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Tara Ariano

S02.E02: Monticello Hotel

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That was a difficult episode to watch. So many negatives and an owner in total denial. There are a lot of articles out there about this place, too many links to post, but search and you'll see that this place closed abruptly with no warning. No surprise there. I scratch my head when I see people working for poor wages, low hours, when there must be better jobs at other places.

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Like @cooksdelight I spent a few minutes reading various reviews and such online.  Several reviews over the past few years confirm the things profiled on this episode.  I don't understand why anyone would want to be on any of Ramsay's current shows.  His original British restaurant rescue shows often showed people in over their head, but the people were generally portrayed as good-natured and/or redeemable.  That is totally missing from all of his current shows.

 

I don't understand a lot of the stuff he does (or pretends to do) in this current show.  For example, there's no way he slept in that tub all night.  The "shower scene" featured the glass taken out of one of the shower doors to provide a better "view".  That kind of false storytelling is unneeded and really rubs me the wrong way.

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What the hell was that?!  He comes in and basically did nothing but provide a bizarre narcissist the camera attention he craved so much he surrendered even the slightest bit of dignity.  Then Ramsay waves his magic wand renovates four more rooms (really eight rooms in that building?)  and adds room service and suddenly everything is great?  And the wacko owner gets wrapped into AA happy ending complete with the chef as his sponsor?  WTF?  There was nothing about how the staff cleaned the rooms or how if the kitchen actually had the skills to carry out the new menu and room service.  Not to mention where the pay structure was for payroll to make these new programs succeed.  It might as well be on Disney complete with cartoon animals singing as they remake the place.

 

That owner was just plain creepy.  To be that desperate for attention speaks at deeper issues than just drinking.  Drinking is a symptom of a greater sickness imo.

 

I also have a problem with the staff.  Sure they might have been the best people on earth.  But there was a huge disconnect.  First how can you be so emotionally invested in someone that treats you and the place you work like crap.  Second, if you are emotionally invested in the man and his good health, why would you then gossip on camera to Ramsay who you supposedly just met?  A good employee realizes the problems she has with the work place don't get better by airing them with the clientele. 

 

As fake as the show is, surely Ramsay has enough clout to have better opening credits.  Then again maybe the opening is basically the warning label of what you about to see.

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It might as well be on Disney complete with cartoon animals singing as they remake the place.

I vote for Grumpy to work the front desk, Tigger to be the restaurant host, Goofy for the bartender and Eyeore for head chef. There ya go! :)

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Um, I'm sitting here with a college degree and ten years' insurance experience hoping Kwik Trip will call me back.  I don't question the workers at all, they seemed like great people.

Don't write your work experience or college degree in your CV/app.

They don't hire anyone they think is smart enough to know what idiots they are.

Until something more in your line of career work comes up, just get a job at Kwik Trip or something by acting uninteresting and simple and tell them you live close by because all they care is that somebody with a pulse shows up so they don't have to fill in.

 

I'm surprised that this hotel owner and his wife didn't run out of the room in shame when that giant pee stain on the mattress showed up. I'm assuming it's pee because it's the only bodily fluid that could be excreted in that huge an amount without killing someone.

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What a sad episode!! I've been through Longview a couple of times on my way to Portland and the town is depressed economically. This is not a destination town. Every time I passed through it was gray and wet.

Yes, as mentioned upthread, there are a lot of articles online about the Monticello. The hotel/motel is still in business and I guess they rent out apartments in the main hotel -- I think they function as efficiency apartments? The restaurant and lounge are closed and it looks like the owner wants to lease it out for someone else to run. It looked like the majority of his staff worked in the restaurant and lounge -- they were all let go without any notice. The owner seems like a real ass. I feel bad for all the people who lost their jobs.

Also, how weird was it that the owner was into women 30 years his senior?! Bizarre.

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I also have a problem with the staff.  Sure they might have been the best people on earth.  But there was a huge disconnect.  First how can you be so emotionally invested in someone that treats you and the place you work like crap.  Second, if you are emotionally invested in the man and his good health, why would you then gossip on camera to Ramsay who you supposedly just met?  A good employee realizes the problems she has with the work place don't get better by airing them with the clientele. 

 

You would be surprised what people will say and even how they feel emotionally in a situation like that. There are probably very few employment opportunities in the area for what they do. I looked at some of the things on the internet about the place and the whole city, in general, seems very depressed and has seen better days. Very sad and depressing. The employees would happily move on to other jobs. If they were available. So you get invested and lie to yourself that things can only get better.

 

I'm surprised that this hotel owner and his wife didn't run out of the room in shame when that giant pee stain on the mattress showed up. I'm assuming it's pee because it's the only bodily fluid that could be excreted in that huge an amount without killing someone.

 

If you watch that scene again you'll hear Ramsay say a word that begins with 's' and ends with 'emen'.

 

I agree with those posters above who said this was a very hard episode to watch. A lot of sad stories here.

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LOL, if that is one of his old mattresses.... and he and the girlfriend are standing there while Ramsay shines the blacklight on it.... I'm not sure I could stand there with a straight face.

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Why does the show pick hotels that have no chance of running properly no matter what Ramsay does? This is a huge building and must have enormous heating and air bills, and renting out even 8 rooms couldn't possibly cover the cost of the staff, running the building and having to buy food for a room service menu which probably is used once or twice a week. Then GR said the motel would be used if someone wanted a room in the modern section or however he put it. Those crummy motel rooms look like the cheapest place in town, who would pay 200.00 for a room and take that over the four rooms the show decorated?

 

The owner was terribly creepy and obviously was finding older women who offer him money in exchange for sex. I hope Ginger's family can come to her aid because she is walking around like she shops at Walmart while he is dripping in diamonds and fancy cars. 

 

Not surprised to hear it closed. Feel bad for the staff, but no matter how good they are, they cannot believe a staff of 50 can make a living in a hotel with 8 rooms. 

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That dick owner closed the restaurant and bar on or around New Year's 2014. The employees were given a memo telling them this when their shift ended. I read this online (local paper there). That guy was such a douche.

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Wow, sometimes I get a little mired in how much my life sucks right now.  But then I watch shows like this and realise that I don't have it bad at all!

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I was really feeling just a little bit sorry for the wife until I hunted down one of those articles and found out the two of them were drinking together at the hotel New Year's celebration the night they fired their staff.

 

Now I kind of hope both of them have someone really dreadful making end-of-life choices for them.

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I could not understand WHY the staff stayed on working there.  The owner walking around dripping in jewelry, having a "car park" outside, just no.  Not letting the chef create his own menu?  I hope all these people now have jobs where they are fairly paid for their work.

Ginger?  Get out while you still can.

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Why do these rescue shows pick businesses that are too far gone?  These people have run their hotels/restaurants/bars/bakeries into the ground over several years. Jesus couldn't be a savior to these idiots. 

 

Wouldn't it be more uplifting to find a place in trouble but not so deep in a hole that some paint and a new menu could make a difference?  I don't care how many free mattresses or tablecloths Overstock.com offers up...The Monticello was NEVER going to turn around under that incompetent fool's direction. His alcoholism was a problem, but I think his spoiled brat attitude was the bigger issue. I feel really bad for the 50 people who lost their jobs.  Maybe their old boss will let them sleep in his fleet of cars since they can't make rent now.

 

I'm also baffled how the staff could hang on there for so long under such dismal circumstances. That place must have had 20+ rooms in the main hotel, and they aren't used? The front desk girl said she was the only earner for her family and only made $500 every 2 weeks!  The chef was working hours off the clock for free? The prep chef only worked 12 hr/wk to support a family?  There are too many things behind this story we don't know.  I'm guessing the economy hit the hotel hard and they couldn't rent out the rooms so he started closing them off to save money.

 

Maybe instead of another hotelier buying this sad place someone can turn it into a nursing home or a Senior Citizen Center...looks like that's the target audience anyway.

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Why do these rescue shows pick businesses that are too far gone?  These people have run their hotels/restaurants/bars/bakeries into the ground over several years. Jesus couldn't be a savior to these idiots.

Probably because they keep convincing themselves that it can be fixed until it's too late to steer things in the right direction.

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This was such a trainwreck I couldn't look away.  The owner was truly a manipulative user.  I'd like to know more about the marriage that led to him inheriting millions of dollars (Gordan said he was worth $10 million dollars).  I'm sure it was a total love match...  I also couldn't believe that only 4 rooms were open in the main hotel.  There was no income revenue.  I wonder if the owner was using the hotel as a business loss/tax credit.  It's upsetting to read how they just closed the restaurant/bar without notice as I doubt there are many other employment opportunities in the area.  I don't feel any sympathy for Ginger as she has eyes and ears and knows exactly how things are.  

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This is the first episode I've watched of Hotel Hell and likely the last.  I only watched because we had basically caught up to Masterchef in real time so we just kept watching for an additional Ramsay fix.  While the basic premise seems to be Kitchen Nightmares extended to a hotel I don't think it works in a hotel setting.  There are too many issues with a hotel that go beyond revamping the menu and doing a little redecorating.  The owner of this place appears to have a severe drinking problem based on everything his staff said.  Maybe it's just me, but I don't think you deal with alcoholism by appearing on a reality TV show.  It was just uncomfortable, and I can actually understand his reluctance to deal with the issue on camera.  Besides the drinking there was something definitely off about the owner - his fascination with older (much) older women, his complete inability to understand how to run a hotel, parking his car collection in the lot, etc.

 

I can understand the staff staying on and trying to fix things on their own.  It seems like a lot of them had been there a long while and when you've been at a job that long it starts becoming part of your identity.  I stayed at a dying software company for several years after I knew the company had no chance of turning things around because, basically, it's what I did - I worked there, therefore working somewhere else seemed very difficult.  I also wanted to outlast the management, which I did, as we were bought by another company before basically folding up shop.

 

Doubt I'll stick around after Masterchef next week.

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"Also, how weird was it that the owner was into women 30 years his senior?! Bizarre."

I didn't really get the impression the owner was really into women at all. Shades of Mark Harris and Martha Raye. In so many ways. He is a manipulative predator and his prey seems to be old, wealthy women. He was (is) disgusting. I felt icky just watching this a-hole attempt to speak (slur) in his interactions with Ramsay and staff. He is just so repugnant on so many levels. And I agree with the posters who believe there's A LOT more to the staff story behind the scenes. Just weird.

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When reading some of the articles about this episode, there was some concern that it might not even air. I think they probably should have shelved it, it didn't do anyone any favors. Made Gordon look sort of stupid for even going there, in my opinion.

Last season's shows were much better. I'm hoping the next episodes will improve, but if not it might be time to can this series as well.

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I keep missing, does Gordon (whose shows I always watch) mention his hotel experience in the open credits? I still don't know why he's doing this show.

 

I nearly died with Gordon's line: "It's a dish ready for one of Phillip's girlfriends: no teeth."

 

This was a very weird episode but I'll keep watching, I guess. 

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At least with last weeks episode (Calli's hotel in New Mexico) it was fun to snark on -- this week's episode was just downright depressing. I agree that they need to find hotels that aren't so far run into the ground that they can help make realistic changes.

I would like to know how many rooms the hotel had (not including the motel/annex). I wonder if the owner was renting some of the rooms as apartments even before Gordon showed up? Some of the what I read online indicate they rent the rooms out as apartments as they all have kitchenettes.

The owner had been working there from the time he was 18 -- am I right? He said something to the effect that he'd been going to the hotel (I presume he meant the restaurant part) since he was a kid at 8 years old, and used to admire the cocktail waitresses. Did he not later say he started tending bar there in the lounge? Odd. Seems he's been setting himself up to have his whole life revolve around the hotel and alcohol from the time he was a kid.

Strangely, he was arrested for a DUI in front of the hotel the night before Gordon showed up -- however, production and camera crew showed up the day before and were there when the owner was arrested.

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This episode left me feeling weird and sad. The owner gave me the creeps, and I didn't buy his assertion that he would be getting treatment at all. What kind of pompous, callous asshole do you have to be to park your various Rolls Royces in front of your hotel and cover yourself in jewels, while your employees barely make enough to support themselves, let alone their families?

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I didn't really get the impression the owner was really into women at all. Shades of Mark Harris and Martha Raye. In so many ways.

 

Agreed 100%.  And denying that may have something to do with his alcoholism.

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OMG, I agree with everyone so far - This had to be THE most depressing and futile episode so far.  This guy was beyond creepy.  He was a sicko and morally bereft to boot.  This one is going to turn my stomach for a long time.  I agree that Fox might have done better not to air it.  It was recorded over a year ago.  I noticed that Ramsay says he is not going to do anymore "Kitchen Nightmares" - Maybe he'll add this show to the scrap heap as well.  It's too bad, the show has potential if they were to pick places with real potential instead of for shock value.

 

I have to wonder why this season was put off so long given how long ago these episodes seem to have been filmed.  It's like there was a long hiatus from Ramsay shows in general and then now suddenly they're all airing.  I find that strange, or perhaps evidence of some kind of legal issues going on behind the scenes that prevented them from airing.  Perhaps it's a ratings issue - Fox didn't want to air it until the summer doldrums.  Ramsay was tweeting that it would air "soon" back in January, so I wonder what happened.

 

Also, the hotel itself is still open - It's the restaurant and banquet facility that closed in January.

Edited by Intuition
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As fake as the show is, surely Ramsay has enough clout to have better opening credits.  Then again maybe the opening is basically the warning label of what you about to see.

 

Aw, I absolutely LOVE the opening credits. That song is so over-the-top cheesy (not to mention so incredibly on-the-nose) it cracks my ass up. I always picture a bemulleted bro from the 80s in a sleeveless Motley Crue tee shirt driving an IROC-Z while rocking the hell out of those lyrics from the very bottom of his soul. "If you think the beer is rotten, you should see the clientele!" Just hilarious.

 

And I totally agree that it's the warning label for what you're about to witness. That's clearly intentional, and it probably cracks Ramsay up too.

 

 

 

I get the impression that this is Gordo's vanity project. Say what you might about his other projects, but I get the sense that ultimately he does care about those projects. I don't think he has two fucks to rub together with regard to this one, he's just having fun with it (witness the gratuitous nudity at every opportunity, among other examples) and taking FOX's money, for no other reason than "sure, why the hell not?"

 

More power to him, as far as I'm concerned. I'm entertained. And these people (the owners) don't really want to be helped. They just want their 15 minutes, and Gordo gives it to them. Caveat emptor, careful what you wish for and all.

 

I do feel sorry sometimes for the staff, but one thing I think Gordo and crew always go to great pains to do is to make sure the true assholes come off like assholes, and the conscientious employees who are just stuck in terrible jobs are presented as such as well. And I've got a hunch that those people actually benefit greatly from being on the show. Whether it's via direct, behind-the-scenes assistance from Gordo and crew (which I have no doubt happens) or even just being presented on national tee vee as someone other local businesses would do well to hire into a better situation. I'd wager that they genuinely do go out of their way to truly help "the good ones."

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According to these recent reviews on Expedia people seem to find it an acceptable hotel to lodge in...

Back to Hotel Info

3.8 based on 4 reviews

3of 5

. .

Jul 22, 2014

4of 5

Hidden historic treasure!

I stayed at the Monticello on July 12 as my Seattle to Portland bike ride stop over. Beautiful, historic hotel which is used for check in. The rooms are now apartments and hotel lodging is in the single story motel next door. The motel isn't much to look at on the outside but WOW, the inside was huge and updated (I had room 120). The shower head was way too strong for my comfort level, pelting. Hotel staff: one was new and trying hard and was competent. Her trainer, I'm assuming a long time employee, seemed less than energetic to be in the service industry. The restaurant is unfortunately no longer open. For $70 a night this place was FANTASTIC, I highly recommend it.

Jul 20, 2014

4of 5

Hotel in Longview, WA

The hotel is an old building, but the room is very comfortable. I's clean and large square foot, like an apartment.

Jul 08, 2014

4of 5

victorian style hotel

description on page was wrong. Food and drinks were stated in description but not provided by hotel.

Jul 08, 2014

Top

Edited to add:

I just know I wouldn't stay there!! I'm not going to stay in any place after seeing how that douche bag owner treated his employees, not to mention his bringing in old semen soaked mattresses from home -- blech.

Edited by msblossom

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When reading some of the articles about this episode, there was some concern that it might not even air. I think they probably should have shelved it, it didn't do anyone any favors. Made Gordon look sort of stupid for even going there, in my opinion.

Last season's shows were much better. I'm hoping the next episodes will improve, but if not it might be time to can this series as well.

 

I didn't enjoy anything abut this episode, cooksdelight, so I am inclined to agree with you.  Why TPTB thought this would make compelling TV is beyond me.

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So it's $70/night and not $170/250?

That's right, snowblossom. To be precise, it's $69 for all the rooms at the annex. They still have the 4 suites available in the main hotel. The "luxury" executive suite that Gordon stayed in has a room rate of $150, and the other 3 suites go for between $100-125 a night on expedia.com, and I would think that this being "high" season right now for the Pacific Northwest that these prices will go down when Summer is over.

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This is the first episode I've watched of Hotel Hell and likely the last.  I only watched because we had basically caught up to Masterchef in real time so we just kept watching for an additional Ramsay fix.  While the basic premise seems to be Kitchen Nightmares extended to a hotel I don't think it works in a hotel setting.  There are too many issues with a hotel that go beyond revamping the menu and doing a little redecorating.

 

You are very perceptive and nailed it in one. Gordon's expertise is in food, not the hotel industry per se, and I watch it but that has always bothered me about this show. Most episodes aren't as bad as this week's was, however, so I would humbly suggest you give it another 2 or 3 before bailing out. Every place is different and the settings are unique.

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Why would GR give this guy free room upgrades when he was wearing expensive jewelry? ..  This episode made me want to throw something at the TV.

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That's right, snowblossom. To be precise, it's $69 for all the rooms at the annex. They still have the 4 suites available in the main hotel. The "luxury" executive suite that Gordon stayed in has a room rate of $150, and the other 3 suites go for between $100-125 a night on expedia.com, and I would think that this being "high" season right now for the Pacific Northwest that these prices will go down when Summer is over.

Thanks!

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So depressing.  I hope the staff can find something else to do after being fired so unceremoniously.

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That's...a tough economy down there in Longview.  Failing industries, cyclic industries, etc. 

 

I was frankly quite surprised at the amount of staff there for the very small amount of revenue that place probably brings in.  There were, what, four rooms available in the main hotel, maybe twelve in the annex, and a smallish restaurant?  I've seen far less staff working much larger operations on Hotel Impossible.  I wasn't surprised the staff had such few hours.  I don't really want to defend that douchenozzle, but it looked like he was really trying to keep people on in some tough conditions.  It does suck that so many of them lost their jobs, but I suspect they were kept on for far longer than it was economically feasible to do so.

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I think the annex has 20-24 rooms and the main hotel 4. The website said the have a total of 28 rooms for lodging their guests.

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Many online biographies of Ramsay I've seen cite his "degree in hotel management".  I've never seen them say "where" so I suppose there's room to think it's a fudge, but he seems to have gotten education on the topic.

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That owner is one creeepy dude.  He's wanted to own the hotel since age 8 , when he  had the hots for the cocktail waitresses, and has had two older women as wife or girlfriend.   Something ain't right.  I suspect he had some early sexual experience which cemented some weird fetish type  fixation with him.  

For such an asshole, he certainly had a lot of loyal employees.  I can't imagine why. 

 

And I agree that these shows are always "rescuing"  places that should be given up on.  This guy has diamonds and cars, but Ramsey has a store DONATE beds and linens to fix the place up. And I'm sure there was more money coming from ramsey and/or the show.  I would have given the guy a lecture and told him to pay for the fix-up himself.  Donations should go to people who deserve a chance. 

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This guy has diamonds and cars, but Ramsey has a store DONATE beds and linens to fix the place up

 

The beds and linens were in return for having Overstock.com mentioned on the show.  It was payment for an ad, not a gift to a guy who doesn't deserve it.

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The beds and linens were in return for having Overstock.com mentioned on the show.  It was payment for an ad, not a gift to a guy who doesn't deserve it.

 

Strictly speaking, I'm pretty sure it's both :)

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