Hotel demanded £600 extra from newlyweds amid Thomas Cook collapse
A honeymoon couple have recalled their ‘horrible experience’ when they were among a group of British tourists. Locked in a Tunisian hotel as Thomas Cook went bust and the hotel demanded another £600 before they could leave.
Dozens of holidaymakers on Thomas Cook trips – including Lee and Sonia Morte – were reportedly ‘held hostage’ on Saturday in the luxury Les Orangers resort in Hammamet.
The holiday firm collapsed today when it failed to secure the extra £200 million it needed to keep the business afloat.
Lee and Sonia, from Middlesborough, claimed a ‘wall of security and staff’ stopped guests from leaving.
The couple claim they were told to pay 6,510 Tunisian dinar or £1,800 before they could go when their holiday cost six hundred pound less.
Sonia said the hotel had heard Thomas Cook ‘wasn’t going to pay so they were demanding it off the guests’.
Lee said: ‘There were about 50 people in reception, we told them we weren’t paying it.
‘They said ‘we’re not letting you go’ and they locked the gates.
‘They wouldn’t let anyone in or out.
‘People on day trips weren’t allowed back into the hotel They were turning them away telling them to ‘go somewhere else’.”
‘There was a wall of security, then management, then staff trying to box us in.
‘That’s what it felt like – for intimidation, I presumed.
‘There was quite a lot of us and we all stuck together.’
Lee recalled one tourist tried to lift off the massive metal gate and a 91-year-old woman paid £2,500 to leave but he said she has since been refunded.
He claimed the hotel turned off its wi-fi and blamed the rain for the internet not working.
The guests were eventually allowed to leave on Sunday morning after being prevented from doing so on Saturday.
Lee added: ‘I’ve never seen people run so fast for a bus.
‘You could see the staff didn’t want to keep us in there, they had been told to do it.
‘They were apologising.
‘It was a lovely place but that last day spoiled it all.
‘I’d never go to that hotel again.’
Sonia added: ‘We had a lovely honeymoon, it was just a shame that last day ruined it all.
‘It was a horrible experience.’