In Brief

‘Avoid these hotels’: Britannia chain ranked worst in UK for eighth year running

Budget brand finishes bottom of Which? survey amid cleanliness warnings

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the Britannia hotel chain has failed to “clean up its act”, according to a new Which? report. 

The consumer group’s latest annual survey of the UK’s largest hotel chains has seen Britannia landing the bottom spot for the eighth consecutive year, with an overall score of just 37%.  

Britannia “plumbed new depths” with one-star ratings in most categories, Which? says. The budget hotel brand was the only chain to get one star for cleanliness in the poll of more than 4,000 people, with a former Britannia guest describing their accommodation as a “dirty hovel”. 

And “despite being one of the UK's cheapest chains, with rooms costing an average of £58 per night, guests still only gave Britannia one star for value for money”, Sky News reports.

Which? says that its undercover inspectors found “stained towels, stray hairs and pillows flimsier than bookmarks” at the company’s Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone.

“A germ simulation experiment demonstrated worrying lapses in cleaning between guests,” the watchdog continues. “The situation at Britannia’s Brighton seafront hotel, the Royal Albion, wasn’t much better. Swab tests revealed traces of enterococci, bacteria found in faeces, on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle.” 

Which? Travel editor Rory Boland 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.”

In a message on the Britannia website, the firm insists that a wide range of measures are in place to help customers and staff “stay safe” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Responding to the survey results, a spokesperson 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.”

Other hotel chains “left languishing near the bottom of the table” include Mercure (60%) and Days Inn (63%), although cleanliness was not a cause for concern at either brand’s properties, Which? reports. 

By contrast, “this year’s success story” was Sofitel, which finished top of the survey with an overall score of 86%. The luxury chain got five-star ratings in most categories, including the quality of its bedrooms and bathrooms. 

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