A couple who left a "hellhole" of a hotel after just 45 minutes have warned it gives visitors a terrible impression of Norwich as the crucial tourist season approaches.

Resa and Peter Saunders, 54 and 58, booked into the Cathedral Hotel at 2-6 Earlham Road on June 19. The building they stayed in is known as The Governor’s Lodge.

The Cathedral Hotel is made up of two buildings: the Beeches Lodge (pictured in the hotel's Booking.com advert) which is closed for renovation and Governor's Lodge, pictured above- Credit: Archant

Mrs Saunders, who lives near Luton and was visiting her son at UEA, said: "We paid £66 for that hellhole.

"It was disgusting, and an insult to the city at a time when places are really relying on visitors to bounce back from the pandemic.

"It's the top search on Booking.com. Fair enough we should have done our research, and it was a desperate last minute decision, but I could never have imagined it being that bad."

The hotel features on Booking.com's "top picks" and is at the top of the search page- Credit: Booking.com

Hotel manager Richard Brooker, based in Dudley, said the couple's assessment was "incorrect".

Taking over the hotel three weeks ago after new owners bought the business, he said £70 was a fair price at market value for a "decent product".

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"Our hotel was full that night. What you see online is what you get", he said.

Mr Brooker said things "often go amiss in hotels", and managers are happy to investigate and offer a room move — but that on this occasion the couple wanted a full refund and claimed they became "abusive" when they were only offered 50 pc.

'An insult to the city': Couple ditch 'hellhole' hotel after 45 minutes

Resa and Peter Saunders, who said the hotel gave a "terrible impression" of the city at a time when it needed tourists more than ever- Credit: Resa and Peter Saunders

The couple denied this, and said they had a "pleasant conversation" with the deputy manager on site who apologised on behalf of his boss.

"We knew straight away everything was off", Mrs Saunders explained. "The front door was just wide open at 10.30pm. I felt any Tom, Dick or Harry could have walked in."

Mrs Saunders said the door was "wide open" at 10.30pm and they didn't feel safe staying there- Credit: Resa Saunders

Mould and rot on the windows in the Saunders' room- Credit: Resa Saunders

She said the floor was "manky and threadbare", there was a "burst water pipe smell "and the windows were "rotting and covered in mould".

Their bathroom door and toilet seat were hanging off the hinges and there were stains on the bed.

The "manky carpet" in the hotel corridors- Credit: Resa Saunders

The "manky carpet" at the hotel- Credit: Resa Saunders

The couple checked in at 4pm on the Saturday, dumped their bags and rushed out to meet their son.

When they returned at 10.30pm they decided there "was no way they were sleeping there", and spent 45 minutes frantically securing another booking at a Travelodge for £60.

Ms Saunders said: "I'd hate for people to come to Norwich and think this hotel represents the city in any way."

Dirt behind the broken toilet seat- Credit: Resa Saunders

The broken toilet seat at the hotel- Credit: Resa Saunders

Marks on the walls on the staircase- Credit: Resa Saunders

Stains on the carpet- Credit: Resa Saunders