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Series: Hotel Hell
"Hotel Hotel Hell / If you think the beer is rotten / You should see the clientele "

An American reality television show that first aired on FOX on August 13, 2012. Following a format similar to Kitchen Nightmares, the show follows Gordon Ramsay as he visits hotels in dire need of assistance.

The second season premiered in July 2014 after a two-year hiatus.


This show provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: The owner of the Monticello Hotel, Phillip, was revealed to have a drinking problem, with multiple DUI offences under his belt. It probably goes without saying that the Hotel itself suffered because of it (though that was far from its only problem). He had been entered into rehab by the episode's end, however.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The stylish Keating Hotel in San Diego is made to evoke Ferrari cars (the owner, being a supercar fanboy, hired an automotive designer to decorate the hotel in his requested image.) Too bad the hotel's operations weren't nearly as sleek and smooth as the decor. Case in point: All service calls were routed through the front desk, and the restaurant was housed in a separate building down the street.
  • Bad Boss:
    • The premiere episode, featuring Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor, Vermont, has an example in Robert, the manager. Between his spending money on antiques for decoration, as well as a $100,000 motorcoach, his failure to pay his staff on time or a decent paycheck, and his obvious lack of understanding of why his staff is on the verge of revolting against him, it's fairly clear why the inn isn't doing so well.
    • invoked Phillip, the owner of the Monticello Hotel, has a serious alcohol problem, and does his damnedest to save a penny, including cutting down on hours for his staff (forcing them to come in early and not even clock in), and putting up his own used furniture in the rooms (including mattresses stained with his own semen). Luckily, by the end of the episode, he's gotten help, checked into rehab, and the hotel's head chef (himself sober for nine years) has offered to be his sponsor.
    • Vanda and Rita, the sisters who owned the Calumet Inn only because their investor father purchased the building in their name. Both were overly emotional and insisted on taking all the power for themselves, forcing their general manager to be a server, busser, and front desk assistant, among other menial tasks not befitting her position.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Cambridge Hotel episode ended with the revelation that the bank foreclosed on the hotel between Gordon's visit and the airing of the episode, despite making a turnaround. The "sweet" part? Gordon Ramsay found a promising 19 year old named Scooter working in the kitchen to put himself through college, planning to open a bakery when he was done...and decided to pay for Scooter's college fees, on the condition that Scooter send Ramsay a loaf of fresh bread after he opened the bakery.
  • Brick Joke: At the Calumet Inn, Ramsay chastises the owners' father for buying them a hotel despite their lack of experience, adding that if he really wanted to teach them responsibility, he should have bought them a goldfish. At the end of the episode, Ramsay's parting gift to the sisters is a pair of goldfish for them to take care of.
  • Brown Note: For Ramsey, the music of the awful Cher impersonator (AKA the owner) becomes this.
  • Brutal Honesty: Ramsey's modus operandi.
  • Catch Phrase: Whenever people show up on the first day of Ramsay's visit to check out the various hotels and restaurants, he likes to state in his narration, "I feel sorry for all of them" (or some variation thereof.)
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: David, the owner and co-manager of the Hotel Chester, is a former hotel turnaround specialist with a master's degree in hospitality management. Yet he's helpless to turn around his own hotel, probably due to a car wreck that ruined his health.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Par for the course since it's a Ramsay show. Most of the time, the chefs' incompetence is due to the pressures placed on them by their even more incompetent bosses.
    • The Keating Hotel's chef actually passed out - in front of Ramsay, no less - due to his high anxiety and dehydration.
    • The Hotel Chester's chef - the owner's wife - had zero training, and it showed in her weird, ill-advised experiments with sushi. Case in point: giant rolls that wouldn't fit in anyone's mouth and had cream cheese in the middle, and of course the Strawberry Fields sushi.
    • The owner of the Four Seasons Inn essentially pretended he was a chef so he could hide in the kitchen away from his unhappy guests, and it showed in the inedible food: doughy bread, apple risotto made with apple concentrate, and ravioli that even Gordon could only describe as "bizarre". The actual chef was so ashamed at what was served to Gordon that he broke down in tears.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Hotel Chester's owner. Gordon made it a point of commenting on how dry his sense of humor was.
  • Dreadful Musician: The owner of the Meson de Mesilla fancied herself as the next Cher, and insisted on performing live in every dinner service. To say that the guests (and Gordon) disagreed would be a massive understatement, and between her poor singing and the cheap, crappy speakers that she played her music through, it produced an effect that bordered on Mind Screw.
  • Ear Worm: (In-Universe) In the season two premiere, Meson de Mesilla owner Cali insisted on singing Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" during every dinner service. Gordon admitted at the end that the song will probably be stuck in his head forever.
  • Face Palm: Gordon Ramsay standard - he's done both the facepalm and the double facepalm. At one point in the Calumet Inn episode, Gordon is doing this as a Funny Background Event.
  • Follow the Leader: Has the same premise as The Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible, but featuring Gordon Ramsay rather than Anthony Melchiorri.
  • Head Desk: Gordon Ramsay does it in the final episode of the first season, "Roosevelt Inn," after the owner, who is also serving as head chef, can't even serve him a proper soft-boiled egg.
  • Hell Hotel: What Ramsay has to deal with in every episode, more or less.
  • Hidden Depths: Early in the Meson de Mesilla episode, Gordon meets one of the hotel's prep chefs, a young man named David who seems hyperactive and whose competence seems suspect at best. The following morning, he goes to the town's market, and finds out that he also runs a food truck which has a huge queue, and Gordon gets a breakfast taco that he really enjoys. As a result, Gordon gets him to put together a proper breakfast menu for the hotel, which originally didn't do breakfast services.
  • Hope Spot: Early in the second half of the Juniper Hill episode, Gordon persuades co-owner Robert to sell off his collection of antiques, which is supposedly worth around a quarter of a million dollars, which would clear up the hotel's debts and leave enough funds for it to operate for the next year regardless of guest numbers. Gordon then calls in an antiques dealer... who promptly tells him and Robert that the collection is made up of copies and items that were never that valuable to begin with, and is therefore completely worthless. Cue a massive Face Palm from Gordon, as it dawns on both he and Robert how bad the situation really is.
  • I Ate WHAT?:
    • The Keating Hotel restaurant served a "dessert pizza" made with Nutella, strawberries, and bacon. Cue Ramsay spitting out the one bite he was willing to take.
    • Strawberries make another appearance at the Hotel Chester, where the owner's wife puts them on sushi.
      Gordon: On behalf of every Japanese chef in America, I'd like to apologize.
  • Insistent Terminology: In the premiere episode, hotel manager Robert corrects Ramsay in a Confession Cam when Ramsay chastises him for buying a $100,000 RV, claiming that it was a "motorcoach, a higher class version of an RV."
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: The Monticello Hotel's name is not pronounced "Montichello" (like the historic mansion), but rather "Montisello."
  • Jerk Ass: Ari of Juniper Hill, and John of the Roosevelt Inn. The former even when the hotel was turned around treated staff and guests with contempt and was described by his boyfriend as "emotionally constipated," while the latter was only in the business to feed his ego and made numerous threats of violence. He was as if Russell was a hotel owner.
  • Man Child: The Roosevelt Hotel owner. Remember, he used to go to school there...
    • The owner of the Keating Hotel essentially ran his hotel by putting in everything he thought was cool, regardless of whether it made any sense. This, for example, is why his entire hotel was designed to look like a Ferrari, and also why there were 150 items on the restaurant's menu, despite getting no more than 50 customers a night.
  • May-December Romance: Phillip, the Monticello Hotel owner, is thirty years younger than his paramour and co-manager Ginger.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: At the Roosevelt Hotel, the owner stages a monthly Sherlock Holmes-esque mystery dinner, and he and everyone else put on ridiculous English accents that waver between this and Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping.
    • He even proclaims that his English accent is better than Ramsay's. Except Ramsay is from Glasgow. Granted, his accent is a little less Scottish than most, but still...
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: While eating lunch at the Meson de Mesilla, Gordon has to put up with the owner's horrid Cher cover as live entertainment. When he learns she's going to do it again at dinner, he has basically this reaction.
  • Olive Garden: The Meson de Mesilla again, which is decorated in a generic Italian theme (beige walls covered in Venetian plaster, tapestries depicting bucolic Tuscan views, etc.) Other than being Author Appeal on the owner's part, it makes no sense, especially given the setting (Las Cruces, NM) - and the building's traditional Southwestern architecture makes the contrast even more jarring.
  • Once an Episode: Ramsay getting into the shower or bath, and making it a point of presenting his (censored) bare ass to the camera. It might border on Fan Disservice for some, or Fetish Fuel for others.
  • Only Sane Employee:
    • Joanna from the Applegate River Lodge. She's the only thing keeping the hotel's doors open, with no help from her lazy stoner ex-husband or feuding sons.
    • Mandy, the general manager (in name only; see Bad Boss above) of the Calumet Inn. When she eventually performed a Rage Quit after becoming so fed up with the owners' incompetence, Ramsay was sure the hotel would fall apart without her.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: The two sisters that run the Calumet Inn are in their late 20's/early 30's, respectively, but are spoiled rich kids that have little-to-no real world experience, much less an understanding of how to run a business. This doesn't stop them from micromanaging the staff, though.
  • Product Placement:
    • Gordon's iPad and GMC Yukon XL feature prominently in several episodes.
    • In the second season, he switches to a Lincoln Navigator, and brings in furniture from Overstock.com for the inevitable hotel makeover.
  • Rage Quit: Ramsay when Robert lied about not taking his staff's tips. He came back to make sure the staff got paid.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: See also Title Theme Tune below.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Layla, the owner's dog from Four Seasons Inn.
    • The same could be said of the other dogs that show up in the episode.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Mandy does this at the Calumet Inn, even after Ramsay told her that she was the best thing about the hotel. Eventually, she did agree to come back as general manager, but only if owners Vanda and Rita left her and the hotel alone.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill:
    • Ramsay always asks up-front how much the rooms in each hotel cost per night. Since many of the hotels featured are luxury or high-end places, they can get pretty high, but the Keating Hotel really takes the cake: each room costs close to $800 per night! It's implied that the owner's constant spending on pretty Euro-car decor is a major factor in this: the in-room Jacuzzi tubs alone cost $20,000+ each (and they're not only uncomfortably modern-styled, but noisy as hell too.)
    • Anyone who damages the Venetian plaster on the walls at the Meson de Mesilla will be faced with this thanks to the waiver the guests are all required to sign (although Gordon simply tears his in half) - according to the owner, the faux-marble finish costs $7.50 per square foot to replace.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The owner of the Mason de Mesilla was so confident in her (nonexistent) musical ability that she installed three stages throughout the hotel where she could perform, complete with a sound and speaker system.
  • The Stinger: Several episodes of the second season end with a particularly stupid quote by one of the owners.
  • Strictly Formula: Each episode follows broadly the same pattern:
    • Gordon arrives at the hotel, has trouble checking in, and finds both his own room and the overall decor to look pretty awful. Usually the rooms are horribly expensive as well.
    • After checking out the (usually sub-par) amenities and speaking with the staff, Gordon samples the hotel's food, which is predictably bad.
    • At the end of the first day, Gordon confronts the owner on their cluelessness about the hotel industry as a whole. Sometimes the hotelier admits being out of their depth, but usually they remain oblivious to the problems, even though the rest of the staff are perfectly aware what's going wrong.
    • The second day starts with Gordon stripping off and taking a bath or shower, before gathering the owner and all the guests (or former guests, if the hotel's doing really badly) in his room, where the guests unanimously agree that they would never stay in that hotel again as it is. Sometimes Gordon will bring out a UV light and show the horrifying stains on the bed and carpet. If the owner has been uncooperative with Gordon until now, this is where they'll finally realize the error of their ways.
    • Gordon brings in his design team to give the hotel a makeover. Depending on the chef's level of skill, Gordon will either let the chef rip up the owner-imposed menu and let them redesign it from scratch, or will just create the new menu himself.
    • A bunch of guests show up, and there may be some teething troubles, but otherwise everything goes well, and Gordon checks out, talking about how the hotel can succeed if the owners try hard enough.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gordon has to give this to the hotel owner in the very first episode after hearing some of the appalling stuff he was doing, including withholding pay from his employees and cheap-skating on food quality... while simultaneously spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on paintings and antiques and charging fifty-four dollars for a single meal.
    • He also has to give one to the two sisters that own the Calumet Inn, in order to make them realize how extremely out of their depth they were.
  • Title Drop: At both the River Rock Inn and the Monticello Hotel when Ramsay realizes his sheets are stained with bodily fluids.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Robert from the Juniper Hill Inn sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into antiques he apparently never got properly appraised before purchase. When Gordon brings in an appraiser from an auction house, it turns out that the collection is worth only a fraction of what Robert paid for it.
  • Title Theme Tune: The eponymous "Hotel Hell" by the Australian band Skyhooks.
  • Trash the Set: Unwittingly done by Gordon when he arrived at the Cambridge Hotel, and found a strange bar above his bed. After joking that it'd probably be useful for bondage situations, he gave the bar a tug — and caused it to immediately break off the wall, whereupon it landed on and smashed the room's bedside lamp.
  • Verbal Tic: David, the animated prep cook from the Meson de Mesilla, seems to end every sentence with "Sir" when speaking to Ramsay at first - but when he's in his element, making typical Southwestern cuisine at his own food truck, he drops this hyperactive disposition altogether, becoming far more mellow.
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alternative title(s): Hotel Hell
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