The cost of staying in a hotel in the UK is the highest in Europe and could be damaging the British tourism industry, according to the Good Hotel Guide 2008.

Unhelpful staff, the irritating playing of ‘muzak’ and treating children as second-class citizens contribute to the problem, it said.

The guide has replaced its ‘budget’ category with a ‘value’ tag because of high prices. The average overnight stay for a couple with breakfast and dinner included is approaching the £200 mark.

It said guests cannot afford to make a mistake when it comes to choosing a hotel. Editors of the guide Adam Raphael and Desmond Balmer said: “Readers often comment on how much more expensive it is to stay in Britain than in continental Europe. This is backed by the guide’s experience.

“It is sad that we find it easier to compile a list of dog–friendly hotels than to identify places which make a point of welcoming children.”