Gordon Ramsay is known for fixing failing restaurants, but soon, he’ll be known for renovating hotels in his new Fox show Hotel Hell. During a recent conference call, TV Equals was on hand to learn more about Hotel Hell and ask Ramsay about his favorite hotel and other shows he would love to create.
The switch from restaurants to hotels
Ramsay has made his name as a chef and restaurant expert, but you might not know that Ramsay has a background in hotel management. His first-hand experience with hotels made him decide to put his knowledge to use.
“I’ve stayed in thousands-literally thousands-and I have a small boutique hotel in London. It’s at Regent’s Park. I think on the back of the ups and downs and.I suppose the laziness that I started witnessing even coming back from a long day at work or even a holiday with the kids, I always found there was something not quite right within the hotel,” he said. “And then, of course, the fortunate positions of these places, because they’re landmark addresses and big buildings, they think that they don’t really have to work as hard as they should do because of their position-so partly the stuff I’ve experienced and also-scratch beneath the surface. When you see a pristine hotel room[,] you can find problems anywhere.”
Ramsay also said the emails he’s received about hotel issues spurred him on to create Hotel Hell. “I have hundreds of e-mail over the last couple years-in fact, into the thousands-stating it’s all very well fixing restaurants, but there are hotels in dire straits that are ripping customers off,” he said. “I think the one thing that we never do enough of.is that we never complain. Every hotel is up of negotiating and bantering those prices down. Like restaurants, the sad news is with hotels anybody can buy one, and I’ve come across some very arrogant, inexperienced owners of hotels-because they’ve got the money, they think that they’ve got the right to dictate what they should be serving to the public because they bought the place. That’s not always the case.”
Ramsay’s hotel pet peeves
“The biggest mistake is when they start becoming systematic in terms of [when] they see a bedspread, and they think it’s new and it looks great. Just because it looks neat and tidy, it doesn’t mean it’s clean,” he said when asked about common mistakes hotel owners make. “The worst scenario with hotels is the fact they’re open 365 days a year. Airplanes can’t even fly that long. They need to be reassessed and repositioned and reengineered. Hotel rooms are the exact same; they take such an abuse. You think of seven nights a week, four weeks a month, 12 months a year, 365 days a year-these things are relentless, so they take their toll, but they never, ever stop and completely transform those rooms properly.”
Ramsay’s favorite hotels
I love staying in hotels, and I get so excited the minute you dive on that bed,” said Ramsay when asked about his favorite hotels. “There’s one outside London down in Bath, and it’s in the West Country. It’s called Babington House, and it’s just this little country house. It’s run by Nick Jones who runs the Soho House. That place is just stunning. The other one is just outside Saint-Tropez away from all the hassle, up in the village nestled in the vineyards called Villa Marie, and it’s just gorgeous-again 20 rooms, boutique, family-run, and no menus. They ask you what you would like to eat. If you want some fish, they’ll cook fish. If you just want plain eggs or scrambled eggs or you want something simple, or pasta-no menu, and they ask you, “What would you like for dinner tonight?” They do that to every guest. I mean, can you imagine the attention to detail with that? I mean, that is just luxury beyond belief.So you tell them what you want, and they do that for every guest, which is quite unique.”
Ramsay’s dream projects
“I’ve worked very closely with charities, and Scottish spina bifida has been a charity close to my heart for the last ten years, so cooking with disabled kids has been so unique, and to give them that little bit of magic across a day-autistics as well. I do a lot of that,” he said. “I’m setting up a kitchen, almost like a pressure camp, for these guys to release that kind of frustration and take it out on food-I would like to have a look at next time around.”
Ramsay also talked about one of his European shows, Junior MasterChef. “Junior MasterChef has been a big phenomenon in Australia, a huge phenomenon in England.And the talent, I’m not talking about little posh kids that are food snobs, I’m talking about young kids that have a passion for cooking, and they don’t get a chance to do it at school,” he said. “It’s so educational, and I think even if you never pursue it as a career, learning to cook properly and look after yourself through eating is just as important as history or geography or French language, in my mind. I was blown away by the standards of these youngsters. I’m talking, Monique, of ten, eleven, and even a nine-year-old as well that are excited. This is not posh food. This is proper home cooking. It was quite phenomenal.”
Make sure to catch the two-night premiere of Hotel Hell August 13 and 14 at 8/7c on Fox.