A STUNNING hotel in Manchester currently boasts luxury suites, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a casino and fine dining restaurants to enjoy as a guest.
The only catch – it doesn’t actually exist.
Called The Grand Pearl, the 235-room hotel is actually a scam, as it isn’t a real hotel.
It claims to be on 26 Peter Street – which doesn’t exist.
The fake hotel was discovered by Manchester Evening News, who found the number listed on the website doesn’t work and the IP address linked to Nigeria.
Many of the photographs show a beach scene with palm trees, something that isn’t particularly common in Manchester.
It also claims to have a Versace Fashion in-store, an art gallery as well as a Presidential suite with a grand piano and dressing room.
They can also offer “high-profile anniversaries, birthdays, weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, from weddings for 280 to an intimate family dinner for 12” as well as Christmas parties.
However, when searching for some of the room images, they actually belong to a range of other hotels, such as The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, owned by Marriott, The Rittenhouse in Philadelphia and Bachleda Luxury Hotel in Krakow.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, confirmed to M.E.N that they were investigating the website.
He told the newspaper: “As an investigation into this website is in its early stages, it would not be proper to comment on any possible outcomes, but, we will work closely with our partners in law enforcement to prevent any member of the public being taken in by this dishonest scheme.”
Customer testimonials include George from Sheffield, who claims: “As always, had a great stay, great hotel with great staff in a great location, will stay again. This hotel must have the most comfy beds in Manchester! It’s ideally located for nights out, also has a great bar.”
Angela Bunnett from Madrid said it was a “very high quality hotel” and the only downside was being unable to eat at the hotel restaurant as it was “fully booked”.
How to avoid falling for a holiday scam
Action Fraud, ABTA and Get Safe Online have published advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of holiday booking fraud – and on how victims should go about reporting it.
Stay safe online: Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org
Do your research: Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials. If a company is defrauding people there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences, and warnings about the company.
Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. If you have any doubts, you can verify membership of ABTA online, at www.abta.com.
Pay safe: Wherever possible, pay by credit card and be wary about paying directly into a private individual’s bank account.
Check paperwork: You should study receipts, invoices as well as terms and conditions. …read more
Source:: Daily times