Sunwing works very closely with our onsite destination management representatives, our hotel partners, and local government officials.  We also keep abreast of travel advisories issued by the Canadian government. 

As you are likely aware, there are presently no travel advisories in effect for St Martin, and our government advises travellers to exercise normal precautions (reference:http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/saint-martin )

The Public Health Agency of Canada has updated a travel notice as of today recommending that travellers protect themselves from mosquito bites when visiting islands with confirmed locally transmitted cases of the chikungunya virus. (reference: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/notices-avis/notices-avis-eng.php?id=120 )

The first confirmed case of this virus that we were made aware of in St Maarten was diagnosed last week.

Since this point, in conjunction with the local authorities, we’ve been recommending the use of mosquito repellent to our customers and our hotel partners have been taking additional precautions including increased frequency of mosquito spraying and removal of unnecessary standing water around the property grounds.

Photo courtesy CTV

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  1. maxine pinto posted on 01/28/2014 06:43 PM
    We are presently waiting for a partial refund and appolgy from Sunwing too. Our story is different as the hotel was advertised as 5 star and it was so new that many things were not up to par and clothing was stolen. It will be interesting to see what happens with this case
  2. barry posted on 01/28/2014 06:50 PM
    Good Luck... ;)
  3. Heather posted on 01/29/2014 07:48 AM
    Good luck we had a similar situation about 10yrs ago with airtransat .... We had to go straight to the MCH after getting of the plane. This happens far to often it has completely turned us off doing "all inclusives". We managed to get vouchers for futur flights with airtransat..... Good luck and stay healthy
  4. Ray S posted on 01/29/2014 07:54 AM
    As much as I feel sorry for this family, getting sick on a vacation is YOUR issue.

    Did YOU practice all possible steps to prevent illness? Every single last one, including for YOUR child?

    At best, as a goodwill gesture only, the hotel might offer you a free week next year. SunWing, although blameless, might offer you a discount on next year's flight.

    But that is ALL you should expect.

    What next? Wanting compensation and an apology because the weather was bad?
    1. gina posted on 01/29/2014 09:41 AM
      @Ray S "judge not lest ye be judged"
  5. ric posted on 01/29/2014 09:24 AM
    I've never fallen sick due to a hotel, but have received refunds for food quality, poor service, cleanliness etc. I find that booking through an agent rather than directly on the internet helps. It's our travel agent that did the fighting for us. They often have more pull than we do. Having said that, I'm off to Jamaica, mon!!!
  6. Peter Thibault posted on 01/29/2014 03:01 PM
    I sympathize with this Beaconsfield family.

    We were also in St. Maartin last week staying at the Sonesta Hotel.
    We were 7 people in our group and we all got sick.

    There was another group of 46 people and 44 of them got sick.

    Even staff members were sick.

    I do intend to write to Sunwing.
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