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GRAND HOTEL
Happy Valley Road,

Llandudno,

Conway

LL30 2LR
Tel: 0871 222 0046

Fax: 0871 222 7726
Email : res726@britanniahotels.com

A few weeks ago when I got home on Friday evening and looked at my e-mails I found one from Britannia Hotels who are the owners to the ‘Grand Hotels’ which they bought several years ago from Butlins.

 

The weather forecast for the weekend was excellent and I got tempted to go away for the weekend having had such a terrible summer.  I always fancied Llandudno, god knows why, and they were offering the Grand Hotel, right by the pier at a rate of £95.00 for the ‘Best Available’ Twin Room, which included the evening meal.

 

I completed the booking procedure on the internet and they confirmed the booking to me by e-mail within minutes.

 

Saturday morning we leisurely drove to Llandudno, the place was absolutely packed out and parking was a nightmare, but we eventually found somewhere and we made our way to the tram station and took the lovely old Victorian tram up the Great Orme.

 

We walked it back down trough the ‘Happy Valley’ and finished up virtually outside the Grand Hotel. Our car was about two miles away but we thought, whilst we were there, we may as well check into our ‘best available’ room and fetch our car and our case afterwards when most of the day trippers had left and when, hopefully, we might get parked near the hotel which has no car park on it’s own.

 

There was nobody at the reception desk, we rang the bell and when a young lady arrived we told her that we had a reservation and that we would like to check in. She looked at us in bewilderment, shovelled some papers about and eventually told us that they had no reservation for us and that the hotel was fully booked.

 

Another young lady arrived and joined in and when I pointed out that I  had an e-mail confirmation of my reservation I was told that they have been having problems with their computers and that they had not received any notification from their Head Office which she said made no really difference as they had no rooms and were fully booked.

 

Naturally I was getting rather ratty by now and demanded to see the manager who, when he arrived turned out to be the Assistant Manager who again confirmed that the hotel was fully booked. He apologized for the problem which again he blamed on ‘computer breakdown’ and he offered to refund me with the cost of my stay which, apparently they had already debited to my Credit Card when I made the booking. This came as a surprise to me, no hotel I had ever stayed in before had charged me before I even arrived but, so he said, this was ‘Company Policy”.

 

I challenged him to find me a room at 17.30 on a Saturday night in Llandudno and, to his credit, he did get on the phone but had no luck in locating any vacancies. He then suddenly remembered that they might have a ‘Double Room’ which, so he said, had no ‘views’ and for some reason which escapes me, he sent off a young man to check if the room was available.

 

The young man came back and confirmed that this room was ‘available’ and I went up with him on the first floor to have a look at it. It was square box room with a double bed and a window overlooking a felted roof which was used as a storage area for old plastic chairs and cages. There was virtually no daylight and all you could see was an inside wall and the felted roof.

 

As I there was no alternative accommodation available in Llandudno for that night and as I did not wish to drive the best part of three hours back home I had no other choice but to take that miserable and depressing room. I felt claustrophobic, angry and frustrated and I just wished I had never seen that email from Britannia Hotels or heard of the Grand Hotel in Llandudno.

 

Reluctantly I collected my car and my case, fortunately I found a parking space no too far way. Never ever in my life have I not got changed for the evening, it was the first time that I literally dumped my case in the room and headed for the bar, I just could not bear to stop in this depressing, gloomy and sad place.

 

From the bar I headed to the restaurant where I had to join a queue to got seated and where I ‘enjoyed’ a 3 course carvery dinner which consisted of pre-sliced, dried up beef or a fish dish.

 

I ordered a bottle of wine with the meal, which I had to pay for upon ordering, but to my utter surprise, a young lady appeared and gave me back my money and told me that the wine would be ‘on the house’  as a compensation for the problems I had endured upon check-in. It was a nice gesture but I would have preferred a reasonable room and rather paid for the bottle of wine but, at least, they tried. 

 

Regretfully it did not cheer me up, I still had to go back to the dingy depressing bedroom and spend a night in the Grand Hotel.

 

Perhaps my mistake was not to drown myself in alcohol to the extent that it wouldn’t have mattered where I stayed. The problem with that is just that in the morning it will even be worse when you wake up in a dreadful room with no daylight, a stinking headache and a rotten hangover. The thought of that is frightening.

 

In the morning I noticed that the rather small TV did not work either, the picture was a fuzzy and unwatchable and breakfast turned out to be as bad, if not even worse, than the evening meal. Once again I had to wait at the door to be seated, there were no glasses to have a juice, the thermos jugs with coffee were empty and I had to ask for them to be refilled and there were various other items missing from the self-service breakfast, such as fried eggs etc.

 

The most enjoyable part of my “Weekend Break” was when I walked out of the “GRAND HOTEL” on Sunday morning and was welcomed by  the sun shining from a perfect blue sky and when I drove away from the Grand Hotel vowing never to return again.

 

Upon my return home I did write a letter to the CEO of Britannia Hotels,  Alex Langsam, whose name in German translates into ‘SLOW’ and I asked Mr. ‘Slow’ for his comments. Regretfully he decided to ignore my letter and instead I received a reply from their Customer Services Department telling me that ‘they were surprised that my stay did not meet my expectations of their normally high standards’.

 

It was the typically stereotype letter which is sent out by customer services all over the country after they receive a complaint; it’s totally meaningless and it really tries to tell you to shut up and go away which, regrettably,  most people do. This one was slightly different as it did

say that they were sorry that this stay did not meet my expectations’ of their normally high standards which, I suppose meant to say that my expectations of a high standard were unreasonable and that their usual guests would find it perfectly adequate and acceptable.

 

It also beats me as to why all these responses to a complaint always conclude in saying that they are thankful for bringing the complaint to their attention and that they are hoping that the experience will not deter you from choosing their hotel or whatever service again in the future. Some hope!

 

Of course it will deter me from setting my foot in another Britannia Hotel, their service was non existent, they had no reservation and no room when I arrived despite the fact that I had a written confirmation and, unlike any other hotel I ever stayed in,  that they had helped themselves to my money and debited my Credit Card for a room they did not have. What I eventually finished up with was a grotty, claustrophobic prison cell with virtually no daylight and which should never be used as a hotel room.

 

Do they really think I would risk it again to book a room with Britannia Hotels?

 

Partially I blame myself for this disastrous weekend, I should have looked at the comments of the people who have stayed at the Grand Hotel previously and who left their warnings on Tripadvisor and other related websites.

 I know it’s too late now but here a just a few comments what they had to say:

 

This is the worst hotel I've ever stayed in; it's dirty, the food is rubbish the entertainment is a joke. My advice to anybody thinking about staying here is don’t waste your money!!!

“Not a nice place to stay”

“Grand location, nothing else grand about it”

“The Grand not so grand”

“More Grotty than Grand!”

“Just don't go there unless you like third world standards”

“The worse hotel I have ever stayed in!”

 

There are, of course, also some people who found their stay was excellent, the food was superb and the place was like a palace.  Presumably they live somewhere on a caravan site and treat themselves to ready made meals from the supermarket freezers and their best holiday ever was an all inclusive break to some run down holiday complex in Spain where they got drunk like skunks every night.

 

This might sound rather nasty but I just cannot see how anybody can possibly praise this hotel or it’s food. Their main trade seems to be coach loads of OAP’s  who pay a fraction of the price they charge an independent traveller and, consequently, their services, their food and their entertainment are tailored to meet the demands of these people.

 

If you like canteen style self-service food with the option of ‘meat’ or ‘fish’ with some overcooked, dried up vegetables after you stood patiently in a queue to be seated, if you like having to pay for your drink with the meal before it is even served to you, if you like to play bingo or watch some unknown entertainer, if you like to pay for every drink you have as you can’t charge anything to your room then this is the place for you and you will enjoy it in the company of your other fellow travellers who have come by the coach load from god knows where.

 

If, on the other hand, you want to be welcomed upon arrival by a friendly receptionist who has your reservation and who will take your booking for the dining room at a time you wish to dine, who will give you a key card which enables you to charge your drinks and food to your room,  which has a pleasant bar and lounge to relax after your meal then the Grand Hotel is not the place to be. 

 

Don’t make the mistake I made and look at the comments of the previous guest first before you complete your booking. Had I done so I would have never chosen the Grand Hotel or Britannia Hotels.

 

 

‘We place a high value on your custom and hope that this particular experience will not deter you from choosing Britannia Hotels again’

 

They clearly are joking if they seriously think that I will ever set another foot into any of their hotels. You live and learn and, regrettably, I learnt the hard way but I don’t usually make the same mistake twice.

 

 If and when I receive a response from the Manager

of the Grand Hotel I will publish his letter on this page

It is now the middle of November and you guessed it, there is no reply from the Manager of the Grand Hotel in Llandudno which just proves my point that even he has nothing to add or to say about this hotel.

I did not expect to get a reply, they are clearly used to customers complaints and they really don’t care as long as they get the coach loads of OAP’s who don’t mind where they sleep or what they get to eat as long as they can play Bingo in the evening and get a bit of entertainment before going to bed.

Like I said before, if this is what you want than it’s fine but if you are an independent traveller who expects and is used to certain hotel standards than this is clearly not for you and you would be better off to stay in one of the many B&B’s or smaller hotels in Llandudno who will give you a far superior service than this abysmal hotel which may have been grand during the reign of Queen Victoria when it was used by the nobility. It still looks quite impressive from a distance, keep it that way and don’t go near it unless you are a sucker for punishment.

Just remember, you have been warned ……………………………………………….

 

Following  the publication of this complaint on Tripadvisor I have now received the following reply from Britannia Hotels:

We have now had the opportunity to investigate your points fully and would like to offer the following response:

We are sorry that on arrival at the hotel you were advised there were no rooms available. During very busy periods we do occasionally find ourselves in an overbooking situation, as do all hotel groups. We note from your comments that the Reception Manager did try and source alternative hotels for you, offered to refund your reservation or offered you Room 128 which is a standard double (you had booked a standard twin on the website), and do appreciate the stress and inconvenience this may have caused, but believe that in the circumstances we did everything possible to try and find a solution.

We can confirm that the monies were not taken off your credit card at time of booking, the card details merely acted as a guarantee of your reservation. Our accounts indicate that the monies were charged upon check out the following day.

When the hotel is fully booked, the restaurant is often busy and due to the majority of guests arriving to eat within the same timeframe, on occasions there may be a small wait whilst a table is prepared for you. We are sorry you found the food not satisfactory but we do appreciate that personal food preference is a subjective matter. We are happy that you were offered a complimentary bottle of wine in recognition of the inconvenience you had experienced.

It is Britannia Hotels policy to acknowledge all written complaints on receipt and forward the details for the General Manager to respond. Once again, please accept our apologies that no response was received and we will contact the hotel to follow this up.

In closing, we do believe that in the circumstances we did everything possible to fulfil your reservation or offer you alternatives.

Feedback is important to us as we use it to further improve our services and standards and we thank you for your comments

NEEDLESS TO SAY - THE MANAGER NEVER FOLLOWED IT UP AND IF THIS IS AN INDICATION OF HIS EFFICIENCY THEN NO ONE SHOULD BE SURPRISED THAT THIS PLACE IS SUCH A DUMP 

 

 

Britannia Hotels Ltd
Halecroft, 
253 Hale Road, Hale, 
Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 8RE
Registered in England and Wales 
Registered Number 1343600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a small selection of other peoples comments

 

"An appalling room in what looked like a nice hotel. I have worked and stayed in hotels throughout the years, but have never been made to stay in a room like that.

Very disappointed"

 

Filthy room, blood splattered on radiator, no telephone, filthy shower.

 

"Rooms small & untidy. Food overcooked and cold. Parking is a nightmare."

 

This is the worst hotel I've ever stayed in. It's dirty, the food is rubbish the entertainment is a joke. My advice to anybody thinking about staying here is don't waste your money!!!

My friends and I stayed at the Grand Hotel last week end, do not be tempted to go to this hotel, faulty towers has nothing on it. The rooms were very very dirty, the hotel in general was dirty, the food was awful thats when they got your order right, the average age was 80 plus and that is who they catered for both food and entertainment.

The only saving grace was the staff, they were very pleasant and as helpful as they could be in the circumstances.

Be warned don't go.

 

This is just a small selection of other peoples comments

 

The rooms and bathrooms are dilapidated, and the cleaning standards are abysmal. We were not allowed into our room until 4 p.m. on the day of arrival which the Hotel claim is their normal policy. This is allegedly because they have over 320 rooms to clean with insufficient staff - a problem I consider to be the hotel's and not the guests'. The food was disgusting and usually cold, and even the head chef scoffed at complaints about cold food.

 

 

Four of the UK’s dirtiest hotels owned by Britannia Hotels, says TripAdvisor

(18 January 2007 )

Four of the top 10 dirtiest hotels in the UK come from the same hotel group, according to peer review website TripAdvisor.

Britannia Stockport hotel had the dubious honour of being named the worst UK hotel in the survey, while the group’s Country House Hotel in Didsbury and Airport hotel in Northenden, Manchester, came in at number nine and 10 respectively.

Some of the TripAdvisor reviews describe the Stockport establishment as “disgusting”, “absolutely filthy”, “a fleapit”, “awful”, “a rancid dump”, “faulty hotel” and “a hovel”.  One traveller simply stated “for the love of God stay away!”

 

 

Copy of the letter received from

their Customer Services

 

Thank you for your recent letter of

23 September 2008 and we sincerely apologise that you have been given reason to complain, and that this stay did not meet your expectations of our normally high standards.

Your feedback has been forwarded to the General Manager of the Britannia Grand Liandudno Hotel for investigation into why this stay was so unsatisfactory and what improvements have been put in place to avoid a repeat experience in the future. Once this is complete they will contact you direct with their findings.

We once again thank you for taking the time to write in and for bringing this to our attention, it is only with comments such as yours that we can improve the service we offer to our guests. We place a high value on your custom and hope that this particular experience will not deter you from choosing Britannia Hotels again in the future.

Yours sincerely

 

Here is a complete list of Hotels belonging to the Britannia Group

 

The Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool

The Savoy Hotel, Blackpool

Grand Metropolitan Hotel, Blackpool

The Grand Hotel, Scarborough

Grand Hotel (Burstin), Folkestone

Britannia Bradford Hotel, Leeds

Bosworth Hall Hotel, Warwickshire

Britannia Hotel, Coventry

Coventry Hill Hotel, Allesley, Coventry

The Royal Court Hotel, Keresley, Coventry

Britannia Hotel, Birmingham

Britannia Hotel, Wolverhampton

The North Stafford Hotel, Stoke-on-Trent

Britannia Hotel, Nottingham

Britannia Hotel, Aberdeen

The Britannia Hotel, Newcastle Airport

The International Hotel, London E14

Hampstead Britannia Hotel, London NW3

The Europa Hotel, Gatwick Airport

The Royal Albion Hotel, Brighton

The Roundhouse, Bournemouth

Britannia Hotel, Bournemouth

Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool

The Prince of Wales Hotel, Southport

The Britannia Hotel, Manchester

Britannia Sachas Hotel, Manchester

Britannia Airport Hotel, Manchester

Britannia Country House, Manchester

Britannia Hotel, Stockport

Britannia Ashley Hotel, Hale

Britannia Hotel, Wigan

Britannia Hotel, Bolton

 

We will leave it to the visitors of this page to make up their own mind as to how they want to interpret the response from Britannia Hotel and, should we ever receive a reply from the Manager of the Grand Hotel then we will gladly add it to this site

 

In the meantime you can read more reviews for the Grand Hotel on the following website

www.tripadvisor.co.uk

 

GrandHotel Llandudno

Whilst we try to ensure that the complaint is truthful and factual we cannot accept responsibility for the complaint. If you are affected by the complaint and if you think that the complaint is inaccurate or misleading then please contact us with supporting details of your objection and we will gladly remove any erroneous part from this page.