Rae Claydon and his partner, Rachel, said their one-week stay at the five-star Sunwing Waterworld Makadi Hotel – where they were celebrating their anniversary with Rachel’s five-year-old daughter, Bethany, and Rae’s mother – quickly went awry.
They said all four were covered with insect bites after their first night at the hotel in Madi Bay, Egypt, with Rachel being prescribed painkillers, a cortisone injection and antihistamines after suffering hundreds of bites.
Rachel, 39, was left with scars on her legs from the bites, which the couple, from Ingatestone, Essex, believes were caused by bed bugs.
After complaining to staff the family members were moved to different rooms in the Red Sea hotel, but the following morning they began to suffer symptoms of a gastric illness, including diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
They claim they were so ill that they were unable to eat or drink for 24 hours, and could not take part in activities or enjoy the facilities at the hotel.
Rachel said she lost over half a stone in weight and continued to suffer symptoms after returning from what was supposed to be a luxurious winter break last December.
The couple said their getaway, booked with Red Sea Holidays UK, and anniversary celebration were ruined by the insect bites and illness.
Rae, a 49-year-old company director, said: ‘We had been looking forward to this well-deserved break for over a year and it very quickly turned into a nightmare.
‘It was an awful holiday and the effects of the illness have left us completely shell shocked.’
Rachel, an accountant, added: ‘We wanted a nice break in the sun with our family after working so hard all year and had been looking forward to it for months.
‘It was meant to be a celebration of the two years Rae and I have been together, but we have been left feeling let down and very disappointed.
‘Visiting the resort doctor and my own GP after coming home was really not what I was expecting when we booked the holiday and the scars I have been left with from the bites are a constant reminder of the week we spent at the hotel.’
They claim ‘a number of rooms’ they were offered were dirty, as well as crockery and cutlery used in the restaurant.
They also claim freshly-cooked food was mixed with old food, and meals often appeared to have been reheated before being served to guests
The couple has instructed lawyers from the law firm of Irwin Mitchell to investigate the cause of the insect bites and illness.
A spokesman for Red Sea Holidays UK declined to comment as the complaint is now a legal matter.
Jennifer Downing, a lawyer Irwin Mitchell, said: ‘Rae and Rachel waited a year for this holiday, which was supposed to be spent relaxing with their family, but they were left suffering with gastric illness symptoms as well as significant number of bites.
‘We have seen first-hand how much of an impact gastric illness can cause and the effects it can have on the many people who suffer long-lasting problems.
‘The hygiene and cleanliness concerns raised by Rae and Rachel are worrying and we will now begin investigations into the cause of the illness and bites, which ruined their holiday.’