Inside Edinburgh’s ‘worst rated’ hotel – from dodgy stains to hair in the sink

While a good staycation is just what many Brits need to unwind during the cold winter months not every hotel offers luxury to its guests.

The Britannia, once known as the Dragonara, in Edinburgh, attracted holidaymakers from far and wide in the 1990s.

However, it’s now considered one of the worst rated hotels in the UK – despite its cracking location at the bottom of Palmerston Place which is just a few steps away from the National Galleries and Dean Village.

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Reporter Sian Traynor, from Edinburgh Live, decided to book in for a night at the Britannia to see if the hotel lived up to its reputation as the “worst hotel in Edinburgh”.

The reporter noted that the hotel’s reception doesn’t have any “pizzaz” and makes you forget about its cracking location.

She said: “I’ve stayed in far worse looking hotels and I had arrived on a cold and dark night at the end of November.”

To stay in the hotel, she paid £55 for a Monday night, but noted that the price climbed to £140 on some weekends.

Sian added: “When I arrived at reception, a rather sullen member of staff started to get my room keys ready, which gave me a chance to have a first glimpse around.

“The reception looks on over to the bar area, which was very quiet, and although pretty tired looking, appeared to be relatively clean and tidy.

“After getting my room keys I headed round to the lifts, which didn’t quite give me the reassurance I was looking for.

“Covered in all white chipboard, the four lifts each had their own individual carvings, however these I assumed were not put there by artists or designers, rather hotel guests who had scratched their names, football chants and some questionable symbols into the walls.”

Sian did say that the Covid precautions were all being adhered to with screens at reception and hand sanitiser dotted around.

The reporter also noted that the hotel was “eerily quiet”, but that the walls were thin and voices could be heard in the halls.

When she reached her room, Sian was “initially pleasantly surprised”.

She commented: “There was a strange mismatch of furniture but there was two single beds pushed together, unstained sheets and fresh towels laid out.

“It was on closer inspection that I realised why the hotel may have gained a bit of a reputation.

“The first thing I noticed after taking a few steps in was the unusual and very obvious white stains that adorned the tired blue carpet next to the bed.

“It was then that I went into the bathroom, and was greeted with a number of small, dark and wiry hairs sitting in the sink, and despite knowing they most likely did not come from someone's head, I tried again to not give too much thought as to their origin.

“The skirting was warped and a bit rotted in places and all in all the room really didn't look like it had been given a good scrub in a while.”

Sian commented on the thin door that linked her room to someone else’s and the radiator that would burn you if you touch it.

She climbed into her bed which had one pillow that was “hard as rocks” and watched the TV.

Sian noted: “I slept not too terribly, although I do think I benefitted from staying on a Monday evening, as I had heard from multiple sources that the hotel can be a bit rowdy at the weekends.

“I did have a bit of a stiff neck from the pillow, but the solid hours of sleep I did get definitely helped my mood.”

The reporter went on to inspect the mattress which was not covered in a protector or topper.

She noted that the mattress was not stained or warped and headed downstairs to breakfast.

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Sian was disappointed that the only coffee available was instant, but was pleased to find a buffet and ate a plate of sausage, Pattie scones, beans, tomato and mushrooms.

She said: “The mushrooms were a bit cold and it was no five-star dining but for £7 it did the job.”

Upon leaving, Sian remarked that she “was glad to be out.”

The Daily Star contacted Britannia Hotels for comment.

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