5 Eccentric Owners From Gordon Ramsay's "Hotel Hell"
Cali was a Cher impersonator and a bad one at best. There were a couple of times she was shown in the episode singing “If I Could Turn Back Time.” She got her start at a young age where her mom worked at a bar and she sang there as a child. Cali wanted to be a singer but her career never took off.
Cali instead decided to purchase a hotel in order to be able to sing. Rather than helping her launch a singing career, Cali ended up being a sideshow. She was a laughingstock and instead of being an attraction to the establishment, she drove people away.
She also did a lot of things wrong when it came to the hotel business. The hotel business is in the hospitality business and nothing says lack of hospitality more than welcoming guests with a waiver that states that you will not damage the Venetian plaster. She also does not have visible signage and Gordon actually got lost even with a GPS system helping him as he could not locate the place. The décor is nothing but beige and uses very tacky drapes and table covers. The food is supposed to be “a taste of Tuscany” but is awful and tastes nothing like the food in the region.
Just as in any episode of Hotel Hell, Gordon spends a tidy sum revamping the place and also spends effort revamping the menu. The food is now fresh and fabulous. The poolside, hotel rooms and restaurant now look stunning. Instead of being grateful like most owners, Cali now freaks out on how much work it will take to setup and clean the poolside area. She also is frantically searches for the drapes. This infuriated Gordon and he deemed Cali as ungrateful.
Due to the exposure from the show, there was an uptick in business. Cali did implement some of Gordon’s changes but did some changes of her own. The hotel was sold in March 2017 and now has new owners.
Richard “Pa Butt” Davis
Richard “Pa Butt” Davis
Richard Davis is your stereotypical stoner. He is mellow and is oblivious to the problems around him. He seems so cool and relaxed while Rome literally burns. The lodge is in poor shape with outdated décor and poor sanitation. Despite the beautiful and heavenly scenery and environment outside the lodge, the hotel lacks the guests to sustain itself and is buried under a mountain of debt. The family is also divided with Joanna and Richard being divorced and Duke and Dusty being involved in a sibling rivalry.
Richard refuses to acknowledge the problems around him and spends much of the time smoking weed in his makeshift living quarters. He even offered some to Gordon and to some of the lodge’s guests. He also hosts weekly music nights that do draw some people but cause so much noise that Joanna has to comp rooms because of the ruckus. There was even a point that he dressed up like a mushroom and danced to the hippie music.
Throughout the episode, Richard was a selfish person who only thought of himself and left his ex-wife to take care of the lodge’s financial problems. The man who built the lodge simply did not exist anymore.
Gordon brought about some reforms which integrated the hotel, restaurant and the musical performances together. He also improved the look of the place by adding furniture in the lobby and refurbishing the rooms. Being one of the world’s best chefs, Gordon also revamped the menu to something simple and fresh such as salads, burgers and vegetable soup.
Today, the lodge is in better shape and brings in more guests. There are still hiccups in the service though as there is no room service and the lodge does not have the adequate staffing to give the best service to its guests.
Richard “Pa Butt” Davis
When you think of a witch for Halloween, you would picture someone who looks like Karan Townsend. While Karan does not practice sorcery or actual witchcraft, she wears long black robes and has the appearance and hairstyle of one.
She is a very peculiar person who not only acts strange but is a hoarder. She has her stuff all over the hotel. Some of the closets contain her clothes instead of leaving it vacant for the guest’s clothes. She has tons of baskets that she sells for between $1-$30 and these baskets are full of bugs. She also has all sorts of knick knacks for sale from hats to dolls to mugs to stale bread.
Jason - Karan’s son and Ana – Karan’s daughter-in-law bought the hotel so that Karan would have something to be preoccupied with. Instead of running it like a proper business, Karan treats the place like her house and it is full of her stuff. She even sleeps in the clutter of her office.
Gordon decided to do a series of changes and introduced a proper hamburger and mac and cheese and salad and chicken pot pie. The menu is easy to prepare and adopts to the ingredients available during the different seasons. He also removed the microwaves and extra freezers to discourage using non-fresh ingredients.
Jason also decided to step in and help Karan run the business and help make it profitable. Karan has also moved out to a rental space and no longer sleeps in her office. With the improved look of the placed and improved menu, The Town’s Inn is here to stay.
Phillip is a train wreck who has substance abuse issues. He is an alcoholic who has had many run-ins with the law because of his alcoholism. In fact, Phillip got arrested for DUI a day before Gordon’s visit. He is perhaps on Robert Downey Jr. and David Hasselhoff levels of alcoholism.
Because of his alcoholism, Philip would be a different person each time. He would be the jolly and happy-go-lucky Phillip or the angry Phillip who threatens to close the hotel down and fire people. This has greatly affected the morale of the staff. The staff is underpaid, overworked and stressed out.
To compound things further, Phillip is living the good life and his parking lot is adorned with a several luxury cars. He also takes trips and buys expensive stuff for himself and his girlfriend Ginger. The staff meanwhile do not get enough hours, are underpaid and are working with poor quality food and equipment.
Instead of investing the money he inherited from his now-deceased wife Juell Lovingfoss wisely, he used the money to accumulated junk which he now deposits in the various rooms of the hotel. This left only four rooms for guests and further hampered the hotel’s profitability.
Gordon tried to breathe light unto the hotel by refurbishing the place and revamping the menu. He also encouraged Phillip to value his staff and pay them properly. He also encouraged Phillip to seek treatment. He is sympathetic to Phillip as his own father and brother have dealt with substance abuse issues as well.
It appears though that Phillip could not keep his act together and got arrested several times after the show. The Monticello Hotel was eventually sold to a Seattle-based investment group for $2.8 million in 2016.
John Imhoff is a lawyer and ex-military man. While John may be a good lawyer, he is a poor business owner. He already had a good life and one day thought of buying the 150 year old Cambridge hotel. This turned out to be ruinous for the family as they are now $750,000 in the hole.
What did the hotel in was John’s dictatorial style. It was his way or the highway. He was very controlling and did not let people do their job. He has rendered his head chef Rich and his general manager Brittany useless and inept. He treated his people as his soldiers and him as the general.
John also loves to interfere and stick his nose where it does not belong. He loves to keep himself busy and do jobs he is not qualified to do.
He also has made the restaurant in the hotel more like a fast food operation and has not made improvements in the outdated décor of the rooms.
Gordon tried to leverage on the hotel’s history as the innovator of the Pie à la Mode by introducing his personal recipe and making ice cream from scratch. He likewise revamped the hotel’s appearance and menu just as he always does. Things looked bright for the historic hotel.
This was not the case however. The hotel was too far in the hole though and it closed soon after and is now an assisted living facility. John now works in Guantanamo Bay as officer in charge of the Office of Military Commissions. It appears that in this instance, Gordon’s help was too little too late to save this piece of history.
The Most Eccentric Owner
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© 2017 Jan Michael Ong