As is usually the case on world-renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay's reality television series, "Hotel Hell," his first moments at Connecticut's oldest inn, Curtis House, are all but auspicious. He is told an early check-in is chargeable at the rate of $10 per hour (so he feigns sleeping on the lobby couch). He notices that all customer information, including credit card numbers, are kept in a large red-bound book. And on Mother's Day weekend, he finds he is the only client booked. Oh, and of all the rooms he could he's given the room in the historic inn that is most frequently haunted -- by a ghost named "Betty."
As Global TV recapped Monday night's show on Sept. 3, picking up on Ramsay's best line of the episode, "ghosts aren't paying guests." And that's really too bad, considering that the way the owners, T. J. and Chris Hardesty, are running the place, ghosts may be the only entities staying at Curtis House before too long. Although they've only been in charge for the last three years, the siblings have stopped talking, they've alienated the staff (many of whom are family), and they've managed to take a successful hotel run by their mother and father and transform it from a profitable business to a poor house.
As Gordon Ramsay notes, the place should sell itself. It's historic (it's 278 years old), it's the oldest inn in Connecticut, and it's haunted. T. J. herself noted that she's seen some weird things that can only be explained by paranormal activity. What more could you want as an owner? And yet, the place is in disrepair (Gordon has a difficult time trying to just get out of his room), there are stains on just about everything, and dead bugs line the tops of the window sashes.
And when Ramsay visits the dining area to partake of the Curtis House cuisine, he is met with fare so vile that he barely takes a bite of any of it. Upon visiting the kitchen, he is introduced to Chris, who is the head chef, and the kitchen staff. It's several moments later that he points out to Chris that he doesn't care anymore, an attitude also exuded by his kitchen staff, and it's evident in that Chef Ramsay was never asked if he enjoyed his lunch. Even with that prompting, unbelievable as it may seem, still nobody asked.
At the end of the first day, exasperated by the lack of communication by management, the dreadful dining experience, and the overall dreariness of the situation, Ramsay goes to bed. He picks up a book on the nightstand, a small guide to the ghosts of Connecticut. Wouldn't you know it -- Curtis House is in the book. Apparently, a ghost named Betty haunts the place and has been known to tuck in a male customer or two.
(An amusing aside: The next morning, as Gordon Ramsay readies to take a shower, he pulls the shower curtain and turns on the shower. He then quips that he hopes Betty isn't watching.)
So it became Gordon Ramsay's task to do some family relationship therapy to get the inn back in working condition or get the siblings to simply close up shop and go on to doing other things. Given that Curtis House has been run by the Hardesty family for six decades, he stages a family intervention, prompting the family, including the matriarch (the father having died a few years back, which was when the mantle of responsibility was passed to T. J. and Chris). The two vow to do better, start communicating, and to not let what their father built go for naught.
So, as is always the case when the owners finally see the light and accept Ramsay's help in getting things back in working order, Ramsay's crew comes in and refurbishes the place and the chef himself creates a new menu for the place. In this instance, he goes with family favorites for the signature entrees.
He also brings in a paranormal expert to run tests on the haunted room and check the inn out for ghosts. Before he leaves, he hands T. J. a plaque that signifies Curtis House as a member of Haunted Connecticut Tours, making the historic inn an "officially" haunted house.
As he drives away, Chef Gordon Ramsay says mockingly, "I ain't afraid of no ghost." And laughs...
"Hotel Hell" airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television.