Chain behind four Gatwick hotels named worst in the UK for ninth consecutive year

A chain that owns four Gatwick hotels has been named the worst in the country for the ninth year running.

Britannia has earned the unenviable crown of the UK’s worst hotel chain in Which?’s annual survey.

The chain has 61 hotels across 36 parts of the UK, including Airport Inn Gatwick, Europa Gatwick Hotel, Britannia Lodge Gatwick and Russ Hill Hotel Gatwick.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

More than half of its guests in Which?'s survey – 51 per cent – said they ran into a problem during their stay. The most common issue was cleanliness.

Britannia, which owns four Gatwick hotels including the Russ Hill Hotel, has earned the unenviable crown of the UK’s worst hotel chain in Which?’s annual survey for the ninth consecutive year. Picture by Steve Robards

One guest said: "It was terrible. The room was dirty. The bathroom was dirty. The carpet was terrible, stains everywhere."

The upkeep of Britannia's hotels was another common cause for complaint. A guest said their hotel was ‘run into the ground’ and another guest found their Britannia hotel to be ‘old, worn out and in need of a drastic makeover’.

Another complained of ‘small and basic rooms’, ‘no soap or shampoo’ and ‘bags of rubbish outside the main entrance’.

Britannia scored an overall 49 per cent in our survey. Although a dismal score, this was the best result the chain has had in years, after it earned slightly improved ratings for bed comfort (three stars) and value for money (two stars).

Britannia’s consistent failings have insulated other chains from criticism over the years, but Mercure, which owns the Brighton Seafront Hotel, ran it close in 2021, with a score of just 52 per cent. While some guests praised Mercure hotels’ central locations, many observed that standards had fallen.

One guest said: "Mercure are not as smart as they used to be – there are some poor quality properties in their portfolio. However, they can offer good value."

The survey also found that room price was not necessarily a good indicator of quality. The average price those surveyed paid for a room in Britannia was £99 – 50 per cent more expensive than the highest scoring large hotel chain and Which? Recommended Provider, Premier Inn.

At just £66 per night on average, Premier Inn, which has five hotels based near Gatwick Airport and one at East Grinstead, was given five-star ratings for cleanliness, Covid-19 safety measures and bed comfort, with customers enjoying their king-sized beds and choice of firm or soft pillows.

Premier Inn’s impressive customer score of 79 per cent was topped by the best small chain, Hotel du Vin. The company, which operates a hotel in Brighton, scored 80 per cent from guests.

For anyone looking for a little more luxury, its spotlessly clean rooms and powerful monsoon showers could prove tempting at £150 a night.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: "Year after year, guests are let down by Britannia’s run-down hotels and often dirty rooms. This year saw some slight improvements to the chain’s score – but not enough to drag it off the bottom of our rankings.

"Until the company ups its game further we would urge guests to look elsewhere. The impressive, budget-friendly Premier Inn is our pick of the large chains and Hotel du Vin offers high quality stays in interesting locations."