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

Jonathon Krach - Producer !? - More History

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

Read about more Hotel Hell hotels

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  1. Yes it was bizarre alright.

    Thought it was silly that Gordon would be critical of a menu that contained the names of German dishes in what is meant to be an Austrian restaurant.

    1. You actually CAN have the menu in English with Austrian food.

      What's the point of dishes that hardly any guest can pronounce? Or do you go to a local Chinese place and order in Chinese?

    2. When I go to a French restaurant, I order foi gras. I guess you go to the same place and order "faith fat".

  2. I am also deeply suspicious about the reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor. Like stated above, if they were getting scores of 4.5 and 5 why did they even dream of going on the show?!

    1. Swingers are by nature exhibitionists. Maybe they wanted to be on TV.

  3. I am also deeply suspicious of the Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews. If the restaurant scores are 4.5 and 5 why would they even dream of going onto the show?!

    1. I was thinking the same thing.

    2. People actually pay money for good reviews. I'm almost 100% sure that's what they've done.

  4. All four women working at the inn look great, a rarity.

  5. This show was so crazy I checked Yelp and travelocity myself for clues. Reviews are mixed but over all positive. Their good nights seem to be good but their bad nights, oh boy. I think these people are con artists who tried to scam the show into giving them a free makeover of their entire inn. Their servers are pretty but they have tits for brains if they accept a job that requires you to buy a 300 dollar dress for the privilege of waiting tables and begging, mostly in vain, for your paycheck. If you can afford a fancy dress then you don't need a job as a waitress. I would quit on the spot if my boss told me the day I was hired I would need a 300 dollar uniform out of my own pocket and I would refuse to allow my daughter to work there. Wanna wear a uniform? Go get a job at the food court in the mall. This couple is a pair of narcissists and they're lucky to have gotten anything. Probably the only reason Ramsey didn't walk off the set is that he was locked into working with this couple. He can be a generous guy when he feels someone deserves it.

  6. This inn is just weird. It's not Austrian. It's some weird mishmash of German, Austrian and Swiss stereotypes.

    The decor is bad enough. A really terrible painting of the emperor Franz-Josef, then some random Prussian family in a corner.

    The flags on the entrance are wrong. Red-white-red is fine, but the one with the eagle is the state flag, flown by the Austrian government. If I see that flag on a house, I assume that an Austrian politician is an official state guest.

    The "uniforms" are another mishmash of pseudo-Germanic clothing. None of it is authentic. None of it is even remotely Viennese.

    When I saw the menu on the show I went "WTF!" a lot. Bismarck Herring (simple pickled herring, which has nothing to do with Austria) and Königsberger Klopse (really just normal meatballs) is bad enough, but when I saw that this guy has Wienerschnitzel with red cabbage and Spätzle, I almost lost it.

    A "crumb carpet" ("Bröselteppich", a slang word for Wienerschnitzel in Austria) with red cabbage and Spätzle?!

    Nobody does that!

    Traditionally the Wienerschnitzel is served with potato salad, but fries are very common these days, too.

    This whole place strikes me as if someone saw too much Sound of Music and those terrible Sissy movies from the 50s. It's cliche, it's absolutely not authentic. Austrian people would be offended by this.

    The owner's claim that he's half Austrian means absolutely nothing. Obviously he didn't grow up in Austrian culture, otherwise he'd know that Wienerschnitzel with red cabbage and Spätzle is basically heresy.

  7. Yeah I was REALLY surprised! I guess they needed more publicity and they got it. On google ratings.. the ratings are extremely mixed and scary. The owner actually is rude to the bad reviews. But I always believed that bad reviews is a form of helping you to do better. However if they have been successful then they used Ramsey. Sad, but this is the type of people we have in the this world.

  8. I don't even know where to begin. The way she treats her staff is utterly appalling. Smacking that poor girl? Horrendous. Gordon did nothing but expose just how ungrateful and cruel that woman is. Not only did she complain about everything, but the way she spoke down to her husband made me sick. It's clear why he isn't happy and with her barking down his back and screaming and faking her tears I would be drained too. She needs serious help. You need to also learn how to treat your staff with more respect. If I had been working for them at any point I certainly would have unloaded already and reported them. I'm hoping they get shut down due to their rude nature and cruel treatment towards staff. I'm almost certain the person who changed everything back was Lisa. Get a grip. You wasted that amazing mans time and essentially spit in his face after he bit his tongue to try and salvage your pathetic excuse for a hotel.