Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Hotel Hell - Lakeview Hotel - OPEN

Hotel Hell Lakeview Hotel

Episode Recap

Gordon visits Lakeview Hotel in Chelan, Washington to help turn around the Lakeview Hotel, an adults only hotel, restaurant and ice cream parlour situated on Lake Chelan, owned by Brent and Afni MacDonald. They are losing $30,000 a month and there has been turmoil locally due to bush fires. Gordon arrives at the hotel and waits for the advertised valet parking but Brent offers to park Gordons car. He finds more dust and cobwebs everywhere, Brent tells them they have been closed whilst he went on holiday to Mexico for 3 weeks and they offer no samples in the ice cream parlour. Gordon is taken up to his room, the best room in the hotel but there is no remote control to the air conditioning and the filter is cleaned twice a year. Gordon orders the soup of the day, BC Bacon Burger, Turkey Patty and the "soon to be famous" teriyaki burger. The minestrone soup tastes bought in, the burger is thin and bland, the turkey melt comes with a broth that is salty and bitter and the soon to be famous burger is caked in cheese. Gordon discovers that the owners have a teenage daughter but refuse children to the hotel. 

Gordon asks about why there is no local wine on the menu and Brent tells him they all own restaurants so they are the competition. Gordon witnesses an evening service, the guests are given a list of items on the menu that aren't available and aren't impressed with the food, they expect fresh food and are surprised to hear it is frozen. Brent says there is no such thing as a fresh burger and you cannot get a fresh burger in the area. Gordon goes to a competitors restaurant and orders a fresh burger which he brings back to show Brent. Gordon asks Brent why he fired his son, it appears he had an alcohol problem and thought it would help. Gordon tells Brent about his brothers drug addiction and that he has never given up on him. Gordon enters the hotel rooms along with a uv light, the pillows, duvets and sheets are covered in fluids. Brent says the sheets were washed a week ago, Gordon tells them to stop lying but they are adamant. Gordon speaks to Afni and she opens up to Gordon. Gordon talks to Brent about his son and he says the relationship broke down after his previous wife remarried. He didn't go to his daughters wedding as he wasn't invited and he has grandchildren he doesn't see. 

Gordon has gathered the locals and they tell Gordon the staff don't have good things to say about the restaurant and ones friend was a server, who saw Afni scrape food into the bin, take it out and wipe it before giving it back to the server. The lack of free samples is a problem and they are perceived to have not offered any help during the fires. The town depend on each other to survive without tourists, wants them to do well and to welcome them into the community. Gordons team have cleared out the cobwebs and dust, revamped the rooms and transformed the ice cream parlour. Gordon has bought in a sommelier, they will be serving local wines and the menu has also been revamped. The guests love the new rooms, food, ice cream samples and also the wines on offer. Brent has decided to stick with adults only in the hotel against Gordon's advice as he believes children will be noisy and ruin the rooms. 

What Happened Next? 

After filming, Brent reverted back to his old ways and distanced himself from the locals, the reputation is as bad as ever. Many staff have left or been fired. The hotel is still open and reviews since Gordon's visit are mostly positive about both the hotel and restaurant. They haven't exactly followed Gordon's advice, they have changed the menu as they say the new items on there weren't selling and renamed the restaurant against Gordon's advice. Brent has since admitted that his behaviour on the show was all an act because he knew they wanted drama.

Extra Reading

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Sunday, 12 June 2016

Hotel Hell - Town's Inn - OPEN

Hotel Hell Town's Inn

Episode Recap

Gordon Ramsay visits Town's Inn, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where Gordon finds the most bizarre owner he has ever met, Jason and wife Ana bought the hotel in 2007 as an investment and to keep his mother Karan busy. Karan treats it more as her home than a business and sleeps in her office! Her son has believes her welfare is the most important even if it means she has to no longer be involved or he has to sell.

Gordon arrives and finds clutter, hats and freaky dolls for sale but also loaves of bread, which are all out of date! Gordon is taken to his room but finds a selection of wicker baskets for sale at $1-30 that are dusty and covered in bugs! Gordon is in the Potomac Room, named after the local river. The ceiling is cracked, the curtains fall down as the pole is too short and the cupboard is locked as this contains her clothes. He asks for the key, Karan refuses but is willing to open to show Gordon what is in there. Gordon asks for half the cupboard and takes out half of Karan's clothes, they are put in her office on her bed. Gordon heads down to the dining room and orders mac and cheese, fiesta stew and trout. The mac and cheese is split on top, microwaved and has no seasoning, the fiesta stew was made 5 days ago and the trout is watery. He meets Sarah, a close friend who volunteers in the hotel as she likes to fill her time. 

Gordon discovers Lamont with black bags full of clothes and is puzzled as he only removed one bag from his room. The bags are going to Lamont's basement until she can sort through them. Gordon meets the staff who get annoyed as volunteer Sarah tells them what to do on behalf of Karan, whilst she sits in her office alone. The kitchen has paint on the walls as Sarah wanted them painted and she paints over cracks by putting her business cards on the wall and painting over them but the wall is rotten underneath and Karan appears to justify filling holes with brillo pads. Gordon returns to the kitchen, there are 5 microwaves and 2 chefs.. Gordon is surprised to see that they are boiling pre-prepared burgers, Karan sees no problems with this so takes a customer into the kitchen to see how it is cooked, he was expecting a fresh burger. Gordon asks the young server to take two female customers to show them where the food comes from, and to take the rotisserie chicken and explain that it is 6 months old and store bought. Gordon tells the customers about the origins about their food and shuts down the kitchen. 

Part 2

Karan defends the chicken but tells Gordon that she cares about everything. The walk in is filled with old cooked bacon, fries in dirty water, fish stewing in blood and the oven was last cleaned a year ago. The equipment needs replacing but Karan tells Gordon that she is in debt and laughs off Gordon's comments about the faulty kitchen equipment. Gordon uses a bacteria test kit to test the hygiene and the carpet on the floor of his bedroom gives a reading of 803 (30 is safe) but Karan defends the rating and blames bikers and hikers. Gordon refuses to sleep in the room and leaves. As Gordon is leaving, he sees the office sign and Karan tells Gordon that it is her private quarters, he tells her she is not doing one thing right and he cannot help when she is in denial. 

Gordon returns the next morning, he has hired a professional cleaning crew to declutter and scrub the kitchen. He tells Karan to start packing up a box and meets with Jason to discuss the hotel. Jason tells Karan that he wants to make money and also support his Mom but with no profit, it will have to close as it will drag down his family. Gordon finds a home for Karan to live in, paying the rent out of his own pocket and sends Karan off for a makeover. Gordon reveals her makeover and the makeover of the Inn, the staff are overwhelmed by the changes. The office is now a store, allowing more space in the dining room and the rooms have been given a modern makeover. The menu has been reduced in quantity and simplified and the kitchen has been cleared to maximise the space. On relaunch night, the kitchen is more efficient and the customers are loving the new food. Karan is more proactive as an Inn Keeper and the locals promise to return and leave with goods from the store. Gordon tells Karan to take some time to spend with the Grandchildren. 

What Happened Next?

Since Gordons visit, Karan has continued with the lease on the house, the staff are helping to make positive changes and Jason has become more involved with the business. 

Reviews seem mixed since Gordon's visit on both Trip Advisor and Yelp but are overall mostly positive. 

Their website shows great contrast between those rooms that have been renovated by the show, those that appear to renovated by the owner and those that have not yet been renovated.
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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Hotel Hell - Vienna Inn - OPEN

Hotel Hell Vienna Inn

Episode Recap 

Gordon Ramsay visits Vienna Inn, Southbridge, MA, an Inn being run by a dysfunctional couple, Jonathon and Lisa Crock, who bought the Inn in 2000 but there are rumours that the Inn is a brothel and they are swingers! Gordon arrives and is surprised to find that the staff buy their own costumes at around $300 a piece. Lisa admits that buying the hotel was her husbands idea, he is half Austrian/Polish and cooks in the kitchen. The bedroom has a locked closet that is for Lisa as she has no room for clothes in her own bedroom. Gordon orders the scallops, beer battered sauerkraut and vegetarian mushroom ravioli. The Scallops were cut up, rancid and terrible, the sauerkraut is dated and the Mushroom crepes are a mess but the edible flower is delicious. He advises them to close as Jonathon's heart clearly isn't in it and Lisa's head is in the clouds. Gordon has heard that the basement of the Inn is used for wild swinger parties, he finds a wine cellar stocked with expensive wine and a mineral spa. 

Gordon arrives to see an evening service, food sits on the top as their timings are off and they are serving two day old chicken. Gordon inspects the kitchen and finds that there is food stored in the fridge that shouldn't be together and some that needs to be thrown out. Gordon walks off leaving an argument outside and Lisa heads straight into the bar for a drink. Gordon tells them that he has never met a couple so undeserving of his help, he tells them to pack a bag and get out of the hotel for the night. Gordon calls a staff meeting and discovers there are rude text messages, the pay cheques are refused by their banks and they are drip fed cash. Gordon brings in ex customer for feedback, one had raw scallops and find it overwhelming with the clutter. The uniforms were seen as revealing and unnecessary. They have all heard that it is a swingers hang out and as the spa and massage rooms have been misconstrued. 

Gordon brings in a sommelier to help them sell wine, there are makeovers in the rooms and dining room, new uniforms and a new state of the art system so that customers can book online. They appear to love the changes but Lisa starts to make comments. Jonathon gets lost in the kitchen, service has fallen apart, food is coming out at different times. Gordon asks them to be honest if there is anything they don't like and Lisa tells him she is surprised how he did one room. She comes across as ungrateful but Gordon tells them this isn't a makeover show and the rest of the work is for them. He also tells them that he arranged for a new stove to be installed and the engineer came but after the survey he had to leave as it is on the verge of running illegally.

What Happened Next? 

Shortly after Gordon left we are told that Lisa and Jonathon reverted straight back to the old Vienna, they changed the decor and returned all of the clutter back out of storage. They went back to the old menu and as a result their reputation has remained the same.

Reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp are suspiciously different to the portrayal of hotel on the show both before and after Gordon's visit, in fact with a solid 4.5* on both Trip Advisor and Yelp.

I am surprised as to why they went on the show in the first place. Also very surprised to see that both have a long history of running Inns and have been successful in business ventures, you honestly wouldn't know it from the show, this one is just bizarre.
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