I love Gordon Ramsay – from a distance. Frankly the man scares me and I’d never want to be on the receiving end of his wrath. On this episode of Hotel Hell, Ramsay’s in Chelan, Washington, where Brent and Afni McDonald have been in business for 15 years. The couple has a piss-poor attitude and are in debt with their finances for their hotel, bar and restaurant, to the tune of $30K per month. But their location is ah-maze-ing. I recommend visiting Lake Chelan, just don’t stay here. Their employees set the record straight on how rude this couple is to each other and to others.
Enter Ramsay. The sign outside says valet parking, but there’s no valet and Ramsay is waiting. The McDonald’s see him from inside, but don’t go out to greet him even when Ramsay honks. Did you know that Ramsay hates dust? Yes and he encounters it on every episode. Do not invite this man to your hotel if you haven’t dusted because precious time is wasted on this fete. And I’m not saying this couple doesn’t like to dust, I’m just saying they are pro-cobwebs. But they’ve got a million excuses as to why it’s dusty. Here they are: blah, blah, and blah.
They also serve ice-cream, but don’t ask for a sample because samples are not allowed and just so you’re clear on that, they’ve posted signs everywhere. And the thing is, the entire establishment is for 21 and over, so who’s going to bring their kids in this place with that big signage looming overhead. I’m not saying Brent is stupid, we’ll just call him challenged, but this guy has no idea how to entice business.
It’s time to show Ramsay to his room. Brent tells him it’s for people who haven’t been laid in a while. I was expecting something else, leopard skins and whips and chains, but it’s just a regular room with a fireplace and a bed. It’s nice, but what kind of comment is that to make to Gordon Ramsay? They have heat and air, but Brent doesn’t allow the customers to have the remotes to adjust the unit because he thinks they will break it because only he knows how to work a dusty heating unit.
Ramsay unpacks and goes downstairs to the restaurant and talks to the new waitress Shelli who would describe her bosses as “different.” Ramsay is disappointed there are no local wines, but orders other stuff off the menu, disappointed that half of the items are not available. Nothing is homemade or fresh. Basically it’s all frozen and defrosted and not appetizing. In fact, Ramsay refuses to eat some of the food.
Next he checks the on-line reviews and can only find bad ones. Shelli admits the owners are tight and alienate the customers that do come in. Ramsay asks that the staff and owners to come out for a talk. He tells them how atrocious the food is, but he’s not blaming the chefs. When Ramsay asks why there’s no local wine on the menu, Brent says it’s because the wineries have restaurants and are therefore considered the enemy. Ramsay flat out doesn’t like this couple and warns he’s got one foot out the door.
Later that night, Ramsay has a heart to heart with Teddy the manager. Teddy says how inappropriate the bosses are with the customers and has a habit of making people feel they are lucky to be there, instead of the other way around. When Ramsay explains to one of the restaurant customers that the hamburgers are frozen, not fresh, Brent says there’s no such thing as a fresh hamburger in eastern Washington. Brent also has a problem with the truth. He doesn’t know what it is. Ramsay polls everyone walking in if they expect fresh or frozen hamburgers, they all expect fresh. Unfortunately none of the customers walk out, which is what Ramsay was hoping for.
After going across the street to order a FRESH hamburger, so that Brent and Afni can see what one looks like, Ramsay proceeds to tell Brent that he is passive/aggressive, condescending, inappropriate, stubborn, delusional, old-fashioned and pompous. Brent denies this, as well as treating the staff poorly. Guess what – Brent even fired his own son. He did this to save his life, he tells Ramsay. Ramsay says he has a brother who’s a drug user who’s been to rehab seven times, the point is you help family when they need help.
So why no kids allowed in the establishment? Brent doesn’t want crying kids ruining someone’s romantic night out – with a frozen burger. No matter what Ramsay says, he’s not getting through to Brent who is hemorrhaging money, but unwilling to learn anything new other than: dust more.
Next up, Ramsay does the blue light test to show how dirty their linens are with the blood, feces and body fluids. Eww. They swear up and down they washed the duvets just last week – so it must be the dry-cleaners fault because it sure as shit isn’t Brent’s. Ramsay tells Brent to quit lying. They argue over this for a while. Ramsay apologizes to customers who are included in this science experiment for this disgusting mess. Brent only apologizes for the pillows.
Brent storms off and Ramsay has a heart to heart with Afni. She says Brent’s hard like this with their daughter at home, too. Ramsay asks if it’s because he fired his drunk son instead of helping him. Afni is not sure so Ramsay insists on speaking with the son, but unfortunately Ramsay and his team are unable to find the son, having checked all the local bars.
The following day he sits down with Brent to find out what’s going on with his family. Brent blames the breakdown of the relationship with his son on his mom for getting married the same day their divorce was final. Then we learn that Brent wasn’t at his (other) daughter’s wedding because he wasn’t invited. That just kind of sums it up right there, don’t you think?
This destroyed Brent, so he says. He chokes back tears describing he hasn’t met two out of three grandkids. But then Brent says the most egregious thing ever, and doesn’t even realize it. He says, “After their mom died, I thought, now’s my chance.” OMG! RUDE! This guy needs a lobotomy and an enema. Ramsay tells Brent he needs to be more generous. With his family. With his employees. With his customers.
Ready for another kick it the balls, Brent? Ramsay sets up a talk with local pillars of the community that he and Afni will watch from a remote location. No surprise, these people don’t like Brent either. They describe horrific details of Afni digging customers’ food out of the trash, and that during the recent wild fires, Brent and Afni didn’t help out. Brent and Afni join the others outside and make empty promises to change.
Now it’s time for the relaunch. First they got rid of the dust. HUGE change. New, clean bedding is purchased. A redecorated ice-cream parlor that allows samples and kids are unveiled. An area wine expert is brought in to introduce local wines. And a new, FRESH menu is put into place. Brent and Afni are set up for a second chance, but will they take it? More importantly, will he allow children? No Brent won’t. God forbid they make noise, start crying, chew gum, or drink soda pop. That would be mutiny! Brent say he’ll give it some thought, but you know damn well he won’t. Brent doesn’t like kids – maybe that’s why he can’t see his grandkids.
Update: Brent quickly reverted to his old habits. Most of the staff quit or was fired and the hotel’s reputation went back down the toilet. Wow. Didn’t see this coming, she said with sarcasm. Complete waste of Ramsay’s time.