world renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay is stepping out
of the kitchen to approach a larger task, Hotels.
After success in his Kitchen shows, including Hell's
Kitchen, MasterChef and Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon
will try to save Hotels from all around the states. He'll
travel to San Diego, California; Couer d'Alene, Idaho; Cambridge,
New York; Milford, Pennsylvania; and Winter, Vermont to
fix horrid hotels, awful inns, and just plain bad bed and
Each week, Gordon Ramsay will take on hotel's at their
worst including filthy bedrooms and mold-ridden bathrooms
to dreadful room service and incompetent staff. And while
this is all going on, the unsuspecting guests are paying
too much for inadequate service. After he has uncovered
the issues, Ramsay will put the hotel owners and employees
to work as he attempts to turn around these failing establishments.
With reputations on the line, one thing is certain: if they
can't meet Ramsay's high standards, they will never check
out of Hotel Hell.
We had the chance to catch up with Chef Ramsay recently
on a conference call where he spoke about everything Hotel
Hell and more! Check out all of his insight he had to share
with us below!
The two-night series premiere of Hotel
is Monday, August 13 and Tuesday, August 14 at 8:00/7:00c
With your other shows you were all into the kitchen
stuff. What made you want to branch out into doing hotels?
I've stayed in thousands-literally thousands-and I have
a small boutique hotel in London. It's at Regent's Park
I think on the back of the ups and downs and the-I suppose
the laziness that I started witnessing even coming back
from a long day at work or even a holiday with the kids,
I always found there was something not quite right within
And then, of course, the fortunate positions of these places,
because they're landmark addresses and big buildings, they
think that they don't really have to work as hard as they
should do because of their position-so partly the stuff
I've experienced and also-scratch beneath the surface. When
you see a pristine hotel room. You can find problems anywhere.
the biggest mistake you see hotels making?
The biggest mistake is when they start becoming systematic
in terms of they see a bedspread, and they think it's new
and it looks great. Just because it looks neat and tidy,
it doesn't mean it's clean. The worst scenario with hotels
is the fact they're open 365 days a year. Airplanes can't
even fly that long. They need to be reassessed and repositioned
Hotel rooms are the exact same; they take such an abuse.
You think of seven nights a week, four weeks a month, 12
months a year, 365 days a year-these things are relentless,
so they take their toll, but they never, ever stop and completely
transform those rooms properly.
Have you ever had a really bad hotel experience that
encouraged you to want to do this?
I think just on the back of the experiences I've experienced
myself personally, and I have hundreds of e-mail over the
last couple years-in fact, into the thousands-stating it's
all very well fixing restaurants, but there are hotels in
dire straits that are ripping customers off.
I think the one thing that we never do enough of is that
we never complain. Every hotel is up of negotiating and
bantering those prices down. Like restaurants, the sad news
is with hotels anybody can buy one, and I've come across
some very arrogant, inexperienced owners of hotels-because
they've got the money, they think that they've got the right
to dictate what they should be serving to the public because
they bought the place. That's not always the case.
Did you find that the attitudes were different depending
on which geographical region you were in, or was there any
particular area you found to be more distressed than another?
I think it's been harder-more so than ever this year-for
everybody in the hospitality sector, but I didn't really
see a difference in terms of location, whether it's in San
Diego or upstate New York.
What I did notice more than anything was the fact that
when these places are so isolated in the way that they are
off the beaten track, and they're in a small provincial
town, then they think that they are almost like historic
landmarks that customers will just travel to because they're
en route to a skiing resort or en route to a Disneyland
They think because there's no big hotels within their area
that they can do as little as they need to do to get by
because the customers are driving past on a daily basis.
They take their position for granted because of the landmark
address, and they think that's good enough to draw customers
in. Well it's not, quite frankly, at those prices.
really didn't see a change in attitude of regions. I just
saw more of a mainstream, almost incompetence, on the back
of their positions where they thought because they're in
a particular area, they had their customers at their feet,
and that was never the case.
Were there any special caveats that you were looking
for when choosing the hotels that you visited? Were you
looking for places that definitely incorporated a strong
restaurant presence, or were you looking for the landmarks,
the older places?
A bit of both, really-the landmark, historic-because you
never want to let go of a historic hotel within the vicinity
and what that stands for. The one in Whitechapel, again,
when you think of where it was, how big it was- the Cambridge
pie-a-la-mode was invented there-these places are amazing
buildings just for the local community, let alone the business.
So it was sad, really, just to see how some of them have
not just lost their way but almost given up.
Like I said earlier, these things are relentless. You have
to be over everything-more so than a restaurant. A restaurant
can close down at Thanksgiving. We can shut it at Christmas,
Labor Day. We can close these places down and revamp them,
but hotels are taking an absolute pounding seven days a
week, and that is a big upkeep. Even if it's a 25 or 30
bedroom hotel, it still needs to be run efficiently.
I came across one hotel, and I couldn't quite understand
why there was this smell. It was horrific, and the room
was gorgeous. And he said, "Oh, we've had a sewage
problem." I said, "How long have you had it for?"
He said, "Well, it's been running for the last four
months." "Well how can you rent this place out
when it smells?" You can't smell that on TV.
But then literally two days later I found there was a pen
of pigs downstairs in the basement. They have these pigs-and
this is in the winter with snow on the ground, so if that's
what it smelled like in the winter, goodness knows what
it'd be like in the summer.
Did you find that the attitudes were different working
with these hotel owners who have so many different areas
of business to focus on from the stay in the rooms to the
restaurant and the quality of food versus working with people
who were just chefs?
I found the attitudes a little bit more disconcerting,
a little bit more arrogant, and almost like they were a
cut above the rest of them-you'll do as you're told, and
I'm an owner, and what I say goes. So because they buy antiques,
they thought they had the right to dictate his favorite
recipe on the menu, something like $47 upstate New York.
It was more expensive than my lunch menu in the middle of
Manhattan in New York. So yes, to be honest worse than chefs,
and I think pretentious beyond belief.
you're talking about balancing high standards for 365 days
a year, what are things that you do to ensure that yourself
and things that other hotel owners can do to ensure their
own high standards and quality?
Every day I have reports, up to 20, sometimes 30 individual
reports whether it's a coachhouse stay at the York &
Albany Hotel in London-a little boutique hotel-whether it's
an early supper or The Narrows, or even a steak last night
in Vegas. So I have mystery shoppers and mystery sleepers
that on a daily basis, seven days a week I spend over $100,000
a year on paying for complimentary meals in order to get
the good feedback I need on a daily basis to handle the
volume of customers we deal with.
We do make mistakes. There's no two ways about that. But
what I can reassure is that we can nip those mistakes in
the bud. Nothing festers. Nothing gets out of control. And
the bigger we become, I think the more important that we
focus on that customer feedback instantly. It's not like
waiting for a food critic to come in and eat; it literally
is five minutes after their experience. It's viral. We get
to deal with it. And we nail it immediately.