Simon Calder defends ‘worst’ hotel chain praising Britannia’s low cost

Britain's Most Luxurious Hotels: James Martin makes appearance

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A new Which survey has ranked the UK’s “best” and “worst” large hotel chains, with Premiere Inn taking the top position and Britannia falling to the bottom of the list once again. The survey, which was based on 4,500 stays by guests across 35 chains revealed that Britannia hotels scored the lowest in all areas of customer satisfaction reviews. Despite being outranked by the likes of Travelodge and Wetherspoons Hotels, the Independent’s travel correspondent, Simon Calder has highlighted the benefits of staying in Britannia hotels across the country.

The results from Which? revealed that despite customers paying around 35 percent more for a room, Premier Inn topped the table as the “best” chain – scoring 78 percent on average with customers.

As well as achieving a five-star rating for cleanliness, the chain was much more affordable than lower-rated hotels such as Britannia, costing around £89 for one room.

At the very bottom of the table, Britannia hotels scored just 56 percent and two stars for cleanliness – despite costing £119 on average.

But while the chain did not bode well with customers who took part in the survey, travel expert Simon Calder has highlighted the benefits of the low-ranking chain.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast earlier this morning, Simon said: “The UK has a brilliant hospitality sector and there will be millions of people waking up having had great stays in hotels, including in Britannia Hotels.

“Yes, certainly, when I go there, I might find that my feet – there’s a bit of adhesion with the carpet.

“But as long as it’s clean, as long as it’s safe, you are going to get brilliant value with superb properties.”

He noted that the location of the resort is something to consider when looking at getting the most for your money.

Simon explained: “Scarbrough Grande – probably the most magnificent hotel in Britain, I would say, overlooking the sea up from a cliff – it’s a gorgeous place.

“I’m very glad it’s a Britannia Hotel costing £25 for three people in a room tonight if you wanted, rather than converted into apartments.

“But if you want to stay somewhere lovely, if you’re a Which? reader for example, yes, Premier Inn’s are available and there’s a lovely B&B down the road, which costs exactly three times as much.”

While Harry Kind from Which? agreed that listening to experts like Simon, and reading the annual Which? survey is a good way to find a good hotel, cross-checking reviews was another one of his top tips for travellers.

Simon, however, noted that simply “going back to basics” is the best way to find a secure deal.

He told presenter, Sally Nugent, that travellers should “resist the temptation” to book online and instead follow his own advice. He said: “Here’s what I do. I will go in. Already, I am in a position where, particularly if I know there’s going to be rooms empty that night, I could well negotiate the deal. But crucially I am going to ask to see the room. 

“First of all, you see the most important thing – safety. Have they got bedding, mattresses and fire escapes? You’ve got to identify that immediately. You go into the room, have a look – has mould prevailed over wallpaper over the walls? You feel the bed, make sure that’s all nice and comfy, and have a look underneath.”

He noted that in most cases, taking one look in the bathroom often tells you “everything you need to know about a place”.

Best and worst hotel chains in the UK

Despite price inflation costing customers more per room, Premier Inn and Sofitel remain the ‘”favourites” according to the latest data. Here are the Which? survey results in full.

  1. Premier Inn – average price paid £89
  2. Sofitel – £204
  3. Crowne Plaza – £129
  4. Village Hotel Club – £127
  5. Days Inn – £98
  6. Hilton – £188
  7. Hilton Hampton – £119
  8. Holiday Inn – £112
  9. Ibis Budget – £99
  10. Marriott – £159
  11. Copthorne – £141
  12. De Vere Hotels – £167
  13. Holiday Inn Express – £104
  14. Hyatt – £154
  15. Wetherspoons Hotels – £99
  16. Hilton Garden inn – £139
  17. Ibis – £90
  18. Novotel – £142
  19. Radisson Blu – £167
  20. Best Western – £118
  21. easyHotel – £110
  22. Hilton Doubletree – £134
  23. Old English Inns – £125
  24. Travelodge – £78
  25. Macdonald – £172
  26. Jurys Inn – 139
  27. Mercure – £133
  28. Britannia – £119

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