Brittania’s faded grandeur


I read the reviews of this hotel on Tripadvisor (a resource which I have found less and less reliable over the years) after booking it and was horrified. What sort of mistake did I make? Should I cancel and loose my reservation fee or, as I was only staying one night and leaving early should I tough it out?

Having spent last night there, I feel I must come, to some degree, to the defense of this much malaigned, but rather faded, hotel.

If you just want the facts here they are. The context follows.

  • Was it clean? Yes.
  • Was the room comfortable? When I arrived the room was cold. I switched on the heating and it became warm.
    Was the room quiet? Yes (but … more later)
  • Was it expensive? I paid for “a better room” £67 rather than £62. Be realistic people. I was not expensive. And by choosing this price you are not choosing expensive.

The Britannia suffers from a faded grandeur. When was it built; 1960s 1970s? There is a bit of a time warp as you walk in. Perhaps it was thought to be the height of sophisticated architecture to build a hotel over a main roadway, close to the cathedral. The consequence many decades later that the cars, taxis, buses (there is a transport hub nearby) and pedestrians are on both sides of the hotel. It is noisy during the day. But yet, on closing the windows the noise disappears. Curtains cover the windows.

It is clean, but it is in dire need of complete refurbishment. But hey! Guess what? The rate will need to rise to cover the costs. So once again you get what you pay for.

It’s fairly quiet and even though I think the hotel was busy, it didn’t feel it. I was at an event nearby and I expect many of the other people attending were staying at this – the closest – hotel. And a coach party (that should give you an idea of the clientele) arrived soon after me.

Breakfast. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

I had only booked bed and was going to buy breakfast separately. But I woke early, it was Sunday and there was nowhere nearby to eat. I bought a £10.50 breakfast – before eating. It doesn’t matter whether I wanted a croissant and coffee (there were no croissants … more about coffee later) or big portions of everything.

There was only instant coffee. Utterly disgusting. Undrinkable. I tried the tea. One bag in hot water. I didn’t go back for a second. Apart from that my £10.50 bought me a fried egg, two slices of bacon and two of the saltiest sausages I have ever tasted. There were cereals, fruit, toast. I suppose I should have had fruit. Perhaps Britannia group could negotiate a coffee franchise? Breakfast can make or break a decision to return.

The staff.

I must say something about the staff who I found to be polite, helpful and pleasant. I have no doubt that they are aware of the shortcomings of this hotel. It’s not their fault. The breakfast waiter did not make the decision to stock bad coffee or salty sausages. It’s not the receptionist’s fault that the place is in so much need to a refurb. They are polite and the least a customer can do is return that.

Over all

It was convenient to where I needed to be. It was not expensive but it was value for money – but not the breakfast. There was a time it was ahead of its time. Sadly now it lags far behind.

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