Anthony arrives at San Clemente, CA, to help the Oceana Boutique Hotel, owned by Hamid and Rozita. It's five minutes from the water and the restaurants, but it's in the middle of a neighborhood. Anthon arrives at the front and finds flower pretty flowers and a full garbage can. The patio furniture has rusty bottoms, but the garden is nice if untended. Anthony steps through one plastic patio chair bottom, and discovers that the grill is filthy. He figures that it has a lot of potential
When he enters the lobby, Anthony discovers that there's furniture in the way of coming in. The FD, Alex, greets him, and explains that some of the cameras are on the security monitor are unacceptable. The monitors are on the lobby wall, and Anthony demonstrates how easy it is for a guest to unplug the monitors. Alex says that they can make reservations online but the guests checking in still have to fill out paper forms when they arrive. The credit card machine is so old that it can wreck the card. Alex gives Anthony a labeled metal key, and Anthony notes that anyone can make a copy and come back later.
As he goes to check a room, Anthony finds a fire extinguisher from 1994 that wasn't inspected since 2015 when it should have been inspected in 2016. There's a security camera and Anthony can easily reach it and turn it to the ceiling. The wiring is accessible, and Anthony can easily unplug or cut it. Entering the room, Anthony discovers that it has an upper hand. There's a sponge in the kitchenette sink, and the there's ice in the tray in the freezer. There's a drain rack and it's dirty, and the chair cushion is covered in filth. The bed has wheels on it, and the bathroom ha a sign saying that they have super sensitive plumbing. The hotel says that they will have to charge if the toilet gets plugged. There's a circle of a butt on it, next to the ink.
Anthony meets with Rozita, Hamid, and their dog Georgia. He points out the sign, and Rozita says that they don't know what they're doing. Anthony shows them the expired fire extinguisher and notes that it's a year expired. They don't know if it works, and Hamid says that they're missing a lot of things. They got the hotel because of their daughter, and she was going to concentrate on it. The daughter Roxy passed away three years ago, and they purchased the property in 2013 with their retirement. After losing her they felt like they literally died, and Anthony sympathizes. They couldn't bear to sign the hotel, and Roxy was avid about healthy eating and a home-away-from-home experience. Anthony figures that they're on the precipice of something big.
Designer Britany Simon comes in and is also dissatisfied with the rooms. Anthony wants her to renovate the public communal area as well. He brings in a landscaper to make the garden a one-of-a-kind space, and the landscaper says that they'll thin out some of the overgrowth and bring out the color. Next, the owner's daughter Vivian has recently moved back home to take care of the hotel. She meets with Anthony and says that she was close to Roxy. Vivian works as a dentist five days a month, and the rest of the time she manages the hotel to help out her parents. They get at least $35,000 a year in charge-backs, which is 10% of their revenue when hotels typically lose 1%. The guests say that the room wasn't as described, and Anthony figures that there's one third-party company that has a lot of charge-backs. He figures that most of the charge-backs are coming from there. Hamid has the last word on running the hotel, but Vivian explains that when anything she brings up doesn't happen.
Anthony discovers that the owners contract their housekeeping to an outside company. He meets with two of the housekeepers, and they say that nobody likes to work there because there's too much. They have six hours to clean twelve rooms each and do the laundry. Anthony meets with the cleaning company owner, Victor, and he says that they don't have a budget. Victor explains that they're only hired to come in and do daily cleaning for $15 to $18 a day a room, and refuses to set the owners' standards. Anthony says that he would hold Victor accountable if he cleaned for a property that was so dirty and didn't say anything.
Later, Anthony meets with Hamid to give him his assessment of the housekeeping company. He shows Hamid the room that he inspected, and Hamid admits that they're not doing a good job. Anthony explains that Victor said that Hamid isn't doing the deep cleaning because Hamid won't spend the money. According to Hamid, Victor quoted him $10 a day a room. Anthony tells Hamid that victor is ripping Hamid off and blaming him for the dirty rooms. He suggests that Hamid keep the housekeepers and get rid of the room, and Hamid says that he wants to give Victor a chance. Anthony then has Victor smell the room, and explains that there are no pilot lights lit on the stove. Hamid didn't know about it, a d Anthony figures that no one is taking ownership of the safety issues.
That night, Anthony asks Vivian to inspect a room. He's made a duplicate key first, and goes into the room first and waits for her. When Vivian comes in, she checks the room and then comes across Anthony. He explains that he made a duplicate key and nobody is watching the cameras at night. Anthony tells Vivian that she has an obligation to her guests' safety.
The next day, Anthony checks in with Brittany and discovers that she's putting trellis on the wall. Britany admits that it's a design risk because the cinder block wall wasn't even. It would have taken too much time and work to take it out, and she wanted to do something special. Anthony wonders how they're going to clean it, and Britany says that they'll have to do a deep cleaning from time to time. she figures that it's a suitable risk for a small hotel, and Anthony agrees to trust her.
Since Anthony has arrived, she has stepped up to control the housekeeping. He sits down with the family and Vivian says that 60% of the charge-backs are coming from the company Anthony mentioned. Anthony is happy that she took it upon herself, and tells them to stop using the company. Vivian tells her parents that she wants to be in charge of charge-backs, and controlling the housekeeping and maintenance crews. She says that they have too many cooks in the kitchen and wants to make them and Roxy proud. Hamid warns her to do it gradually, and Rozita worries that she's practicing professionally as a doctor. Vivian says that she put everything on hold to take charge, and Hamid figures that it makes sense to start immediately and train her. Anthony points out that he had no training and asks why he's stalling, and asks if they will let Vivian take complete charge. Hamid sys that they have to go through a transition, and Anthony figures that he's being overprotective.
To throw Vivian into a challenging situation, Anthony books a sailing lesson with Westwind Sailing for himself, Vivian, and Hamid. They go out and Vivian pilots the boat under the instructor's orders. Anthony figures that she'll run the hotel the same way. Hamid takes over under Vivian's instructions, and he soon lets Vivian take over. The father is proud of Vivian and figures that she can take control quickly. Anthony points out that Hamid is hesitating and puts him on the spot. Hamid finally agrees to let Vivian run the hotel and everything else that they have.
On the last day, Anthony gives Vivian two courses at eCornell, one in operations and one for marketing. He also provides an online classroom for all categories of hotel business. Anthony prints out a rate card to speed up the check-in process, and gives them a $20,000 electronic key system. He then takes the family to see the new hotel sign with Roxy's name on it. Companies donated the new logo and sign.
Anthony takes the family to see the renovated public area. It has a sustainable garden and an area for eating. Anthony then shows them the new room with the trellis walls. He admits that it requires a lot of dusting, but Britany says that it's worth it. The family says that it's Roxy's room, and the next day is the third anniversary of her death. Hamid says that he feels her presence around them, and Britany breaks into tears. Anthony says that they were happy to do it for them.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 8, 2017