Anthony is off to Sparks, NV to the 92-room Victorian Inn, owned by Marilyn Fink since 2003. Sparks is one of the fastest-growing cities in the area but revenue at the Victorian is down. Marilyn's daughters Marie and Angela called Anthony in and warn him that Marilyn won't listen to any of their suggestions. They want Anthony to show her how to run a business.
When Anthony pulls up to the hotel, he notes that the paint color is distinctive. Marie and Angela meet with him outside and explain that Marilyn needs help. She just filed for Chapter 11 and the taxes haven't been paid for three years. Five years ago she lost her home and lives on site, and two years ago she lost her other business. Anthony asks them what's broken and the daughters say that their mother doesn’t know what she's doing. If Marilyn loses the hotel then she'll live with them.
The daughters take Anthony to inspect a room since he figures guest room quality is the first thing to go down. He recoils at the stench and calls over a maintenance man. The man doesn't know what the odor is and Anthony says that it's damp from a water leak. They check the bathroom but don't find anything, and figure that it's in the walls. Anthony leaves the maintenance man to find the smell when he leaves, and asks the daughters what Marilyn thinks about the odor. Marie and Angela figure that she's never smelled the room.
Anthony asks if the room is average and they confirm that it is. He tells them that they need to do better to drive the average rate up, and they say that they can't stand to be in the room. The daughters admit that when Marilyn did have the money, she didn't do it. Now she ignores every suggestion they make, no matter how small.
Unable to stand the smell, Anthony checks the rest of the hotel and finds several cheap-looking banner signs out front. The front desk has a wood board covering over the air conditioning window, making it easy for anyone to break in. There's an observation deck that seems solid but looks like it's going to fall down. The back alley has graffiti on the walls. Anthony finds a guest and she says that she's been there for two and a half years. He finds that strange and the woman explains that she pays a reasonable rate for what she considers a studio apartment. She also says that a few other people have lived there longer than she has.
Before Anthony can talk to Marilyn, the maintenance man finds him and says that he's found the source of the smell. They go in and the man shows him the water leaking through the wall onto the TV stand. Anthony wonders why the housekeepers didn't notice, and the maintenance man assures him that he's not overreacting. The hotelier goes to find a housekeeper and notices an out-of-uniform woman carrying 30 pounds of linen in a sack. Anthony talks to the woman, Mercedes, and confirms that she is a housekeeper. Mercedes says that she doesn't have a uniform and the cart they use, they found in an alleyway. Anthony checks out the laundry room and confirms that it's not a laundry cart. He says that he'll do something about it and discovers that they have two residential washers and dryers for 92 rooms. Mercedes and Anna clean the rooms and do the laundry, and they spend a lot of time rewashing things. The housekeeper says that the machines do a good job given that a lot of their weeklies are drinkers and smokers, and sometimes they get sick. Anthony asks if she feels in danger from the guests and Mercedes says that she does.
Anthony goes back to the daughters and has them meet him in the lobby. They introduce him to the front desk agent, Sally, and he tells them that the lobby looks like a 1970s kitchen. The carpet is filthy and peeling, and the breakfast area doesn't work. The daughters admit that it's more like an apartment complex, and explains that Marilyn supports people that have lost their jobs by giving them free rooms. Anthony figures that they're losing $2,000 a month, and Marie and Angela admits that their mother's policy is putting her out of business.
Marilyn agrees to meet with Anthony in her own hotel room. She admits that she's stubborn but her daughters don't know everything that's going on. Marilyn confirms that her revenue has dropped $300,000 since she bought the place, and Anthony points out that other local hotels are doing well. He asks to speak to her banker and suggests that the best option might be to foreclose and let her walk away. Marilyn says that she has a lot invested in the hotel but Anthony isn't convinced.
Anthony brings in Casey Noble to check out the hotel. She's overwhelmed by the odd placement of the doors and the lack of wall square footage. Anthony wants her to fix the lobby and come up with a room design for $500, including labor. A guest stops in to get some coffee and Anthony confirms that she's lived there since the end of May. She's paying $980 a month, all utilities included, and getting all the coffee she can drink. Once the guest leaves, Anthony tells Casey that the owner isn't sure whether she's running a hotel or an apartment building.
At the bank, Anthony sits down with Marilyn's banker, Tom, and asks how much debt she has. He says that he's worked out a plan where she pays $10,500 per month for the next seven years to cover everything. Anthony realizes that he has to wean out the long-term clients, because otherwise her $1.2 million balloon payment will come due and the bank will take the Victorian. Tom points out that Marilyn has done everything possible to survive and the bank wants to work with her.
That night, Anthony discovers that the police have been called to the Victorian. A couple paying by the month are having problems, and Marilyn can't kick them out because of the advance payment. Anthony refuses to accept that behavior and warns Marilyn that if he were a guest, he'd check out.
The next morning, Anthony talks to Marilyn after he watches footage of the incident. She says that one of the residents was drinking and called the police because he claimed his wife was beating him. Anthony points out that Marilyn seemed to consider the situation normal, and she says that she doesn't have control over their behavior. They approach a guest and confirm that he's been there for four months. He plans to stay there until he and his three girls get a big house. The man is very grateful that Marilyn is taking care of him. Once he leaves, Anthony explains that Marilyn isn't supposed to take care of guests for four months. Another man wanders by and Marilyn says that he's lived there for two years, for $600 a month. Anthony tells her that those rates aren't going to let her perform proper management or have value to the bank. Marilyn says that she understands but Anthony isn't convinced.
To see if Marilyn is sincere, Anthony hires an actor, Steve, to see if Marilyn will help him more than she will help herself. The hotelier tells Steve to give Marilyn whatever sob stories he has to get a cheap room. The production crew set up hidden cameras in the lobby and Steve goes in. The actor claims that he's in the Army and needs a room for $400 a month. Instead of finding him a charity for service members, Marilyn considers it.
Anthony has Steve sit outside and goes in to talk to Marilyn. She admits that she's considering giving Steve the room for $13 a night, and insists that she wants to help people. Anthony asks her who is causing her problems, and Marilyn gets defensive. She insists that she wouldn't get any rent if the room sits unoccupied, but Anthony tells her that he can't help her run a halfway house. Marilyn breaks into tears and Anthony admits that he's humbled by her charity. However, he warns her that it will cost her the business and Marilyn seems to understand.
Casey and her team from Reno Renovators update the lobby, while Anthony takes Marilyn to the Best of the West Rib Cookoff run by another hotel. Tourists book most of the hotels in the area. Anthony has Marilyn join the audience while he joins into the Rib-Eating contest. They all start eating and when it's over, Anthony doesn't win. He then sets up a meeting with Stephen Ascuaga, the owner of the host hotel, the Nugget Hotel. Stephen agrees to talk to Marilyn and Anthony asks him what it takes to be a hotelier. The owner says that it requires passion and that they've had hard economic times, but they never cut back on cleaning and maintenance. Stephen invites Marilyn to come over any time and Anthony has her commit to come to Stephen for help.
Back at the Victorian, Anthony talks to Marie and Angela and says that their mother needs to understand that she has to do a complete shift in business. He tells them that to get rid of the $22/night guests, they have to both work there full-time. Anthony tells them to consider it overnight and decide if they want the hotel to survive or not.
The next day, Anthony meets with Marilyn and the daughters and asks Marie and Angela if they're willing to commit full-time. They agree to do it and Anthony asks Marilyn if she will change her behavior. She says that she won't rent out weeklies anymore and will now charge a rate of $64 a night. Anthony says that they'll notify all of the guests that their rates are going up so that Marilyn will have her business in a year. Marie will handle the office while Angela does inspections and Marilyn focuses on the bills.
While the family goes to work, Reno Renovators and Cintas clean up the rooms. Anthony checks with Casey about the $500 room renovation and she explains that she's keeping the old furniture. Casey is putting plastic stick-on material that looks like marble and Anthony is happy. He asks what the cost was and Casey says that it's going to run $600 a room, not including labor. Anthony reminds her that it has to include labor.
On the last day, Anthony takes the family to the housekeeping room and shows them that the staff now have proper uniforms. He's also arranged for industrial-size washers and dryers, donated by PWS. Marilyn can use the money she saved to pay down the mortgage. American Register has provided new carts.
Anthony takes the three women to the new room and they're very impressed. He shows them a deionizer that got the stink out of the room and tells them that the company donated seven of them. Casey comes in with Todd of Reno Renovators and explains that she reused the furniture they had. The room cost $600 dollars and Anthony assures them that with Todd's help they can do the rest of the rooms for the same rate.
Finally, Anthony shows off the new lobby with wood paneling and a better desk. There's more room for people to check in and better space for a continental breakfast, and they're satisfied that they can turn the place around. Share this article with your friends