A Victoria’s Secret Model Is Suing a Hotel After Bed Bug ‘Massacre’

Jul 2, 2018

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In June, a Victoria’s Secret model filed a lawsuit against the Embassy Suites by Hilton Palm Desert in Palm Springs, California. Her complaint?

She was “massacred” by bed bugs in the hotel room.

According to the local Desert Sun, the incident occurred two years ago, but the story has resurfaced now that the Brazilian model, Sabrina Jales St. Pierre, is taking legal action.

Her attorney, Brian Virag of My Bed Bug Lawyer, Inc. (yes, seriously) stated that Jales St. Pierre had a severe reaction to “bites that [covered] pretty much her entire body.”

(Photo by Sabrina Jales St. Pierre)
(Photo by Sabrina Jales St. Pierre)

Virag added that the reaction caused pain and discomfort, and affected Jales St. Pierre’s ability to model.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hotel’s general manger, Carlos Mendoza, has vehemently denied that a bed bug infestation even existed during the time of Jales St. Pierre’s stay.

Mendoza said the day after the incident, the housekeeping manager searched the room for signs of an infestation, and — despite finding nothing — called an external pest control company to inspect the room. Again, no evidence of bed bugs was discovered.

The lawsuit claims Jales St. Pierre’s extensive bites “impact[ed] her ability to do her job as a model” and cited the hotel’s failure to execute “proper pest control protocols.”

Regardless of whether or not this particular Embassy Suites by Hilton property is at fault, bed bugs in hotel rooms are, regrettably, a reality (or, more specifically, a complete and utter nightmare) that travelers may encounter.

Last year, a Paris property management group blamed American tourists for an “explosive” bed bug infestation in the French capital. And New York has a pretty unsettling reputation for bed bug outbreaks in even the most upscale hotel rooms.

How to keep bed bugs from ruining your vacation (and your life)

Bed bugs are simply a fact of life. Fortunately, travelers don’t have to just cross their fingers and hope their hotel room has been cleaned and inspected.

The next time you’re checking in to a hotel room, do your due diligence.

When you enter the room, leave your suitcase on the designated luggage rack, in the entryway or even in the bathroom. Do not put it on the bed.

Peel back the linens until you can see the mattress — particularly the corners and the lining. In addition to looking for bugs, check for dark brown blood spots or black stains that look like ink splats.

Be really thorough by checking the bed frame, the headboard and any upholstered furniture where bed bugs may be lurking.

If you’re deeply concerned about bed bugs, you can also pack a portable bed bug trap (amazon.com, from $17). Within an hour, the trap’s pheromones should attract any particularly evasive bed bugs.

In the event that you discover signs of a bed bug infestation, immediately tell the front desk agent and ask to be moved to a room that is neither above, below or next to the offending room.

Travelers who discover bed bugs during their stay — or simply want a bit more peace of mind — can use a travel steamer to “clean” your luggage. To effectively kill bed bugs, the surface temperature should be at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure your steamer is strong enough. Remove and wash all clothing in hot water, dry them on high heat and steam every inch of your luggage inside and out. Don’t forget to unzip the lining and steam inside the pockets, around the handles and the wheels.

You can also splurge on a fancy “bed bug-killing” suitcase (sharperimage.com, from $225). Simply plug it in, and let it roast any hitchhiking blood suckers. The suitcase is, remarkably, FAA and TSA-compliant.

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