“If you want to go on holiday to clean your room before you go in then this is the hotel for you”, said the TripAdvisor review. “Had a lovely sea view room but couldn’t see it out of the filthy windows,” it adds.
One disgruntled guest at Scarborough’s Grand Hotel. who was booked in for three nights recently, but walked out after the first, labelled it a “public disgrace”.
In a letter to The Yorkshire Post, John Kibbey, from St Helens, said countries once known for “grubby Soviet-era” hotels “would not allow this kind of dump to operate”. There had been a fight outside his room, he said, and “dried blood was smeared on two doors leading downstairs so disgusting I had to open the doors by pushing with my elbow.”
Lurid descriptions of dead birds on balconies, rats, and dirty rooms in the hotel abound. Some guests have have had a better experience, but largely seem to agree its days of grandeur have long since disappeared.
It's a far cry from its illustrious history. In the first half of the last century better-off visitors stayed at the hotel, once the largest in Europe, and which opened in July 1867.
It had a calendar-influenced layout of 12 floors - one per month - 52 chimneys and, originally, 365 bedrooms. One notable guest in 1952 was Sir Winston Churchill.
Nick Taylor, formerly the town’s “renaissance manager” and who has run local hotels, said the Grand was regarded as a “bit of an embarrassment by the hotel community”, but suggested “no amount of column inches” would change the situation.
He said: “There’s a huge volume of people making adverse comments and the management don’t appear to have done anything about it. It is such a pity for the staff who work there.”
Scarborough Borough Council has written to the Britannia Hotels Group, which bought the hotel in 2004, asking for meeting with a member of its senior team.
A spokesman said: “We’d like to understand how some of the recent reported problems are being tackled and to find out what – if any – support can be provided.”
Deputy leader of the Conservative Group Councillor Heather Phillips said the town was being “let down” by the hotel’s owners.
She said: “We pride ourselves on being a premier holiday resort and it’s the worst advert you could possibly have happening in our town. There is so much inward investment in Scarborough and it is not being matched by these people.”
Britannia Hotels Group did not respond to a request for a comment.