Five-Star hotel faces Sh0.5 million suit over negligence

A woman wants a court to order a hotel to pay her Sh568,868.78 in damages.

In a suit filed in a Mombasa court, Vivian Kiarie said that on June 7, 2015, she, her 15-year-old daughter and sister checked into Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa.

Ms Kiarie, who had been out of the country for 18 years, had travelled to Kenya to introduce her teenage daughter, born in America, to relatives.

She had booked to stay at the hotel for seven days but her stay was cut short on the second day after she allegedly consumed a corrosive chemical erroneously placed among bottles of drinking water in her room.

On June 11, 2015, the three checked out and transferred to Serena Beach Hotel. They reported the matter to the Bamburi Police Station on June 14. Kiarie had to reschedule her flight to attend to the incident.

After failing to get the hotel to accept liability for the incident, Kiarie, through the law firm Wandai Matheka & Advocates, went to court to seek damages. The case of August 2016 is listed as CMCC No 1600 of 2016.

“Immediately after drinking the water, I experienced an intense burning sensation on my lips, mouth and throat,” she says in court papers.

According to Kiarie, the hotel disposed of the seals of the suspect bottle. She was later attended to by an in-house medic who recommended that her blood sample be taken for further toxicology tests. The next day she went for further check-up.

She wants the court to award her special damages, general damages for pain and suffering and punitive/exemplary damages for gross negligence and breach of statutory duty.

The hotel has denied any wrongdoing and has refuted all claims against it. However, it has acknowledged that the incident was reported.

Mombasa Principal Magistrate Charles Ndegwa will make a ruling on December 14.

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Five Star hotelSarova Whitesands Beach Resort