Is Britannia the Worst Hotel Chain In Britain?


A couple of years ago I posted about the Britannia Hotel, Nottingham, naming it the skankiest hotel in Britain. I now accept that this is not the case. That honour must fall to the Royal Albion Hotel, Brighton. Coincidentally, it’s also the home of BFS FantasyCon this year, just as the Britannia was. Oh, and did I mention it’s part of the same Britannia chain?

Not merely ugly and run-down, the hotel is actually dirty, a worn-out dump with one almost redeeming feature, a beach-view bar. At least, it would be a redeeming feature if the windows had been washed in the last fifteen years.

My room’s air-con was a jammed apart window, its brochures were stuck to the table (everything was sticky with some kind of sperm-varnish effect), the bed was presumably bought from a 1925 TB ward that many, many patients had died in, the shower was broken, and the sweet (and doubtlessly underpaid) teenaged staff were exhausted from trying to deal with complaints. It’s not their fault that the owners, Britannia, should be prevented from ever owning hostels, let alone hotels.

Here are a couple of their better rip-offs. Once you’ve found your room (no-one has time to show you) you’ll be so depressed at the grubby, smelly cubbyhole that you’ll want to upgrade at once to a seaview – there are signs everywhere telling you it’s possible. Clearly they’re used to the look of horror on visitors’ faces. But check in time is 3pm, check out time is 10am – so in the meantime you can rent the room by the hour – you know, like hookers do.

All Britannia horror stories here please!

11 comments on “Is Britannia the Worst Hotel Chain In Britain?”

  1. Yes, rooming in the dungeon too, here. Even with the overhead chandelier lit up, it feels like dusk at world’s end. You get free WiFi, and you get your money’s worth – unless you go in the lobby. TV is burping and falling dead every five minutes. And in spite of the bronze plate asking you how you like your air conditioning, it just doesn’t work. I suppose I can understand your fleeing so fast I couldn’t catch you to sign the latest B&M, this morning..

  2. Donna says:

    I have friends who used to work at the Royal Albion. To give an impression of their experiences: for a number of years they had on prominent display press photos from when the hotel had a major fire.

  3. admin says:

    Actually I’d have stayed the whole weekend but I had to get to a wedding in London, so I warned my publishers in advance I’d have to leave. If you’d like a book signed, I’ll be in Ccil Court on Tuesday evening for the full term of that event…

  4. Yeah, I know about the wedding, but you told me Friday evening that you’d be there all Saturday morning, no prob. Tuesday evening, I’ll be back in France, so getting to Cecil Court might be a tad awkward for me.

  5. Rick D says:

    I wondered what happend to Basil Fawlty after ‘The Towers’ was shut down by health inspectors…

  6. Alan Morgan says:

    I only managed to be at the BFS for something like three hours in total over the weekend. Managed to miss out on the hotel entirely, but got to stay in an enormous townhouse instead. Busy, busy weekend – we managed a wave.

  7. Steph King says:

    – Aircon not working.
    – Jacuzzi not working. (I was so excited to have one without paying extra. Wasted a giant bathtub of water finding out that no, I really didn’t)
    – Window required Conan grade muscles to open it that I didn’t possess.

    Had a blast at my first Fantasycon anyway. My liver still hates me a little bit though.

  8. Helen Martin says:

    Gee, and our FantasyCon was in Richmond (B.C.) at the Sheraton; clean, bright, helpful staff and we splurged and had lunch in Harold’s Bistro in the Hotel. Had French toast with apple-cinnamon compote, a fruit plate and orange juice. Absolutely wonderful & the husband had anomelet that he said was the best he’s had in ages. Maybe we did alright here.

  9. Steve says:

    In Oklahoma, that would be considered a five-star hotel.

    So glad we’ve moved from there.

  10. John H says:

    I haven’t had the “pleasure” of staying in a Britannia Hotel, but will make a point of avoiding them after your warning! Another thing that always irritates me was on their sign that you photographed – the nonsensical “12pm”. Any time with “12” in it cannot, by definition, be either before noon or afternoon – they are both before AND after. The only ways to write this that make sense are “12 noon”, “12 midnight”, or in the 24-hour clock.

  11. I.A.M. says:

    The FantasyCon mentioned above in Richmond was “VCon” and actually SF&F-themed. The building was build well into this Elizabethan age and caters to Businessmen who have an airport to escape through close by.

    During World Hhe Royal Albion provided this view from my room in the basement: Next time, I’ll be next door at the French-owned place that Admin stayed at during that event.

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