'Hotel Hell' askes the question: Can this hotel be saved?
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In brief, Fox's "Hotel Hell" takes the "Kitchen Nightmares" format and transfers it from restaurants to lodging establishments. Host Gordon Ramsay again ambles into poorly managed properties and through fear, intimidation and lots of bleeped profanity coaxes the owners into making improvements.
The premiere episode -- airing at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday on WPGH before settling into its regular 8 p.m. Monday time slot on Aug. 20 -- follows Mr. Ramsay to the Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor, Vt. The 58-room inn is a beautiful, historic property but its owners may not be cut out for the hospitality business. Robert Dean II lacks leadership skills and his partner, Ari Nikki, lacks the people skills necessary for dealing with customers or staff.
"Hotel Hell" is entertaining enough if you're not too picky about overproduced "reality" shows. (It seems like a total contrivance for Mr. Ramsay to be given a guest room that's been unused for months due to a raw sewage smell.)
With some complaints, Mr. Ramsay is making mountains out of molehills: he enters through the wrong door due to a lack of signage. But he strikes drama gold with other discoveries.
The owners are deep in debt because they let friends stay and eat free; consequently, staff wages are low and their paychecks often late. The lobby is stuffed with antiques with more in the basement and in five backyard storage units. Oh, and the owners don't even live there, making their home in an RV parked outside -- giving guests a lousy view.
Viewers could get drunk easily playing a game watching "Hotel Hell" (drink every time Mr. Ramsay says, "This is insane!"), which follows the expected format: Discovery, exasperation, screaming, conflict, more screaming, warm-fuzzy resolution with some noticeable improvements to the inn.
-- Rob Owen
When: 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Fox.
Starring: Gordon Ramsay, above.
First Published August 12, 2012 12:00 am