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'Hotel Hell' Delivers on Hell; Not So Much on Hotel

August 14, 2012 at 9:04 AM | by | Comments (2)

Heaven help us. We just finished watching the first episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hotel Hell and it did not disappoint. Well, it didn't disappoint if you're a fan of Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" but if you're interested in seeing how a hotel gets turned around, well, here's hoping tonight's episode comes through on that.

As we mentioned yesterday, the first episode takes place at the Juniper Hill Inn in Vermont, a snobby sort of B&B that has some serious cash flow issues. The owners--Robert and Ari--have poured about a million dollars of their own money into the place and have got nothing in return. Additionally, the inn costs about $30,000 a month to operate yet they only make $15,000 a month, making it extremely hard to pay their own bills and most importantly, their long-suffering employees.

Yet there's no sympathy to be had for Robert or Ari. These two have clearly flung themselves into a financial hole that they will never be able to get out of--unless they listen to Ramsay.

Robert is practically a hoarder as evidenced by all his hiding spots and storage lockers full of antiques and general crap. (Seriously, we're concerned some cats might be lost in that upstairs office. Please advise and let us know they are ok.) Robert also has issues communicating with his staff, particularly the chef Giulian. Both Robert and Ari view the B&B as more of a place to entertain their friends, rather than a business with employees who depend on getting a reasonable paycheck every two weeks. Over and over throughout the episode, the issues of getting paid and being underpaid constantly come up.

The episode has moments of unintentional comedy--Gordon getting hit on by Barbara, a server/"underpaid cougar"; Robert bragging about the RV he and Ari live in that's parked next to the inn; Robert clarifying that it's not an RV but a high-end motor coach; the rescue pot-bellied pigs that live at the inn--but the owners' incompetence and their unwillingness to take responsibility is absolutely frightening, especially when Ari snaps at Giulian in a dictator fashion and says, "Excuse me. I am the boss here." We're not sure how Ramsay can ever turn this place around.

Other than putting Ramsay in a room that had not been occupied in four months and smells like sewage (and which costs $350 a night for a two-night minimum), we don't see too much of the hotel operations in this episode. It's pretty much an episode of "Kitchen Nightmares", detailing all of the problems with the dinner service and honing in on Chef Giulian's personal nightmare working under Robert. Yet we did feel a sense of satisfaction when Ramsay stood up for the staff and called Robert a bunch of expletives.

And that's where the episode ended, to be continued later tonight. Again, we hope the second episode focuses more on how the hotel can attract more guests--not just diners. Otherwise, the Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible, while less dramatic and with far fewer f-bombs, has the edge as far as Hotel Fixer shows are concerned.

What did you think of Hotel Hell? For f-ck's sake, sound off in comments below!

[Photo: Hotel Hell/Fox]

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David Livesley

Bering a fellow local innkeeper and knowing the Juniper Hill from afar, we are amazed that the TV episodes were so revealing, as it takes guts to allow your personal weaknesses to be revealed to one and all.

We have recently eaten there again and the whole dining experience was much improved, but they certainly have a long slope to climb and we wish them luck!


1-800-JUNK

I saw the 2nd episode. The office, basement, storage containers were filled with junk. I wouldn't stay there on a bet. That office alone was filled to the ceiling with paper, boxes & who knows what else. That clutter would attract rats big time. These guys have serious mental health issues.

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