Britannia International Hotel
Average rate: $75 - Hotel class: 4 stars
163 marsh wall, London, United Kingdom
Britannia International Hotel London Reviews
Nice hotel- but it should have been great Mar 10, 2011
The Britannia International on Marsh Wall is perfectly adequate, bordering on nice. My main criticism of it is that with very little extra thought on their part, it could be great. Please bear in mind I was here on business rather than for fun, and as it’s a business hotel, I’m being fussier than I would be normally.
Location – the Britannia is in the heart of the Docklands, a vast, soul-less business district to the east of London’s centre. It lies within the shadow of the Canary Wharf towers, so theoretically, should be easy by public transport. It is half an hour from tourist-London by the Docklands Light Railway, making it more of a business hotel than a place for tourists, although it was full of French people when I was there.
The problem is that the Docklands was one of the last areas built before making things easy for pedestrians became fashionable, and is confusingly signposted. The way googlemaps took me involved either carrying my suitcase down a flight of stairs or walking down a slip road and across a major roundabout. Now, this isn’t the hotel’s fault. What IS the hotel’s fault is that the receptionist couldn’t tell me the easiest way to the station. I got a shrug and “it depends where you want to go” before she turned away from me. In a hotel that expensive, would it kill them to print a pedestrian map to the nearest two or three DLR stations?
Rooms – by London standards, these rooms are huge. There are big windows, the bathrooms have baths, and the rooms were perfectly clean. So I’d recommend them, as it happens.
But again – thoughtless poor details. The art was dreadful – wishy washy soft focus prints of ladies from Ye Olde Days with their corsets undone. Horribly old fashioned, and not a little sexist, whilst simultaneously being as arousing as porridge. Given that the hotel can’t be older than the 1980s, they’ve deliberately chosen old fashioned crap sexist art. Would it kill them to think “oh, some travellers are women!” and have pictures that are less awful?
Breakfast – breakfast was excellent and I can’t fault it. Lots of it and nice staff, and it all seemed fresh.
I did feel sorry for the French travellers, because none of the staff spoke even basic French. Now, I know you can’t expect that your language is spoken everywhere, but if you call yourself “Britannia International” perhaps some of your breakfast staff could learn the French/ German for tea, coffee, sugar and thank you?
Gym – they charge £2.50 for the gym for guests at the hotel and £10 for anyone else. This is a business hotel – peak gym hours will be 7am-9am and again at about 8pm. And they charge for it. I had to wait ten minutes to pay because the girl was nowhere to be seen, and there was no bell to get her attention. The spa bath hadn’t been filled yet, 2 out of 5 treadmills weren’t working, the other one wouldn’t change speeds properly, and although two members of staff had been in the ladies changing rooms no-one had replaced the bags you put your wet clothes in. The steam room was cold. Now, I know I’m being picky. But if you know your peak hours will be before work (I was there 8am) and you’re charging anything for admission, in a hotel with night staff, why not train the night staff to turn on the steam room and fill the spa? Why not put a bell on your counter and ask your staff to do things like change the bags in the changing room?
All in all, this hotel was fine, bordering on nice. Big rooms, nice breakfast, reasonable value. It’s just that with a few tiny changes that would be almost free, it could have been great, and I’m disappointed that they weren’t the hotel they clearly could have been.
Part of the 2011 - UK Hometowns travel blog
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Britannia International Hotel Amenities