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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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