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Which? magazine unveils the best – and worst – UK hotel chains

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With travel now picking up again, Which? magazine has been able to bring back one of its annual highlights – the best and worst UK hotel chains, as voted for by its readers.

You can see the full article on the Which? website here.

There is, of course, no surprise over the winner of the UK’s worst hotel chain.

the best - and worst - UK hotel chains

Yes, yet again Britannia Hotels has won.

Based, admittedly, on a relatively small sample size due to covid restrictions, Britannia was rated one star out of five for bathrooms, and two stars for seven other categories such as cleanliness, customer service and value for money.

(What I don’t quite understand is how Which? finds anyone to vote for Britannia. Surely all of their readership must have been put off by now, given that Britannia has won this title multiple times?!)

More surprising is who came second – Accor’s Mercure brand. Admittedly, Mercure also performed badly in the last pre-covd version of this survey, but it still surprises me. This is probably because my view is coloured by the Sheffield property (below, website here) which is arguably the best large hotel in the city centre. Perhaps it should be rebranded before it is dragged down by its siblings?

Worst hotels in Britain

Who was voted the UK’s best hotel chain?

The UK’s best large hotel chain

The ‘large chain’ winner was Premier Inn.

This is not hugely surprising. I am a big fan of Premier Inn – ‘consistent’ is the best way to describe them – and happy to use them if I’m in a town with no high end options. In many parts of the UK, the local Premier Inn is the best hotel in the area.

Second was Crowne Plaza. This is more surprising, and I doubt this run can continue. The best London hotels have left or are leaving (Kensington, The City) and some dubious additions have been made (Sheffield).

Sofitel, Radisson Blu and Wetherspoons Hotels round out the top five, with Hilton in 6th.

(Sofitel should arguably not have been on the ‘large chain’ list given that it only has three UK hotels. One of these is a super-luxury property in St James whilst the other two are at Heathrow and at Gatwick.)

The UK’s best small or medium hotel chain

In the ‘small and medium chains’ category, the winner was Hotel du Vin. It’s worth noting that Hotel du Vin got a higher overall score than Premier Inn. I think most people would agree with this choice.

Warner Leisure – not really aimed at the HfP demographic, but arguably closer to the typical Which? subscriber – came second. The small ABode chain, about which I have heard a lot of good things but never visited, came third.

Young’s Hotel and Malmaison, the sister chain to Hotel du Vin, complete the top five.

You can read the full article on the Which? website here. To read about Mercure’s poor showing you need to read this CityAM article.


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Comments (69)

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  • Freddy says:

    Often need a basic overnight stay and premier Inn often combines good price and location. The breakfasts are reasonable with kids eating free. Breakfasts at the likes of Marriott are expensive if you throw in a few kids

  • Alan says:

    Not surprised at all at Mercure – they example you have is a major outlier, Rob! On the flip side I’m surprised Crowne Plaza did so well, they’re not normally that great!

  • Adam says:

    Such a bizarre list! How does Hilton rate higher than Marriott? How do all these average brands rate higher than both of them?? Maybe I haven’t stayed in enough UK hotels.

    • Rob says:

      Can you name a really good Marriott (Marriott brand, not sub-brand) outside London?

      • Adam says:

        I think the Waltham Abbey Marriott is pretty decent.

      • Adam says:

        I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels in Manchester for work and I’d say the Victoria & Albert Marriott is one of the better hotels in Manc. Know a lot of people rate the Kimpton but I’ve never been a fan of it. Although I stayed at the new Moxy in Manchester last week and have to say that will be my go-to Marriott hotel going forwards (in Manc).

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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