‘Hard to remember a worse hotel in the UK’ – jazz musicians file complaint after MJB hotel stay

MJB Group Beeches Hotels. The Beeches Hotels, 2-6 Earlham Road, near to St John's Cathedral. Picture

MJB Group Beeches Hotels. The Beeches Hotels, 2-6 Earlham Road, near to St John's Cathedral. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Musicians staying at an MJB hotel in Norwich as a last resort have said they 'find it hard to remember a worse hotel in the UK'.

Tony Burlingham who runs the MJB Hotels. Photo: EDP library

Tony Burlingham who runs the MJB Hotels. Photo: EDP library - Credit: Archant � 2007

Eight rooms were booked over the weekend of May 27 and 28 at a cost of £377 as musicians from across the country came to Norwich for the second Louis Armstrong Jazz 'n' Swing Festival.

Having scoured the city for accommodation on their budget, the group settled on The Beeches MJB hotel on Earlham Road.

But after seeing the 'filthy' conditions, some refused to stay and a complaint has been submitted to environmental health and Trading Standards.

Festival organiser John Petters said when looking for accommodation 'there was nothing available for anything like a reasonable price'.

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'I didn't pay much attention to what was on the reviews because I was under pressure for time,' he admitted. 'I have had experience where reviews have been inaccurate, and some of them looked alright.

'Some of the musicians just refused to stay there. I managed to get some into the Holiday Inn because of some cancellations but we had to try to find alternative rooms for some of the others.

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'You should expect at least minimum standards are in place. This didn't seem to comply with any of them. People had no choice because there was nowhere else for them to go.'

One of the musicians, Jonathan Graham, has submitted a formal complaint to Norwich City Council.

'As musicians, we routinely use cheaper hotels and B&Bs for overnight accommodation and have all stayed in such places regularly throughout the UK,' he said. 'As a collective group - which includes veteran musicians with over 50 years in the business - we find it hard to remember a worse hotel than this in the UK.

'The Beeches Hotel externally looks passable as a hotel but internally it is filthy, is in a state of disrepair and likely to be a danger to the public. The defective lighting in some of the corridors is a particular risk to evacuating this building in the event of a fire at night.'

He added the hotel had 'indescribably low standards.'

Owner of the MJB hotel chain, Tony Burlingham, declined to comment.

Research hotels before booking

Christopher Gooding, environmental health manager at Norwich City Council, said in a response to Mr Graham they had passed his complaint on to Trading Standards.

'The city council has investigated previous complaints regarding this hotel group and taken appropriate enforcement action to ensure compliance with current legislation where applicable,' he said.

'Unfortunately there is no particular legal guidance for district local authorities to follow with regards to the particular concerns you have raised in respect of the above property.

'This aside I can assure you that we are continuing to work with the hotel management to improve standards.'

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: 'We would urge people to do some research and take note of reviews before booking accommodation.'

They add complaints can be reported to Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 where information may be passed to Trading Standards.

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