The travel company TUI has refunded a couple for their holiday after hotel staff at a Jamaican resort left an effigy of their dead son in their room as a misguided tribute. Faye and Andrew Stephens, from Willesden, have made it an annual tradition to mark the birthday of their son. Alex Stephens, a promising…
The travel company TUI has refunded a couple for their holiday after hotel staff at a Jamaican resort left an effigy of their dead son in their room as a misguided tribute.
Faye and Andrew Stephens, from Willesden, have made it an annual tradition to mark the birthday of their son. Alex Stephens, a promising 22-year-old footballer, died after falling from a balcony while on holiday in Spain in 2014.
His godmother, Karen Baker, who was on holiday with the couple, had asked staff at the five-star Royalton Resort to surprise them with balloons and cake in their bedroom to mark the day.
The hotel workers instead created an effigy of Alex by stuffing the couple’s clothes with towels and arranging it on the bed. The figure had tears on its face and a can of lager in its hand and was positioned next to petals spelling out: “We miss you Alex.”
“When I walked into the bedroom, all I can describe is a dummy body on the bed,” Karen Baker told the BBC’s Three Counties Radio. “Staff had gone through my friend’s wardrobe and stuffed the clothes with towels to make it look like a body on the bed. They even put tears down the face and a can of lager in his hand.
“I was absolutely horrified – as you can imagine I was sweating and shaking. We just didn’t want our friends to see it. I have truly never seen anything like it. I still look at the photographs now and can’t believe somebody thought to do that.”
A TUI UK spokesperson said: “We offer our sincere apologies to the Baker party for their holiday experience in Jamaica. We’re following up with the hotel and believe it was a misunderstanding with no intention to cause upset.
“We would like to thank the Bakers for making us aware. We are in direct contact with the group to apologise and offer a gesture of goodwill.”
The family received a refund of £1,300 per person for the holiday.