"Kitchen Nightmares" host Gordon Ramsay's new renovation reality show will make you think twice about staying at a hotel ever again.
In "Hotel Hell," the celebrity chef steps out of the kitchen and into the country's bed-and-breakfasts and resorts in desperate need of overhaul. The problems range from an unwillingness to change business strategies during a slow economy to -- gross-out alert -- finding a duvet cover that hadn't been cleaned for 18 months.
"It's so obvious what's wrong," Ramsay says of the hotels he visits in the new Fox series. "I don't think common sense becomes that common in those scenarios. That's the frustrating part."
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Ramsay swears he didn't travel to these hotels "to create havoc" -- though he uses his trademark bluntness to point out flaws, which rubs some hotel owners the wrong way. "I went in there to position it in a way that they have to be responsible," Ramsay insists.
And some standards, it seems, have dropped appallingly low.
"The shock for me ... was the general hygiene," Ramsay says. "If you had a dentist appointment tomorrow morning and you were going for a filling or a polish, you would see that unique space spotless. I think kitchens and hotel rooms and bathrooms should be exactly the same. The biggest worry across the whole series was the states of the pillowcases. Remove the pillowcases, flash the black light in there for 30 seconds, and I was horrified. I mean literally horrified -- and I'm talking about some very expensive hotels."
On the series, Ramsay's intervention may be the hotels' last chance to stay in business. But in a broader context, he says, consumers, too, can play a part in bettering the hospitality industry.
"I don't think, as a nation, we complain enough," Ramsay says. "We need to demand either our money back or a credit rating [after a bad stay] so we can return there for a much better experience. In order for the industry to get better and the hospitality sector to raise its game, then we need to complain more."
Worst of the worst
Ramsay has important advice for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
“If you get there and they suggest they’re going to upgrade you to the honeymoon suite: Don’t take it,” Ramsay says. “I’m trying to be serious, because it is somewhat ... not just shocking — personally, I didn’t think it could shoot that far,” he adds, deliberately remaining vague before offering a PG explanation: “Um, I’m talking about if you shake a can of Coke and open it.”