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We booked a family holiday for the summer of 2012. It was special because it was our first wedding anniversary AND it was the last holiday that we would all be together (as our eldest had made it clear that he was far too old to holiday with his parents…)

I had always wanted to go back to Tenby as I had fond memories of holidays as a child and we had also heard that there were excellent dolphin spotting opportunities in New Quay (a drive of an hour or so). So after doing a little research we decided to stay at the Haven park, Quay West, in New Quay as it appeared to have everything we needed on site if the weather was unpleasant, was close to the beach and the town was only a short walk.

As a family, we were in dire need of some relaxation and together time and were all really looking forward to our break…

When we arrived we couldn’t have been more disappointed – the smell of puppy poo was over powering. Not just dog. Or wet dog. But the unmistakable stench of puppy poo. Now, not only did that mean that there was a strong smell, but I was worried that the carpet might have poo on too.

My husband put the TV on for our toddler and found the cabinet had a large amount of sand in it.

I went to fill the kettle with water and then I noticed the slime that was growing under the draining board.

I nipped to the toilet and noticed the remnants of toothpaste ‘dribble’ in the hand basin and the plastic cover from a disposable razor on the floor. I also discovered the blind wasn’t fixed to the wall and fell off when you needed privacy.

It was clear that we had been placed in a caravan that not only hadn’t been cleaned properly, but that was also in need of repairs.

We went to make a complaint and was assured it would be followed up so I bought some air fresheners, bleach and antibacterial wipes and we headed back to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

We unpacked and we attempted to make dinner. There wasn’t enough plates so we couldn’t even all eat at the same time (despite booking a van that slept 8 and there only being 6 of us!)

The following day as we were getting ready, one of my boys noticed that there was debris under his bed. I went to investigate and not only did we find a burst balloon and other rubbish – but we also found soiled underwear.

Again we made a verbal complaint – but this wasn’t followed up.

And whilst on site we also made a written complaint which wasn’t followed up.

When we returned home, I emailed a formal letter of complaint, which finally elicited a response: Haven acknowledged my concerns and I was offered £50 compensation, which is the highest level of compensations that Haven offer(!) This offer being ‘the highest level’ makes me think that they knew how bad things were and we weren’t the only family to complain.

Personally I don’t think that this is a fair reflection of the impact this had on our holiday nor does it refund us for the cleaning products or the inconvenience of eating in relay – and as a result we would never even consider booking with Haven again!

Have you experienced a completely ruined holiday?