“Truly appalling” hotel chain Britannia has been criticised in the House of Commons for causing “untold damage” to communities after being named the UK’s worst for an eighth year running.
The company, which owns dozens of hotels up and down the country as well as the Pontins brand, received the unwanted accolade at the weekend, when it was the only company to receive one star out of five for cleanliness in a survey by consumer group Which? of more than 4,000 people.
Now, one of the UK’s most senior politicians, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden, has said he is taking a “very close interest” in the situation, after the issue was raised in the House of Commons by Southport MP Damien Moore.
Britannia has a presence across the entire UK, including owning Liverpool city centre’s Adelphi and Scarisbrick Hotel in Southport.
It also owns the Pontins holiday chain, including Southport Holiday Park – where the army has been staying while they carry out their mass testing operation on Merseyside.
Speaking at an oral questions session with the Culture Secretary, Mr Moore said: “Britannia has just been voted for the eighth year in a row the UK’s worst hotel chain. This is doing untold damage to resort constituencies like mine in Southport, which has Britannia hotels and a Pontins campsite.
“What does my right honourable friend have to say about this truly appalling record?”
Mr Dowden replied: “Well my honourable friend is absolutely right to raise concerns about the management and cleanliness practises of sites owned by Britannia Hotels and he has also raised it with me privately.
“I know that in November my honourable friend the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage [Nigel Huddleston] met with them. He has again been in contact with them yesterday to raise these concerns.
“Of course local authorities have appropriate powers to deal with this, but this is something I am taking a very close interest in.”
Mr Moore is among six MPs representing areas where Pontins are located who are pressing for change.
Despite being one of the UK’s cheapest chains, with rooms costing an average of £58 per night, guests still only gave Britannia one star for value for money.
One customer said a hotel was a “filthy hovel”, while another claimed it was “by far the dirtiest hotel room I have ever stayed in”.
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When Which? visited the Folkestone Britannia, also known as the Grand Burstin, as part of a separate investigation into hotel hygiene, it found stray hairs and stained towels.
Further tests indicated that surfaces had not been thoroughly cleaned between stays.
Britannia received an overall customer score of 37%, putting it in last place.
Following the Which? survey, the chain said in a statement: “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.”