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Top five best-value UK hotel chains

Get more for your money on your next short break with the big brands rated best for value

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When it comes to a convenient sleep near the airport or a short city-centre stopover, value for money is top of the criteria for many. That’s where the humble hotel chain comes in.

A clean, functional stay shouldn’t break the bank. But at the same time, you don’t want any nasty surprises when you swipe our key card in the door.

To save you from disappointment, we asked more than 4,000 Which? members to rate their experiences of staying at 30 of the UK’s largest hotel chains.

Yes, there was the odd grubby carpet, lumpy bed and incinerated breakfast buffet reported. But you also told us about the trusted brands which delivered a comfortable night’s sleep time and time again – and all for a good, honest price.  

Here, we reveal the top five best-value hotel chains, as rated by members.

  Value for money WRP Customer score Average price paid

ibis budget table

Ibis Budget

**** Y 71% £63
Ultra-modern, well-lit and spotless, Ibis Budget clinched the highest score for value for money. These no-frills cocoons maximise every inch of space. But, with an average nightly rate of £63 (one of the lowest in our survey), members are only too happy to shower in a transparent capsule in the bedroom. And the separate toilet cubicle, no larger than a cupboard, doesn’t faze them either. Great for a bargain overnight stay.
  Value for money WRP Customer score Average price paid

Premier inn table

Premier Inn

**** Y 79% £76
Rated the best large chain year after year, Premier Inn also scored well for value for money. Rooms are spacious and comfortingly consistent, while the excellent-value breakfast buffet (£8.99) is laden with tasty continental and full English options, according to members. It’s one of the few chains rated the maximum five stars for bed comfort – and you even get a choice of pillow (soft or firm). High quality at an excellent price.
  Value for money WRP Customer score Average price paid

ibis styles table

Ibis Styles

***   69% £76
Ibis’s chic little sister, Ibis Styles prides itself on offering sharp design on a budget. And with the third highest rating for value for money, it may be on to something. Clean and modern, you can expect plenty of garish colours and geometric prints – with each hotel decorated around its own theme. Proof that value doesn’t mean skimping on personality.
  Value for money WRP Customer score Average price paid

Holiday inn express table

Holiday Inn Express

***   68% £84
The budget arm of the Holiday Inn, it edged ahead of its sibling in our survey with a customer score of 68% (versus 65%). Its value-for-money rating was also marginally higher, with the Holiday Inn Express charging £19 less per night, on average. Members didn’t mind plumping for the limited-service option (usually a breakfast area rather than an on-site restaurant and bar) if it meant saving a few quid.
  Value for money WRP Customer score Average price paid

Novotel table

Novotel

***   68% £95
The third entry from the Accor Hotels group, along with the Ibis brands, Novotel also scored well for value for money. Considered slightly more upscale, it was awarded the full five stars for the quality of its bathrooms and overall cleanliness. As one member told us: ‘We stayed in London and knew that we would be paying “over the top” prices. However, the Novotel was reasonable for what we got and the experience was excellent.’
Table notes: Average price paid Amount paid for a one-night stay, including all room types, by survey respondents. Customer score Combination of overall satisfaction and likelihood of recommending to friend or family. Which? members were surveyed in August 2017, based on 4,255 hotel stays. WRP Which? Recommended Provider

Not found the right hotel for you? Browse the complete results of our best and worst hotel chains.

How to save money on your next hotel stay

1. Check comparison sites

Comparison sites, such as Kayak and Trivago, will trawl the market for the lowest price they can find. Even then, it’s a good idea to use more than one as no single site has the best deal every time.

2. Cancel and rebook

Your hotel may slash its prices if it still has empty rooms at the last minute. If your booking has a free-cancellation option, and this happens within the permitted window (often up to 48 hours before check-in), you can cancel and rebook at the lower price without any nasty penalty fees.

3. Contact the hotel directly

Booking sites typically take around 15% commission, so it’s savvy to call the hotel and ask if it can do better. Even if it can’t, it may offer a tasty sweetener - such as a free bottle of wine.

4. Look for new hotels

New hotels often offer great deals to get an initial flurry of people through the door. Find out about openings on industry websites such as Hotelnewsresource.com.

5. Cashback sites

Cashback sites, such as Quidco and Topcashback, can prove fruitful. They offer cash rewards of around 10% per booking – not a bad windfall for essentially doing nothing.

Read all our insider tips for saving money on your next short break with ways to save on your hotel booking.

No two hotel rooms are created equal, but what can you really expect for three stars? Find out what you’re getting for your money with our guide to hotel star ratings.

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