A poll of 6,000 travellers recently revealed that Britannia Hotels to be the worst hotel chain in the UK. That will come as no surprise to Anthony Matthews, who wrote this complaint letter:-

To Britannia Hotels Ltd, 253 Hale Road,  Hale, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 8RE. UK

Dear Customer Relations,
What good fortune that I happened to stay in your hotel on Primrose Hill Road this week. Normally, I would stay in Bloomsbury but for some unknown reason, all central London hotels were full and for a while, I thought that I wasn’t going to find anywhere to stay at all. However, Lady Luck smiled on me and guided me to your revolving door. Little did I realise how fortunate I had been.

I noticed at once the remarkable interior design of the lobby, bar and restaurant areas. The seventies style really is making a comeback isn’t it? The fact that yours is actually original gives the place that touch of real authenticity. I bet that one of the Board of Directors’ wives has (or had, she may be dead by now of course) a real talent for combining ‘eclectic’ pieces of furniture and remarkable flowery wallcoverings to create spaces of stunning originality.

The lighting was also very good – and bright. I can’t be doing with all this low level atmospheric lighting you see so much of nowadays. No point in having a great interior if it’s too dark to see it and you never know when you might have to indulge in a bit of complex cardio-thoracic surgery so it’s better to be safe than sorry, I say.

It was a little unusual to be asked to pay the £140.60 room rate in advance however. Normally, a credit card authorisation would be taken and the bill settled the following morning. Could it be that your guests were less inclined to pay their bill after they had seen their room? That was a little worrying.

You can imagine how relieved I was therefore when, arriving at my bedroom, I found that the Director’s wife had used her considerable creative talents here too. More flowery wallpaper adorned every vertical surface (except for the bits that were peeling off) and I thought that the purple flowers were a perfect match for the dark green carpet. I couldn’t quite work out whether the assorted bodily fluid stains were part of the original design scheme or just the natural consequence of many happy visits over the years but I thought that they added a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the interior.

The peeling wallpaper theme was cleverly continued into the bathroom where cracked tiles and gaping holes in the walls provided some welcome relief to the otherwise boring flatness of the tiling. It was so good to see that your maintenance department hadn’t spoiled things by making unnecessary repairs.

The maintenance team also deserves my heartfelt thanks for disconnecting the bathroom extract system. I hate to see myself in the mirror when I’m shaving and I like it when a bathroom gets all steamy and water runs down the walls. I think that all that the black mould growing on the ceiling over the bath was a small price to pay for all that lovely humidity.


In this digital age, I really miss the steady ticking of an old fashioned alarm clock when I’m going to sleep so the incessant drum beat of the water dripping from the leaky shower head on to the bath tap below was a most welcome substitute.

Back in the bedroom, I also loved the way that the smoke detector had been decorated. The addition of the little frill of toilet paper that had been so tastefully taped around it was a stroke of genius and succeeded in transforming the otherwise banal object into a thing of beauty.

However, despite this positive treasury of sensory delights, my absolute clear favourite was getting knocked out by the ‘chandelier’. How terribly thoughtful of you to suspend the extraordinarily heavy light fitting such that the bulbous, brass extremity lay so precisely at eyebrow level. The resulting concussion was a considerable aid to a restful night’s sleep and I only needed to spend a few minutes counting the bedsprings sticking into my back before I was dreaming peacefully.


Finally, I must say that I really enjoyed the breakfast, cooked fresh on Wednesday morning. Of course, by the time I actually ate it on Friday, it was perhaps a little past its absolute best and the brown and crispy fried eggs were probably a bit ‘nouvelle cuisine’ for my unsophisticated tastes. I can say however that following the breakfast, I was passing so much wind that I could have farted the national anthem and that is usually a sign of a damn fine breakfast.

Please be good enough to let me know when you’re next putting your prices up so I can come back and experience even more of your extraordinary good value.

Yours etc,
Anthony Matthews 


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