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  Gordon finds a lot of loaves of bread also for sale, which are all out of date!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'

Read about more Hotel Hell hotels


  1. makes you question the health department there. I'm sure if there's one, there is probably more. Go Gordon....Thank you for the visit.

  2. That this hotel was allowed to function, serve meals, have guests stay is beyond belief. Where are the health inspectors? Are there no standards in an Inn only 30 miles from Washington DC. Neither the owner or the kitchen staff should be allowed to run an establishment like this. The owners son is responsible for the terrible condition of the place, he has no excuses. Why did they not buy a used-book shop for mother? Good Hygiene is not something you can suddenly discover, it is a way of life. This place will revert eventually to it's former self.

  3. I see their facebook page is still up, and I see post after post after post of renovation announcements. Karan shouldn't be trusted with trying her shoes, let alone running an inn!

    I was gobsmacked at how stubborn and delusional she was, all hiding under a veneer of fake politeness and soft spokenness. Don't be fooled, she is as bitter as they come! Every valid concern Gordon bright to to her, she instantly shot back with a backhanded comment in that quiet little voice of hers, like there was an ocean of anger just simmering under the surface.

    I really hope she's kept far away from the business, if she's allowed to set even one for in there again it's going to go to right back to the way it was. You can't get into such a bad shape without it being a baked-in aspect of her personality, especially considering not only did she see nothing wrong with what she had done, she threatened to fire anyone who tried to change it for the better.

  4. Karan is friggin scary! I don't know if I've ever seen someone as passive aggressive as her. This is the first episode of Hotel Hell that left me feeling queasy, and honestly I have no idea how on earth her poor soon can keep the place afloat after having to pay for the renovations needed to undo the massive structural damage she singlehandedly caused.

  5. She is scarier than most face off make up. It is totally sad watching her.

  6. I feel kinda sorry for her.. I honestly think she has some issues. Like Gordon says, it's not normal what she does and how she lives but she's completely fine with it. If that were my mother, I'd get her checked over by mental health professionals because there's seriously something wrong with her. Not in a very bad sense and I'm not being insulting but she seriously does need a real check. There's just things in the way she talks and acts that would make me worry to high heaven if my mother acted like that.

    Maybe I'm looking too far into it and she's just like this but honestly, there seems to be a lot more going on and the son seriously doesn't look like he wants to help. If it were my mum that was living like that, I'd rent out a house for her and if I couldn't, she'd be staying with me. I would never EVER let my mum sleep on a wooden board in an Inn she's meant to be in control of. That's not a life for anyone, especially for your own mother. I hope she's doing okay, she's not a bad person at all but something just isn't right.


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