This elegant Grade II listed building with its Regency-style balconies and Corinthian columns occupies a prime position on Brighton’s seafront. However, venture inside and the cracked walls, peeling wallpaper and stained carpets offer a sharp contrast. This is a Britannia, after all, rated the UK’s worst hotel chain six years running. A ripped leather armchair is patched up with duct tape and chewing-gum clings to a bannister, adding to the musty air of neglect. Outside, the sun terrace is a minefield of cigarette butts and bird’s mess – evidence that the listless staff have given up on their surroundings altogether.
The sea view fails to distract us from the dated, tatty furniture and the stained lampshades, thick with dust. Just a glance at the bed – two rickety singles on wheels pushed together – is enough to bring on a bout of sciatica. What’s more, the flimsy pillow could double as a bookmark. Sadly the broken jacuzzi bath offers no salvation. Instead we chase the drips in the weak shower and practically remove a layer of skin with the scratchy, paper thin towels.
The empty bottles and half-eaten remains of room service clutter the corridors for the entirety of our stay. Meanwhile, the breakfast buffet is the stuff of lukewarm nightmares with grease-soaked fried bread and a selection of straight-from-the-tin fruit and tomatoes. There’s a choice of eggs: scrambled, watery and anaemic or boiled until the yolks are tinged grey. And if that doesn’t kill your appetite, the bitter chicory-laced coffee surely will.