Upon feasting your eyes on the Grand Hotel in Scarborough, all of its Victorian glamour continues to shine through. But what lurks inside tells a whole other story.
Sitting beachside on Scarborough’s South Bay, it’s hard to believe that such an architectural delight could possibly leave so much to be desired – but according to those who have stayed the night, the curtains don’t exactly match the drapes.
Garnering an avalanche of negative reviews on Tripadvisor, the hotel has been dubbed “Fawlty Towers meets American Horror Story”, with many reviews criticising the hotel’s outdated decor and a general feeling of ‘neglect’ for the place.
Purpose-built all the way back in the 1860’s, the Grade II listed building was once the star of the show on the Yorkshire coast – claiming the title of the largest hotel in Scarborough when it first opened in 1867. Designed by Yorkshire architect Cuthbert Brodrick and built with bricks especially crafted in Hunmanby, the hotel became a hotspot for the wealthy holidaying in Scarborough – and rightly so, given that its existence alone is a fantastic piece of architectural Yorkshire history.
So, where did it all go wrong? World War II.
Reportedly bombed 30 times by the German Navy, the hotel was severely damaged during the war, resulting in what once was the jewel in the East Coast’s crown becoming an RAF and SAS base for trainees. Following that was its doomed fate as a budget hotel, with Butlin’s first taking over the huge seafront accommodation, before selling to current owners Britannia in 2004.
Today, while the hotel does boast a pretty grand staircase with huge arches and Victorian carpets reminiscent of its former glory, the 400+ bedrooms feature basic decor and outdated facilities – including mismatched furniture not suited to the hotel’s regal exterior, ‘small’ TVs and a general ‘cold’ feeling to the accommodation.
The majority of Tripadvisor reviews have rated the hotel as ‘terrible’, with hotel representatives tirelessly denying customer allegations via the comments, however, a percentage of guests have sung the hotel’s praises, applauding the sea views of the hotel, the central location and the friendliness of staff during their stay.
The Britannia group, which owns many hotels across the country including The Grand, was recently voted Britain’s worst hotel chain by Which? for the eighth year in a row.