Don’t let the bed bugs bite! Woman’s visit to Manchester’s Merchants Hotel descends into creepy crawly hell

Exclusive by Megan Bramall

For most, a concert and an overnight stay in a city centre hotel would constitute a good time but for one woman, such a weekend in Manchester left her with more than she’d bargained for…

When pop star Rhianna came to town in July, Blackpool’s Kirsty Ferguson, 28, booked a room at Manchester’s Merchants hotel, but this choice would leave her four-year-old son scared to sleep with the light off.

Manchester’s Merchants hotel describes itself as: “A superior hotel, gifted with superlative charm and character.” Inviting its guests to: “Experience the luxury of being treated like Royalty.” 

Unfortunately for Kirsty and 149 other guests who have turned to Tripadvisor to display their frustrations, what was waiting for them at the two star Merchants hotel didn’t fit the description given.  

OUCH! Blackpool’s Kirsty Ferguson had come to Manchester to see Rhianna

A total of 214 reviews of the hotel have been scribed on Tripadvisor, 149 of which labelled the place ‘Terrible’, the worst rating available, making it Manchester’s worst hotel according to the site.

Pages of angry guests describe bad smells, blood stained walls and human waste present in the rooms, one guest said: “It reminded me and my partner of something out of a horror movie.”

Another states: “There were smears of excrement on the toilet walls.”

When Kirsty arrived at the establishment from Blackpool with her mum, she was unpleasantly surprised.

“We hadn’t checked Tripadvisor before we booked the room, but I wish we had now,” she said.

“When we arrived we instantly asked for our money back but the receptionist refused and threatened to charge my mum’s bank account, it was only for one night so we just decided to stay.

“The way the hotel looks on the website is not what it’s like in real life, there were extension leads running under the beds and the windows were hanging off.”

DON’T LET THE BED BUGS BITE: Kirsty took the bed bugs home with her

Her stay at the Merchants wasn’t pleasurable, but it was at home in Blackpool the next day when she realised her experience with the Merchants hotel hadn’t ended when she checked out.

She said: “The next day I realised I was absolutely covered in bites. That’s when I realised the hotel must have had bed bugs.”

A few weeks later, to her dismay, her four year old son who wasn’t present on the Manchester trip began to display similar bites.

She told MM: “When I spent the night at the Merchants I took my son’s miniature suitcase, which I then placed back in his room immediately on my return.”

Putting two and two together Kirsty called for professionals to check her son’s bed for bugs, hoping her home hadn’t fallen victim to the uncleanliness of the Merchants hotel.

She said: “They told me there were blood spots on his headboard and quoted me a few hundred pounds to fumigate the bedrooms, but I didn’t believe them as I thought they just wanted the money.”

The events that followed were to turn the family upside down, traumatising Kirsty’s son and costing her hundreds of pounds.

She told MM: “Once the professionals had left I picked up my sons headboard to place back onto his bed, when I did this bed bugs came scurrying out, it was horrifying and my son, who was stood with me at the time has been really traumatised.

“After what happened he is scared to go to bed, he also sleeps with a light on now, which he didn’t do before.”

As a result of what she had found, Kirsty was forced to have her house fumigated, buy brand new beds, mattresses and bedding for herself and her son costing a total of £400.

She said: “I had an eight month old baby at the time and had to leave my home for 2 weeks whilst the fumigation took place.

“I also had to wash all of our clothes and bag up the children’s toys on top of working.

“The £400 bill added to the £50 it cost to stay at the hotel was something I simply couldn’t afford and of course this has had a knock on effect on my family.”

Disgusted at what had happened to her, Kirsty made several attempts to contact the hotel to explain her troubles, hoping they may contribute to the costs she suffered, but every attempt made was met with disregard.

She said: “My emails were ignored and on many occasions when I called to speak to the manager I had the phone put down on me. They were very rude and disrespectful.”

Getting nowhere with the hotel, Kirsty contacted Manchester council to make an official complaint. After hearing her story and observing photo evidence of the bites, the council investigated.

A Manchester City Council spokesman said: “The City Council investigated a complaint about bed bugs in this hotel and provided advice and support to both the owners and an independent pest control company to ensure they dealt with the problem effectively.

“We are now satisfied that the infestation has been brought under control by this pest control company and have advised the hotel to monitor the situation closely and deal with any potential future infestations accordingly.” 

Wanting to take things further, Kirsty also visited her solicitor to discuss a potential court case to win back the money she had lost at the hotels hands, but said: “Unfortunately this wasn’t a financial option for me.”

Looking back on her experience she told MM: “What has happened has put me off staying in hotels, which of course will have an effect on my family in the future.

“It’s been a horrific experience for my whole family and I just want to put it all behind me and stop getting stressed it.”

The hotel declined to comment. 

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