'Fishy' Smelling Holiday Home Grosses Out Internet

A family that booked a week-long stay in an idyllic cottage is facing the vacation from hell after arriving at the property to discover it is plagued by the smell of "putrid" fish.

Bad smells aren't just unpleasant on the sinuses and stomach—they can be detrimental to your mental health as well. In 1995, researchers from Duke University Medical Center set out to examine the effect of environmental odors emanating from commercial swine operations on the mood of nearby residents.

What they discovered was that those who were exposed to strong swine odors were more likely to suffer with depression, anger, confusion, fatigue and tension compared with those who were not exposed to such smells.

Being exposed to bad smells because of where you happen to live is bad enough, but paying for the privilege of a week-long stay in a property harboring a vomit-inducing stench is a whole other level.

Yet that is the nightmare facing one U.K. woman and her family who, according to a Mumsnet post shared under the handle AuntySandrasDauphinois, shelled out over £1,000 ($1,200) to stay in a holiday cottage located in Cornwall, the scenic southwestern corner of England.

According to the post, the property "absolutely stinks" with the woman describing the stench as "very fishy/putrid." She said that when she spoke to a nearby store owner about the problem she was told "some of the local lads had been putting fish through the letterboxes of any known holiday lets" as visitors are apparently not welcome.

However, when she called the company they booked the cottage with to make a complaint the woman she spoke to was apparently "dismissive" and "laughed down the phone" when she told her the claims about people putting fish through mail boxes, dismissing it as "an urban legend." In the meantime, the woman said the smell is "so bad" she has "struggled to get to sleep" and has found herself "dreading having to go inside" the cottage.

Despite generous use of air fresheners, the house "still stinks" and with no physical proof of any problem, she's increasingly unsure as to how the family will be able to claim a reduction or refund on the money they paid. "I don't even know if I can last the week," she wrote. "I'm devastated. We drove for 6 hours to get here, I'm so exhausted with it."

With no affordable alternatives available, the woman turned to social media for advice and got plenty, with many urging her to take a stand.

PixellatedPixie told her it was "definitely a breach of contract" and urged her to "be very firm with the letting agent and tell them they have to come to the cottage tomorrow." Iamblossom, meanwhile, told her she had to "insist someone from the company you rented from come to smell it for themselves" and then "demand a refund" adding "I would leave."

ChubbyButt told her to buy "a load of plug-in air fresheners" and "put them absolutely everywhere." They also advised her to fill "a small laundry bag" with potpourri and keep it by her bedside to help her sleep at night. PhoneyM, meanwhile, suggested: "cut an onion and leave it out. Sounds weird but it absorbs smells. Good when painting too. Plus bicarbonate of soda."

700DrinksWoman did issue a word of warning over trying to mask the smell, explaining: "I'm not sure about doing all the odor eliminating stuff. You want someone to smell it. If the smell has gone when they come they won't refund." Elsewhere, Oooerr called on the woman to kick up a fuss and not take no for an answer. "This isn't acceptable in the slightest," they said. "Don't be afraid to make as much fuss as possible."

Newsweek has contacted AuntySandrasDauphinois for comment.

If you have a similar dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

A woman reacting to a bad odor.
Stock image of a woman reacting to a bad odor—a woman has detailed how she and her family have been left stuck in a vacation home with a pungent smell. AndreyPopov/Getty