Anthony travels to the New York side of Niagara Falls to help the 55-room Waldorf Niagara. It has an indoor pool and a popular Italian restaurant, and is within walking distance of the falls. Last year it had a 33% occupancy rate and the owner, Filippo Valeria, is ready to shut the place down. Seven new hotels are scheduled to open within blocks of the Waldorf, threatening to crush the place.
When Anthony arrives at the Waldorf, he points out that the exterior doesn't match the well-known name. The walls are filthy and it hasn't been power-washed in several years. Anthony goes to the front desk and points out that the lobby isn't very nice. The FD clerk, Cindy, greets him and explains that they used to be a Super 8. They lost their franchise due to housekeeping, and Cindy says that the GM is Joe Smith and he works the afternoon shift. Anthony is surprised that they have a GM who works a shift, and points out a piece of paper hanging from the wall. Cindy says that it's the emergency fire procedures, and Anthony points out that more papers are covering the fire panel lights. The lights are on and Cindy explains that they were told to cover them. The lights show a fire in zone six, and Cindy admits that all she knows how to do is silence the alarms. Once they do, they go on about their normal day.
Two guests come in and asks for two two-queen beds for one night. Anthony asks to come with them and check their rooms. They agree and they go up to the rooms. The first room smells and the carpet is dirty. They check the bed for bedbugs and find the black smears. Anthony advises the guest not to stay there and the guest agrees. They go back down to the lobby and Cindy apologizes as she checks the guest out. Anthony goes back to the room and does a full check for bedbugs. There is vomit and stains on the mattress, and finds a live bed bug. Furious, Anthony storms out. and calls in Chase from K9 Bed Bud Inspection. Chase checks the entire hotel with his owner Peter, and Peter reports that 20% of the rooms were positive for bedbugs. Anthony shuts down production, gets the crew outside, and calls in an exterminator.
Once the exterminator uses a heat treatment and traumatic insemination to kill the bedbugs, Anthony meets with Filippo in his trailer outside. He explains about the bedbugs, and Filippo says that he thought that it was taken care of. Anthony asks how much money he has set aside to get the Waldorf to the next level, and Filippo admits that he has no money and is trying to get loans. He bought the hotel for $600,000 and put another $150,000 in right away, and then another $1,250,000. Filippo is about a million in debt at 30-35% interest. He lost money last year and Anthony isn't sure he can fix it in three days. Anthony asks Filippo what he expects him to do, and warns him that he may have to go into bankruptcy.
Once the exterminators gives the all-clear, Anthony brings in designer Anne Rue to check out the room. She agrees that the entire thing is a mess, and Anthony warns that owner doesn't know what he's doing. He also says that he needs Anne to do the lobby, and warns that he may have to shut the place down.
Next, Anthony meets with Joe and points out the obscured fire command post. Joe says that they didn't want the guests to see it, and is aware that he could be criminally liable. He says that they need a new system but Filippo won't spend the money. Anthony insists that it has to be fixed, and Joe agrees to pull the alarm box. Nothing happens and Anthony has Joe get Filippo. The hotelier explains that basic things have to be done and pulls another alarm... and nothing happens. Anthony goes out and is furious that they live in a country that allows hotels to operate without a working fire system.
Later, Anthony inspects the hotel and finds the breakfast area. A hostess, Paulette, emerges from a waist -high doorway. He goes in and Paulette admits that the room is uncomfortable and she often scares guests coming out. They go outside and Paulette says that the owner doesn't have a steam cleaner so they can't clean the carpets.
The fire alarm technician comes in and repairs the system in a couple of hours. Anthony figures that Joe didn't make any effort to get it fixed, and Anthony calls Joe outside and asks what is going on. He says that Joe has to go, and Joe insists that Filippo won't pay for anything. Anthony goes back in to find Filippo and Joe complains that they don't have money. Filippo says that they're not making money, and Anthony says that it's negligence on both their pars. He tells them to get on the same page because he's done, and walks out.
Anthony brings in Tony from Girasole Appraisal Associates to determine the hotel's wealth. Once he's done, he tells Anthony that there are too many functional problems in the room. The Waldorf is worth about $1,100,000, and Tony knows that there is more debt on the property. The land value isn't enough to warrant tearing down the building, and Tony suggests that if Anthony could increase the occupancy rate than it would raise the property value. His advice is for Filippo to continue running the hotel. Anthony figures that with the summer season coming up, he can keep the hotel afloat.
Anthony meets with Anne and her team from Santo Candella Construction for extra work. They figure that they can do five rooms by deadline. Next, Anthony tells Filippo that he has to get more involved. First he has to get control of revenue management, and then deal with Joe. Anthony says that he can't recommend Joe and tells Filippo to think about the GM's future.
On the third day, Joe asks to sit down with Anthony. Joe is wearing a suit and they meet in the restaurant. He says that he's going to change his behavior, and Joe says that he can see things have to change. Anthony figures that he's lost his way and got lazy, and Joe concedes the point. The hotelier wonders if it's too late for him to have pride in the hotel, and Joe says that he always believes in change. Anthony appreciates the effort but warns that it will be Filippo's decision.
Joe moves the food boxes out of the half-sized breakfast kitchen. Meanwhile, Anne gets linens for 20 rooms and Anthony trains Joe and the staff on how to train for bedbugs. He then discovers that Filippo has been pricing the rooms wrong. They share a bottle of wine and Anthony explains that people won't pay average rate because the Waldorf isn't a brand-new hotel. When Filippo hesitates to lower his prices, Anthony has the owner look at a photo of his parents and says that they took care of him without a lot of money... and guests need to feel the same way.
Next, Anthony has the cleaning company meet with Filippo. The company owner, Justin, says that there's only one hotel that has been worse than the Waldorf. Now they've cleaned the carpet and Anthony takes Filippo to a bathroom. Justin left a pail of water from the dirty carpets, and Anthony dumps it into the tub on top of a white towel. It's filthy, and Anthony says the dirt is why he's going bankrupt.
On the last day, Anne and her team finish five rooms and the lobby. Anthony surprises Filippo and Joe with a new name: the Terrapin Inn. He then shows them the remodeled lobby. The owner and GM are impressed, and Anne explains how they put in better lighting. Milestone Marketing has provided a new website with the hotel's new logo, and six months of service. They then examine the five new rooms and Anne says that it's easy stuff they can do. There's white bedding which makes the room look cleaner, and Hotel Register has given them 20 rooms of linen, coffee makers, towels, and ironing boards. A company donated ten new mattresses. Anne has a sixth room--a junior suite--that they can duplicate and used to boost occupancy. Filippo hugs Anthony, who tells them that they have new phone plates. Anthony tells them that after they leave, they're going to have to take control of the hotel. He gives Filippo a nametag for Joe and he can give it to Joe in a couple of weeks when he proves himself.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 7, 2015