The Travelodge rip-off

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I spent last weekend in Brighton in the pouring rain. For want of a better hotel, we booked in at the Travelodge Brighton, which doesn’t get much credit as it isn’t actually in Brighton, but outside in the rather dingy suburbs. It seemed like a good option at the time – there was parking for the car, and we could book easily online.

A twin room for two nights cost nearly £180, working out at more than £40 a person each night. That may not sound too steep for a Brighton hotel, but if you’re a good 15-minute bus ride out of the city centre, then the travel costs rack up.

We bought all-day bus passes for the weekend costing around £10, plus the cost of taxis after a night out, costing another £10 each for the weekend.

We could deal with getting the bus to and from town. The real stickler was the quality of the (wholly characterless) rooms. We expected basic, but basic meant a dirty shower curtain, holes in the wall where an ugly painting had been taken down and put back up again, and crumbs on the carpet.

The view out of the window was of dirty trolleys and tea towels from the kitchen. Oh, and we had one towel to share between two of us.

The next day, we found our toilet had started to leak water from the underside, which made the toilet floor wet and the room smell – to put it mildly - insalubrious. When we queried the reception staff; they asked if we wanted to change rooms.

At this point, we had unpacked all our stuff, and were ready to go out, so we said no. One of the staff offered us air freshener instead, and said she’d be right back. But she never returned, and the smell remained.

If our room couldn’t be or smell any worse for 40 quid a night, when I reached down to pick up an earring later on, I found a used condom and a condom wrapper under the bed. It wasn’t inconspicuous by any means: if the room had been cleaned properly, it would have been found.

To sum up – I’d paid over £80 for two nights in a dirty, badly located room that smelled of urine. And apparently I’m not the only one to have a bad experience – there are hundreds of complaints online dedicated to Travelodge.

I understand that cheap means basic, but basic should also translate into clean, safe and with good customer service. In my case it wasn’t even cheap, as there are a slate of better options in Brighton city centre for much less a night. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson from these hideous bed factories.

What do you think about the Travelodge chain? Ever had a dirty room or bad customer service in another hotel? Let us know below.


Your Comments

My wife and I paid about £90 to stay in the Travelodge at Haymarket Edinburgh during the International Festival. On arrival at around 1pm we were asked if we had arranged an early check-in and we replied no. The receptionist then said it was £10 for early check-in. We declined as all we wanted to do was dump our bags in a secure room. He said this was not possible for "Security Reasons" first time Ive ever not been able to dump bags in a hotel !.

I said to him "Welcome to Edinburgh Indeed" and as we wanted to head out for the full day and not return till late, paid the £10 for the room.

Th e room itself was drab and outdated, with an outdated bathroom in dire need of upgrading. No hairdryer for my wife either !. The fire doors on the landing banged everytime someone came in or out so all in all a rotten experience. I fed all of this back to Travelodge via their website and got no response!.

Why do people always think 'Big is Beautiful' and use these faceless organisations. When looking for accommodation I recommend always looking for the small independent operators as the people running them stand on their reputation and good service is almost guarenteed. They are easy to find in all price ranges, just do an internet search. Most are either Tourist Board or AA rated which means they have been inspected, many of the big boys don't sign up to inspections. 

We stayed with friends in a Travelodge next to a Park & Ride outside Oxford.  We had to pay for parking even tho shared with the Holiday Inn next door where parking appeared to be free.  Breakfast was expensive, takeaway style and had a shelf life of 6 months (it wouldn't have fed a decent cat). 

There was a sign in the room saying they didn't offer toiletries, biscuits etc so they could offer more cheap deals.  I have NEVER met anyone who has actually managed to get one of the cheap deals they advertise all over the place and we certainly had to pay full rate even tho we booked 3 months in advance. 

I won't go into the long running argument we had to go through to get a refund for a room not used even when cancelled over 24 hrs ahead.  Never again.

If you must use a big chain I have found Days Inn to be very reliable for quality, and they are often cheaper if you book ahead. If I can't get Days Inn I will use Premiere, but never Travelodge if I can avoid it.

I often stay at Travelodge have always enjoy it. The trick is never to pay over the odds for a room, never more than £19.00 and you can do this with ease so long as you book early in advance - say at least 3 months. I think the rooms are basic but from my experience they are clean. If you pay a budget price do not expect 4 Star accommodation or service, if you do pay over £50.00 for a room then perhaps you are better staying elsewhere (try Ibis, Premier Inn etc) as its much better value for this price. Breakfast is fine - if you can eat a lot and if you have children under 15 years of age, they eat free too.

Stayed at Reading travelodge in October. Very shabby throughout. At 5.30 in the morning water started leaking into out room (from the ceiling). Advised at reception and they went into room above to try and locate problem. They couldnt find where it was coming from so spent rest of night with water dripping through. Luckily it was next to the door and not near to bedding or wardrobe. Nobody seemed at all concerned that the ceiling would eventually fall through, or that the carpet was getting drenched. I decided to lay towels and wastepaper bin under the leak to protect the carpet (although gave up on the bin idea after it became full every 10 minutes). It got to 10.30 in the morning when we were due to check out and not one member of staff had been back to our room to check the state of the ceiling/carpets. Its a very uncared for hotel. There was the remains of a fast food meal on the stairs when we checked in on the friday tea-time and on checking out on sunday morning, it was still on the stairs. We filled in a complaint and handed it to reception on checking out regarding the leaking ceiling. I have followed this up by 2 e-mails and over a month later I have had no response.

I have been a very loyal customer of Travelodge but recently made the mistake of accidentally cancelling a booking to rebook for two people as their online search doesn't let you select number of guests. I didn't mind the fact that it cannot be refunded but the big problem I found is the complete lack of customer service. I am a business account holder, very loyal, and put up with some awful rooms, even breakfast that has "gone off".
They really seem to think that because they are "budget" people have to accept no service...
If any of my clients had to wait 10 days for a response to an enquiry I would be out of business. I think I will stick with Days Inn or Premier Inn instead of Travelodge from now on.

This is a copy of the email i sent to Travelodge after my stay @ Kings Cross Royal Scott:
To whom it may concern;

I wish to complain about the appalling standards of my stay at the Kings Cross Royal Scott Hotel. I checked in on Monday 23rd May and luckily left the following day and have never stayed in such a filth ridden room in my life! Not only that, the poor attitude of staff!

I will begin with my check in; I had all ready booked and paid but unfortunately the self service machine was not actually letting people to check in I then proceeded to join the queue which was out of the door. I would expect that if check in was from three you would have had more than one receptionist on. After waiting in line for well over ten minutes I wasn’t even greeted at the desk. - The attitude of the woman behind the counter was disgraceful! Making me feel like I was an inconvenient I wonder why she bothered at all, the only word she spoke as to ask me for my name in a very abrupt manor and then just wrote my room number on may key. That was it - no Hello - no Thank you. She didn’t even direct me to the stairs or lifts so I was doing laps of the reception trying to find the stairs! A wonderful start.

When I arrived on the second floor it looked like a bomb had hit it, Sheets sprawled all along the corridor, bin bags, empty wine glasses outside my room - a Lovely welcome. I then entered the room where I discovered a catalogue of filth some of which I thought you would enjoy in the office – others I will leave up to your imagination! So in no particular order:

· Gravy and sticky marks on the desk.

· Hairs in the cups for tea and coffee – Tasty.

· Cobwebs covering the broken extractor fan in the bathroom.

· Rather unsavoury stains on the carpet.

· Unfortunately I forgot to have my Tetanus before I checked in – I should recommend that you make this and additional extra on reception as to go with the unpleasant stains a screw as fixed into the carpet – Sharp and dangerous, it would go straight through the skin, also a 13A plug was left sprawled on the floor, again could go through the skin and is a trip hazard!

· Designer holes in the curtain – which was nice as my room backed onto another rooms window – the choice to not furnish the room with a net curtain was also very nice so others could look in at all times.

· Moulded walls in the shower – It was also nice to be greeted by someone else’s back hair left in the bath – this was not the only surprise in the bathroom.

· Lifting the lid on that toilet was like an episode of silent witness. It had remained Un-flushed from when it was last used which probably accounted for the foul smell in the room.

· There was a lovely film of dirt and filth on the mirrors; this was probably due to the broken extractor fan.

· Along with general dust and crumbs on the floor this stay was really value for money!

To be honest the whole hotel needed a good wipe down with a J cloth and bleach and a thorough running over with the J. Egdar! This wasn’t poor clean from the night before this was a build up of dirt and grime, if this is what the front of house is like i dread to think what the back of house is like and the condition of your, for this reason decided to eat out of the hotel. When I attempted to complain at the reception the queue was bigger than ever and I didn’t really want the same attitude I got when I entered (I take it the receptionist was unsuccessful at the charm school) Even when I came back from the theatre well gone eleven the queue was still out of the door. An absolute disgrace. The most enjoyable part of my stay was Checkout and I cold go back to a clean house.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say about this.

Yours truly Shaun Jones

I work for them and can assure you that Travelodge don't give a damn about their customers.

I was booked to stay at Travelodge, Caterham Whyteleaf for 2 nights in August. I travelled to Surrey - over 100 miles - and was called on my mobile just after midday to say that the hotel was closed and that I could be accommodated at Gatwick Airport. As my stay was for leisure purposes I didn't fancy being woken by jets and nocturnal slamming doors, so I said I'd rather have my money back, and drove the 100+ miles home. I was promised the money would be in my account within 3 day, but 3 weeks and several calls and emails later, I'm still waiting.

Emails to 'Customer Services' ( a misnomer if ever there was one) never receive a reply other than an automated one, the telephone of the hotel itself goes straight to voicemail, which is allegedly full.

My next plan, having looked on various forums on the net, is to write to

Grant Hearn,
Chief Executive Officer
Travelodge Customer Services
Sleepy Hollow
Aylesbury Road,

and hope he will refund my money.

Just come back from trip to the south of France by Eurostar, which meant that we had to stay in London both before and after our trip. Foolishly chose two Travelodges in the Kings Cross area. Experience can be summed up as follows:-

Travelodge Kings Cross - right next to trainline (which they can't help, I know). Opposite some sort of club which was full of drinkers until goodness knows what time. To make matters worse, we could hear what sounded like metal girders being moved at about 4 in the morning! Very small room, looked as if it had been decorated by a child. Had to assemble the second bed in the family room; looked pretty filthy and very poor quality.

Travelodge Kings Cross Royal Scot - were given a disabled room this time which was probably better than the standard rooms. Slightly better second bed, again not made up. However, the highlight of our experience was the discovery of a (used) condom dangling from one of the wall lights, right next to the bed! How could this have been missed by the cleaners? When I went down to complain to the most senior person there (who seemed to speak about 15 words of English), he seemed petrified and immediately refunded the cost of the room (which was not cheap). So far so good, but he then started telling me to delete the photo I had taken of the aforesaid condom, in a somewhat threatening manner.

These people are the absolute pits and should go out of business. However, we know that is never going to happen, given that we all need reasonably priced accommodation (not that it is reasonably priced very often, particularly in London).

I've just ended a telephone conversation with the Customer Services Manager of Travelodge and quite frankly feel that customer satisfaction is at the bottom of their list of priorities. Following an overnight stay at the Travelodge in Bury last Thursday I filed a complaint with the lodge as well as online to their customer services department. I spent a very restless night tossing and turning on a very uncomfortable mattress as well as itching from some sort of irritation. Sometime between 4.00-5.00am I eventually fell asleep but woke up at 8.10am and felt something metal pressing into my leg. I pulled the sheet off the mattress to see what was causing this and was horrified to see that the mattress was obviously very well used and was covered in urine and blood stains. There was no mattress cover on either. The bed had been prepared for my with the full knowledge that the mattress was in the state that it was. Also how many other guests had slept on the same mattress. I was disgusted and felt physically sick. I took photographs and went to reception to complain and was told that the manager would not be availble until the Sunday( my complaint was made on the Friday) I requested that a member of staff come to the room to look at the mattress which they did...To cut a longer story short I was contacted by a supervisor at the lodge the following Tuesday evening and the manager on the Wednesday. Apologies were made and a refund of £29 offered. This was rejected and the matter passed to the customer services manager who again apologised and said that staff would be spoken to but unfortunately their policy was to issue a refund for the cost of the room and that was the maximum compensation allowed. I am now taking the situation up with the public health department as there is also recent feedback on other sites about the cleanliness of the same lodge. This therefore suggests that there are obviously serious hygeine and general housekeeping problems with this lodge. I have used various travelodges over a 20 year period both for pleasure and business and have never been so appauled and disgusted! I will NEVER stop in a travelodge again! Steer clear of Bury Travelodge...Be warned! 

I am not even in my Travelodge yet, it’s already a nightmare. Wrong date booked, not sure why. 8 phone calls later, various attempts at Live Chat, an E voucher given was given as a refund. Booked another Travelodge, the E voucher did not work, I was billed the full amount.

Developed severe depression--- In May had to cancel room at Travelodge--had given plenty of notice as booking not until  August so there is plenty of time for them to re- book this room-- yet they refuse to refund . So they end up with MY money Plus the money for a new booking---- for the SAME room !! Imagine what they must be making everytime some poor soul has to cancel and they KEEP YOUR MONEY---EVEN THOUGH YOU GAVE THEM PLENTY OF NOTICE!!Why are they allowed to do this??? Surely this needs investigating??

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