Hotel staff created a “horrifying” effigy of a couple’s dead son in a misguided attempt at a tribute.
Karen Baker had arranged for workers at a Jamaican resort to dress a room for friends Faye and Andrew Stephens, whose son Alex died in 2014.
Instead, she was left “sweating and shaking” when met by the sight of a body made out of clothes lying on the hotel bed.
TUI UK refunded the family for the “misunderstanding”.
The Stephens, from Willesden, north-west London, have made an annual tradition of celebrating their son’s birthday since his death, aged 22, in 2014.
His godmother Ms Baker, from Hertfordshire, who was also on the trip, tipped two members of staff at the Royalton Jamaica Resort to secretly adorn the couple’s bedroom with balloons and a cake.
Instead, they created the effigy, replete with tears on its face and a can of lager clutched in its hand, next to petals spelling out “We miss you Alex”.
Mrs Baker, who first discovered the effigy, said she was “utterly horrified” and removed the dummy before her friends saw it.
“When I walked into the bedroom, all I can describe is a dummy body on the bed,” she said.
“Staff had gone through my friend’s wardrobe and stuffed the clothes with towels to make it look like a body on the bed. They even put tears down the face and a can of lager in his hand.
“I was absolutely horrified – as you can imagine I was sweating and shaking. We just didn’t want our friends to see it.
“I have truly never seen anything like it. I still look at the photographs now and can’t believe somebody thought to do that”, she said.
A TUI UK spokesperson said: “We offer our sincere apologies to the Baker party for their holiday experience in Jamaica.
“We’re following up with the hotel and believe it was a misunderstanding with no intention to cause upset.”
The family received a full refund of £1,300 per person for the five-star holiday after raising the issue on BBC Three Counties’ JVS show.