Britannia has been named as one of the UK’s worst hotel chains, after coming bottom in a consumer survey for the tenth year in a row.
The group has more than 60 hotels across Great Britain, many with illustrious histories: the Adelphi in Liverpool, for example, counted Winston Churchill among its high-profile guests.
However, contemporary Britannia guests have found the hotels far from first-class, with respondents to the annual Which? survey describing them as “tired and tatty”, with a “rough and ready” feel. Guests awarded the chain an average of two stars across every category, achieving an overall customer satisfaction score of just 56%.
The consumer champion’s rankings are based on almost 4,500 stays at 35 chains, with respondents invited to rate their experiences in 10 categories, including cleanliness, bed comfort, food, customer service and value for money.
More than a quarter of those who stayed at a Britannia hotel were unhappy with at least one aspect of their stay, with over half of those noting issues with cleanliness. One guest described their room as “absolutely dire, drab and smelly”, while another complained of dirt and mould.
“With a decade of dismal reviews Britannia has cemented its place as one of the UK’s worst hotel chains,” said Guy Hobbs, editor of Which? Travel. “With the average price of a UK hotel stay now a fifth more than last year, travellers want to be sure they are getting the best possible experience for their money … Price isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality and many respondents reported fantastic stays with brands including Premier Inn and smaller chains such as Warner Hotels.”
Two other chains, Mercure and the Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels group, also performed poorly in the survey, earning a customer satisfaction score of 58%. While many guests praised Mercure for “conveniently located” hotels with “helpful staff”, they described facilities as “basic”.
Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels elicited similar feedback, with one guest describing their stay as “Good, but nothing special for the price”. Nonetheless, many praised the chain for their conveniently located properties and “good service”.
Premier Inn was the best-performing chain overall, with a customer score of 78% and high ratings for cleanliness, comfort and customer service. Guests praised the chain for as “reliable” and offering “quality service”, with many respondents saying they were return guests because the brand was consistently good across all sites.
Despite Premier Inn being the second-cheapest chain in the table, further analysis by Which? found that the price of an average night’s stay at its properties has risen by 35% over 2021 – significantly more than the national average. The increase has certainly been noted by guests, who awarded it just two stars for value for money, which meant it lost its Which? Recommended Provider status.
Among small hotel chains, Warner Hotels came out top, with a customer score of 77%, and praise for “modern, comfortable” rooms and a “friendly welcome”. Although one of the pricier hotel chains assessed, with an average room rate of £173 a night, it scored four stars for value for money, with several guests commenting that the inclusion of entertainment, breakfast and dinner made the stay worth its higher price tag.
Malmaison also fared well among the smaller chains, with a customer score of 76%. Guests praised the “fantastic service” and “pure luxury” experience, giving it five stars for cleanliness, room quality, and how well the experience lived up to the description.