'Our anniversary holiday was ruined'

7:14pm Monday 29th September 2008

By Juliette Astrup

A COUPLE claim a dream holiday for their first wedding anniversary was ruined when their "luxury lodge" turned out to be on a building site.

Mud, noise and unfinished rooms were not what Chris and Justine Hefferin imagined when they booked a romantic week's stay at the scenic Indio Lake in Devon through Hoseasons.

The couple, from Lagland Street, Poole, paid £700 in April for a "contemporary, luxury lodge, stylishly furnished and perfect for a romantic break".

But instead, they say, they found a muddy quagmire littered with building supplies and heavy machinery.

Chris, 37, a project assistant at an engineering company, said the doors to the lodge's en suite bathroom and spare room were locked as the rooms were unfinished.

He said furniture was sparse, with no drawers anywhere, and no curtains in the kitchen to stop the workmen seeing in.

Garden furniture and a four-poster bed promised on the website were missing, and the private outdoor hot tub was far from secluded, he claimed.

The crestfallen couple tried to make the best of it - but on Monday the builders returned.

Chris said: "Work stated around 7.45am with noisy diggers and cement mixers.

"What we heard the most was vehicles reversing making that beeping noise. We couldn't open the windows. If we did the noise was too much."

The final straw came on Wednesday when the couple, who had been trying to stay out to avoid the noise, came back early to find a truck dumping hardcore.

He said. "Tipper trucks were shipping it around the site for hours - that was it. On Thursday morning when we were woken up by the builders again, we decided that was enough."

They left two days early.

Chris added: "We have stressful jobs, and wanted to go away to a nice, quiet place and relax in a bit of luxury.

"It just wasn't anything like that. It was meant to be a very special occasion but it was completely ruined."

The couple say they complained a number of times, but are pursuing a formal complaint with Hoseasons.

A spokesman for the company said: "We take customer complaints very seriously. We are aware Mr Hefferin was unhappy with his holiday and are carrying out a full investigation."

Hoseasons has now offered the couple a full refund plus 10 per cent off another holiday.

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