An Italian hotel has been forced to apologise after a bikini-clad female employee was covered in chocolate and used as the centrepiece of a buffet.
Holidaymakers were left shocked after turning up for the afternoon spread which featured sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and canapés – and the semi-naked woman.
HR manager Federico Mazzieri was among guests at the four-star Voi Hotels in Golfo Aranci on the island of Sardinia and was left gobsmacked when he saw the poolside buffet.
Mr Mazzieri said: ‘I was with my 14-year-old daughter, and we were both left shocked by what we saw.
‘We were both speechless. My daughter said to me ‘Dad, how disgusting, this is not a country where women can achieve things.’
‘What on earth were the hotel management thinking of? It was simply objectifying the female figure.
‘She was covered in chocolate and must have been there for half an hour. The hotel had been promoting the day before a chocolate statue and it was clear what they meant.’
Mr Mazzieri, from Milan, added: ‘We had spent the evening elsewhere in the hotel and the management announced an evening buffet would be served poolside.
‘When we got there we just couldn’t believe it. One of the entertainment staff was on a table, in a bikini and she was stretched out and covered in chocolate, amid all the food.
‘I work in HR and I just thought, who on earth allowed this to happen? It was thoughtless and disgusting.
‘Some of the other guests started taking photos as well but after a few minutes, we decided to leave.
‘The morning after, I did ask the hotel reception what was the idea of the buffet but they didn’t seem bothered.
‘So when I got back, I posted what I saw on Linkedin and then it all exploded and I know the hotel has apologised on social media but I’ve not heard from them at all.’
Sources at the hotel said the woman was a 20-year-old member of the entertainment staff.
In a groveling apology VOI Hotels – which is used by British holiday firms easyJet and Thomas Cook, said: ‘Above all we would like to offer our customers who were at the hotel our most sincere apologies.
‘We would like to strongly emphasize that every day we are committed to practicing the declared values, among which in a priority are respect for our staff and guests.
‘We deeply regret this incident and wish to reiterate we never had any intention of misrepresenting anything other than the values we stand for.
‘We will continue to work tirelessly so that situations like this do not happen again, and we are taking immediate action to address this incident and ensure no customers are offended in the future.’
Cristian Solinas, regional governor for Sardinia, which attracts thousands of British holidaymakers every summer, slammed the hotel and said:’ This is an episode that offends everyone and has also left me embarrassed.
‘This is a scene which we should never have seen and it goes completely against the welcoming image of Sardinia.’
Paolo Manca, of Italy’s Federation of Hotels, said: ‘This is unforgivable and in very poor taste but I don’t think it’s the modus operandi of the chain.’