‘I checked into notorious UK hotel with mould, pubes and a gut-turning stain’

If you're looking for a luxury break in Scarborough, the Grand Hotel may not be your best bet.

Despite its impressive exterior, harking back to the hotel's heyday as a Victorian plaza, the Grand has become notorious for its bad reviews and unsatisfied customers and boasts a less-than-stellar 4.7 out of 10 rating on Booking.com.

But journalist Poppy Kennedy put the hotel's reputation to the side and checked in – only to experience the "worst hotel" she had ever stayed in.

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"I really, really tried to keep an open mind about The Grand Hotel," Kennedy wrote for TeessideLive.

"But the 12 hours I spent in the dated, dingy and what appeared to be bloodstained room was without a doubt the worst hotel experience my partner and I have ever had."

Kennedy's first clue that trouble was afoot was The Grand's one-star food hygiene rating, which she spotted on the way to the check-in desks – where, she had been warned, she may have to queue.

She said: "I have to admit, I scoffed. Surely with the 4.7/10 Booking.com rating there wouldn't be guests flooding through the doors – how wrong I was."

Kennedy said she and her partner waited for about 20 minutes to check in, despite there being only four people in front of them and three receptionists behind the desk.

But, having paid and received her keys, she headed up to her room, which had been upgraded to one with a window.

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"At first look [the room] was basic. Dark carpets, white sheets, plain walls.

But when Kennedy headed to the bathroom, she discovered mould on the ceiling and a worrying stain on the wall.

"There was what looked like blood smeared into one of the walls and I gagged at the thought of the off-white shower curtain sticking to me.

"We were heading out and I needed to shower after a hike around Hayburn Wyke, north of Scarborough, so I put on a brave face," Kennedy added.

"The towels (to their credit, I guess) did appear properly cleaned although they were as rough as sandpaper.

"It was on walking back into the carpeted bedroom, barefoot, that I spotted a needle on the ground. On closer inspection, it must have been a sewing pin of some form but still not something I'd like piercing my sole."

Kennedy said she and her partner then headed out to catch up with old friends, but when they returned and were getting ready for bed they discovered "black body hair", possibly pubic hair, and a "gut-turning" stain on the bedsheets, which Kennedy said "also looked like blood".

"There were spiders in the bathroom, spilt sugar on the dressing table, and piling dust in most of the crevices of the hotel room."

Kennedy and her partner ignored the warning signs and drifted off to sleep to the sound of rainfall, but awoke in the morning to find that water had seeped into the room, which she attributed to "broken guttering".

"The floods of water hammered into a growing puddle directly under our window," she recalled.

"When I eventually got to look out in the morning, it turns out we faced a lower roof of the hotel which was littered with hot water bottles, vapes, pizza boxes and more.

"Check-out was at 10am and I don't think either of us could have got out any quicker."

Reviewers agreed that the Grand was worth a miss.

One unhappy customer wrote: "The worst hotel where we’ve ever been (without exaggeration)! If you have kids especially, stay away from this hotel!"

Not everyone had such a negative experience, however – some enjoyed their stay at the historic hotel.

One person wrote: "Loved the cleanliness and sea view. Staff were really helpful and polite," while another added: "Great price. Historic. Looks over the sea. Almost like the overlook in the Shining but not so scary. You can feel the ghosts of the Victorian back in the day. 3rd stay and breakfast is great."

The Daily Star has contacted Britannia Hotels, who owns the Grand Hotel, for comment.

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