Revealed: the worst hotel chain in the UK

A new Which? survey claims the worst hotel chain breakfast is served up by Travelodge - which Which? says also achieved rotten scores for customer service.

In contrast Marriott, Warner Leisure and Puma Hotels' Collection all serve up a terrific breakfast while Hampton by Hilton was judged best value UK hotel chain. How reliable is the Which? information?%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

Cold Comfort Inn

It looks solid enough with a 6,280 sample size, of which 1,384 responded directly about Travelodge. Hotel names that come out well include Premier Inn (top marks for cleanliness and customer service, with 641 responding) and the Sofitel chain (though Sofitel is pricey, along with Warner Leisure).

In contrast, Britannia Hotels - it scored lowest for cleanliness - and Comfort Inn joined Travelodge at the bottom of the pile. Travelodge scored an overall 46% satisfaction rating but Britannia sank even lower (42% rating) while it's cold comfort for the 20-strong chain Comfort Inn which scored a miserable 41% overall rating from the Which? survey, which took place over the summer.
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For Location, Warner, Q Hotels and Sofitel all scored highly while DoubleTree by Hilton (just 20 hotels) was judged to have the best decor. "Only hotel chains and star rating categories that received at least 30 responses are included in this report," says Which? "Where a chain doesn't have a hotel in central London we chose the nearest, which in some cases was up to 50 miles away."

Rotten eggs?

Meanwhile Which? estimates 13 million people endured a stay in a Travelodge last year. "Its poor customer score of 46% is matched by meagre one-star ratings for the décor and quality of breakfast. The company will be less ubiquitous after it agreed to offload 49 hotels under a financial restructuring deal in August 2012."

Travelodge will also start major refurbishments to 175 hotels from early 2013. Highest achieving Warner Leisure Hotels, in contrast, saw an overall 79% rating. "We like them because they are child-free and luxurious," one Which? respondent said. "We have high expectations and so far they have met these every time."

What is your experience? Is the Travelodge breakfast buffet really that bad? Let us know in the comments.

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Revealed: the worst hotel chain in the UK

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.

The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.

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