Dirty loos and scathing reviews by guests have led Britannia hotels to be named as Britain’s worst hotel chain for the eighth year running.
Described by one guest as a “filthy hovel” and another as “by far the dirtiest hotel room I have ever stayed in”, Britannia props up the table in Which?’s rankings of the best and worst large UK hotel chains.
The consumer group said Britannia, which has 62 hotels across the country, had received a customer score of 37%, with the lack of cleaning a particular concern. One of the most scathing reviews was so bad it was “unprintable”, it said.
When Which? visited the Britannia’s Grand Burstin hotel in Folkestone, researchers found stray hairs, stained towels, and surfaces that had not been thoroughly cleaned between stays. At the chain’s Brighton hotel, the Royal Albion, Which? conducted swab tests that revealed traces of enterococci bacteria on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle.
In response Britannia said: “We are totally committed to providing a safe environment for visitors. We have so far spent around £2m on Covid-19 precautions, but we accept there is more to do.”
Which? asked more than 4,000 people to rate their experiences at UK hotels on a range of criteria, including bedrooms, bathrooms, cleanliness, customer service and value for money.
Premier Inn was named as the best budget chain. It was second in the table with a score of 82%, and only bettered by the luxury brand Sofitel, which offers rooms at an average of £148 a night, compared with Premier Inn’s more wallet-friendly £60.
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Holiday Inn Express and Hampton by Hilton were also named as “recommended providers”. Warner Leisure and Hotel Du Vin were named as to the top two small and medium hotel chains.
Rory Boland, the editor of Which? Travel, said: “It appears that not even a global pandemic could force Britannia to clean up its act. At best, it’s drab and dated, and at worst it’s downright filthy – and after eight years at the bottom of our survey, our message is loud and clear: avoid these hotels.
“While Premier Inn remains a firm favourite, it’s clear that this year, UK hotels have become more than just a place to lay your head, but a destination in themselves. With fewer of us travelling abroad this year, our survey shows that when it comes to holidaying at home, we’re quite happy to pay more for a little luxury.”