A British couple’s honeymoon fantasy went up in flames after the lush forest surrounding their luxe honeymoon hotel burned to the ground — a full year prior to their arrival.
The newlyweds now claim that staff at the hotel in Dalaman, Turkey failed to tell them about the disaster.
“It was a massive shock when we got there — I opened the curtains in the room and looked out on a burnt landscape and I was so upset I just burst into tears,” Alecz Finch, 50, told Kennedy News of the apocalyptic scene. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
Alecz and Colin Finch, 60, booked their dream honeymoon at the Julian Forest Suites, off Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, through TUI travel, a British leisure travel group.
The partners from Sussex specifically chose the hotel for its bucolic setting, described online as “fringed by deep-green mountains on three sides … [and] pitched on the last road before you hit the thick forests behind Icmeler [Beach].”
In August this year, the couple booked their honeymoon for September 13, planning to fly off just one week after they tied the knot.
But the Finch’s honeymoon phase was quickly challenged.
“It’s just barren. It looks like the apocalypse has happened, there’s just nothing. There were no birds, foliage or flowers. It was grim,” Alecz described. “That view was the same around the whole hotel. Colin just looked at me and said ‘What have we done?’ We were so completely deflated.”
Alecz stormed down to the lobby to complain, but wasn’t getting any answers from the people at reception. Finally, a bar worker informed the distraught travelers that a terrible forest fire had ravaged the area a year prior in September 2021 and completely destroyed the land.
After complaining to TUI about the “total misrepresentation” of the hotel, Alecz claims they were refused any compensation on the grounds that the fire was an “act of god.”
“The forest does not exist as they are describing it and there’s nothing on the website to indicate that the forest isn’t there anymore,” Alecz said. She argued that the hotel and TUI had “plenty of time” to update their websites and advertising.
“To think I’m going to accept that this is an act of god a year after it happened is absolutely ludicrous,” she added.
A spokesperson for TUI issued a voucher and an apology, according to Kennedy News, recognizing that the stay “didn’t meet the standard [the Finch’s] expected” and are investigating the issues raised.
Julian Hotels did not respond to a request to comment.
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