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‘So filthy that we cleaned the whole accommodation ourselves’: Britannia is named the UK’s worst hotel chain for the ELEVENTH year running by Which? – while Indigo and Hub by Premier Inn are joint No.1


Britannia has been named the UK’s worst large hotel chain by Which? for the 11th year in a row.

The ‘awful’ chain yet again has come bottom of an annual survey by Which? that asked more than 5,000 respondents to assess 28 large and nine small hotel chains across 10 key categories, including bed comfort, breakfast, customer service, ‘description matches reality’ and value for money.

For each hotel, an overall customer score has been calculated combining overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend.

Britannia, which has an average room price of £82, scores a dismal one-star rating for its bedrooms, bathrooms and the quality of the Wi-Fi, and scores no higher than two stars in any of the remaining categories – including cleanliness.

One respondent told the consumer champion that their Britannia hotel was ‘awful… so filthy that we cleaned the whole accommodation ourselves’. Meanwhile, boutique chain Hotel Indigo, owned by IHG, and Premier Inn’s satellite brand, Hub by Premier Inn, tie for first place.

Britannia has been named the UK's worst large hotel chain by Which? for the 11th year in a row, based on the findings of an annual survey by the watchdog. Above is The Britannia Hotel Wolverhampton

Britannia has been named the UK’s worst large hotel chain by Which? for the 11th year in a row, based on the findings of an annual survey by the watchdog. Above is The Britannia Hotel Wolverhampton

Premier Inn’s satellite brand, Hub by Premier Inn, ties for the top spot in the ranking. The hotels have been described by guests as ‘efficient’ and ‘well-designed’

Premier Inn’s satellite brand, Hub by Premier Inn, ties for the top spot in the ranking. The hotels have been described by guests as ‘efficient’ and ‘well-designed’

Boutique chain Hotel Indigo, owned by IHG, ties in first place. Guests praised the chain's 'unusual' and 'quirky' décor, Which? reveals

Boutique chain Hotel Indigo, owned by IHG, ties in first place. Guests praised the chain’s ‘unusual’ and ‘quirky’ décor, Which? reveals

Both have been awarded the coveted Which? Recommended Provider status and earn a customer satisfaction score of 77 per cent.

Hotel Indigo stood out to respondents for its ‘stylish’ boutique offering, with many of its 18 UK hotels housed in historic buildings, Which? reveals.

The watchdog notes that customers praised the chain’s ‘unusual’ and ‘quirky’ décor, noting the unique character and atmosphere of the brand’s accommodation. It scores an impressive clutch of five and four-star ratings – dropping to three stars only on value for money.

Meanwhile, Hub by Premier Inn narrowly eclipses its parent brand Premier Inn, which comes a close second place with a score of 75 per cent.

Currently found only in Edinburgh and London, hotels in the ‘Hub By Premier Inn’ portfolio boast ‘excellent city-centre locations and facilities, but with compact rooms – some completely windowless’, Which? reveals.

Which? asked more than 5,000 respondents to assess 28 large and nine small hotel chains across 10 key categories, including bed comfort, breakfast, customer service, 'description matches reality' and value for money

Which? asked more than 5,000 respondents to assess 28 large and nine small hotel chains across 10 key categories, including bed comfort, breakfast, customer service, ‘description matches reality’ and value for money

Second-place Premier Inn – which ranked top last year - was rated five stars for its bed comfort

Second-place Premier Inn – which ranked top last year – was rated five stars for its bed comfort

Multiple guests praised the Hub hotels for their ‘convenient’ locations, Which? notes. It says that while customers did acknowledge that the rooms were ‘extremely compact’, they nonetheless concluded that they were ‘efficient’ and ‘well designed’, particularly for shorter stays. 

The chain scores a full five stars for cleanliness, bed comfort and the description matching the reality, and scores four stars for its bedrooms, bathrooms, customer service, and communal areas and décor. 

Second-place Premier Inn – which ranked top last year – also secures Which? Recommended Provider status, and is rated five stars for its bed comfort, and four stars for its bedrooms, customer service, cleanliness, value for money and how well descriptions matched the reality.

In third place is the budget pub chain Wetherspoons with a customer score of 73 per cent. Respondents reported that they paid £84 a night on average, making it among the cheaper options in the survey – it scores four stars for value for money.

The chain garners three stars, meanwhile, for bed comfort, cleanliness, customer service and how well the description matched the reality.

In contrast, rival pub chain Old English/Greene King Inns finds itself in the bottom three (joint 14th place) with a score of 60 per cent – despite a higher reported room cost, at £103 a night on average. 

The budget pub chain Wetherspoons ranks third. With guests reporting they paid £84 a night on average, it is among the cheaper options in the survey, Which? reveals

The budget pub chain Wetherspoons ranks third. With guests reporting they paid £84 a night on average, it is among the cheaper options in the survey, Which? reveals 

Bottom-ranked Britannia (16th) has over 60 hotels across the UK and many of its properties actually have illustrious histories – the 19th-century Adelphi in Liverpool, for example, counts Prime Minister Winston Churchill among its former patrons, as does the famous Grand Hotel Scarborough.

However, Which? says that many Britannia hotels now offer ‘but a faint glimpse of what one guest described as their “faded elegance”‘.

Another lamented their stay was ‘like something out of the sixties’, while another guest concluded they’d ‘never stay in a Britannia again’, the watchdog reveals.

Overall, the hotel chain scores an ‘abysmal’ overall customer satisfaction score of just 48 per cent, Which? notes. Last year, MailOnline Travel compared the popular Premier Inn chain with bottom-ranking Britannia – and found that its own experiences echoed the Which? survey’s findings.

Just ahead of Britannia, with mediocre joint scores of 56 per cent, are Travelodge and Mercure (joint 15th place).

Sofitel (pictured above) ties for fourth place, along with hotel chain Ibis Styles. Impressing guests, it bags five stars in categories such as cleanliness and bed comfort

Sofitel (pictured above) ties for fourth place, along with hotel chain Ibis Styles. Impressing guests, it bags five stars in categories such as cleanliness and bed comfort 

Mercure is second from the bottom in the ranking (joint 15th), with guests criticising the chain’s ‘dingy’ and ‘tired’ feel, Which? reveals

Mercure is second from the bottom in the ranking (joint 15th), with guests criticising the chain’s ‘dingy’ and ‘tired’ feel, Which? reveals 

Last year, MailOnline Travel compared second-place Premier Inn with bottom-ranking Britannia. Above is MailOnline Travel Editor Ted Thornhill outside a Britannia property in London

Last year, MailOnline Travel compared second-place Premier Inn with bottom-ranking Britannia. Above is MailOnline Travel Editor Ted Thornhill outside a Britannia property in London 

Though some customers praised Mercure for their conveniently located hotels and ‘excellent service’, it nonetheless secures a run of two and three-star ratings, including two stars for the quality of its bedrooms, bathrooms, and communal areas, with customers criticising the chain’s ‘dingy’, and ‘tired’ feel, Which? reveals. 

With respondents reporting they paid £106 a night on average, Mercure scores just two stars for value for money.

Travelodge similarly falls down on its value for money offer, scoring just two stars despite being among the cheapest brands in the survey, at £79 a night on average, Which? says. 

Across the remaining categories, it receives a mixed bag of one, two and three-star ratings – including two stars for its bedrooms, bathrooms, and breakfast, and just one star for Wi-Fi. One guest described their room as having ‘an NHS hospital aesthetic’ while another described the hotel as ‘dated and tired’, the watchdog notes. Others were more positive though, reporting they had a ‘good overall experience’.

Travelodge’s ratings come in sharp contrast to budget competitor Days Inn, which despite also having an average price per night of £79, finds itself higher up the charts with a middling customer score of 65 per cent – and an impressive four stars for value for money, Which? reveals. Customers described it as ‘cheap and cheerful’ with ‘clean and quiet’ rooms.

SMALL CHAINS

In the small chains category, the top prize goes to Brend Collection, a family-run hospitality business in the West Country, which earns a customer score of 80 per cent. It gets five stars for cleanliness and four stars in a variety of categories, including bedrooms and bed comfort.

Brend Collection, Coaching Inn Group (second, 79 per cent) and Inn Collection Group (third, 78 per cent) all achieve Which? Recommended Provider Status.

The lowest-ranking small chain is Village Hotels, which has more than 30 locations throughout the UK. It has an overall satisfaction score of just 55 per cent, with two stars for its breakfast, communal areas and décor, Wi-Fi and value for money.

Generally, Which? has found that hotel prices have risen by an inflation-busting 13 per cent on average this year, according to ONS figures, meaning even budget stays are not as cheap as they once were.

Travelodge, which is second from the bottom (joint 15th), receives a mixed bag of one, two and three-star ratings overall

Travelodge, which is second from the bottom (joint 15th), receives a mixed bag of one, two and three-star ratings overall

READ MORE: MAILONLINE COMPARES PREMIER INN WITH BOTTOM-RATED BRITANNIA 

What is the difference between the best and the worst? And is the worst really that bad? We decided to find out.

With UV torches to sweep for stains packed in our bags, we checked into a Britannia hotel in London and a Premier Inn in Cambridge to put the two chains head to head…

The majority of hotel chains (78 per cent) in the consumer champion’s survey were reported as costing well over £100 a night for a room on average – including some of the most poorly rated. 

Which? notes that no chain managed a full five stars for value for money. With prices spiralling, finding the right hotel for your money is increasingly important, the watchdog says.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, says: ‘With prices at many hotels rising further this year, finding good value, budget accommodation is increasingly difficult. For those looking for a reasonably priced stay, there are big differences between the best and worst chains, with the likes of Premier Inn and Wetherspoons distinguishing themselves from the pack.

‘When you’re booking your next trip, make sure to take time to research your options carefully, and read reviews from a range of sources to see what other guests thought of their stay.’

A spokesperson for Travelodge says: ‘Last year we welcomed over 21 million business and leisure guests to our hotels. Ninety per cent of our Travelodge UK hotels are rated four stars or above on Tripadvisor and our new breakfast menu at our onsite Bar Cafes has been rated excellent value for money by over 70 per cent of our customers. 

‘Travelodge is investing significantly in our UK portfolio to deliver a high-quality, premium look and feel hotel design and a great value for money proposition to our customers. This hotel refit programme is Travelodge’s most significant brand transformation to date and is well underway across the country, with approximately £45million being invested this year to update our hotels. We take our guest feedback very seriously and are sorry to hear that the Which? reviewers did not receive our normal high-quality service.’

A spokesperson for Mercure said: ‘Our position in this survey doesn’t reflect the standard of guest experience we strive for, and we will of course look into the feedback and make any improvements we can to ensure the experience, safety, and wellbeing of our guests at each property is of the high standard they deserve. However, the results of this survey, which are based on 129 guests who had visited a Mercure, do not reflect either the 93 per cent of mentions that are positive about our service friendliness from TrustYou data based on over 14,000 independent reviews on Tripadvisor and other platforms; or our guest feedback, based on nearly 100,000 annual reviews, which scores Mercure at 85.6 per cent for its staff, while also exceeding the overall Which? customer score by a significant amount.

‘Regardless of this, we take all feedback constructively. We are aware that there are improvements to be made and we will always endeavour to deliver an outstanding experience for our guests.’

Britannia did not respond to a request for comment.



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