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UK's worst hotel chain revealed

·3 min read
UK's worst hotel revealed
Britannia's Grand Hotel in Scarborough, England. Britannia is named the UK's worst hotel chain by Which? Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty

Britannia has been revealed as the worst hotel chain in the UK in 2021, according to a new survey by consumer group Which?.

The group, which has 61 hotels across 36 areas of the UK, was at the bottom of the rankings for the ninth year in a row.

More than half (51%) of the chain's guests in Which?'s survey of 2,600 hotel stays said they encountered a problem during their stay at a Britannia hotel.

The most common complaint was cleanliness, with one guest stating: "It was terrible. The room was dirty. The bathroom was dirty. The carpet was terrible, stains everywhere."

Watch: 7 tips for booking cheap hotel rates

Many Britannia hotels are in historic buildings, such as the Adelphi in Liverpool which counts Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt and Frank Sinatra as former guests. But the upkeep of the buildings was another common issue highlighted by guests.

One guest said their hotel was "run into the ground" and another said their Britannia was "old, worn out and in need of a drastic makeover". Another complained of "small and basic rooms" with "no soap or shampoo" and "bags of rubbish outside the main entrance".

Read more: UK facing 'cash crisis' despite cashback schemes, warns Which?

Which? members rated 24 large hotel chains and six small ones in 10 categories, including cleanliness, customer service, bed comfort, communal areas, value for money and whether the chain’s description matches reality.

Britannia scored an overall 49% in the survey. Although this was the lowest score in the ranking, this was the best result the chain has had in years, after it was given slightly improved ratings for bed comfort and value for money.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? travel, said: “Year after year, guests are let down by Britannia’s run-down hotels and often dirty rooms. This year saw some slight improvements to the chain’s score — but not enough to drag it off the bottom of our rankings.

“Until the company ups its game further we would urge guests to look elsewhere."

Mercure was second from bottom with a score of 52%. While some guests enjoyed Mercure hotels’ central locations, many found that standards had dropped. One guest said: "Mercure are not as smart as they used to be — there are some poor quality properties in their portfolio. However, they can offer good value."

Third from bottom was Macdonald with 59%, followed by Ibis Budget (60%), Jurys Inn (62%), and Best Western (62%).

Read more: Facebook and Twitter failing to tackle fake review factories, says Which?

Premier Inn received the highest large hotel chain score with 79%. The hotel was given five-star ratings for cleanliness, COVID-19 safety measures and bed comfort, with customers praising their king-sized beds and choice of firm or soft pillows.

The survey also found that room price was not necessarily a good indicator of quality. The average price paid for a room in Britannia hotels was £99 — 50% more than Premier Inn where the average price was £66 ($89.11).

The best small chain was Hotel du Vin, which received a score of 80% — the highest overall.

Hotel du Vin impressed guests with its its spotlessly clean rooms and powerful monsoon showers for an average £150 a night.

Pub operators also ranked highly, with large hotel chain Wetherspoon (JDW.L) scoring 74% and small chain Young’s receiving 73%.

UK's best hotel chains, according to Which?:

1. Premier Inn (79%)

2. Crowne Plaza (78%)

3. Sofitel (77%)

4. Radisson Blu (74%)

5. Wetherspoon Hotels (74%)

6. Hilton (70%)

7. Holiday Inn (69%)

8. Old English Inns/Hotels (69%)

9. Ibis (68%)

10. Novotel (68%)

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