ONE holidaymaker diagnosed with salmonella following her stay at a popular tourist destination has likened the resort to a “five-star cattery” that allowed sick animals to freely roam the hotel.

Tracy Marlor expected an unforgettable break as she travelled with her husband to Turkey for a week, intended on relaxing in a luxury resort overlooking the Antalya bay.

The 51-year-old was coming to the end of her stay at the Paloma Foresta Resort and Spa when she began developing gastric illness symptoms including diarrhoea, severe stomach cramps, bloating, lethargy and weight loss.

Mrs Marlor, a business support officer in Darlington, returned to the UK and visited her GP who told her she needed urgent medical treatment in hospital. After staying on a ward for four days, she was diagnosed with salmonella.

The incident in May last year saw Mrs Marlor forced to take two weeks off work before approaching solicitors Irwin Mitchell and their holiday illness team to investigate.

The Darlington woman said: “I had not been impressed by many aspects of the resort to be honest, as I’d seen issues like food being served lukewarm on occasions, at times inadequate cleaning and even cats wandering around and taking food from tables too. However, I simply never expected to fall ill like I did.

“It was quite surreal, the cats would roam around the hotel freely, and quite often they were being sick around the hotel. It was like we were staying at a five-star cattery, not a holiday resort.

“I was in a really bad way and while I managed to make it home, I was stunned when my GP told me to get to hospital.

“I couldn’t believe I had salmonella and the whole thing was a nightmare that completely turned my life upside down.”

The break to Paloma Foresta was booked via Thomas Cook and started on May 20, with the illness developing on the penultimate day of the holiday.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: “We are sorry to hear that Mrs Marlor was unwell while on holiday with us.

"We take all reports of illness seriously and carefully reviewed the medical evidence the customer supplied along with hygiene, health and safety reports from the Paloma Foresta Resort and Spa as part of our investigation.

"This is now a legal matter and once we receive the claim from Irwin Mitchell we will look into it further.”

Mrs Marlor added: “This was meant to be an unforgettable holiday but now it will only ever be remembered for all of the wrong reasons.”

Jennifer Mullins, a specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are hugely concerned by the first-hand account provided to us regarding the resort in question and have already begun our own investigation into the holiday.

“We are keen to determine what caused Tracy to fall ill. As part of our work and to assist with our investigations, we would be keen to hear from anyone else who may also have been affected by illness whilst staying at the Paloma Foresta Resort, Turkey.”