I was sent a copy of Which? Travel magazine this month because I’m quoted in it. I very rarely see it otherwise since it is a subscription-only title.
The November issue includes the annual Which? Travel reader survey into the best and worst UK hotel chains. The results are not hugely surprising but they still make interesting reading.
The methodology, based on reader votes, is complex so I’ll just focus on the overall ranking.
The winner was Premier Inn with 79%. This is fine by me – I have written before on HFP about how impressive I find Premier Inn on the odd occasions when I need to use them.
Hilton Garden Inn comes second but with only eight UK properties doesn’t really mean much. Third was Fuller’s Hotels with 75% – a chain I have never used.
Non-UK based readers may be surprised to see Crowne Plaza in 5th place, but the quality of their UK hotels is far higher than you would find in the USA.
Other brands I like – Renaissance, DoubleTree, Hampton and Radisson Blu Edwardian – also do well.
But what about the bottom of the list?
Of the 32 large chains covered, there is no prize for guessing who comes bottom. Not only does this chain come last, but it comes last by a whopping margin of 22% from its nearest competitor.
Yes, step forward Britannia Hotels. Despite having 60 hotels they can’t manage an overall score of more than 35%. The 2nd worst chain (Old English Inns) manages 57%.
The biggest surprise in the bottom 12 is Hilton, although there are some exceptionally ropey regional properties out there. Mercure was also a surprise near the bottom although I am biased because the one I see most often is the exceptional Sheffield hotel. It is less of a surprise to see easyHotel, Park Inn, Thistle and Travelodge down there.
PS. If you can get hold of a copy, there is also an interesting story about shrinking hotel rooms. The Which? Travel team visits a London hotel with a 5 sq m room (of which the bedroom is 3 sq m – the single bed touches the wall on both sides) and apparently some easyHotel UK rooms are 6 sq m. Z Hotel in Soho has 8 sq m rooms which are, impressively, 50% more expensive per square metre than booking a suite at The Ritz ….
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