Two women who demanded a refund on their £338 ($460) three-night stay at a UK hotel because it was housing Afghan refugees have said they are “by no means” racist.
The unnamed woman said that the pair contacted their holiday operator National Holidays, to try and change the venue of their trip to the Grand Hotel in the coastal resort of Scarborough after reading negative reviews about Afghan evacuees staying at the hotel.
“Our concern is about safety and leaving things in our room because of what we read about theft and kids running wild,” one of the women said. “By no means are we racist. I’ve worked with refugees, and it is not their fault. It is just the predicament that they are in,” one told the local media outlet Teesside Live.
The Grand Hotel is currently being used to house around 200 Afghan refugees following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August, according to Teesside Live. Recent reviews on Tripadvisor show guests complaining about “uncontrolled refugee children” being allowed to “run riot” in the hotel’s halls.
The women’s refund request was reportedly turned down by National Holidays, who allegedly said that the woman “wouldn’t get a penny” of their money back because the reservation had a no-cancellation policy, The Sun said.
A National Holidays spokesperson told The Northern Echo that refunds would not be provided because the venue continues to “operate as normal.”
A spokesperson said: “We appreciate our customer sharing their concerns with us, and do understand that news cycles during challenging times can cause heightened concern and confusion.
“However, rest assured that we are in constant contact with the hotel, which is operating as normal and has been welcoming National Holidays guests for many years.”
Insider reached out to Britannia Hotels, who owns the Grand Hotel in Scarborough, for comment but did not immediately respond.
The decision to house refugees has prompted locals to post anti-immigration leaflets around the hotel, Yorkshire Live reported. On Monday, the local media outlet reported that there was a bomb hoax at the establishment.
Local councilor David Chance told Yorkshire Live that the bomb hoax, the anti-refugee leaflets, and negative TripAdvisor reviews are a “racially motivated way to undermine what is being done” with temporarily housing Afghans.