Britannia has been rated the worst hotel chain in the UK, with an abysmal customer score of just 39%.
The budget brand is at the bottom of Which? Travel’s table of large UK hotel chains for the seventh year in a row, with customers describing its hotels as ‘dirty’ and ‘neglected’.
To make matters worse, 44% of guests said they experienced an issue or problem during their stay.
Avoid nasty surprises on your next short break. See the full results of our best and worst hotel chain survey.
Secret filming: Inside Britannia’s Gatwick Lodge
See what happened when our reporter went undercover at the chain’s Gatwick Lodge.
More than 8,000 of you told us about your recent experiences of staying in the UK’s most-visited hotel chains.
Britannia mustered just one star in most categories – including bedrooms, bathrooms, food and drink, cleanliness and value for money.
Many customers complained of ‘tired’ and ‘rundown’ bedrooms, and ‘dirty’ bathrooms. One customer described a ‘filthy bathroom with used toiletries stuffed behind the curtain’.
Very few were impressed with the food options. One Britannia guest told Which? ‘the food was nothing short of appalling. I had the chicken breast for my evening meal which was a funny grey colour, tough and inedible’.
Britannia: We go undercover at the UK’s worst-rated hotel chain
We checked in at the Gatwick Lodge, Britannia’s affordable airport hotel.
Customer descriptions of ‘worn’ and ‘tired’ bedrooms seemed generous compared with our stay. There were stains on the bedsheets, dirty tissues in the bin and grime around the skirting boards.
The ventilation fan was clogged with dust and dead insects, leaving a musty smell of damp.
Food is served in the slightly nicer Europa Hotel next door. Still, our watery curry and dry lemon sponge were tasteless.
Our verdict: Gatwick Lodge sums up why the chain gets one star for almost everything. Our room cost £71.50 with dinner and breakfast included. But even that’s not cheap enough.
Great small hotel chains: Apex and Warner Leisure
If you’re looking for spotless surroundings, you might want to consider a more boutique stay.
The only two brands to receive the full five stars for cleanliness – Apex Hotels and Warner Leisure – were our top-rated small hotel chains.
Both have earned Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status.
Premier Inn: Best-rated UK hotel chain
At the other end of the spectrum from Britannia, the incredibly consistent Premier Inn scored an excellent 79%.
As one customer put it: ‘You always know what you are getting at a Premier Inn. It’s not overly fancy but everything’s good quality, and at a very competitive price.’
Customers can expect a five-star bedroom with a comfy bed and a choice of pillows. A sparkling bathroom with an excellent shower is also a constant.
Premier Inn has achieved WRP status for the seventh year in a row.
Wetherspoon Hotels: a surprise contender for the top spot
Wetherspoon Hotels also received an excellent customer score, equalling Premier Inn with 79%.
Customers raved about the chain’s ‘outstanding value for money’ and its central locations in ‘sympathetically converted’ period buildings.
But the chain narrowly missed out on becoming a WRP because it only received three stars in the survey for cleanliness.