A holidaymaker left a bad review of a hotel on Tripadvisor, leading to his arrest.
US citizen Wesley Barnes left a series of harsh reviews of the Sea View Resort in Thailand via Tripadvisor, but the hotel then pursued legal action against Mr Barnes.
It resulted in him being detained and charged under the country’s strict defamation laws.
He faced a two-year prison sentence and was released only after issuing a public apology.
Mr Barnes accused the resort of ‘modern-day slavery’. The hotel said the harsh criticism was untrue and damaging to its reputation.
The incident occurred at the resort on the island of Koh Chang earlier this year, and was triggered by an argument over Mr Barnes wanting to bring his own bottle into the hotel’s restaurant.
The hotel said he refused to pay a corkage fee and ’caused a commotion’.
After leaving, he left a negative review after which the hotel sued him for defamation. He subsequently was detained and spent two nights in prison before being released on bail.
He was found guilty of breaking the country’s notorious anti-defamation laws. The hotel said the reviews were ‘fabricated, recurrent and malicious’.
Now, Tripadvisor has left a warning on the hotel’s page urging travellers to be mindful of the local laws in the country, the MEN reports.
The warning reads: “This hotel or individuals associated with this hotel filed criminal charges against a TripAdvisor user in relation to the traveller writing and posting online reviews. The reviewer spent time in jail as a result.
“The hotel may have been exercising its legal rights under local law, however, it is our role to inform you so you may take this into consideration when researching your travel plans.”
Tripadvisor added that they believe in ‘the right of every traveller to write about their first-hand travelling experiences – good or bad’.
The travel site said: “TripAdvisor strongly opposes any action where a business, like the Sea View Hotel & Spa in Koh Chang, uses local law to send someone to jail for expressing their opinion.”
The hotel has hit back at the review site, telling the New York Times they were ‘deeply disappointed’, adding that ‘the warning message from TripAdvisor is extremely misleading and lacks complete information’.
The hotel claims they initially tried to contact Mr Barnes to remove the reviews, but he didn’t respond, and they filed the complaint as the negative comments led to them losing bookings.
After he was arrested and spent two days in jail the case was eventually dropped, as Mr Barnes admitted the reviews were ‘fabricated, recurrent, and malicious’ and gave a full public apology – as per the terms of the settlement between the two parties.
Shrek’s ‘moss-covered’ swamp home is now available to rent on Airbnb
Fans now have the opportunity to stay in his humble abode free of charge
Shrek fans can now live out their dream and stay in the huge, green ogre’s swamp home – now listed on Airbnb.
The ‘mud-laden, moss-covered’ real-life recreation of Shrek’s Swamp is located within the grounds of Ardverikie Estate, in the Scottish Highlands.
The idea for the cosy forest hideout is inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek film series, released between 2001 and 2010.
Airbnb released the listing on Tuesday, with Shrek enthusiasts able to book overnight stays from Friday, October 27th to Sunday, October 29th.
The live-in tree stump features a studio layout with two beds and one bathroom, where up to three guests at a time can make a reservation for free.
The short and long-term home stays firm said the offer is ‘a nod to the priceless refuge Shrek’s Swamp has provided fairytale creatures of all kinds’.
The murky den features ‘Danger’, ‘Beware Ogre’ and ‘Stay Out’ signs on the path leading up to the quirky property. But once inside, it is delightfully snug and inviting.
The unusual listing is hosted by Shrek’s animated sidekick, Donkey, who has agreed to ‘swamp-sit’ in his absence.
About the charming mossy refuge, Donkey posted on Airbnb: “Shrek’s Swamp is lovely. Just beautiful. The perfect place to entertain guests.
“You know what I like about it? Everything. The overgrown landscaping, the modest interiors, the nice boulders, all of it.
“I can’t wait for guests to experience this muddy slice of paradise for themselves.”
To coincide with the launch, Airbnb will make a donation to HopScotch Children’s Charity, which provides some of Scotland’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children with respite breaks through nurturing and dynamic holiday trips.
Anyone interested in staying in Shrek’s Swamp can request a reservation from 6pm on Friday, October 13th.
To book a stay, visit the Airbnb website, HERE.
First look at new Legoland holiday park opening in the UK next year
Young ones can play on climbing frames and rope bridges based on spider’s webs and treehouses
Legoland in Windsor has revealed a first look into its brand-new holiday park, opening in 2024.
The newly built Woodland Village with over 130 lodges and 20 camping barrels will open to the public next May, with overnight stays on sale now. Prices to stay on the 10-acre site start at £295 or a family of four.
While most lodges sleep up to five guests, with 10 premium lodges able to sleep up to seven people.
Features at the Woodland Village include The Clubhouse Restaurant & Bar, which will serve up campfire-inspired grub in a woodland-themed setting.
Youngsters can explore the several woodland-themed play areas equipped with climbing frames and rope bridges based on spider’s webs and treehouses.
The family attraction will also have brick-building activities, nature trails, an entertainment hub, and colourful new Lego characters.
Helen Bull, Division Director at Legoland Windsor Resort, said: “The LEGOLAND Woodland Village has been a long time coming and we’re incredibly excited to now be taking bookings ahead of the official opening in May 2024.
“This moment marks years of planning and unwavering dedication to providing a magical experience for all our guests.
“The LEGOLAND Woodland Village is part of a significant transformation for the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort and we look forward to welcoming families to this new way to stay next year!”
But this isn’t the only exciting new addition to a Legoland-themed attraction, as an adventure golf attraction will be opening this October.
Also next month, the Legoland Discovery Centres in Birmingham and Manchester will be hosting their own Monster Parties, with a series of spooky attractions for Halloween.
Meanwhile, the Legoland theme park is set to close the Viking River Splash – one of its most popular rides – by the end of the month. The park haven’t given a reason as to why, but the ride will become part of Viking history.
UK holidaymakers face extra charge when travelling to Europe next year
The electronic travel authorisation system is for visitors from countries that are not part of the EU
UK holidaymakers will have to pay a fee when they enter Europe on their travels next year, as post-Brexit rules come into force.
From next year, Brits will need to obtain a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa waiver to visit popular holiday destinations, including Spain, France, Italy and Greece.
The system will check the security credentials and charge a fee to travellers visiting EU member countries for business, tourism, medical or transit purposes.
Brits will have to complete an application form and pay a fee of seven euros – which works out at around six pounds.
So far, 30 European countries have been confirmed as requiring ETIAS travel authorisation next year.
Although the EU has not confirmed an exact date for when the ETIAS comes into force, guidance does say it will be ‘operational in 2024’ – pushed back from the original 2020.
The ETIAS travel authorisation is then valid for three years, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Travellers will be able to travel to and from the countries whenever they wish, providing the overall limit of the authorised stay is complied with.
According to EU guidance, most applications will be processed within minutes, but could take up to 96 hours.
However, some applications may take longer if additional documents are required, and travellers are advised to not purchase any tickets or book accommodation until they have the ETIAS.
It’s best to apply for one as soon as you start planning your holiday (although applications aren’t open just yet).
To apply for the ETIAS you’ll need to provide your personal details, as well as travel document information and details of any past criminal convictions.
You will also need to state the first country you intend to visit. However, once you’ve received the ETIAS you’ll be able to visit any of the 30 countries it covers, whenever you like.
The 30 European countries where visa-exempt travellers require an ETIAS travel authorisation are:
- Czech Republic
The exact date of when ETIAS will come into force is yet to be announced. Visit the ETIAS website for more information by clicking HERE.