August 20, 2012 10:30 PM by Melissa Stavarski
Did you catch the series premiere of Hotel Hell last week? It was the highest rated series to debut this summer! Basically, Hotel Hell is Kitchen Nightmares with a room key. This week, Gordon Ramsay checks into the Cambridge Hotel in Cambridge, New York.
The Cambridge Hotel is owned by John and Tina Imhof. John is a local lawyer who decided to buy the hotel on whim while drinking bourbon. You would think the bourbon part would be enough reason for Tina to veto the idea. Nope. Also, John has no experience. Tina still didn’t say no.
Sure, it could have been great.
It wasn’t. John reveals that they’re $750,000 in debt. John and Tina have borrowed money from both their parents and their children… they’re at risk of losing their own home… but John is unable to admit failure and walk away. They’re falling deeper and deeper into the black hole of debt.
Common complaints from the guests at the hotel are globs of hair everywhere, no TV remote controls, and dirty towels and linens. From the staff, budget restrictions in the kitchen and John’s controlling ways.
Upon arrival, Ramsay is freaked out by creepy pictures on the walls. Ramsay learns the hotel is haunted. Hoping to escape the horror that is the lobby, he asks Brittany, the hotel manager, to show him to his room. The room brings a different kind of horror story. Ramsay says, “Bloody hell!” Everything in the room is dated, uncomfortable, and covered in an ugly floral print. There’s an unexplained curtain rod hanging above the bed’s headboard. Hanging on it, Ramsay asks if the room comes with handcuffs. “Is this some kind of sex thing,” he asks. Then the rod breaks. Brittany seems to have a sense of humor about it all. She simply shakes Ramsay’s hand, welcomes him to Cambridge Hotel, and leaves the room.
When Ramsay can’t stand his room any longer, he goes downstairs to meet John and Tina. Ramsay compliments the exterior of the hotel. Ramsay says, “It’s stunning.. until you get inside.”
Ramsay scopes out the food next. Ramsay orders pork and beans. When it’s served to him, it’s cold in the middle. Seeing as how the Cambridge Hotel is the birthplace of apple pie a la mode, Ramsay is anxious to taste it. It’s gross. Ramsay has had enough. He heads into the kitchen, searching for answers. Ramsay asks head chef Rich, “What the (beep) is going on?”Apparently, all of the food is bought and boiled in bags. Ramsay comes to the conclusion that Rich chooses to use store bought dishes because he’s lazy.
Ramsay sums up the issues for John and Tina. The decor is outdated, the food is cheap, and the staff is micromanaged by John, which stifles them. Ramsay calls John a “lethal weapon.”
Ramsay makes a startling discovery overnight. The hotel’s main door remains unlocked all night long. Anyone can walk into the hotel at night, go behind the desk, and access the room keys and guests’ personal information. Shocked, Ramsay asks John and Tina why the hotel door isn’t locked. John simply says, “No good reason.” Ramsay is disgusted. He warns John – your reputation will be ruined if anything serious would happen here. Ramsay urges John and Tina to save their home and sell the hotel, as they’re clearly not fit to run it.
Ramsay tells Brittany to take charge for one night. Additionally, Ramsay orders Rich to only cook with fresh ingredients. Brittany plans a Ladies Night. John isn’t happy about the idea. This kind of “party” isn’t the atmosphere he’s striving for. Because John cannot be trusted to stay away, Ramsay puts John in time out on the third floor of the inn, which is normally off limits. Ramsay makes John sit in a room with a creepy mannequin that has no hands. For reasons unknown, the mannequin normally stands in a window. John mumbles that Ramsay has no clue…
Meanwhile, ladies night is a success.
John’s daughter checks in with John. John’s sitting on a silky blue couch next to a dead plant, seething. John’s daughter manages to get through to him – he needs to trust his staff to do what they were hired to do and spend more time at home with his wife and grandchild. John finally agrees.
Ramsay makes some changes to the guest rooms and the kitchen. Part of his surprise includes $75,000 in donated towels and linens and Ramsay’s own apple pie and ice cream recipes. Ramsay tells John, “Stay hopeful but don’t get too involved.”
Before leaving the hotel, Ramsay finds Scooter. Scooter works in the kitchen. He’s young, eager to learn, and hopes to one day own his own bakery. Ramsay encourages Scooter to work hard. Ramsay offers to pay for Scooter’s college education… to help him get that much closer to realizing his dream.
Unfortunately, after Ramsay leaves, the bank forecloses on the hotel. Cambridge Hotel shut its doors for the last time in June. However, Scooter is working hard at catering college. His dream of running a bakery is still very much alive.
Did you watch Hotel Hell? What did you think?
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Photo credit: FOX