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See Smell By The Seashore: Virginia Beach, VA Recap

Anthony heads to Virginia Beach and notes that it's the longest pleasure beach in the world. The 24-room pet-friendly Sea Shell Motel, owned by Russ and Milda Irani, is losing money. The online reviews universally condemn the motel, saying that the owner is a crook. Anthony arrives at the beachfront motel and wonders how they're losing money. At the lobby, Russ greets him and explains that he also works as the front-desk agent. Russ has owned the motel since 2001, and Anthony points out that the lobby is dingy and not very secure. There's a huge bag of cash behind the desk, and Anthony picks it up and walks out to demonstrate how poor the security is. Russ says that it doesn't stay there like that, and Anthony takes out a wad of bills.

After Russ puts the money in the safe, Anthony points out a joke urn saying that problem customers end up there. There is a sign that says there are no refunds, and Russ explains that guests get to look at the room first before paying. He doesn't take credit cards because they had some problems. A woman comes in with two dogs and Russ explains that it's his daughter, Chris. She's heard about Anthony and says that she works there when her parents aren't around. Chris admits that the place needs a lot of work and they don't have a staff that is inclined to work. She also complains about the guests bringing in infestations, and Anthony tells them that the online reviews are terrible. Chris says that the people who write the review are people they kicked out, and they're trying to get revenge. She yells at her dogs and Anthony thinks that she's yelling at him. Anthony asks if she's a hotelier and Chris says that she likes to think she is.

Anthony has Chris show her the check-in process. She takes them to the room to show it to him first, and it's a two-queen that goes for $125 a night. It has a stench and Anthony points out the worn-out box mattresses. The dust on the headboards is so thick that he can peel it off in a strip. The headboard falls off the wall when Anthony tugs on it, and he has Chris brings Russ in. When the owner arrives, Anthony confirms that it's been a long time since he was in the room. He shows Russ the dust and insists that he's a fraud. Russ angrily says that he works hard, and Anthony says that it's a fraudulent motel and refuses to work for Russ.

The crew stays with Russ and Chris, and she tells her father that he needs to work with Anthony. He insists that he's going to check the rooms but Chris doesn't believe it. The producer interviews him and Russ says that he'll deal with it now that they've pointed it out, and Chris says that Milda is running back fixing things. She says that Russ doesn't want to invest any money, and Russ walks off. Chris finds Anthony and says that Russ doesn't know how to express himself. Anthony points out that she first said that everything was fine, then backed Anthony up. Chris insists that she's registering what Anthony is saying, and Anthony says that he wants to sit with Russ and Milda and figure out what Russ is thinking.

Later, Milda, Russ, and Chris sit down with Anthony. Milda admits that the motel is dated and their systems are antiquated. Russ says that they have about $20,000 and Anthony warns that's a drop in the bucket. Chris' sister Erica and her husband Matt want to take over after Russ and Milda retire, and Chris confirms that they've never run a motel. Anthony shows them online comments and none of them are favorable. People called their credit card companies to stop payment, and Anthony figures that's why Russ stopped taking credit cards. Anthony shows them video of a secret shopper and Russ saying that he gives no refunds. He tells the shopper to file a police report if he doesn't like it. Chris says that it's embarrassing, even though Milda points out that she's been hostile with guests. Russ wants a copy of the video so he can straighten his act out, but Anthony doesn't believe it and says Russ will never change. He says that he has to reinvest with someone else if he wants to go forward, gets up, and walks away. Russ says that they have repeat customers, and Milda tells her husband that he's wrong and walks away.

Milda talks to Anthony off-camera and says that she has serious concerns about Russ' health. She really wants her children to take over, and wants Anthony's help. Anthony reconsiders and brings in designer Brittany Simon. They go to the roof deck and enjoy the view, and take in the dirty patio chairs on the deck. Anthony wants Brittany to redo the deck, and then takes her to the room. Brittany says that the furniture can't be saved, and Anthony shows her the dust strips he gathered earlier. They check the bathroom and then go to the lobby. Once she sees what needs to be done, Brittany brings in a team from Coradi Contracting to go to work.

Anthony meets with Erica and Matt to see if they can be hoteliers. Erica is an accountant at a local military base, and says that she'd never book anyone into the motel. Matt is a nuclear engineer, and Anthony wonders why they want to run the motel when they have no experience. Erica has done research on the risk, and figures it'd be nice for her parents to hand down the property. Matt plans to rebrand, revamp, and renovate. They plan to take it online, and Anthony warns that it'll cost money. Matt admits that they don't have enough, and says that they'll renovate room by room and work full-time. Anthony confirms that they're committed to running the motel, but figures it takes more than commitment. He asks if Russ will give them the property instead of Chris, and Erica says that she can work with Chris. Matt says that she can't, pointing out that they argue constantly, and wouldn't agree to take over the motel if the plan involves Chris with the motel. Erica agrees to give Chris a monthly payment, and Anthony asks for a business plan within the next 24 hours.

Next, Anthony brings in exterminator to take care of the entire property. He checks in on the lobby and complains that the new desk is too high. Brittany explains that she wants a barrier to keep people from seeing behind the desk, and that there will be a countertop at a reasonable level. Anthony gets behind the counter and points out that the shorter guests will be uncomfortable. He tells her to think it over and leaves.

Erica and Matt come back and Anthony walks them around to have them work out what they will factor into their business plan. The motel needs painting, carpeting, new AC units, locks, and the room windows can be kicked open. They end up estimating $300,000 for renovations. Chris comes over and Anthony demonstrates how easily he can kick in a window. She warns that Russ will keep meddling with the hotel every day, and Matt assures her that Russ won't make any decisions. Chris says that she wants to work there and is completely involved, and Erica says no. Anthony wonders what she thinks of that, and Chris has no comment. Afterward, Chris tells the producer that Erica and Matt have no idea what they're doing.

Later, Matt and Erica present their business plan. Anthony admits that it's impressive, and they go to get the rest of the family. Matt explains their plan and says that he'll give them a fixed monthly revenue of 10%. Russ doesn't want Erica and Matt to give up their jobs and then find out the motel won't make enough money. Anthony says that he recognizes their talent and will sign off on it, and asks Russ if he wants to give up control. Chris says that they can do what they want, but doesn't think that Erica can handle it. She doesn’t want to work with them and walks out. Anthony goes after her and Chris says that he's out of his mind. She warns him that Matt and Erica have never run a business, and walks away. Anthony figures that he can't argue with her and decides to focus on the rest of the family.

Back at the meeting, Matt assures his in-laws that Chris will get money. Milda agrees to transfer the business to Erica and Matt if their accountant and lawyer approve it, and Russ joins in. Anthony then takes them out to the beach and says that they have to compete by offering something different. Tony teaches pets how to surf, and Anthony says that they can use it to promote the motel.

Next, Anthony brings out Brittany and Mark from Coradi Construction. After they thank Mark, Anthony and Brittany show the family the new name of the motel: Surfline Beach Hotel. They enter the lobby with the new design, and the countertop lower per Anthony's request. There's a white tile finish on the floor, and a PMS donated by InnQuest. They go to the deck, which has new tables and chairs. Brittany shows them some 3D renderings that show the color they're suggesting for the building exterior.

Finally the group goes to the remodeled room. It has an ocean motif with surfboards on the wall, and smells clean. The bathroom has been repainted and the Iranis approve. Anthony warns that it's going to be hard and they're going to have money problems. However, if they maintain the hotel then it will make money. Matt hugs Anthony and Erica hugs Brittany, and Anthony wishes them all good luck.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 21, 2015

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