A Kiwi woman who recently returned to New Zealand from the Cook Islands has spoken out about her family being labelled "the dirtiest guests of all time" on TripAdvisor.
Bridie Henderson told Stuff's Lorna Thornber the trip was a celebration of her and her husband's one year anniversary.
"We were married there a year ago today so it was like our honeymoon. We'd never normally stay somewhere so expensive," she told Stuff.
Henderson and her family stayed at the Kaireva Beach House, which has a near perfect rating on TripAdvisor.
Upon returning to Wellington, however, Henderson says she was "insulted" and "embarrassed" by an email from the house's owner demanding nearly $800 for a "mess" left behind by her family.
"You have won the award for the Dirtiest Guests of All Times in Kaireva Beach House," the email begins.
It then lists the achievements that saw them awarded such a title, including:
- Accumulation of rubbish
- Pestilential kitchen sink
- Spraw of dirty dishes
- Old dry food stuck everywhere
- Stained sheets ready to throw
- Stained sofa
- Stained wood around the bathroom sink
- State of the fridge
- Spraw of coconuts, driftwood and stones at the beach
"The award comes with a prize of NZ$280 for the extra cleaning plus NZ$500 for the repairs of the wood," the email reads.
"Total is NZ$780 that you should transfer into the bank account detailed in the invoice."
The house's listing on TripAdvisor spells out some very specific rules for staying at the eco-friendly, award-winning home.
"NO walking on SHOES inside the house [sic]. Scratches and hits damages on noble wooden floor and walls would be deduced from the Refundable Damage Deposit. Law in the Cook Islands is to be quiet after 12am," the listing reads.
Although Henderson admits they did leave the villa in a less than "spotless" state, she and her family thought cleaning was included in the $4000 bill.
The family received an apology from the tourism board of the Cook Islands, which said the email was "unbecoming of Cook Islands hosts".
The Kaireva Beach House is owner by the Wigmore family, who have claimed responsibility for the email to Henderson.
One of the Wigmores told Stuff the email was "a way for me to communicate my disappointment", and was "ironic". She said she is disappointed her stance wasn't backed up by the tourism authority.
Henderson shared her correspondence with both the Wigmores and the tourism board on TripAdvisor, as well as leaving her own feedback on the property and its owners.
"I suggest that Susannah and Robert, who live underneath the beach house, may wish to take a break from hospitality, or not let to families with kids at the very least," Henderson said in her online review.
The Wigmores have withdrawn their claim for $780.