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The first episode of the new season aired last week (on Fox at 9pm EST) and saw the drastic renovation of the worn down Meson de Mesillia in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where the owner, Cali, was forcing her lounge singer aspirations on the hotel guests and staff.
Thanks to new furniture and decorating from show sponsor, Overstock.com, Ramsay helped make some significant improvements to the property, introducing a fresh breakfast buffet and a modern pool scene. He also gave the owner a no-nonsense smack down about her singing, even putting her microphone on ice, literally, in the freezer.
The owner was grateful for Ramsay's intervention...eventually.
Gordon Ramsay is once again going into run-down and mismanaged hotels across America and berating owners for their piss-poor management skills. The second season of Hotel Hell is set to air on Fox on July 21 at 9pm.
We covered Ramsay's last adventures episode-by-episode here at HotelChatter back in late 2012 and it was full of drama--some of it real and most of it producer-created. Since Ramsay worked with small, independently-owned and run properties, there were quite a bit of problems to deal with from old, dirty rooms to poor F&B options and dismal service.
But Ramsay essentially copied his M.O. from his other TV show, "Kitchen Nightmares"--which is to go nuclear on nearly everything he finds wrong--and took the owners and managers to task for their mistakes. However, he did occasionally find a struggling worker who really wanted the hotel to succeed and did what he could to lift them up (either financially or spiritually. Well, as much as Ramsay can be spiritual.)
Calling all desperate hotel owners! After an abbreviated, yet successful first season, Gordon Ramsay's fixer-upper hotel reality show, Hotel Hell, is returning to Fox for a second season. And casting is starting now.
Interested in having your hotel--and your pride--put up on the chopping block for Gordon to butcher and bludgeon before plating it in a modern boutique hotel arrangement? The show is looking for the same kind of folks as last time:
Are you a HOTEL, MOTEL OR B&B OWNER desperate to get your struggling business back on track? Are you finding it tough to attract customers? Are your management and/or marketing skills outdated? Are you desperate for help from industry experts? Executive Producer GORDON RAMSAY is bringing a brand new TV show to FOX that aims to HELP turn around the fortunes of dedicated and determined hospitality industry owners. Call or Email for information: (310) 313-9100. HotelHell@TheConlinCompany.com
Not quite sure you're up for a reality show? We hear that Gordon's work actually had a positive impact on business at a few of the hotels featured in Season one. We're actually working on getting some numbers together now. Alas, Gordon couldn't save them all.
There's no air date for season two yet but we would guess in about a year. If you're jonesing for a reality-TV hotel show fix now, Hotel Impossible with Anthony Melchiorri is currently airing its second season the Travel Channel.
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So, by now we all know the deal with the Keating Hotel, right? San Diego's "all flash no cash" hotel whose owner was genuinely more interested in things like Bang & Olufsen flat screens and espresso makers than actual comfortable rooms.
Well, that all changed with Gordon Ramsay's highly-publicized visit back in December to shoot a recently-aired episode of Hotel Hell. Since then, the menu has been simplified, the GM is no longer doing laundry (hooray, Sandra!), and, most importantly, the room service has been tightened up.
But there's one other thing. Remember back when we heard about Gordon designing one of the suites at the Keating? Well, the 2-room Victory Suite is now available for booking—at a staggering $1,099/night. So is it worth the cash?
Hotel Hell's two-hour season finale aired last night (don't worry! FOX has already picked up the series for a second season), and just as we've seen before, Gordon is faced with a few fumbling idiot hotel owners who don't know the first thing about running a hotel. It's enough to make us, nitpicking hotel geeks that we are, want to crawl into a hole and not come out until the train wreck is out of sight.
But in the interest of quality TV, we get to sit and watch as Ramsay and his team dissect with excruciating persistence each and every flaw that owners have either overlooked, let slide, or, in certain cases, been too busy dressing up like Sherlock Holmes to notice anything was wrong in the first place.
During last night's double episode, Gordon shows up at two separate places: first, the River Rock Inn in Milford, PA, where the first thing Gordon notices upon entering is a cockroach welcoming committee in the bathroom. Yuck. The second stop is The Roosevelt Inn in Coeur D'Alene, ID, an old schoolhouse that's been taken over by a Sherlock Holmes impersonator and his miserable wife. But it turns out what they need isn't just a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture—by the end of the episode, we get to see Gordon playing the part of marriage counselor. And, from the looks of it, succeeding! We're left wondering, Is there anything he can't do?
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Finally, months after learning that The Keating Hotel in San Diego has been selected to appear on Gordon Ramsay's hotel improvement show, Hotel Hell, we get to see at last what was so wrong with the hotel. And it can be summed up in one word--Eddie.
That would be Eddie Kaen (seen below with Gordon), the owner of the hotel who bought the building back in 2000 for $6 million. Eddie never owned or worked in a hotel before but he decided his hotel should be the hotel version of a Ferrari. That meant lots of blood red decor with rooms and furniture designed by Italian car designers.
When the hotel first opened in early 2007, we wrote then that the rooms promised "lux linens, an espresso machine, a giant plasma TV with DVD player and free wired and wireless internet." Not so shortly after, the reviews came in from travel publications and guests alike and they weren't good, essentially saying that the Keating favored design over substance and in many cases, a good night's sleep.
Fast forward five more years and nothing's changed. Guests continue to complain about the "style over substance" mentality and now even the staff is piling on. That is, when they aren't under piles of laundry. Yup, everyone at the Keating has to do laundry from the general manager to the concierges.
Gordon can't get here soon enough.
While Juniper Hill Inn, the first hotel featured on Gordon Ramsay's Hotel Hell was poorly managed, a bit of an eyesore in some parts and bleeding money, it now looks like a comfy country inn compared to the historic Cambridge Hotel in upstate New York.
The 16-room hotel was bought in 2007 by ex-military man John Imhof and his wife Tina who had no prior experience with running a hotel. Yet while they are only a few years into ownership, the hotel looks like it hasn't been decorated since, well, ever. It's just got a hodgepodge of stuff lying about, most of it creepy items and as Gordon says, "The place is littered with freaky pictures."
Inside the rooms is even worse with garish floral wallpaper, mismatched floral linens with holes in them and a scary doll collection. These go for about $105 during the week, $145 on the weekend. Guests complain of dirty towels with hair on them, uncomfortable beds and broken locks. Downstairs the restaurant is serving meat boiled in bags and apple pie that's been microwaved. This coming from a hotel that boasts about being the birthplace of pie a la mode on the hotel sign!
Topping it all off is the ghost of a four-year old girl Alice who died at the hotel in 1913. Eeee!
Can Gordon really save this place? Well, we kind of ruined the surprise last week when we found out that the hotel actually closed in June but now we're going to find out why the place didn't make it.
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Ramsay and The Keating's owner Edward Kaen look very happy indeed.
The hotel, which recently underwent an operational makeover from master chef turned hospitality consultant Gordon Ramsay, is now accepting dinner reservations in its newly redone MerK Bistro for a special live screening on August 27 of the episode that features the hotel. There will even be a special tasting menu on offer!
Word is the episode will focus on defining the hotel's design aesthetic and streamlining the "synergy between the hotel and its restaurant." Ramsay obviously puts his spin on the restaurant menu, adding a small selection of farm-to-table options.
When Hotel Hell left off on Monday night with the Juniper Hill Inn, things were dire--the owners were refusing to accept blame for driving the inn into the ground while at the same time verbally abusing their staff in front of master chef turned hotel fixer Gordon Ramsay. But by the end of the episode, there's a warm and fuzzy feeling throughout the inn, although we suspect that might be due to the beer being served in the new bar rather than real deep-seated change.
Ramsay decides he needs to talk calmly and rationally with owner Robert Dean, rather than telling him to "get f-cking real" and shouting other obscenities at him (although, they were well-deserved.) So Ramsay visits Robert in the RV that he and his partner Ari have parked outside next to the inn (no, we're not making that up) and has a frank discussion with him about the inn's finances.
We learn that in the months of November and December of 2011, Robert and Ari let 49 people stay at the inn for free. Like totally free--meals and drinks too. Robert said he'd rather fill the place up with comp'd guests to make it more lively. These friends were supposed to leave a tip for the staff but the money never made it to the poor employees.
When Ramsay pressures Robert to find out what happens to the tips by calling one of the guests, we hear the guest say, "We left the money with you." Ramsay storms out of the RV convinced that Robert and Ari pocketed the money for themselves.
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.
Yes, tonight is the night we are finally going to hell--Hotel Hell, the new reality show from chef Gordon Ramsay. The two-part season premiere begins tonight at 8pm on Fox and continues tomorrow night, same time, same place.
In the show's first episode, Gordon visits Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor Hill, Vermont, where he finds the place in good shape except it smells like raw sewage. And apparently, the owner is extremely difficult to deal with (pictured above). Yes, Gordon tells him to "get f*cking real." But things must have worked out ok, because the hotel is already hyping their appearance on the show on their own website saying:
Come see why we did Hotel Hell—new bar and a great new menu PLUS great exposure for our town and inn! Check out our specials page for the Gordon Ramsay Hotel Heaven Special!
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Starting at noon and running until 8pm, a giant hotel door will be placed on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Hollywood & Highland complex. Hotel Hell bellhops will hand out branded keycards to onlookers and challenge them to see if their key will open the door.
Only three of these keys will actually work and those holding the keys will win an all-expenses paid trip to the U.S. destination of their choice. No word on what hotel they will stay in.
In the meantime, we'll be anxiously awaiting the premiere of Ramsay's show. Wethinks we might need to come up with a drinking game of some sort. We'll work on putting that together this weekend but just remember, you're always encouraged to share your own personal hotel hell with us anytime!
[Photo: Hotel Hell/Facebook]