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First Look at the Season Premiere of 'Hotel Impossible'

February 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (4)

We know, we know. We told you that the season premiere of Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible wouldn't be airing until April 9—and that's still correct. But lucky us, we just so happened to have gotten our mitts on an advanced media screener, and you can bet we popped it right into our DVD player when we got home.

The first episode follows around hotel "fixer" Anthony Melchiorri as he dramatically tears apart, then (to some extent) puts back together a struggling family-owned hotel out on Long Island. It's a daunting, sometimes funny, and sometimes painfully slow process. Unlike, say, restaurants, which are the focus of The Food Network's similarly-titled Restaurant: Impossible, there's a lot more going on in hotels. Cooking, cleaning, Front Desk, valet, room service, spa, concierge—hotels are like a bunch of tiny businesses all crammed into one big multifaceted business.

Which is why, we realized, the idea of making a one hour show about rehabilitating an entire struggling hotel is slightly ridiculous. Given the time constraints, how exactly is any substantial change supposed to be made?

Oh, we get it. That's the "impossible" part, that's what's supposed to be entertaining. Which it is, at some points. But at others, when Melchiorri is just running around the hotel yelling at people, the whole thing just feels a little, well, impossible.

Of course, Mr. Hotel Fixer isn't about to get run of the whole hotel-fixing playing field. Lest we forget, a certain Mr. Gordon Ramsay is also planning his own hotel boot camp show, also scheduled to debut this spring.

And whereas Ramsay has made a name for himself as a tough love, no bullsh*t motivating figure in the hospitality world, Melchiorri in many ways still has to prove himself to viewers.

As we said, Melchiorri's severe attitude can sometimes come off as a little forced. The upside to this is seeing just how exasperated everyone gets after talking to him. It happens so often, it becomes a kind of joke. In fact, if you made up a drinking game where you took a shot every time someone on the show rolls their eyes at Melchiorri, you'd end up hammered. Guaranteed.

Here were a few of our favorite scenes, mostly involving Melchiorri having a tete-a-tete with different employees of the hotel:

·A seemingly stoned bellman who didn't seem to recognize the important of actually greeting guests.

· A contractor who tried to weasel his way out of a project by simply declaring, "I don't care."

· A housekeeper who received a lesson in remote control-cleaning from Melchiorri

· An owner showing obvious attachment to some vintage telephone booths in the lobby, to whom Melchiorri suggests rather cruelly, "How about I rip them out?"

Not to imply that hotel rehab should be a smooth process. But we wish we'd heard a little more from the hotel owners and employees themselves rather than just Melchiorri.

In the end, however, we do see some positive changes come about at the hotel. The lobby is renovated (in just three nights!), the head of the family agrees to delegate some power to another member of the family, and the waiters at the restaurant start to actually seem interested in their jobs. In short, the specific issues that Melchiorri focused on all got resolved.

We're excited to follow as Melchiorri stops in at Florida, California, Texas and Vermont. With so many hotels that need fixing in so many different places, we might even learn a thing or two about the industry. If not, though, we can certainly laugh along while the industry learns some ugly truths about itself.

[Photo: Travel Channel]

Comments (4)

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Suggestions?

Is Melchiorri taking suggestions of properties that need some fixing up???

Fast 'Growth'?

Most likely, what these hotels need is growth and building on basic solid structure.  Just as if you 'built' a house in one day, it wouldn't be very solid.  Growth is building and building takes time - more than 24 hours for sure.  Unless that is how long you want it to last!

These are definitely long-term projects

Yeah, Melchiorri tries to make some basic structural changes, which would be significantly more long-lasting than, say, a menu update or a new coat of paint on the walls. At the end of the episode, they give you an update on how the hotel's come along since the time of filming.

I almost think each episode should contain a few hotels. Then in another episode, several months or a year later, Melchiorri would go back and check on their progress.

But then again, I'm not a TV producer.


Interesting...

Good to hear more news on this show and would like you to stay on top of this as well as "Hotel Hell" and the other series coming up - in all, I believe there will be up to 6 hotel related reality shows airing at the same time this year, since we've been approached by 6 different production companies in the past few months.  

I really hope that they start taking the "Last Restaurant Standing" approach where Raymond Blanc acted in a manner that was more of a mentor, a teacher, a challenger, a trainer, and just a really passionate supporter of people's dreams.  While restaurants need a Gordon Ramsey type because they have to be run in a militaristic manner, hotels are an entirely different ball of wax, which need to be run with great passion and meticulous attention to details and great personal care and kindness towards your guests and employees.

I'm excited to watch the development of this show, and others like it.  I just hope that I don't end up watching a show that makes me feel embarrassed for people, there's nothing worse than that to turn me off from a show.

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