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Students Booked Dream £700 Holiday But Arrived To Find An Abandoned Villa

Students Booked Dream £700 Holiday But Arrived To Find An Abandoned Villa

Lots of us celebrate graduation with the trip of a lifetime. Sun? Sea? Sand? There's no better way to let loose after three years of studying. But for a gang of students from the University of Portsmouth, their dream post-uni holiday quickly became the stuff of nightmares.

After coughing up £700 through Booking.com for a luxurious villa complete with private pool, barbecue area and ocean views, the group arrived in Bulgaria to find an abandoned building 8 miles from the location advertised online, and looking nothing like the listed pictures.

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It wasn't until the group arrived at Burgas Airport at 5am that they discovered the address on the website did not exist. The real villa was actually in the coastal village Sveti Vlas, up a muddy hill with no sops, beach or restaurants nearby.

Credit: Triangle News
Credit: Triangle News

They eventually arrived at the villa and were horrified to find all the windows boarded up, cables and wood obstructing the front door, a broken washing machine dumped outside and the pool dried out and green.

Criminology student Rachel said: "We were really excited to go away and had booked our trip in March. But we arrived at Villa Veronica to find it was abandoned and derelict."

The holidayers had picked the villa because of its supposed closeness to Old Nessebar, an ancient city dating back more than 3,000 years that's also a Unesco World Heritage Site

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How the villa looked online (Credit: Triangle News)
How the villa looked online (Credit: Triangle News)

Upon arrival the group immediately notified Booking.com and asked the reservations website to sort out a suitable alternative, but were left with nowhere to go for 13 hours, so spent the day on a beach jam-packed with tourists, suitcases in tow.

Once again the group got on the phone to Booking.com to be assured that alternative accommodation was finally being sought out, a whopping ten hours after the graduates first raised the alarm.

"When they sent over some options an hour later, which were all awful, they told us we had to pay the cost upfront." added Rachel.

Tools and rubble abandoned around the villa. Credit: Triangle News
Tools and rubble abandoned around the villa. Credit: Triangle News

Eventually, the group decided to just book a hotel themselves, leaving them a further £1,100 out of pocket.

But the holiday from hell was far from over and the tourists had to fight to get an immediate refund.

Rachael said: "After asking time and time again to speak to a supervisor, one agreed to send us an email confirming we'd be refunded and receive £266 in compensation. But when it arrived in writing, it said the money would be paid in local currency so it was actually around £120."

Rachel noted that the barbecue was in 'disgusting' condition. Credit: Triangle News
Rachel noted that the barbecue was in 'disgusting' condition. Credit: Triangle News

After an unimaginably stressful day the group eventually booked into new accommodation at 8pm that evening, but their hotel was without a private pool and self-catering facilities.

What's more, when the group arrived home they were shocked to discover that the villa was still listed online and available to rent.

Credit: Triangle News
Credit: Triangle News

Since arriving back in the UK the students have received a full refund and on the matter a spokeswoman for Booking.com said: "Because we are very sympathetic to the difficulties that this group encountered, we have offered a full refund for their original reservation, as well as covering any relocation expenses incurred as a gesture of goodwill."

We'll be Google Mapping all of our holiday rentals from here on out.

Featured Image Credit: Triangle News

Topics: Topical

Aisha Nozari

Aisha is a freelance lifestyle journalist, previously at STYLIST and PHOENIX magazine.

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