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10 Reasons Why Hotels in Gordon Ramsay's Hotel Hell Fail

Updated on November 19, 2018
Jan Michael Ong profile image

I like writing about food, sports, personal finance, the stock market, reality tv, cartoons, comics, collectible card games and video games.

Lack of Experience

John Imhoff has zero experience running a hotel yet he thinks he knows best.
John Imhoff has zero experience running a hotel yet he thinks he knows best.

Without taking up a course in hotel management, one cannot just expect to magically have the skills to run a hotel successfully.

Staying at a hotel as a guest is very much different from actually running one.

Such is the case of John Imhoff. John was a soldier and a lawyer and not a hotelier. Despite his obvious lack of expertise, he micromanaged his chef and general manager. This resulted in awful food for the restaurant and the poor condition of the hotel.

John kept interfering and tried keeping himself busy instead of delegating. This led to him ruining the hotel's atmosphere.

Gordon pointed out that the chef Rich and general manager Brittany should be left to their own devices as they are experts in their job. They should be given the freedom to do their job properly.

Gordon then devises a plan to prove to John that Rich and Brittany can do their jobs properly. Brittany invites her friends to a ladies night out. Rich prepares freshly made food instead of sous-vide products.The result is a $1400 payoff for the hotel in just 2 hours.

John was not able to interfere as Gordon locked him in a room on the third floor.

Had John had proper training, he would have created a better atmosphere and better hygienic conditions for the hotel as well as made sure that the restaurant served good food.

Alienating the Community

Brent MacDonald is being schooled by Gordon Ramsay on the difference between a fresh burger and frozen burger.
Brent MacDonald is being schooled by Gordon Ramsay on the difference between a fresh burger and frozen burger.

Brent and Afni MacDonald had a negative reputation in the Chelan area as they were very rude and condescending. They also did not support local businesses nor help during the fires.

The primary source of income for any hotel should be the immediate community as tourists are only seasonal. However, Brent and Afni failed to real that.They basically put a wall in between themselves and the community.

The hotel also had very strange rules such as not giving free samples in the ice cream parlor and not allowing children in the hotel.

Gordon tried to integrate the MacDonalds back in the community by arranging a meeting with the locals as well as having Brent and Afni support local wineries.

This did not last long however as the couple reverted back to their old ways soon after Gordon left.

Another example is the case of Robert and Ari of Juniper Hill Inn. The two acted like rich snobs and deemed the locals as not "appropriate people" to come to the mansion.

They did not interact with the locals and stayed cooped up in their RV the whole day. The hotel prices were also insane. $700 for a two-night stay and $59 for a three course meal.

These prices were beyond what the local residents of the area could afford and is bad for business.

Underpaid Staff

Chef Giulian was a decent chef but was frustrated by the low pay as well as the salary delays.
Chef Giulian was a decent chef but was frustrated by the low pay as well as the salary delays.

he hotel staff are the backbone of the establishment and should be treated well and compensated properly.Part of the reason some hotels fail is because the staff are paid meager wages and receive delays in payroll. If a staff is

unmotivated, you cannot expect good service.

Such is the case of the Monticello Hotel. Philip Lovingfoss inherited a $10 million estate yet squandered a chunk of his inheritance on expensive cars, jewelry, furniture and other doodads yet he could npot pay his staff properly. He

also did not give his chefs sufficient hours during the week in order to make a proper living.

This was the same problem with our friends Robert Dean II and Ari Nikki at the Juniper Hill Inn. The two owners owned a mansion, an RV and antique works of art and furniture yet could not pay their staff proper wages at a timely manner.

During the two-part episode at Juniper Hill Inn, the issue of pay came up multiple times. Barbara told Gordon she experienced delays in pay and when she does get paid, she is not paid in full.

Ryan, the estate manager also tells Gordon that Robert takes a portion of the servers tips when he helps in service. Gordon confronts Robert about this and tells him that he does not need to take an old lady's tips.

Giulian confronts Robert when Gordon asks to speak to the chef. He said he is only barely surviving on $400 a week and the staff is ready to walk out because they are tired of not being paid.

The old chef, Ida confirmed Robert and Ari's practice of not paying their people on time. She even had to buy produce on her card and had to fight to get reimbursed.

Lack of Hygiene

Gordon is upset at the lack of cleanliness at the Monticello Hotel.
Gordon is upset at the lack of cleanliness at the Monticello Hotel.

Philip Lovingfoss was a waiter at the Monticello Hotel when he married Annabelle Juell who was 32 years his senior. Annabelle died at age 70 during a trip in Palm Springs, California. She left Philip a will worth $10 million.

Philip used part of the estate he inherited to buy cars, jewelry , appliances, furniture and all sorts of doodads.

While Philip always dreamed of owning the Monticello Hotel, he never took care of it when he finally got the chance to own it. He spent his money on luxury items instead of reinvesting the money towards maintaining and improving the historic hotel.

Instead of purchasing proper furniture for the hotel rooms, Philip used preloved furniture which came from his house.

When Gordon flashed a black light on the mattress he was horrified and showed Philip, Ginger and the staff that the mattresses were full of bodily fluids.

This is not only true for the Monticello but for many other hotels in the show such as the Roosevelt Inn, River Rock Inn and Applegate River Lodge.

Gordon uses black light to see that many of the mattresses are drenched in human bodily fluids.

Awful Food

Gordon Ramsay is not at all impressed with the food served at the Keating Hotel.
Gordon Ramsay is not at all impressed with the food served at the Keating Hotel.

A significant source of revenue for any hotel is its restaurant. However, through the twenty hotels featured in the show's three-season run never had a restaurant that Gordon liked.

Since Gordon is a world-class chef, he is very particular about the ingredients used in the restaurants. A lot of the restaurants use low quality ingredients in order to save costs and also do not use fresh ingredients.

One of the big offenders is the Keating Hotel. The Keating was the most expensive hotel in the series and was more style than substance. $759 a night for non-functional furniture and food in takeaway containers is not what Gordon thinks luxury is all about.

The menu is all sorts of food that Eddie has encountered in his travels and has eventually bloated to four pages.

The quality of the food is so-so and the chef of the restaurant - Brian has given up and was no longer proud of the food he served.

Another big offender is the Cambridge Hotel. Instead of preparing fresh food, the food was prepackaged and prepared by boiling bags (sous-vide). The Apple Pie A La Mode which was invented in the hotel, had raw apples and a bad crust.

John Imhoff handicapped Rich the chef and did not let him select the ingredients or create the menu.This resulted in mediocre food in the historic hotel.

Outdated Look

Gordon takes interest in the dusty miniature furniture in the Brick Hotel.
Gordon takes interest in the dusty miniature furniture in the Brick Hotel.

Many of the hotels in Hotel Hell are featured on the show for a reason. Most of them have historical value. Despite the hotels being old, they can still be updated to be a bit more modern. A lot of times the decor is outdated and so are the furniture and appliances.

Many of the hotel owners have banked on the history of the hotel without adding the necessary conveniences to make the guest's stay a pleasurable one. Take for example the historic Brick Hotel in Newtown Pennsylvania. The hotel was built in the 1700's and even boasts of having a stay by President George Washington.

When you look at the hotel from the outside you would see a window with a hole in it, dust all over the place, bullet-riddled walls and peeling wallpaper. There is even strange miniature furniture all over the place.

The shower curtains are moldy and the curtains and the bedding are already discolored. Gordon uses an ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) tester to find out the sanitation of his room and finds the vents having a reading of 573, the chair having a reading of 446 and the shower curtain having a reading of 5680.

Gordon decides to go to the kitchen and things are not much better. The whole place is caked in grease and is a fire hazard.

Gordon sounds the fire alarm, evacuates the guests and shuts down the hotel for much needed cleaning and repair. Gordon will not have any more of Verindar's negligence as it will endanger the lives of the staff and the guests.

Going to the older hotels is always a time warp for Gordon as the decor, furniture and appliances tend to be from yesteryears.

Terrible Owners

Gordon encourages Duke and Dusty to help their mom with running the lodge as their dad Richard "Pa Butt" Davis thinks of their lodge as a home and not a business.
Gordon encourages Duke and Dusty to help their mom with running the lodge as their dad Richard "Pa Butt" Davis thinks of their lodge as a home and not a business.

One of the worst owners in the entire run of Hotel Hell is Richard "Pa Butt" Davis.

At least the other hoteliers featured in the show put in some effort in order to keep their businesses afloat.Richard on the other hand is to busy smoking joints in his "butt hut" to care.

Richard repeatedly stated throughout the episode that he was not a businessman and that he only views the Applegate River Lodge as his home. He does not care about the lodge's finances.

As seen in his initial interaction with Gordon, Richard spent the time smoking pot and playing music instead of attending the reception area. Gordon kept ringing the buzzer yet Richard was too busy attending to much less important things.

Richard is not only a non-factor to the lodge's success, he is a detriment. He likes playing their music inside the lodge and does late night jam sessions. This causes Joanna to refund the guests because of the noise. Richard also invites guests to smoke pot with him.

In the end, Gordon decides that since Richard is not reliable, he encouraged Duke and Dusty to work together with their mom in order to make the lodge a success.

Getting Into Debt

The Cambridge Hotel was foreclosed and is now the Cambridge Assisted Living Facility.
The Cambridge Hotel was foreclosed and is now the Cambridge Assisted Living Facility.

If you watch each episode of Hotel Hell, you can clearly see that Gordon spares no expense and effort to revive struggling hotels.

In some episodes you can see tens of thousands of dollars worth of linen, renovations, kitchen equipment, furniture and POS systems given to the hotel owners in order to help improve their business.

Despite Gordon's sincerest efforts, there are times that the hole is simply too deep for the hoteliers to get out of.

Such is the case of the 150-year old Cambridge Hotel. The hotel was purchased by John Imhoff because he wanted a place for his family to go to. He convinced his wife, parents and kids to chip in in order to buy the hotel and keep it afloat.

The couple are in $750,000 in debt and Tina is no longer willing to fund John's project.

While there was an upturn in business because of Gordon's efforts, they were in vain. The bank foreclosed the Cambridge on June 2012. This was several months before the episode aired on August 20,2012.

What a shame. The home of the original Apple Pie A La Mode is no more.

Lack of Maintenance

John Hough was too busy prancing around as Sherlock Holmes to be a proper innkeeper.
John Hough was too busy prancing around as Sherlock Holmes to be a proper innkeeper.

Since hotel facilities and rooms are in use most of the time by different people, proper maintenance is in order.

It does require a lot of constant effort and requires a proper system to be able to maintain high standards of hygiene and appearance.

Such as not the case with the Roosevelt Inn. John Hough got his dream of owning his former school. It was a nightmare for Tina and his guests. John's dogs roamed around freely and the place smelled like dogs. The beddings were filthy and full of bodily fluids. There were also places in the hotel that were not dusted properly.

The decor of the inn is not even updated. Gordon felt that he was in a time warp because of the outdated decor. Part of proper maintenance is making sure you have at least current appliances, furniture and decor in the hotel.

Instead of taking care of needed things, John was too busy prancing around as Sherlock Holmes leaving his wife to do the dirty work.

Lack of Priorities

Instead of running his hotel, Robert was too busy socializing and collecting antiques.
Instead of running his hotel, Robert was too busy socializing and collecting antiques.

The Juniper Hill Inn is located on a stunning location atop a beautiful hillside. This historic inn is also known as the Maxwell Evarts house where former presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge once stayed.

Robert and Ari were able to purchase the property and ran a hotel on it. According to former chef Ida, at first Robert and Ari were doing well. However, Robert stopped answering the phone and was either too important or busy to be bothered. This cause a decline in the hotel's revenues.

Aside from that Robert was too busy throwing parties with his friends and collecting antiques in order to be bothered to run his business properly.

Throughout the episode, you can clearly see Robert is too distracted with his phone while his business is dying.

Why Hotels in Hotel Hell Fail

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© 2018 Jan Michael Ong

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