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 bought the business in 2000 and claim that the business is suffering as they don't have support from the locals. They are losing $30,000 a month and there has been turmoil locally due to bush fires. The staff believe the owners are hard to work for and have bad attitudes towards the locals. Brent makes inappropriate jokes and comments and swears in front of customers.

Gordon arrives at the hotel and waits for the advertised valet parking, he hoots his horn and leaves his car outside. Brent offers to park Gordons car for him, he notices the dust on the bar and that something is growing on the ceiling. Gordon finds more dust and cobwebs in the ice cream parlour, Brent tells them they have been closed  whilst he went on holiday to Mexico for 3 weeks, his wife and daughter came away for just one week. Gordon is surprised to see that they offer no samples in the ice cream parlour and finds many more cobwebs. 

Gordon is taken up to his room, the best room in the hotel. There is no remote control to the air conditioning, as they believe that guests will ruin it and Gordon discovers the filter in the air con is cleaned twice a year. Gordon sits down in the restaurant and hears that they have a high turnover of staff. Gordon notices that there is nothing local on the menu, he orders the soup of the day, BC Bacon Burger, Turkey Patty and the "soon to be famous" teriyaki burger. He attempts to order a pizza but they no longer serve pizzas and prime rib but they are out of this. The minestrone soup tastes bought in and Gordon is told that it is frozen, the burger is thin and bland as it is frozen, the turkey melt comes with a broth (?) that is salty and bitter and the soon to be famous burger is caked in cheese, he refuses to try the burger. Gordon asks for a coffee and sits reading online reviews of the restaurant. He discovers that the owners have a teenage daughter but refuse children to the hotel. 

Gordon talks to the owners and calls them out on the food being advertised as  fresh but is actually frozen. 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 talks to Teddy, the manager and he tells Gordon that Brent is inappropriate. Gordon witnesses an evening service, the guests are given a list of items on the menu that aren't available and Gordon inspects the freezers. The guests 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 ventures into a competitors restaurant and orders a fresh burger which he brings back to show Brent. Gordon asks Brent whether 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 guests and 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 and Brent argue as Gordon believes them to be deceiving the customers, they don't even apologise to the guests until Gordon calls them out on it. Gordon speaks to Afni  and she opens up to Gordon. Gordon tries to arrange to meet Brent's son but he isn't able to. 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. After his previous wife passed away he thought they might reach out to him but they haven't done so and his stubbornness has stopped him reaching out to them. 

Gordon has gathered the locals for them to air the issues they have with the owners. They tell Gordon the staff don't have good things to say about the restaurant and ones friend was a server, they had a customer who wanted to take their food home but Afni scraped it into the bin, Afni then took it out of the bin and wiped it before giving it back to the server. The lack of free samples is another problem and they have built a wall around themselves. They are perceived to have not offered any help during the fires, the town depend on each other to survive without tourists. The town wants them to do well and want to welcome them into the community. 

Gordons team have cleared out the cobwebs and dust and revamped the rooms but the biggest transformation is to 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 ;pve 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


Lakeview Hotel Trip Advisor Reviews 

Lakeview Yelp Reviews

A week in hell: Chelan business owners dish on filming upcoming episode of ‘Hotel Hell’

Hotel Hell: Lakeview Hotel Owner Throws Wife Under Bus

Hotel Hell: Lakeview Owner Says Show Planted Stains on Bedsheets

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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, who hoards clutter, is in denial and unwilling to change. Son Jason and his Wife Ana bought the hotel in 2007 as an investment but also  to keep his mother Karan busy. He admits that he bought with his heart rather than his head. The staff describe the hotel as a circus and that Karan is interesting to work with. Karan treats it more as her home that 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.

Part 1

Gordon arrives and finds clutter and hats and freaky dolls for sale, covered in dust!  Gordon finds a lot of loaves of bread also for sale, which are all out of date! Gordon is taken to his room and finds a  selection of wicker baskets for sale at $1-30. They are dusty and covered in bugs! Gordon calls her a basket case! 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, the cupboard is locked. Gordon is told that he isn't paying for the cupboard, this contains her clothes and that he is paying for the rest of the room. He asks for the key for the cupboard, 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 says it is bizarre to see her belongings everywhere cluttering up the place and brands it insane. 

Gordon heads down to the dining room to sample the food, he sits outside and hears the local train steaming through. Gordon meets Lamont, who does a bit of everything, he finds out the servers have to knock on the door at the start of their shift and sometimes she slams the door in their face. Gordon finds fridges outside,  one is the kitchens and one is her own personal fridge. The salad in the fridge has turned to mush and all of them are filled with produce. Gordon orders mac and cheese, fiesta stew and trout. The mac and cheese is split on top and microwaved with no seasoning. The fiesta stew was made 5 days ago, Gordon doesn't even try it after that discovery 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, Gordon 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 say that she won't listen when they want to change the food. The kitchen staff get annoyed as volunteer Sarah tells them what to do on behalf of Karan, whilst she sits in her office alone. Gordon meets two 17 year old servers, Sylar/Tyler and Gage, who tell her the place is filthy and they can't keep on top of it. The kitchen has paint on the walls as Sarah wanted them painted and the staff call it Sarah's Town's Inn as what she says goes. Sarah paints over cracks in the wall by putting her business cards on the wall and painting over them, Gordon pulls it off and the wall is rotten underneath. Sarah is not happy with Gordon's language and Karan appears to justify painting over cracks and 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. Gordon takes a burger from the customer and takes him into the kitchen to see how it is cooked, the customer was expecting a fresh burger. Gordon asks the young server to take two female customers to show them where the food comes from, they cancel their orders. Sarah is chatting to customers and Gordon asks her to leave them alone. Gordon asks the server to take the rotisserie chicken out to the customers and explains that it is 6 months old and store bought. Gordon tells the customers about the origins about their food and shuts down the kitchen, refusing to serve any food. Karan refuses to take any responsibility for the food. 

Part 2

The episode picks up after the kitchen service as the guests are leaving. Karan defends the chicken but tells Gordon that she cares about everything. Gordon finds an eggplant dish that is to be reheated and Jeff apologises to the customers. He tells Gordon he has not given up but Karan doesn't listen to him.  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, Karan tells Gordon that she is in debt and laughs off Gordon's comments about the faulty kitchen equipment. 

Outside, Karan tells the staff that she could have done this without Gordon as she bought fridges, the menu is for Jeff and the kitchen to sort out but they tell her they have failed to get her to change it. Gordon uses a bacteria test kit to test the hygiene of the communal bathroom. A reading of 30 or below is a "decent level of hygiene", anything over 30 is in the danger zone. The carpet on the floor of his bedroom gives a reading of 803 but Karan defends the rating and blames bikers and hikers. Gordon refuses to sleep in the room and leaves, Gage begs him to stay. As Gordon is leaving, he sees the office sign and Karan tells Gordon that it is her private quarters. Gordon tells her that she is not doing one thing right and that she has convinced herself this is the right way, he cannot begin to help when she is in so much 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. Gordon tells him that he is shocked about how badly the hotel is being run and that Karan is in denial. There is pressure on the family as they want to see Karan happy  but there are also financial pressures as it was bought as an investment. Jason tells Karan that he wants to make money and also support his Mom. Jason tells her that everyone else sees it negatively and with no profit, it will have to close as it will drag down his family. Karan agrees to try what Gordon proposes as she doesn't want to be a burden on the family.

Gordon finds a home for Karan to live in, paying the rent out of his own pocket, which enables the team to begin renovations on the hotel. It will also give Karan a better quality of living and allow her to step away from the hotel. Gordon sends Karan off for a makeover, as he believes she needs to be the face of the inn. Gordon reveals her makeover before revealing 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 due the tiny kitchen and the kitchen has been cleared of clutter to maximise the space. 

Prior to relaunch night, Gordon gives the team a pep talk about moving forward and the guests are happy with the changes to the Inn and restaurant. 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 allow the business to breathe and to take some time to spend with the Grandchildren. 

What Happened Next? 

Since Gordons visit, Karan has continued with the lease on the house Gordon had rented for her, the staff are helping to make positive change 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 been renovated. 

Extra Reading


Town's Inn Trip Advisor Reviews

Town's Inn Yelp Reviews

Harpers Ferry innkeeper has feet put in the fire in 'Hotel Hell'

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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. Jonathon decided on an Austrian theme to give people a taste of Austria but there are rumours that the Inn is a brothel and they are swingers! 

Gordon arrives and finds a stuffed cat outside, which comes out for Halloween. 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. Gordon is confused with the violins on the table and the clutter in the dining room. Gordon checks in and finds more clutter and is served Pulled Boar, which Gordon finds watery. The bedroom has no closet, it has a locked closet that is for Lisa as she has no room for clothes in her own bedroom. If a guest is staying in the room then Lisa has to plan ahead and sneak in a few times a week. There is an antique bag in the room with toiletries and rose petals inside a drawer in case a customer wants to sprinkle them on the bed. 

Gordon goes to the restaurant to sample the food and finds even more clutter in the dining room. Gordon orders the scallops, beer battered sauerkraut and vegetarian mushroom ravioli. The Scallops were cut up and look like the dog has chewed them, they are rancid and terrible. The sauerkraut comes with edible flowers, it is dated and they look like a pair of camel balls and the Mushroom crepes are a mess but the edible flower is delicious. Server Melissa admits that Lisa has slapped her on the back of the head in front of customers, not hard but she found it demeaning. The food is the some of the worst he has tried, so bad that he had to resort to eating the edible flowers. 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 so Gordon sneaks into the basement. He finds a wine cellar heavily stocked with expensive wine and a mineral spa. 

Gordon arrives to see an evening service, the kitchen is cluttered and he finds pre-meals that he asks the staff to throw away. Food sits on the top as their timings are off and they are serving two day old roast chicken. Lisa confronts a customer about her complaints about the food and Gordon explains that her chicken was cooked two days ago, Lisa continues to make excuses. 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, it is all thrown in together. Jonathon tells Gordon that he really enjoys it but nothing that Gordon has seen would lead him to believe that. 

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 that there are always arguments, they aren't professional and join guests for drinks whilst criticising the staff. There are rude text messages, no payroll system - the pay cheques are refused by their banks and they are drip fed cash a few dollars at a time. Gordon brings in ex customers and locals for feedback, one customer was surprised by the clutter. Another had raw scallops and found it overwhelming with the clutter. The uniforms were seen as revealing and in your face, it was unnecessary. They have all heard that it is a swingers hang out and there are no boundaries, 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 the dining room and a new state of the art system for all aspects of the hotel. It also means that customers can book online. They appear to love the changes but Lisa starts to make comments. The staff have new uniforms to match the new atmosphere of the dining room. Jonathon gets lost in the kitchen and service has fallen apart, food is coming out at different times  and he says it doesn't matter. 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 he was going to shut the place down 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.

Extra Reading


Vienna Trip Advisor Reviews

Vienna Yelp Reviews

Lisa and Jonathon's Linked In Profile

'Hotel Hell' episode filmed at Southbridge's Vienna Inn to air on Tuesday

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