Anthony travels to the five-acre 120-room Brookside Resort in Gatlinburg, TN, to help out the managers Denise Throntveit and her son Jake. Denise doesn't own the property, but has a 20-year lease with the owners. They've been there for three years and in the last year, could raise the $200,000 to pay the owners. Before he goes to the hotel, he checks out some moonshine at the smoky Moonshine Holler. The owner gives Anthony a taste and advises him to drink it right from the mason jar. He's heard of the Brookside and advises Anthony to take another shot, warning that it needs a lot of help.
When he arrives at the hotel, Anthony says that it's a beautiful hotel. However, he discovers that the pool is closed and the entrance is locked. Anthony points out that the chain isn't hooked and points out how dangerous it is to let guests have access to a closed pool. There are leaves everywhere and it's all visible from the front door. Anthony figures that it's a death trap because of the unsecured gate.
At the lobby, Anthony talks to the FD agent, Crystal. She says that the hotel's biggest problem is housekeeping and management. He shows her the online reviews describing the hotel as dirty, moldy, and filled with bugs. Crystal explains that Denise prints out the reviews and everyone has to read them and sign off that they've read them. However, Denise doesn't go over the complaints with them, or come out and help. Anthony confirms that there is no GM.
Anthony inspects a room and admits that it's not as bad as he expected. It has a natural-stone working fireplace, but there are ashes in the fireplace. The furniture is old and there's scum on the front of the big-screen TV> There are cobwebs on the paintings and Anthon tosses it behind the headboard. He figures the place hasn't been deep-cleaned in about a decade, when it should be deep-cleaned four times a year. Anthony looks under the bed and finds a drug container, a bag of nuts, a cup, and plastic from the bed. He lifts up the mattress and finds a dirty red thong.
After arranging a meeting with the managers, Anthony posts a list of complaints on Denise's chair. When she and Jake come in she finds the list and there's a note at the bottom for her to sign the. Jake wants to talk about it first and Denise agrees. Anthony comes in and explains that the note belongs to him. They want to know why they have to sign it, and Anthony explains that Denise has the same procedure. He confirms that everything on the list is true, and show them the thong and everything else he found under the bed. Anthony explains that no one has deep-cleaned the room in years, and Jake admits that he's probably right.
Anthony warns that they can't let things pile up and shows them videos of Skype calls the production team did with one of the dissatisfied guests, Kelly. He tells the managers that they don't know what they're doing. Denise explains that the owners, Beville and Lisa Reagan, were losing money. They put the hotel up for lease and Denise and her husband Jon applied for it. Jon died four days later, and Denise breaks into tears. Anthony assures her that it's okay and she admits that she wouldn't be in the hotel business if her husband hadn't sold her on the idea. Jake says that they're keeping the hotel going to fulfill his father's dying wish. Anthony figures that it may not make sense for them to stay even though it's a legacy. Denise says that there are options in the 20-year lease contract. They can end the lease in three weeks with no obligations, and Anthony says that they may not have a choice. Denise wants the hotel to be successful, and Jake says that they will try to make it work no matter what.
Designer Stacey Cohen comes in and Anthony tells her that he needs rooms to back up the mountain view. She points out that the room is depressing and old, and Anthony points out all of the dust. Stacey agrees that the footprint is good, and Anthony warns that he doesn't have a lot of money.
Anthony sends in a secret shopper who asks to talk to Denise. Denise refused to come out and talk to him, and the secret shopper . Crystal came out five minutes later to resolve the complaint, but by then it was too late. Anthony brings in Kelly and asks her to talk to Denise about her concerns while he watches off-camera. Kelly agrees and goes inside, and asks to speak to Denise. Denise comes out and recognizes Kelly, and appears upset. Kelly explains about her problems, and Denise appears disinterested and makes excuses. She finally asks what she can do to make up for it, and Kelly asks her to improve the hotel for other people. Anthony figures that Denise needs to learn how to take care of her guests.
Next, Anthony talks to one of the housekeepers, Raini, in the breakfast area. She explains that she does the breakfast, housekeeping, laundry, and room inspection. She's in charge of three buildings and will clean 21 rooms by herself. Anthony notes that a housekeeper should on average clean 15 rooms in an eight-hour shift, and finds it ridiculous. He describes the problems that he saw, and Raini confirms that another housekeeper, Marcia takes care of the building by herself. She averages 40 to 50 rooms a shift, and gets paid per room. Anthony says that the rooms are disgusting, and Raini confirms that there are three housekeepers for 120 rooms. With 60% occupancy, they need ten housekeepers and they have tree. Raini says that Denise doesn't have the patience to deal with guests, and figures that Jake would be successful if he focused on running the place.
Anthony visits Denise and confirms that she's in her office seven hours a day. He says that she's never going to walk around, proud of the property, and explains that a housekeeper can't clean 40 rooms a day. Anthony tells Denise that she needs ten housekeepers and supervisors for all departments. He figures that even if they renew the lease, Denise shouldn't be running it.
Later, Anthony has Jake check the cleanliness of one of the Jacuzzi tubs. He gives Jake a swab and has him take a sample from the tub jets. Anthony then runs the swab through a Hygena meter and it shows 7200 when anything about 50 is unacceptable. He shows Jake a video from a hidden camera showing Marcia cleaning the room. She throws clean pillows on the ground and doesn't vacuum the room. Jake insists that something has to be done, and Anthony tells him that he can't afford the staff he needs. He warns that everything has been done wrong in the hotel, and Denise doesn't like to come out from behind her desk. Jake agrees and Anthony asks if he's going to step up and take control of the hotel.
While Stacey and her team from Kenny Guffey Construction gut-renovate a guest room, Jake tells Anthony that he's committed to running the hotel. Anthony tells him to tell the housekeepers that he's going to be involved and no one will be paid by the room. They meet with the three housekeepers and Anthony says that they have to find money. Marcia confirms that she cleans 45 rooms, and Anthony says that her rooms are terrible because she doesn't have enough time to clean. Jake explains that they will be paid by the hour, and presents a detailed checklist. Marcia says that she feels bad because she will earn less money and she won't stay, and Jake says that if she's not comfortable with the new policy then they'll have to replace her.
Next, Anthony has Jake meet with Denise to convince her to stand down. He explains that he's going to be more hands-on and Denise will step back. Denise says that she's proud of her son and Jon would be proud of him as well. Jake warns that they can't throw money into the lease if it doesn't make sense, and they need to restructure the lease with Beville. Denise agrees that they should do it now or they never will.
As teams clean up the pool and Nashville Hotel Liquidators donate ten rooms worth of furniture, Anthony and the managers sit down with Beville. Anthony works out that the hotel needs $1.2 million to become functional. The competition is generating $17 a room, and the owners can raise their rates to that and make $740,000 a year. Anthony tears up the contract, saying it's not good for any of them. He suggests that there are no rents and taxes for the next year, because otherwise it will cost Beville $200,000 a year to keep the property vacant while he looks for another tenant. However, Jake and Denise have to agree that they will stay there. In the second year, Beville charges them $150,000 in rent. If Beville sells the building while mother and son are there, he pays them $100,000 for their time. Beville explains that he has put several million into the property, and he wants to make a profit. He prefers to discuss the deal off-camera.
On the last day, Stacey and Kenny meet with Denise, Jake, and Beville. Kenny explains that he grew up in the area and figures that it can be on top again. They check out the new room, which has new furniture and a lighter paint coloring. The bathroom has been retailed and there are mason jars for the toiletries. Beville agrees that everything is great, and Anthony says that Beville has to reinvest $10,000 per room if they hope to keep the hotel going. The owner says that he'll put up the money, and they'll sign the new lease. Denise hugs Anthony, and he confirms that it is Jon's birthday. The construction crew has put an in memoriam plaque for Jon on an outdoor bench and the Throntveits thank Anthony.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 18, 2015