August 13, 2012 11:00 PM by Melissa Stavarski
On Gordon Ramsay‘s new Fox series Hotel Hell, the famous chef turns his attention to struggling hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts. Much like Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay attempts to turn around these declining businesses. In part one of the two-part premiere, Ramsay arrives at the Juniper Hill Inn in Vermont, where he’s welcomed by an egomaniac and a horrid smell.
The Juniper Hill Inn is owned by Robert Dean II and Ari Nikki. The Vermont backdrop and the grounds of the inn are beautiful, and Ramsay is anxious to get inside. The first door he approaches is locked. Seriously?! Perhaps we’ve just uncovered one clue as to why this business is struggling.
Note to Robert and Ari: Gotta let the customers inside!
So, Ramsay treks across the snow-covered grounds to find an unlocked door. He enters and is caught off guard by the sheer amount of stuff inside the inn – art, antiques, knickknacks, furniture, and the list goes on. There’s even a sign hanging on the wall that reads: Do Not Touch the
Clutter Artwork. Robert is very proud of his collection. He believes one should live among nice things, if they can afford to, and he isn’t shy about catering to the wealthy. The only problem – Robert cannot afford to be such a snob. The inn is losing upwards of $200,000 a year.
Probably needing to digest what he’s learned already, Ramsay asks to go to his room. Robert leads him to room number one. Sleeping in room number one at the Juniper Hill Inn costs $700 for two nights. Yikes!
Immediately upon entering the room, Ramsay is hit with a smell, which he describes as a mix of sewage and dead bodies. When Ramsay tells Robert the rooms smells, Robert simply says “it does smell” and blames a plumbing problem. Ramsay
is speechless bluntly says, “$350 a night for a room that smells like s**t. You’re kidding me!” Ramsay tries room number two. This one is much better. Ramsay exclaims, “Wow! It’s gorgeous and doesn’t smell like crap.”
When Ramsay mentions lunch, Robert informs him the inn doesn’t serve lunch unless it’s requested. For crying out loud, this is Gordon freaking Ramsay, and he’s requesting lunch! Why is this even being discussed?!
Ramsay meets Barbara. Barbara is a seventy-year-old server who has a crush on Ramsay. He sweetly showers her in compliments before getting down to business. Ramsay is sickened to hear about the payroll crisis at the inn. Apparently, Robert and Ari think paying their employees is optional.
Then, Ramsay realizes there aren’t any prices on the menu. He questions the cost – a three-course meal costs $59. Unless you get lamb, then it’s $74. Horrified by the price, Ramsay asks how any locals can afford to eat at the inn. Robert turns his nose up at the thought, suggesting the locals certainly cannot afford the $59 per meal price tag and, therefore, they’re not “appropriate” clientele. His arrogance is astounding. Ramsay isn’t happy with the food he has been served, so he requests dessert. Barbara brings him a nice-looking dessert that has been cut in half. Ramsay says, “$74 and the dessert is cut in half?! This place is insane.” Ramsay demands the rest of his dessert.
Ramsay brings the staff, including chef Giulian, and Robert together. Robert places all the blame on his employees. The employees shoot back, saying they’re disgusted he spends all his time in a fancy $100,000 RV outside of the inn. Sorry – according to Robert it’s a “motor coach,” which a higher-end RV. <insert eye rolls> While Robert is living the high life in his “motor coach,” his employees are struggling to makes ends meet since they’re not being paid.
A tour of the inn and its grounds reveals hoarder-like conditions, including pigs that live in the basement. After talking to the rest of the current employees, one former employee, and Ari, the one bankrolling this operation, Ramsay quickly realizes where Juniper Hill’s problems begin. Ramsay says to Ari, “Juniper Hill Inn is a playground for your boyfriend Robert. Your biggest problem isn’t Juniper Hill. Your biggest problem is Robert.”
The inn’s dinner service is awful. Robert and Ari are too busy showing off their antiques and art to care about what’s happening in the dining room and/or kitchen. All the guests are seated simultaneously, creating a nightmare for chef Giulian, drink orders aren’t being billed, and the food coming out of the kitchen is not up to par. Ramsay orders Robert and Ari to the kitchen. Ramsay tells Robert, “Put away your phone, take off your jacket, find your balls, and communicate with your staff!”
For reasons unknown, the staff at Juniper Hill Inn hasn’t walked out on Robert and Ari. Honestly, why have they stayed under these conditions for so long? They must be paid well. Oh, wait. They’re NOT even being paid. Robert refuses to take any responsibility, blaming the lack of a secretary. Ramsay loses his patience and calls Robert a disrespectful and disgusting man. Ramsay demands Robert and Ari forget about their fantasy “antiques roadshow,” stop nitpicking, and take charge.
Ramsay calls Robert a (well deserved) “pompous f**k.”
Robert says, “Exxxxccccussssse me?” If nothing else, he sure is funny.
To be continued… Tune in to Hotel Hell on Tuesday night to see what becomes of Juniper Hill Inn.
Did you watch the premiere of Hotel Hell? What did you think?
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Photo credit: FOX