Published: 15:44, 14 January 2020
| Updated: 09:47, 15 January 2020
A couple's luxury five-star getaway turned into a "holiday from hell" after they suffered daily power cuts, three-hour queues for food and witnessed people "snorting drugs from tables".
Karl Lewis-Law and his wife Caroline, from Canterbury, splashed £7,100 on an all-inclusive, month-long trip to Jamaica to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.
The couple, of St Nicholas Road, Thanington, run their own catering business and were looking forward to an indulgent break over Christmas.
"We work horrendously long hours", explained Mr Lewis-Law, 51, adding: "Some occasions last year I did from 4am until 10pm.
"We were hoping for a relaxing stay, just a bit of down time so we can go into the new year refreshed."
They booked a Tui package holiday stay at Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa in Lucea, Jamaica, which is given the holiday firm's highest "five-star platinum" rating.
The Lewis-Laws have visited the resort on several previous occasions, and had always had a "very good" experience.
But this time, after travelling 16 hours, they were horrified by what they found.
Mr Lewis-Law, 51, said: “Some people would sit there smoking weed and snorting Class A drugs in full view of kids and families, from the tables and off balconies.
“There were power cuts every single day, without fail. It would generally be at night, and the hotel would be completely cast in darkness. We’d just have to sit down and wait for the power to come back on.
“It’s just an absolute disappointment.
“We had been looking forward to having a relaxing time, reconnecting with each other.
“But instead Christmas was just ruined and our anniversary - we can’t even think about it. It’s just ruined.”
The large resort has a number of “a la carte” restaurants, but huge queues forced Karl and Caroline to frequently dine at the hotel buffet.
"The food is appalling," said Mr Lewis-Law. "The buffet served the same food every single day.
"On Christmas day, it took us three hours to queue to get some breakfast. When you got there, there often wouldn't be cutlery, or would be hardly any food left."
"The food at the restaurants is not a la carte. It's just frozen, defrosted food. People were complaining out loud.
"And there were three or four-day waits to get a restaurant reservation."
On one occasion, Mrs Lewis-Law was served a piece of chicken that appeared to be raw.
"If my wife had eaten that, she'd either be still in Jamaica in hospital, or worse than that," said her husband. "It's just disgusting.
"We ended up paying more to go to restaurants outside of the resort."
The couple also reported seeing electrical wires hanging on the damp grass.
"I find it incredible that a little child has not let go of mum or dad's hand and gone splashing into puddles, and it ended in tragedy," said Mr Lewis-Law.
"We did all the complaining and jumping up and down we could when we were there - I spoke to all the staff I could. But they just shrugged their shoulders, and some even laughed.
"It's Christmas time, so you don't want to rip into the staff. And at the end of the day it was our holiday and we were trying to enjoy it as best we could.
"I don't think we can really stick into words how disappointed and let down we are."
The Lewis-Laws are not the only ones to find fault with the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort resort.
On Tripadvisor, dozens of other holidaymakers have slammed Tui for their experience at the hotel.
Sally McCluskey, who stayed there with her family from December 20, described it as a "huge disappointment".
She wrote: "This is no way a 5-star hotel - far from it. It’s over priced and it very much undelivered. We won’t be going back."
Another commenter who stayed in the same month described it as "the worst experience". They wrote: "It was like attending a stadium game with thousands of people to contend with."
Tui has since apologised for the Lewis-Laws' experience.
The firm has offered them a refund of £1,069 - 15% of the cost of their trip - or £2,490 as a holiday voucher, but this has been turned down by the couple, who feel a larger refund is in order.
A Tui spokesman said: "We’re sorry to hear of the Lewis-Law party’s experience in Jamaica and understand that this would have been extremely disappointing.
"We’ve been in touch directly with the customers to express our sincere apologies and offer a refund along with a gesture of goodwill which has unfortunately been declined.
"Our hotels are regularly inspected and reviewed to ensure they meet safety, comfort and hygiene standards.
"We take customer feedback extremely seriously and always take action where appropriate."
The hotel has been approached for a comment.
More by this authorLydia Chantler-Hicks