Try 30 days of free premium.

Blind Faith: Winter Haven, FL Recap

Anthony travels to Winter Haven, FL, to help the 228-room Winter Haven Suites and Conference Center, owned by Mark Ramnauth. First Anthony stops off to try some water skiing in the water-skiing capital of the world. He then goes to the hotel, which Mark has been running by himself with three department heads. Jae runs the front desk, Sais takes care of maintenance, and Hash runs housekeeping. Anthony figures that the lack of strong leadership may be the problem.

When he arrives, Anthony notices the out-front sign advertising weekly rates of $54 a room. He figures that they don't change their pricing and they're stuck with that rate on busy months. The manager is supposed to set the rates but he apparently isn't. Anthony checks the exterior and admits that it's dirty, but it's not disgusting. However, one side of the canopy is ripped open. Inside, the FD agent Cherica greets him. He points out the 80s-style couches with disgusting couches. Anthony asks about the canopy and Cherica admits that she's never paid attention to it. He's the first person who said something, and Anthony points out a dirty vent above the desk. Cherica says that she's a germophobe and cares about it, and Anthony points out that isn't fair to guests coming in. She agrees with him, and Anthony points out that FD agents are supposed to make guests feel like their needs are being met. He notes that there's no fire safety alarm and asks what happens if there's a fire, and Cherica says that she runs. Anthony confirms that she was never trained and asks what she doesn't like about there. Cherica says that Jae is the front desk manager but Hash makes new rules about everything. He doesn't know how to talk to people and makes the housekeepers cry, and Cherica only had one disagreement with him. When he criticized her about dirty rooms not being cleared, he told Mark that she was rude. Anthony figures that there's a lack of rules and he has to deal with management problems.

Anthony checks the property and takes in the beautiful deck area. There's not a lot of furniture and nothing going on. The chairs are plastic and the mattresses are old and stained. He then goes to check a room and runs into a room inspector, Paul. They go to Room 319 and find large water stains on the floor. Paul says that they're set stains, and Anthony tells him that the next step is changing out the carpets. The hotelier points out the mold on the furniture and the lack of handles on the TV cabinet doors. Anthony scrapes dust off the top of the cabinet, and figures that Hash isn't doing his job. They check the bathroom and find rat feces in the shower.

Designer Carrie Lachlan comes in for the first time on the show and Anthony takes her to the pool deck. She agrees that it has potential and Anthony admits that it isn't bad. He then takes her to the roomand she recoils at the smell. Anthony offers her $100 to pick up the rat feces behind the toilet, and she does so. He then has her gut the lobby, and Carrie goes to work with her team from ProCraft Construction.

Anthony meets with Mark, who explains that he's vision impaired. The owner says that he can do gross inspection but can't see stained carpets and toilets. Mark bought the hotel in early 2013 and had no experience in hotel management. He hasn't putGM in room because they're losing money, so he cut the position and ran it through his department. Anthony says that it's disgusting, and Mark tells him that he's in debt because he put all of his money into the hotel and keeps his day job in New York. Nobody is actually in charge 50% of the time when he's gone, and Anthony shows him online Expedia reviews. The reviews say not to stay there, and Anthony tells Mark about the mouse droppings. He says that Mark needs a professional leader, and shows him undercover video of a hotel inspector. The inspector asked for a new key from the night auditor, Scott, without showing an ID. Anthony figures that the auditor hasn't been trained and it's Mark's fault.

Next, Anthony meets with the three department heads. However, he secretly has Cherica and Paul, along with two other employees Maritza and Leelah, watch from another room. Anthony has each head introduce themselves. Jae has never worked at a hotel before, and Sais is Mark's property. Hash owns properties there and says that he's the operations manager. Anthony figures Hash isn't clear on his position, and he claims that he checked 16 rooms. The housekeepers in the other room say that he didn't inspect any rooms. They're spending about five minutes less to clean rooms than they're supposed to. Hash says that the housekeepers aren't doing a good job, but insists that they have the proper time to clean.

Hash says that he goes behind the housekeepers and shows them how to clean the rooms. He admits that he hasn't cleaned hotel rooms before, but he's cleaned his house. Hash tells Anthony that Paul isn't a good inspector, and Sais says that Paul that he tries to help too much. Anthony then brings everyone together, and Paul claims that he's been lax on a lot of things. When he does so, Anthony says that he's a hard worker and the heads don't deserve him throwing himself under the bus for them. Sais says that Cherica's attitude stinks and no one can work with her. Hash says that she insulted him and he's not talking to her, and Anthony figures that the managers aren't dealing with her.

Anthony asks Hash again what he does, and Hash says that he did the same thing 15 years ago, for 7 years. The other employees don't think he's had any experience, ad Anthony wonders how he can be a GM and never have cleaned rooms. Hash says that his best quality is that he's a cool dude. Anthony asks if anyone agrees with Hash, and no one does. Hash insists that nothing was organized until he got there, but Anthony figures that Hash has no idea what he's talking about. He asks Hash if he's a conman, and Hash doesn't know what to say. Sais figures that he is because Hash isn't defending himself, and Anthony agrees.

After dismissing everyone else, Anthony asks Hash what he thought about the meeting. Hash says that he's learning things, and says that he's 65 but wearing a toupee. He insists that he isn't taking advantage of Mark, and Anthony points out that no one thinks he adds any value to the hotel. When Anthony suggests that he might tell Mark to let Hash go, Hash says that it would be his pleasure to leave. Anthony figures that the main problem is the lack of management, and he has to fire Hash and work with the rest of the team.

On the third day, Anthony meets with Mark. Mark has heard what happened with Hash and tells Anthony that he's going to let Hash go before Anthony leaves. The owner wants to hire a GM, but he has no capital. He's vetted a prospective candidate, Upendra, but Anthony wants to vet him first. Upendra says that he's worked 28 years in the hospitality business, and Anthony gives him 20 minutes to inspect the property and make an assessment. Anthony and Mark then watch him on hidden cameras as he goes around.

Upendra first goes to the temporary lobby. He asks for room rates and if the hotel takes pets, and Anthony points out that he'd learn more by talking to Cherica. Next he inspects a room and suggests renovations, and Anthony isn't impressed with Upendra's lack of passion. He tells Mark that Upendra is pompous and doesn't like him. That night, Anthony brings in John and Rich from Patton Hospitality to talk to him and Mark. They explain that they can provide financial funding and 60 days of management. Anthony warns that if Mark doesn't agree then he'll lose the hotel in six months.

The next day, Carrie and her team continue working and Anthony brings in a team to pressurewash the hotel exterior. They have 3,000 square feet of convention and banquet space, and Anthony meets with the event planner Mary Lamb to bring in more business. Mary explains that she originally owned a ballroom and retired, and she's a certified wedding planner. So far they're looking at $7,000 clear profit. Anthony figures that she's the only competent person there.

Anthony then meets with Sais, who has been helping with renovations. Sais partners with Carrie to do some affordable projects around the hotel. Carrie explains that they're repurposing the old chairs, and Anthony has her work with Sais. Then Anthony shows Paul the proper way to inspect a room. Finally, Anthony tries to get through to Cherica. She says that she's not very apologetic, and Anthony tells her that she has to solve the problem or at last get them away from the front desk. Once he's done, he gives her a nametag.

Finally, Anthony introduces Mark, Sais, and Larry to Carrie and Rick Endicott from ProCraft Construction. She shows them the new lobby with the renovations and the paint job. Carrie explains that she found vintage photos and water skis, and a donated cabinet with a refreshment bar. Anthony then gives Sais a $4,000 mobile cart. He then takes them to the remodeled room, and Mark and his team are impressed. Carrie cleaned up and polished the furniture, and added new lights. It costs $2,000 and is clean and simple.

Anthony then takes the group out to the pool deck, which now has $10,000 worth of donated furniture. He promises that if they screw it up then he's coming back. Mark thanks Anthony, telling him that he's a savvy pitbull with passion.

Written by Gadfly on May 3, 2016

Try 30 days of free premium.