A Kiwi couple has left a scathing review for a Rarotonga rental property after the home's owners dubbed them the "dirtiest guests of all times" - and tried to charge them $780 in extra clean-up costs.
Bridie Henderson, her husband and their two children, aged 4 and 5, had paid $4000 for their stay in what was advertised as a child-friendly property in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
Following their stay, Henderson posted a one-star review on the Trip Advisor website and shared the email they received from one of the property's owners, Susanna Wigmore, the Cook Islands News reports.
The emails reads: "Kia Orana Bridie and family, you have won the Award for the Dirtiest Guests of All Times in Kaireva Beach House."
It goes on to list a series of alleged infractions, including the "accumulation of rubbish," the "pestilential kitchen sink" and the "stained sheets ready to throw".
"This Award is implemented with your neglect for the general use of the house and the lack of respect for your hosts. Just two examples of this point are the way we found the children's toys and the new marks on the floor.
"The Award comes with a prize of -$280 for the extra cleaning plus -$500 for the repairs of the wood. Total is -$780 that you should transfer into the bank account detailed in the invoice.
"We kindly remind you that a Rental Holiday is not a hotel. Rules are to leave the house clean and tidy. We hope you enjoyed our accommodation. Best regards, Robert and Susanna Wigmore."
Henderson defended herself on Trip Advisor, arguing that: "although we did our best to tidy up, we had an early flight, and there was no vacuum or cleaning products that I saw".
The Henderson family took their complaint all the way to the Cook Islands Tourism Board - which sided with the tourists and apologised for the behaviour of the Wigmores.
In an email posted to Trip Advisor by Henderson, the Tourism Board is quoted as saying: "Extra cleaning" and "property damage" should be raised with guests in a more professional manner.
"I feel this is unbecoming of Cook Islands hosts and not reflective of the professionalism of the majority of our tourism industry.
"On behalf of all of us here in the industry – please accept my sincere apologies."
After being contacted by the Tourism Board, the Wigmores refused to apologise but agreed not to pursue the Kiwi family for costs.
The Wigmores told the Cook Islands News that they were disappointed with Cook Islands Tourism's response, saying Susanna's email was taken out of context and they are preparing a response to Henderson's TripAdvisor post.
When The Cook Islands News visited the property, Robert Wigmore pointed out the dents in the floor that he said were new, and the side-deck that he claimed had been left filled with overflowing, smelly bags of rubbish.
"This is not helpful to the tourism of the Cook Islands," Susanna Wigmore told the Cook Islands News. "I was being ironic. It was a way for me to communicate my disappointment."