British holidaymakers left out of pocket after arriving in Spain to find hotels closed

Emma Featherstone
Salou, Costa Dorada - Getty

Loveholidays customers have complained to Which? 

Britons arrived in Spanish resorts last weekend to find their hotels were shut; they then had difficulty contacting the company they had booked through.

Paul Davis, from Lincolnshire, was sold a family break to the resort of Salou on the Costa Dorada by loveholidays and is among several customers who have complained to Which?.

Mr Davis, his partner and son were some the first Britons to arrive in Spain on Saturday following the country’s exemption from the Foreign Office warning against all but essential travel and its inclusion on the UK Government's list of destinations exempt from quarantine measures.

When the family made it to the 4R Regina Gran hotel, they found the gates were padlocked, Mr Davis told Telegraph Travel. 

He couldn’t immediately reach loveholidays to find out what was going on and so was forced to book into another hotel on the same street. Later, he Googled 4R and found a sister hotel further down the resort – his booking had been moved there without his knowledge.

"You can only [get through to] someone at Loveholidays for a new booking, or you use the online talkline, which comes with hours of waiting," said Mr Davis.

"I rang up the booking line, spoke to the person on there and got through to a gentleman in another department. He took my number and email and said he’d get back to me in half an hour – I still haven’t heard back."

Many other customers have struggled to contact loveholidays over the phone or via live chat, according to Which?.

Loveholidays added: "Our in-resort team is available 24/7 by telephone for anyone who has a problem whilst on holiday. The number is provided in all booking documentation and on our website."

Mr Davis later spoke to the other hotel in the 4R chain, which told him to cancel the seven-day booking he'd made at the back-up hotel on Saturday evening. After a two-hour wait, the hotel agreed to a refund for six nights. This left Mr Davis roughly £250 out of pocket.

"I wouldn't use loveholidays again – they are taking new bookings, but you can’t contact anyone for an existing booking – it’s a bit wrong, really," he added.

Which? contacted loveholidays about several complaints it received, either from customers who'd turned up and found their hotel was closed, or discovered it was closed before they travelled.

A loveholidays spokesperson said that the firm has not been informed of the closure of Mr Davis's hotel.

They added: "We are updating customers regarding any hotel closures where we are made aware of this by accommodation suppliers and will work with the customer to find a suitable alternative hotel for their holiday.

"We apologise for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused our customer. We will of course refund the customer the cost of his hotel booking and will remove the hotel from accommodation offered on our website until such time as we are notified it is open."

Mr Davis said he had yet to be contacted by loveholidays, or to receive a refund, when Telegraph Travel spoke to him on Friday afternoon.

Another complaint came from Anita Lorenzo. She contacted loveholidays after discovering that the Sol Wave House hotel in Magaluf, where her son and his friends were due to stay, was closed.

Ms Lorenzo was assured they would be sent details of alternative accommodation before the trip last Saturday, but when they’d heard nothing from loveholidays by Friday evening, they booked a self-catering apartment for £600.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: "It is beyond belief that holidaymakers have been left in a position where they have either had to fork out hundreds of pounds for alternative accommodation or risk being left with nowhere to sleep.

"It is distressing enough to face an emergency like this, but it is completely unacceptable for customers to be left struggling to contact their holiday provider to resolve it," he added.

Mr Boland said these were the latest in “a long line” of complaints Which? has received from loveholidays customers. Many had been waiting for months to secure refunds for holidays cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. "We would advise people to book their next trip with a better operator that has proven it deserves their money – and that won’t leave them locked out of their own hotel.”

A loveholidays spokesperson said: "Our 'in-resort' team is in place to assist customers who are travelling with any issues that arise. We are aware of a few instances where customers have arrived at hotels that are closed and our 'in-resort' emergency assistance team are working with those customers to find them suitable alternative accommodation."