What with the likes of easyJet and AirBnb, these days you can get a pretty decent holiday for a few hundred quid. Which is why when teenager Portia Nancarrow shelled out £1,000 for a last minute trip to Zante, she expected the place she was staying at to be top quality.
However, the opposite turned out to be true. When the 19-year-old from south Wales turned up hoping to find paradise, she was instead faced with a “filthy” apartment above a takeaway which had a broken bed and garbage strewn over the floor.
And things only got worse from there.
In an attempt to try and get on with it, Portia slept in the room on the first night, only to wake up to find a stranger at the foot of her bed as there was no lock on her door.
She was forced to chase the randomer out when he requested that she “shag him”. Nightmare .
Apparently the holiday was booked through Workers Family, a company that said it offers safe and clean accommodation for “young people wanting to escape the UK and have an amazing summer”.
But Portia’s experience was anything but, forcing her to flee the situation after just two days. She said:
It was actually disgusting. I thought I was big and tough before I went out there but now I realise I’m not.
When I first got there they put me in this accommodation [above a takeaway].
There were four beds that were already taken up. I had to ring one of the reps and he moved me upstairs.
This new room they put me in was stinking. It was unreal. When you went in, all the doors had holes in them from where people had been fighting.
There was a smashed up bed all over the floor, rubbish everywhere, the floor was stinking. I took my shoes off for two seconds and my feet were black.
Nothing had been cleaned.
All the bed was broken and that had to be chucked outside. They left that on the balcony.
In my room there were three of us but just two beds. In the room above me there were five boys and three beds.
The mattresses were all dirty – it looked like mud. We didn’t have pillows either. It was only by chance that I took my own love heart pillow on the plane.
I said to the rep that none of us had pillows and he said ‘there’s nothing we can do about that – there’s another 50 people waiting for them’. We’d spent all this money and they didn’t give me a pillow.
The first night my door was open because there was no air-con. This man walked into my room, sat on to my bed and said ‘s*** me’. This was a stranger.
I was screaming at him to get out and I didn’t see him after that. For all they know something could have happened to me.
They get your money, send you over there then that’s it.
Portia went on to say that one of the staff members at the hostel told her to “get [off her] lazy fat a** and cleaned the f***ing apartment”. Yikes.
I’ve never seen anything like it to be honest. I’m gobsmacked.
I went out on my own and I think that’s why they took advantage. The whole experience was awful.
They’ve massively done me over. They’ve taken all of that money that I could have spent on something else.
My nan and dad paid for it – that’s what’s even worse. They were really worried.
On the other side of this story, Tony Furnival, one of Workers Family’s directors, did say the room was “the lowest standard of accommodation”, but added the following:
The broken wardrobe, that’s pretty bad. That should have been fixed.
As regards bunk-beds, it’s hostel-style accommodation. You might as well take a picture of any hostel across the world.
If it is dirty, that’s the people that are living there. It’s hostel-style accommodation that they’re responsible for.
There is cleaning to a degree [by cleaners]. Because it’s the end of the season there are so many places she could have been moved.
I don’t want you thinking for one second that I’m saying nothing she’s said is true, but these young people get the lowest standard of accommodation.
It’s not good enough for year round people, it’s not good enough for tourists.
These claims that people are going out there is so far from what I know to be true, that I’m a bit offended.
I wasn’t there on that day so these things about a lad going in the room, I can’t lie and say I was there. But it’s shared accommodation.
We’ve been doing this a lot of years and while there’s various complaints come about, the way she’s described it if this was as such a length as she said, do you not think it would be a national scandal?
There were faults on our part, but the way it’s been painted, it’s really over the top.
When these people are told that it’s basic accommodation, they know to expect that.
Some of the things she’s said could have been dealt with better, but the general premises of what she’s said is just not true – having no pillows. It’s just not true.
Everyone is out there getting on with their season having a good time. It’s human nature that mistakes get made.
It’s a nice environment for these young people. It’s why they keep going out there and doing it.
But I don’t think we’ve had enough time to do anything about this before the Facebook post came out.
She paid us £460. Maybe the whole trip cost more than that but I can only comment on what she paid us.
I just would have loved personally for this to get to me. The email got forwarded on to me within a short time of the post.
Any negligence has not been truly horrific.
As is always the case, there are two sides to every story. So what have we learned from this? Maybe don’t go to Brits abroad-style club islands to work for the summer? It’s only going to end in tears (and broken beds).
There are far better ways to spend £1k (or £460, depending on whose side of the story we’re going with) – like visiting Japan’s cat island, for example.