Original article from Kent Live
Pontins has been slammed for a quite remarkable array of dirt and grime, including "horrible stains", "bird poo", and "sticky curtains".
The now-infamous Camber Sands resort has developed a reputation for being dirty, earning more than 2,700 one-star reviews on Tripadvisor in the process.
Perhaps some families had hoped that the extended period of closure during lockdown would have allowed Pontins to clean up the resort.
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Judging by the most recent reviews, this was not the case.
In the last week alone the resort has received a number of one-star reviews, which called for Pontins to be "bulldozed", "burnt to the ground", or have a "bomb dropped on it".
Almost every type of dirt was mentioned by the disgruntled customers in their scathing reviews.
Many reviewers also complained of being kept up by late-night parties and lots of noise.
One customer was so unimpressed they even left early, lamenting the fact that they didn't read the reviews before they travelled.
'Bird excrement and years of built-up dirt – a bad dream'
One visitor to Camber Sands, Aisha S, labelled the whole experience as "traumatising", and wished they could lead a rating lower than one star.
She wrote: "In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic you would think customers can expect basic levels of cleanliness and hygiene. Don’t!!!
"What you can expect is a dirty shower, with water pooling at your feet, a kitchen sink with years worth of grime build up, beds more uncomfortable then the floor.
"It’s disgusting on so many levels."
Aisha listed a number of complaints she had over the cleanliness of her room, which included: "Cobwebs, mildew, bird excrement and years of built-up dirt and grime from previous customers."
She then called for the place to be "condemned", followed by being bulldozed, and then burnt to the ground and "wiped from the face of the earth".
Aisha, who travelled with her eight-year-old daughter, left after just one night.
Speaking about her young daughter, Aisha wrote: "She fell to sleep on the way home and woke up thinking she had a bad dream. I am not going to correct her."
'Sticky curtains, broken toilet seat, horrible stains'
Paul S visited in late July, and said his fears of having a bad holiday were all too correct.
While he praised the lovely beaches of Camber Sands, he strongly criticised the cleanliness of his room.
Paul wrote: "The mattresses were covered in horrible stains, thick grime around the sink, sticky curtains, fridge shelf stuck with grime, melted ice creams in the freezer box from previous holiday makers.
"Thick cobwebs on the pull light switch, big rip in the sofa bed, smoke alarm disconnected and sat on the table, broken toilet seat, broken chest of draws."
He also said there was noise from his neighbours partying into the night, and said that he spent £15 on electricity in just one night.
'A complete hell hole'
Karina Harrop travelled all the way from Colchester to stay at Camber Sands, but judging by the title of her review – "This place needs a bomb dropping on it" – it's probably unlikely she'll be returning any time soon.
Karina said that she was "gobsmacked" that the resort was still open, and called for it to be shut down quickly.
She had booked a trip to Pontins last minute, hoping it would be an ideal location to take her one-year-old child. However, her hopes were soon dashed.
Her room apparently had a "sticky leather sofa bed" and "constant noise" coming from outside.
She also said that she and her family "did not feel safe" at the resort amid the anti-social behaviour.
Karina wrote: "This place is a complete hell hole.
"Loud, shouting, swearing, smoking weed like something off of Shameless.
"We do not feel safe here, nor with our belongings.. you feel like you darent look someone in the face incase they go off on one.
"The noise doesn’t tend to peter out till around 1.30/2am in the morning and it rapidly starts back up with shouting and screaming in the courtyard at around 7am, sometimes earlier, on top of this the loudest seagulls."
However, Karina said the noise paled in comparison to the hygiene issues they faced.
"The main thing is the cleanliness," Karina wrote, "I cannot quite believe how dirty this room is, it cannot have been cleaned before we arrived.
"There was skid marks in the toilet and on the outside of the side of the toilet, plus like dirty marks in the bath. I used an anti- bac wipe to clean the bath before we used it and the wipe was brown with the muck that it had wiped off the skanky bath."
"Just everything in this apartment is dirty."
The issues didn't stop there, and Karina also slammed the unclean state of the floors in her apartment.
"When I did bring myself to use the horror show of a bath, When I stepped out of the bath barefoot it was like someone had emptied a months worth of hoovering on the bottom of my feet.
"We do not walk around this place without shoes, you end up with disgustingly dirty feet with food crumbs, hairs and dirty fluff stuck to the bottoms of your feet."
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Karina ended her review by calling for the park to be shut down (a common theme of these reviews), and hoped they had not caught a disease during their stay.
"We expected basic facilities but nothing like what we’ve got here. If I could give it minus stars, I would. This place should be shut down.
"If we do not leave here with COVID-19 or something a lot worse I will be surprised!"
'We left early'
Another reviewer, who went by the name of YMBJ, said their experience was so bad they had to leave early.
"I knew this was a budget holiday, but my god it is nothing like the website states."
The review slammed Pontins for their overall cleanliness, and called for a "deep clean and refurbishment".
The Tripadvisor user wrote: "The whole place could do with a deep clean and refurbishment. The bedding was filthy and in need of [fumigating].
The reviewer said they they were not given enough dishes or cooking utensils to even cook a meal.
They also bemoaned the "total lack of security" at the resort, claiming that anyone could walk in without checks being made.
"The noise throughout the night is terrible, all might parties and unsociable behaviour when complained early hours of the morning, so called security are ineffective seemingly too scared to challenge those responsible.
"We couldn't stand another night of this and have left."
'It needs a bomb dropping on it'
In this review, which did not mince any words, Emma wrote that the resort "needs a bomb dropping on it".
In the review, titled "Scum hole", Emma slammed the level of hygiene in her room.
She had booked the room for her and her three children, and by the end of the five day stay she left potential visitors with one piece of advice: "DO NOT GO HERE YOU WILL REGRET IT".
Emma wrote: "Upon arriving at this sh*t hole I knew before we even got through the hand powered barrier that it was going to be disappointing.
"It is dirty here on EVERY level, rooms, softplay, outdoor, stairwells, fag ends EVERYWHERE… windows on your apartments are covered in bird poo and 30 years of grime.
"The public toilets in the venues were honestly disgusting… every bodily fluid u can think of I saw in those toilets."
She also found the staff to be "inept", bemoaned the waiting times, and labelled one member of staff as a "witch".
"Staff are unhelpful, snappy and that’s if u manage to find any," she wrote, "Ques for EVERYTHING, waiting an hour in a que to book 1 swimming slot.
"The receptionist was an utter witch.. we waited for an hour to check in and get our key, when we finally got it the key wouldn’t work, I tried calling the apartment emergency help number that’s printed on the key 15 times with no answer, so we again walked to reception to wait in another que and to be told I can’t ring the number I need to come in person if there’s a problem!
"I was then told that I should wiggle the key and bash the door harder…. Which again didn’t work.. therefore we were given another key and her words were ‘if that key doesn’t work I don’t know what we will do as we have no spare apartments’ haha
I have never been anywhere like this in my life and seen such a disgusting HOLE."
Clearly unimpressed, Emma said the experience was like "being thrown back into the 70's."
She also criticised the noise at the resort: "The noise outside our apartment at night didn’t stop until 1am, drinking, shouting, fighting, screaming, smoking weed…SCUM BAG CITY."