A Grand Hotel guest also complained about the fighting, vomiting of noise of other guests.
A family say they were given no explanation or guidance as they were forced to evacuate a “dirty” Blackpool hotel in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
Sarah Walker and family, along with “hundreds” of other guests, reportedly left the Grand Hotel onto the cold seafront at around 5.25am when a fire alarm rang throughout the building.
Sarah, who described the experience as “awful and unsafe”, said she was separated from her sister during the mayhem that followed as staff reportedly failed to offer any guidance on where to evacuate or what was happening.
Eventually, guests began to return to the Britannia-owned hotel around 20 minutes later as their alarm continued intermittently.
Sarah had travelled to Blackpool for the New Year’s celebrations with her partner, sister and six-year-old nephew and had already been left unimpressed by alleged dirtiness in their £137 a night rooms and the ‘fighting, vomiting and noise’ of other guests.
She told LancsLive: “After very little sleep due to drunken people and arguments on our floor, at 5am we were woken to the sound of the fire alarm. We evacuated the hotel along with everyone else. There was not one staff member to sight, no instruction, no guidance and older people struggling down the stairs.
“We made it outside again not to receive any instruction or guidance. There were people using all kinds of exits possible to get outside. No fire wardens at all.
“We all waited outside and again not one staff member was in sight. After 20, 25 minutes everyone proceeded back into the hotel with the alarm still going off. No one knew what to do. The lifts were all still in use so [there were] huge queues for the lifts and no one to advise whether these should or should not be in use.”
Sarah said no staff were present throughout the “chaotic” ordeal and questioned what fire procedures were in place and how they were followed during the incident.
Hours later, Sarah was told by a hotel employee that the incident was caused by “drunken men running round setting the alarms off”.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service explained that the alarm was triggered automatically, which means firefighters will seek confirmation as to whether there is a genuine emergency or a fault before attending.
That alarm was triggered at 5.23am, shortly after the same thing happened at the Hilton Hotel.
When the fire service called the Hilton to check whether there was a fire, they were told they were not needed but when they tried to contact the Grand, no-one responded and it was decided they did not need to attend.
Around half an hour later, staff from the Hilton again called the fire service to explain the alarm could not be reset.
While it appears likely the same issue affected the Grand Hotel, Britannia did not respond to LancsLive’s request for comment.
Sarah had already been left with a bad first impression of the hotel after arriving to find “stained, dirty carpet, which had clearly not been hoovered as evidenced by excessive hairs”. She said her nephew knelt on the floor and found his new trousers were now covered in hairs and dirt.
She said that the bath was also stained and had red splatter marks and a lamp had rust which transferred when touched.
The experience was made worse during a visit to the hotel bar as they returned to see the new year in.
She explained: “We found somewhere to sit near the bar. The room was ridiculously hot. We spoke to one of the female bar staff, a young lady, who confirmed the air conditioning was broken”
They then asked whether any fans were available but were reportedly told the hotel didn’t have any.
Sarah claimed that other visitors were visibly sweating, while the bar worker agreed the heat was ridiculous. At around 10.30pm, they decided it was “unbearable” and decided to return to their rooms, at which point they saw air conditioning units being brought out.
The experience was only to get worse even before the evacuation.
“Between the hours of 12am and 4am none of us in either room could sleep due to the noise. We of course expected some noise due to New Year’s Eve but not to this level.
“There were people being sick, arguments, fights, shouting, loud sexual noises, we could hear a group of men discussing whether to call an ambulance for their friend and telling him to lie on his side.”
“The room walls are very thin. My sister and I have text messages that we were sending to one another throughout the night from our rooms describing what we could hear.”
After heading downstairs for a breakfast which reportedly involved dirty cutlery and a lipstick-stained glass, their departure was symbolically marked by Sarah’s nephew accidentally ‘walking through broken glass’ in the exit.
Unhappy at the experience, she complained to the hotel and asked for a full refund but was reportedly told that the maximum amount that the shift leader could authorise was 10%. When she followed up with an email after returning home, a manager apologised for her “experience” but insisted all procedures were correctly followed and said no further refund would be given.
LancsLive contacted Britannia for comment but did not receive a response.