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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Woman wins holiday damages
Janet Keppel Palmer
Mrs Keppel-Palmer described the butler at the villa as a "buffoon".
A woman has been awarded 25,000 damages after she claimed her luxury millennium break in Barbados was spoiled.

Janet Keppel-Palmer had asked the High Court for half the cost of the 88,000 holiday to be refunded plus 16,500 for the distress caused by the 32-day stay.

She told the judge her first family holiday for 10 years "was not to the level one would expect when you have spent all that on the rent".

Describing Mrs Keppel-Palmer, of Richmond Hill Court, Richmond Hill, Surrey, as an "impressive and honest witness", Mr Justice Gage ruled that the award should be paid by Royal Westmoreland Villas Ltd, a company incorporated in Barbados.

Giving his ruling on Friday, the judge said: "I take into account that on any view this was a very expensive holiday and she was entitled to expect very high standards.

'Expensive things'

"As I have found, what she got fell beneath these very high standards.

"To be able to afford the cost of such a holiday indicates a degree of financial resources from which I infer she and her family are used to some expensive things in life - including holidays."

Mrs Keppel-Palmer had said the four-bedroomed villa was open to the wind and rain, poorly equipped, cold, dark and depressing.

She also complained that some of the staff were poorly trained and described the butler as a "buffoon" who was only good for mixing a fruit-and-rum punch.

She claimed that Royal Westmoreland Villas Ltd was in breach of their holiday contract or supplied misleading information.

'Selling dreams'

The judge ruled that another defendant, Exsus Travel Ltd, of Heddon Street, central London, was not liable.

With interest, Mrs Keppel-Palmer will receive total damages of 29,760.

As she left court, she would only say she was "delighted".

Her solicitor, Mark Milkovics, said: "Holiday companies are in the business of selling dreams.

"When holiday companies make assertions regarding the quality of the facilities and services to be provided, regardless of the price paid, the consumer is entitled to rely on those representations being correct."

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