The Hotel Leger, CA - Recap

<-- Previous EpisodeNext Episode -->
Anthony is heading for the Hotel Leger in Calaveras County, CA, near the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Mokelumne Hill. The hotel has thirteen unique guest rooms, a saloon, a billiards room, and a pool. Ashley Canty purchased the hotel in 2004 and is trying to return it to its former glory as one of the oldest hotels in the area and the heart of the town.

When Anthony pulls into town, he takes in the Old West décor of the hotel as he parks outside. However, the door to what appears to be the front desk is locked. He goes over and talks to a couple of women who have a horse with them and they point him through the doors to the front desk... in the saloon. The customers direct him to the bartender, and Anthony points out that if he had a family then his kids would have to come into the bar. The bartender admits that it has worn on some people and agrees that it is isn't very efficient.

The bartender gives Anthony a key to a room and points him in the right direction. The room is in the same Old West décor with chandeliers and couches. Anthony doesn't like the bedspread but it's clean and appropriate to the setting. However, he wonders why the hotel is losing money when the rooms are great and the bar is packed. He goes downstairs and discovers that most of the bar patrons are local residents. They all love the place and insist that it's the heartbeat of the town, and insist that saving the hotel will save the town.

The next morning, Anthony meets with Ashley and asks who is coming to the hotel. She explains that the population of the town was once 15,000, but is now 500 because the highway was changed and the town was bypassed. The town doesn't have shopping, restaurants, or convenience, so no one is coming there. Ashley explains that her mother worked at the Hotel Leger and she grew up there, and she wanted to see it restored to its final glory. She's in for $800,000 and behind with the lender. Anthony figures that it's about the town and tells Ashley that he saves hotels, not towns. He admits that he may not be able to help her save the hotel and that her only option may be to sell.

Anthony, stumped about how to market a hotel when there's no reason to come to the town, tours the grounds. The pool has a nice surrounding area but it's not clear or filtered and there's trash and junk everywhere. Anthony figures that he can clean it up and drive some business, but it won't be enough. Next he finds a set of open doors that lead into an underground chamber filled with more junk. He goes to ask Ashley about the room and she explains that it's the old jail. Anthony suggests that publicizing the jail as an event space could bring customers in, and figures that it has some potential. He agrees to help bring it back and they go to work.

Blanche Garcia arrives and Anthony shows her where the front desk is. The billiard room is the natural point of entry and Blanche starts working out how to open it up. Then Anthony takes her to the jail, worried that Blanche has a late start because it took him so long to work out how to save the hotel. She's less than thrilled with the jail and points out they have piping and open wires, and she doesn't have the people to remodel. Anthony figures that they can use it for weddings or wine testings but Blanche warns him that it will take a huge amount of work just to get it up to par. She finally refuses to do the jail and starts on the lobby.

Later, Anthony checks on Blanche's work and she shows him what she has planned for the lobby. When he asks for an update on the jail, she reminds him that she's not working on it. He asks if she can do it if he gets her more people, and Blanche warns him that she'll need a lot of help. Anthony then goes to Ashley and asks her to put as many townspeople together as she can so he can speak to them.

Anthony next meets with the general manager, Kimberly, who explains that the pool is actually better than it was when she started. The GM admits they don't have a professional maintenance person and practically no staff. The hotel is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays: guests are on their own if they are there on those days. Kimberly is working 24/7 to keep the hotel running with no support, and admits that she's on a treadmill going nowhere to make the hotel better.

The people gather at the town hall and Anthony explains that the hotel belongs to the town and that they will need to work with Ashley to make it look pristine. Ashley admits that she's given up ten years of life to keep the hotel going and everyone in town offers to help. They promise to be at the next morning at 9 a.m. to go to work and give Ashley a standing ovation.

The next morning, Anthony and Ashley go out and discover that almost the entire town has gathered on the street. Anthony brings Blanche out to harness all of their energy and the city commissioner, Steve Walenski, starts organizing everyone. They clean out the jail, spruce up the pool, and put in new floors and walls. However, the hotel's bookkeeper, Debbie, is unhappy that they're taking the pool tables out. She explains that she's been there 26 years working different jobs and is attached to them, and that they help to deal with the overflow from the bar. Anthony assures her that they will still have the area but Debbie wants to keep the pool tables anyway. That night, Anthony and Blanche start breaking the lobby wall to open up the area.

The next day, Anthony sits down with Ashley, Kimberly, and Debbie. He explains that they need staff and suggests that they form a co-op with the community. Volunteers will come in and Ashley and her team will determine what specials and free rooms that they get. Anthony admits that it's a unique solution but it should work given the spirit of the town. Next, he suggests that they create the Hotel Liger Preservation Society, a members-only club with access to the pool, dinner, drinks, and free birthday and anniversary stays. Ashley and her staff agree to the idea.

Anthony goes to the jail and checks with Blanche and Steve. He's happy that they've cleaned it out and put down a concrete floor, and asks if they can get it done in time. Blanche figures they have 20 minutes left on the lobby and the jail ready. They'll show Ashley the jail while Blanche and the townspeople finish the lobby.

Anthony takes Ashley, Debbie, and Kimberly downstairs and shows them the new area, which has antique furniture, shelves, and stucco. By the time they get done looking, Blanche is ready and Anthony takes them up to the new lobby. Even Debbie doesn't want the billiard tables back, and the townspeople have put a huge mural of the landscape on the wall. A disabled Vietnam vet has donated a piano on behalf of his fellow vets. They finally locate the new check-in window where there used to be a wall. Anthony then takes them out to the street where all of the townspeople have gathered and he thanks them for all of their hard work. Ashley thanks her fellow townspeople and they give her a round of applause.