BRITANNIA Hotels, which operates across Scotland has been ranked the worst hotel chain in the UK for the eighth straight year.

With a slew of one-star ratings and concerns over hygiene and cleanliness, Britannia props up the rankings of the best and worst UK hotel chains.

One Britannia hotel was described by one guest as a “filthy hovel” and another as “by far the dirtiest hotel room I have ever stayed in".

The findings comes from research by the consumer organisation Which, which asked more than 4,000 people to rate their experiences at UK hotels, broken down into large chains and small and medium-sized chains.

Guests were asked to rate the hotels on a range of criteria, including bedrooms, bathrooms, cleanliness, customer service, and value for money.

Britannia received a "dismal" customer score of 37 per cent and failed to score more than two stars in any of the criteria ranked by guests, with one-star ratings for its bedrooms, bathrooms, and communal areas and facilities.

It was the only hotel in the survey to receive one star for cleanliness, and despite being one of the cheapest hotel chains in the survey at an average of £58 per night, guests still only gave Britannia one star for value for money.

One of the most scathing reviews submitted to the consumer organisation by a Britannia guest was unprintable.

Of the large hotel chains, the recommended providers judged by the consumer organisation were luxury chain Sofitel, Premier Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Hampton by Hilton.

The Scottish hotel group Macdonald rated highly with a four out of five starts for bathrooms, bed comfort, bedrooms, cleanliness, communal areas and facilities.

HeraldScotland:

When Which? visited the Folkestone Britannia, also known as the Grand Burstin, as part of a separate investigation into hotel hygiene, researchers found stray hairs and stained towels upon an initial inspection.

Following further tests using UV fluid and germ powder, researchers also found surfaces that had not been thoroughly cleaned between stays.

At the chain’s Brighton hotel, the Royal Albion, Which? conducted swab tests that revealed traces of enterococci bacteria on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle.

When presented with the findings, Britannia said: “We are totally committed to providing a safe environment for visitors. We have so far spent around £2 million on COVID-19 precautions, but we accept there is more to do.”

Also at the bottom of the table, but still scoring significantly higher than Britannia, were Mercure (60%) and Days Inn Hotels (62%). Both only managed to muster three stars across most criteria.

At the other end of the table – both in terms of performance and price – was Sofitel, the luxury chain with three London properties at Heathrow, Gatwick and St James.

At a steep £148 a night on average, guests did comment on the premium price paid for a night at a Sofitel hotel – but many told Which it was worth it, commending its “outstanding service” and “impeccable cleanliness”. One guest told the consumer champion their Sofitel room was “probably the best hotel room I have ever occupied.”

Premier Inn came in just below Sofitel with a score of 82 per cent and was praised for its reliable quality at a reasonable price.

When Which? asked people to rate their experiences at small and medium-sized hotels, it was Warner Leisure (81%) and Hotel Du Vin (77%) that came out on top, with both also being named Which? Recommended Providers.

Abode hotels received the lowest score of the eight small and medium-sized chains ranked in the survey, but still with a respectable score of 63 per cent, and four-star ratings for cleanliness, customer service and value for money.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “It appears that not even a global pandemic could force Britannia to clean up its act. At best, it’s drab and dated, and at worst it’s downright filthy – and after eight years at the bottom of our survey, our message is loud and clear: avoid these hotels.

“While Premier Inn remains a firm favourite, it’s clear that this year, UK hotels have become more than just a place to lay your head, but a destination in themselves. With fewer of us travelling abroad this year, our survey shows that when it comes to holidaying at home, we’re quite happy to pay more for a little luxury.”