Britannia Hotels has been rated as the worst UK hotel chain for the sixth year running in an annual survey by Which?
And shocking images taken by the consumer group at one Britannia property underscore why the firm fared so badly – they show stained walls and carpets, grubby towels and chairs stuck together with tape.
The Old English Inn chain is second bottom and the Radisson Park Inn brand is third bottom, while Premier Inn is top for the fourth year running.
Britannia Hotels has been named as the worst hotel chain for a sixth year running by consumer group Which? Pictured is Britannia’s Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton, where Which? investigators stayed
Which? researchers who stayed at the Royal Albion Hotel found paint and wallpaper peeling off the walls, left, and a bathroom, right, that looked dilapidated
The investigators from the consumer champion came across crayon marks that had been strewn across a wall
The investigators found a chair in one of the communal areas that had been ripped and was covered in tape, left. Pictured right is a half-eaten salad and empty wine bottle that the Which? investigator said remained outside a neighbouring room throughout the stay
To carry out the study, Which? surveyed 7,812 guests about their stays at UK hotel brands, asking them to assess cleanliness, bedrooms, bathrooms, the beds, food and drink, the communal areas, customer service and value for money.
Most complaints surrounding stays at Britannia properties related to poor customer service (41 per cent) and poor quality of rooms (41 per cent), followed by cleanliness (32 per cent) and quality of food (27 per cent).
The consumer group reported that the terms ‘old’, ‘shabby’ and ‘outdated’ kept coming up time and time again and the chain only scored an overall customer satisfaction score of 35 per cent.
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Which? says one guest went as far as to describe the hotel they stayed in as a ‘filthy hovel’, while another advised prospective guests not to bother and to ‘find somewhere else’.
Which? also found that most guests (71 per cent) who made an official complaint to Britannia were dissatisfied with the outcome.
When Which? visited one Britannia location, the grade II listed Royal Albion Hotel on Brighton seafront, it said it found it ‘rundown’ and ‘depressingly shabby and neglected’.
The hotel’s website promises to offer ‘character and style’ but photos taken by a Which? investigator show crayon on the bedroom walls, stained carpets and grubby towels.
Most complaints surrounding stays at Britannia properties related to poor customer service and poor quality of rooms. Pictured is a table in one of the communal areas where empty glasses had been left
During their stay, the investigators found a banister that had chewing gum stuck to it
Britannia’s website promises to offer ‘character and style’. This image shows a stain on one of the carpets
The Which? researchers found grubby marks on a towel, left, and one on a wall, right
Which? found that most guests (71 per cent) who made an official complaint to Britannia were dissatisfied with the outcome
Other images show taped rips in an armchair, chewing gum stuck to a banister and a half-eaten salad and empty wine bottle that the Which? investigator said remained outside a neighbouring room throughout their stay.
At the other end of the spectrum, Which? found that pub chains performed better than ever in this year’s ranking with Fuller’s (75 per cent) and Wetherspoon Hotels (71 per cent) all scoring well above average.
Many guests told Which? that they were especially won over by the central locations of their accommodation and those who had stayed at a Wetherspoon Hotel were left pleasantly surprised and with very little to complain about.
However, Which? says no chain managed to do better than Premier Inn, which is the highest ranked hotel chain for the fourth year in a row.
Guests rated the chain five stars for cleanliness, the comfort of its beds and customer service, with the consumer group adding it was hard to find a guest review that did not describe their stay as ‘excellent’.
A table showing the full survey results. In a separate survey of small and medium hotel chains, Young’s Hotels was rated top and Village Hotel Club came bottom
When a Which? investigator visited, they said their experience backed up positive reviews of the no-nonsense ‘speedy check-in’, a ‘spacious room’ and a ‘comfy king-sized bed’.
Coming in second place is Hilton Garden Inn, with a customer satisfaction score of 77 per cent followed by Fuller’s (75 per cent), Marriot Renaissance Hotels (73 per cent) and Crowne Plaza (72 per cent).
Which? also carried out a separate survey into small and medium hotel chains.
It found that pub hotel chain Young’s Hotel is highest ranked with a customer satisfaction score of 79 per cent.
The worst small to medium chain is named as Village Club Hotels on 65 per cent.
The Which? Travel survey also asked guests to choose the top five things they thought was important from a hotel stay overall.
One in three guests cited value for money and cleanliness (both 76 per cent). Room quality (68 per cent), the comfort of the bed (65 per cent) and customer service (59 per cent) were all very highly regarded, too.
Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: ‘Britannia has superb locations, fabulous buildings – but terrible hotels.
‘Guests looking for a safe bet, with no nasty surprises, should opt for a no-nonsense option like Premier Inn.
‘Anyone looking for a cheap and cheerful hotel could do worse than booking a stay at a Wetherspoon – complete with an added bonus of only a staircase separating you and your bed after a slap-up meal and a glass or two of wine.’
A spokesperson for Old English Inns said: ‘Ensuring our guests have a great stay is our top priority and we take customer satisfaction very seriously. We are disappointed by the results of the survey, but welcome the opportunity to hear valuable feedback and to take action from it.’
MailOnline has contacted Britannia Hotels, Radisson and Village Club Hotels for comment.
Simon Jones, managing director Premier Inn and Restaurants, said: ‘At Premier Inn we welcome thousands of guests through our doors every day and so we are delighted and overwhelmingly proud that Which? readers have chosen us as their number one for the fourth year running.
‘Our thanks go to all the readers who rated us so highly, but also to the people who we wouldn’t be able to do this without, our thousands of team members across every one of our hotels and restaurants.
‘Whether they are responsible for the spotless rooms, ensuring our beds are the most comfortable, cooking up one of our famous breakfasts, or just a friendly, welcoming smile at the end of a long day. These are the things that our guests and Which? readers tell us they love and that will continue to be at the heart of everything we do.’
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