The 50-bedroom Crown Manor House hotel in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, has received fines totalling more than £20,000 after pleading guilty to a series of food hygiene offences.
The privately owned hotel closed its kitchen twice in a month after hygiene inspectors from New Forest District Council visited the property in October 2013 and found evidence of rat infestation, reported the Daily Mail.
As well as fresh rat droppings, the inspectors discovered gnawed eggshells and paper towels. The hotel received a food hygiene rating of zero.
The hotel pleaded guilty at Southampton Magistrated Court to five offences under the Food Hygiene Regulations. It was fined £16,670 and ordered to pay £4,326 in costs.
A spokesperson for New Forest District Council said that inspectors found that food was not protected against potential contamination. The hotel then closed the kitchen for seven days. On a follow-up visit, the inspectors found rat droppings again and the hotel agreed to close the kitchen for a second time.
A hotel spokesperson said that the rats had come from a derelict building next door, which has since been restored. A new £15,000 kitchen has also recently been installed.
"The new kitchen is fantastic and our food hygiene standards are very robust, especially as the former problem next door no longer exists," he said.
The Crown Manor hotel has since received a food hygiene rating of four.