Friday, 15 January 2016

Hotel Hell - Juniper Hill Inn - CLOSED

Hotel Hell Juniper Hill Inn

Episode Recap

Gordon Ramsay visits Juniper Hill Inn, a 110 year old hotel in Windsor, Vermont. The hotel has 28 rooms  and is owned by Robert Dean II, an antiques dealer and his boyfriend Ari Nikki. The hotel has been filled with antiques but is not being filled with paying customers. Robert has no experience of a hotel, the prices are high, there is a minimum of a two night stay and Robert still lives luxuriously despite being deep in debt. He lets his friends dine and stay for free, refuses to pay the tips and struggles to pay wages. Gordon pops into town to talk to the locals and one tells him that the hotel is beautiful but she would feel awkward visiting there. Gordon arrives at the hotel and is impressed by the beauty of the hotel but finds that the front door is locked. Gordon believes the common area could be beautiful if it wasn't so uncomfortably cluttered. Robert informs Gordon that they are lucky to take $15,000 a month and are losing $200,000 a year. 

Gordon goes up to his room but it smells like sewage so he asks to be moved to another. After settling in his room, Gordon goes down for some lunch, he is surprised to learn that they only serve meals during the day upon request. Gordon notices there are no prices on the menu and asks Robert to explain. He explains that they run a fixed price menu of $59 for 3 courses and Robert isn't bothered that the locals do not want that, he doesn't think they are "appropriate people" for his restaurant. Gordon orders the crab cakes, they are small, taste like soap and the lamb at an extra cost of $15 is raw and sickly sweet. Barbara tells him that their former chef left as she wasn't paid for produce she had bought on her own credit card. The only part of the meal Gordon likes is the desert but discovers that this is bought in. 

Gordon is shocked to learn that the pair live in a flashy $100,000 RV motor home parked outside the Inn. Executive Chef Giulian tells Gordon that the RV is a drain on morale as they are surrounded by extravagance whilst living on the poverty line. Gordon leaves the hotel to visit the former chef Ida. She explains that Robert stopped answering the phone and lost his way in running the business, he invites her to return at the end of the transformation but she politely declines. Gordon returns to speak with the staff and they tell him that they aren't being paid on time but Ryan takes Gordon to the basement which is overflowing with hoarded antiques! Gordon gets Ari alone for a chat and he tells Gordon that he has sunk his entire life savings into the Inn and that he needs to face the face that the biggest problem at the hotel is Robert. 

Gordon arrives to witness a dinner service and as the pair seat everyone at once there is chaos in the kitchen. The bar is a mess and 30 drinks have been misplaced. The kitchen attempts to send out burnt food but Gordon soon puts a stop to it. After the terrible dinner service, Gordon gathers the staff together, they want some structure, standards and help from the owners. Ari decides to take the reigns declaring himself the boss but Gordon tells him he has no right until he starts paying the staff. Robert's response is to tell them that they don't have to work there, one step too far for Gordon who calls him a disrespectful and disgusting man. 

Part 2

After ending the previous episode with a confrontation between the staff and the owners Gordon is now ready to turn his hand towards turning around the business. Ryan reveals that Robert has allowed his friends to stay at the hotel for free for weeks at a time and takes a portion of the servers tips. Gordon confronts Robert in his motor home and persuades him to call his friends and ask why they never tipped their servers. They reveal that they did pay tips to Robert  but it appears Robert pocketed them. Angered by this, Gordon gets in his car and drives off but wanting to ensure the staff get paid, Gordon comes up with a plan to persuade Robert to sell off his antiques collection but an auctioneer assesses his antiques to only be worth $25,000. Gordon tells Robert that his staff will leave if something isn't done soon and gives him the bottom line, if he isn't willing to listen to his advice he should sell the inn. 

The next day Gordon is ready to begin making changes, he assembles some guests to give their opinions on the hotel. Hotel inspector Stephen says that the hospitality is nice but he has nothing else nice to say, Robert apologises whilst Ari gets angry. Gordon tells them to sit down and have a think about whether they should be in the hotel business. Elsewhere, Gordon asks Chef Giulian to cook three dishes from the menu and three new dishes of his own. They will present the new dishes to Robert and pretend that they are Gordon's dishes. Robert loves the new dishes  and is surprised when he discovers that Giulian created them and admits that he has restricted Giulian's ability to do his job. The owners gather the employees and apologise for not paying them properly or giving fair tips. Gordon takes them to another Inn to see how it compares, it is like day and night. Overnight, Gordon transforms the hotel giving it a more welcoming feel. The great hall is now a warm, welcoming room and the dining room is updated. Gordon has left the rooms untouched as they were already to a good standard. Gordon then takes them on a tour of the second dining room, which has been transformed into the Blue Bar. 

To relaunch the hotel, they are to do their first Sunday dinner service. The relaunch is a success until Sarah asks Robert and Ari's poodle to leave the bar and an argument breaks out. Gordon tells Sarah to go back into the other room and tells Ari that he needs to apologise for raising his voice. Giulian struggles at first, failing to communicate with his sous chef but after a pep talk from Gordon, he is soon back on track. The locals and the returned hotel inspector recognise the improvements that have been made. Robert hands Ryan his pay check and the staff vow to get the Inn back on top. 

What Happened Next?

 Reviews after filming were mostly good but the hotel went into foreclosure in April and has since closed. They posted on their website that they are no longer in business.

Extra Reading


  1. The majority of helped hotels seem to never make it

    1. Most of the hotels/ restaurants Ramsey visits in his programmes are already up against the wall with the amount of debt they have so even if he can help turn it around it may already be too late. Also the fact that these places got so bad in the first place suggests even with help these places are probably less likely to take advice into the long-term. The question you need to ask is how many stayed open that would have shut down without his help, rather than how many stayed open in total.

    2. Actually, only this season of Hotel Hell had closures. The hotels in the other two seasons are all open. Also what the person above me said regarding all these places already being in a terrible spot.

  2. Yeah Greg, unless you look at the facts, you're totally right!

  3. How do middle aged men start all over again?? Especially Ari who invested everything and on foreclosure probably owes well over $1million.

  4. The funny thing about this is how much they pretty much hoodwinked Ramsay. The cost of those cargo containers alone are between 5-8000 dollars each. Notice how he didn't do an evaluation of the stuff in those cargo containers? I bet he was told that the stuff in the containers don't have anything to do with the business There is probably over 200,000 dollars worth of stuff in there that they rorted from the business by having stuff bought through the hotel itself. I'd have a tax inspector do a proper audit of the entire hotels books. I'm betting they sold all that stuff off in the containers and pocketed the whole lot.
    That dude reminds me of a sociopath the way he manipulates the situation.

  5. Take it on the chin and move
    On .. lts now history

    Cheers Greg ..

  6. Of all the Ramsay episodes of various themes, this is the one I seriously questioned the authenticity of. The staff almost "delivered" their lines with the quality of professional actors. The maintenance-man especially...he seemed too savvy to have ever been roped into working for (practically) nothing. One of the wait-staff was educated and absolutely gorgeous - yet apparently couldn't get a paying job elsewhere. All strange and very suss.


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