Original article from Kent Live
A Norwich family have spoken out following a ‘nightmare’ holiday at The Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone.
Daniel Brown, his wife and two children booked a stay at the one-star hotel on The Harbour between May 29 and June 4.
The 36-year-old, who used to live in Folkestone, claims his family encountered a number of problems during their trip, including rude staff, nails on their bedroom floor, obstructed fire exits and no COVID-19 regulations.
He told KentLive: “The whole experience was just nuts – I’ve worked in hospitality, I’ve worked in pubs and run hotels, but this was just a shambles.
“They’re putting people’s lives at risk – whether it be from fire, COVID-19 or other health and safety issues.”
Daniel and his family arrived at The Grand Burstin on May 29 and said they waited more than an hour to check in after struggling to find a space in an over-crowded car park.
He said the door to the room they booked had no handle and that they had to stick their fingers inside to pull it open, which resulted in Daniel getting a splinter.
It wasn't long before the family discovered the room only had one bed and one mug between four of them. He claims they were also missing a kettle, bin, shower curtain, pillow, quilt and TV remote.
Daniel told KentLive staff had insisted there was a camp-bed in the room for his children and told him the hotel had run out of pillows and quilts.
The floor of their room in The Grand Burstin, Daniel claimed, was littered with screws, nails and flakes of paint, the corridors were full of rubbish, chairs were stacked in front of fire exits and the emergency lights were covered with bin bags.
He also said he saw no evidence of COVID-19 regulations being adhered to during their stay.
He alleged that customers weren’t wearing masks, there was no regular sanitation of equipment, no social distancing, and no rule of six in place – with parties of more than 20 people gathered together.
“The security guard might as well have been a mannequin, he wasn’t doing anything," Daniel said.
The family ate in the hotel restaurant, where Daniel said their orders were consistently wrong, the food had a hair in it and the meals were served on wet plates.
He added: “You had to feel for the staff though – there was only four of them trying to cater for the best part of 70 to 80 people.
“They were visibly very stressed.”
Daniel said an employee told him the hotel was running on just 50 per cent of its staff, with the other half apparently still on furlough.
On their penultimate night, they were kept up until 5.30am by another family in the neighbouring room whose four children were running up and down the corridor.
Daniel approached them to ask them to keep the noise down and was met with hostility and they started banging on the bedroom walls.
He was unable to phone reception to complain as there was no phone in the room, no contact details and no Wi-Fi to find a phone number, and he did not feel secure walking past the family next-door.
Daniel made repeated attempts to contact The Grand Burstin during and after his stay.
He was eventually offered a refund for a night the family did not stay and a reduced price for a return visit, but he is not satisfied with this outcome.
He said: “I don’t really care about the money, the money isn’t the problem, the problem is that nobody’s acknowledged these problems at the hotel.
“It’s about the standards.”
After leaving Folkestone, Daniel got in contact with the Folkestone & Hythe District Council Environmental Health team, Trading Standards and the fire service to complain about the issues at the hotel.
Daniel likened the hotel to John Cleese’s comedy Fawlty Towers, adding: “It was just an absolute nightmare – I’ve never known anything like it.”
Britannia Hotels, which runs the Burstin, and Folkestone & Hythe Environmental Health have been approached for comment.
Last year Britannia was ranked the UK's worst hotel chain for the eighth consecutive year.
When Which? visited the the Grand Burstin, as part of a separate investigation into hotel hygiene, it found stray hairs and stained towels.
At the time the chain said in a statement: "We are totally committed to providing a safe environment for visitors. We have so far spent around £2 million on COVID-19 precautions, but we accept there is more to do."