“No running water, wi-fi and a severe asthma attack – but still no refund from my Booking.com hotel” | Travel

I made two back-to-back bookings with Booking.com to stay at Palazzo Presta in Gallipoli, Italy in September. They cost around £3300 and my plan was that if I didn’t like it I would have time to cancel the second booking. On the train from Rome, the hotel messaged me that there was no running water and that I had to stay at another hotel for one night. When I finally arrived my room had a strong smell even though I had warned them that I was very allergic to room odors. I asked to be moved but they refused and I had an asthma attack during the night. The next day I was transferred to another hotel, without a phone in the room, no wi-fi and no reception. I had no way of contacting a doctor. I was told that was the only option available. After further issues with hot water and wi-fi, I told Palazzo Presta that I wanted to leave and needed a refund. But he refused to refund both bookings and Booking.com said there was nothing he could do. Can you help ?
Pippa Bell

The hotel has apologized for the inconvenience but insists it has done its best to help you, including cleaning your room with fragrance-free products and offering you a partial refund for the plumbing problem. as well as payment for your mobile data; he still sees no reason to offer a refund. But Booking.com came to the rescue. He said that although he pleaded on your behalf to get your money back, he could see there were missed opportunities to “support you appropriately” and issued a full refund.

Gallipoli, Italy


In 2019 we booked a holiday to India which was moved and moved until the departure date was set for November 30, 2022. In 2019 we checked which visa was required; it was an e-visa that was only valid for a month, so we figured there was no need to get one until later. We were now told by our travel agent that we needed a paper visa (and should have checked this) but when we tried to get an appointment there was none available for the rest of the year. We asked Imagine Cruising if we could move the vacation but were told it would be very expensive. Would we be covered by our insurance if we have to cancel because we can’t get a visa (but not for lack of trying)? We are about to lose £5,000 each.
Sandra Sheldon

India’s suspension of e-visas for UK travelers has taken its toll and unfortunately insurance policies will not cover cancellations under these circumstances. The good news is that Imagine is now offering options for all customers who are unable to secure a visa in time for November and December itineraries that include land stays in India. “I can confirm that any customer affected by this situation will be able to move their holidays to India to dates in 2023 or receive a full refund. We are contacting all customers individually to discuss which option meets their needs,” a spokeswoman said.

An orangutan in Borneo

An orangutan in Borneo


I just graduated as a lawyer and I have a month off to travel in January. I am a female traveling alone and am planning to spend ten days in Borneo or Papua New Guinea. Should I go on an organized trip? Would you recommend one over the other?
Ilana Granditer

If you can only travel in January, neither Borneo nor Papua New Guinea is a great choice: it’s the peak rainy season either way. But if you have your heart set on one of the two, then Borneo would be both more economical and more suitable for single women (group tours are hard to find this month). Considering the long flight and domestic travel required, I would suggest spending more than ten days there if possible; this would allow you time to visit must-see sites such as the Danum Valley, the Kinabatangan River and the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Regent Holidays offers a private 13-night Borneo Orangutan Experience tour that starts at £4,562 for a single traveler, including all flights and transport, most meals and guides. If the wet weather puts you off, Regent suggests Vietnam or Cambodia instead, where January conditions are much more reliable and there are group tours year-round. A ten-day tour of Vietnam’s classic highlights in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City on January 4 starts at £2,015 for a single traveler, including flights, transport , some meals, guide and entrance fees (regent-holidays.co.uk).

Best destinations for women traveling alone
Best tours for solo travelers

The medieval center of Dinan, France

The medieval center of Dinan, France


I will be 80 next summer and I want to take the family to France for a week from August 19th. There will be 12 of us (including two children) and I would like a dining table large enough to have breakfast together, a swimming pool and a barbecue. I hope to find a place with varied entertainment to suit the age groups within comfortable distances and we would prefer a journey of less than five hours from Calais. What do you suggest?
Helen Doling

The creeper-clad Manoir du Bourg in the northern Brittany village of Sainte-Hélène, a five-hour drive from Calais (and half an hour from the ferry port of Saint-Malo), takes you would make you sleep in style. It has six comfortable bedrooms, a heated outdoor swimming pool, barbecue and tennis court, as well as a fishing lake a few minutes walk away, something to keep everyone busy. Dinan, with its medieval ramparts, half-timbered houses and cobbled streets, is about 13 km away. A week in August costs £6,250 (gites.co.uk). Also about five hours from Calais, and very close to the beaches of St Malo, is a manor house in Pleudihen-sur-Rance with enough space for you all to spread out. It has 11 rooms and ticks your boxes with a pool, hot tub, game room, and space, indoors and outdoors, for leisurely family breakfasts. A week in August costs £5,423 (property 6314079, vrbo.com).

Best UK Hotels with Accessible Rooms

My wife and I would like to go to the New Forest for the weekend in January with our dog but we would need an accessible room and I’m struggling to find a suitable place that isn’t too expensive: our budget n is no more than £175 a night. Do you have any suggestions?
Paul Samson

Try Woodlands Lodge, a former royal hunting lodge in three acres of gardens near Lyndhurst on the edge of the New Forest, where a pet-friendly junior suite on the ground floor would cost £300 for two nights for a January weekend (forests-lodge.co.uk). It is listed on the new RightRooms.co website, which allows travelers to search for hotels in the UK in detail, whether they want accessible rooms, baby-friendly facilities or local food.

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