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Sleeping on the Job - Hotel Impossible Recap

Wow. Worst General Manager ever. A shuttle service that drives off without picking up guests. Condoms in the rooms. Non-guests sleeping in the lobby. Only on Hotel Impossible.

Sleeping on the Job


Anthony is called in to the CitiGarden Hotel in San Francisco. His camera crew was in earlier that morning and caught a guest complaining about the overflowing toilet in his room. Expedia has published dozens of similar reviews of CitiGarden and Anthony is shaken. He enters the parking lot and notes that the logo looks like a gas station. The exterior looks like an office building.

Entering the lobby, Anthony is impressed despite himself. He talks with a front desk agent, Ermalina, who says that she's been working there 12 years. Ermalina says that her biggest challenge is guests who complain about the lack of towels. A housekeeper agrees but Anthony doesn't believe it. he tells them about the Expedia reviews, and has Ermalina read about the sticky mattresses and the front desk agents. The housekeeper explains that the employees have to train new people rather than the GM>

A new employee comes up and says that she received good training. She doesn't know how many hotels are in the room, and neither do the other two employees. Anthony gets the keys for three rooms and the owner, Bang Ja Kim, greets him. She's there with her dog, Yepi, and says that she has to spend all of the money she makes into repairs. Bang says that she wants Anthony to make the hotel a name brand and he assures her that people know the CitiGarden as the worst hotel in the area. The owner is surprised to hear that, and even more surprised when Anthony tells her that he found a roach in the lobby five minutes ago. He wonders what else he's going to find and warns Bang that she may have to pay a lot of money.

As he goes outside, Anthony finds a surprisingly attractive garden courtyard. However, it's just grass and a couple of trees. Anthony continues to the first guest room, selling for $99 a night. Inside he finds old bedding and a banged-up desk. The chair has stains and the cushion comes off. The light doesn't work and there is a pile of plastic spoons behind the TV console. In the next room, Anthony finds a peach pit in the seat cushion, a 2011 phone book, and a used condom wedged behind the bed. He figures that the GM is responsible for the poor inspection of the housekeeping.

Anthony meets with the GM, Andre, and Bang in the hotel conference room. Andre confirms that he's been there 13 months, and Bang is good friends with his mother. The GM says that he's worked at three other hotels that his mother owns and knows all of the jobs. Anthony shows him what he found, finishing with the condom, and Andre says that they rely on guests to report problems in the room. The hotelier explains that as GM, Andre is supposed to anticipate problems before they arise. Anthony brings out the star report and explains that they're losing $5 million a year to the competition. Andre admits that they're operationally deficient, and Anthony says that he'd fire him if he was his GM.

Designer Blanche Garcia comes in and admires the courtyard. Anthony doesn't want to spend very much money there and then takes her to a room. He wants Blanche to give Bang something that has a brand.

The next day, Blanche brings in a team from Bruce Construction work on the room. Meanwhile, Anthony has learned that the airport shuttle service is inconsistent, and a lot of guests have missed their flight. He waits in the lobby for a shuttle to come, and it arrives a minute early. However, when Anthony goes out, the shuttle driver sees him and drives away before he can get to it. Anthony runs after it and slams on the door, but the driver keeps going. Inside, Elmerani tells Anthony that it happens every day, and the shuttle is controlled by an outside company that doesn't answer calls.

Anthony talks to Andre about what happened, and Andre says that the driver is supposed to sign in. He goes to get the sign-in sheet and discovers that it's missing. When he says that there was one the day before, Anthony tells him to get it. No one knows where it is, and Andre says that he'll get another one made. Anthony asks if he can get out of the contract, and Andre says that he doesn't know because he didn't sign the contract. He measures the problems by looking at the reimbursements they give to guests to take a cab. Anthony wants a documented list of every shuttle complaint from the last six months, so they can take it to Bang's lawyer. He asks if there's anything Andre has to say to him, and Andre doesn't.

Blanche and her team continue working on the model room, putting in a new tile and mirror. The designer calls in Rebecca Dye, a landscape architect from Design Focus International. Rebecca and Blanche agree to add more color and fragrance and prepare a model section to show Bang what it will feel like.

Back in the lobby, Anthony notices a man sleeping who was there two years ago when the shuttle arrived. Elmerani confirms that he works for the company next door and sleeps in the hotel lobby every day. Anthony brings Andre out and says that it's a huge problem, and Andre admits that he's ineffective. He lets Anthony handle the situation so he can learn, and Anthony gently but firmly wakes the guest up and tells him to get out. The guest accepts the news amiably enough and leaves, and Anthony tells Andre to call the police if it happens again.

Anthony checks out the complimentary breakfast and discovers that they throw frozen pancakes and waffles in an old basket. Butter is out and canned fruit is dumped in a bowl without ice. Anthony talks to some of the guests and they agree with him.

Unsure if Andre can handle things when he's gone, Anthony has Andre and his assistant GM Alfonso inspect a room. They don't know that Anthony hid food throughout the room. After 15 minutes, they find most of the items, but missed the bed and the spare pillow. Anthony points out the mold in the grouting, and says that Andre isn't taking care of the basics.

Andre compiles the bad shuttle reviews and says that if there are enough issues he can get out of the contract. However, he doesn't have a backup plan. Anthony walks him through setting up a profit-and-loss statement on running two of their own shuttles, and getting a contract from another company.  As Anthony goes to check the renovation, he notices the payroll safe in the hallway, on wheels. He wheels it into the GM's office in the hopes that Andre will notice. Andre comes in a few minutes later and sees the safe, and Anthony steps out and asks why the safe is on wheels. He admits that it's been on wheels for a week and Anthony tells him to fix it.

Anthony brings in some top hospitality experts to move the CitiGarden into the future. They come up with a plan but need Bang to pay for it. Mark Fried, Larry Broughton, and Blanche Garcia meet with Bang and Anthony explains that he's an advocate for the guests. Larry explains that the property needs an absolute change in the guest service experience. His company will take over management duties and assign Andre to a position he can handle.

Blanche then talks about the outdoor area and shows Bang a rendering of what she has in mind. The owner is impressed, and Mark and his team with Think Creative have come up with a new name for the hotel: Park Pointe Hotel. Changing the hotel name will let them avoid the bad associations from the online reviews. However, they need Bang to sign off on the investment necessary. Anthony gives her overnight to think about it.

Afterward, Anthony tells Andre that he isn't handle being the GM. Andre agrees and Anthony assures him that he'll be more valuable as the occupancy goes up.

On the last day, Blanche and her team continue their work. Bang hasn't made a decision, and Anthony shows her the new breakfast spread provided by Creative Breakfast Concepts. He then shows her the model area of the new park, and finally takes her to Blanche's new room. Bang is happy with the renovations, and Blanche explains that she built the wall out to give the room the look of more space. They took out the tub and put in a shower pan to give it a more European feel. The designer brings in Rick from Bruce Construction and thanks him.

Anthony takes Bang out to the park and asks what she's decided on his proposed rebranding plan.  She agrees to finance the investment and agrees to make the hotel comfortable for her guests.

- travel CHANNEL
- Anthony Melchiorri
- Hotel Impossible

Written by: Van Troughton
Dec 30th, 2014, 12:42 pm

Images courtesy of Travel Channel

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