So the first episode of HotelGB was aired this evening. HotelGB is in fact the Bermondsey Square Hotel which has been taken over for two weeks by the film company Optomen. The celebrity teams are headed up by Gordon Ramsay and Mary Portas.
Gordon’s team are looking after the Kitchen, Restaurant, Bar and Gym, whilst Mary’s team look after the Reception, Spa and pop up shop. The teams are competing against each other to make the most money for charity – the revenue they raise will go towards employment charities such as Springboard – whatever happened to everyone working together as one team? The other team leaders are celebrities most of whom have little expertise in the area they are managing:
Gok Wan – Bar Manager
Phil Spencer – Maitre D
Dr Christian Jessen – Gym
Kim Woodburn – Housekeeper
Katie Piper – Spa Manager
Hilary Devey – Pop Up shop manager
Kirsty Allsop – role to be revealed later….
As for the trainees – they are people that have been unemployed for at least a year, and after being interviewed by Gordon and Mary, the successful recruits were then allocated to work either on Gordon’s team or Mary’s team. At the end of the week there is a job for one of them with Gordon, and a job for one of them with Mary. The hope is that they will all secure full time employment after their stint at HotelGB.
The trainees are told they are going to get the equivalent of one years work experience in a week and it is going to be intense. So with one day’s training, these new trainees who have very little experience if any at all of working in hospitality have to serve paying guests. 5 hours in to the training and Mary loses one of her trainees in Reception – Natasha who finds it too overwhelming. I do hope off air the poor girl was given more support than the response she got from Mary – I have guests arriving in 5 minutes and I need to know if you are in or out!
Sunday was launch day and the majority of guests that arrived were celebrities. This first episode for me focused too much on the celebrities “running” the hotel and the celebrity guests. Although I did feel sorry for Phil Spencer getting bossed around by Gordon! Although I suppose with one of their aims to raise as much money for charity from this venture – it is the celebrities that are going to be showing their generosity. With a no pay / pay / tip what you want policy they are banking that their charm and customer service will win over the guests. £200 tip for a cocktail and £1,000 tip for a meal is pretty generous.
Classic quote from Mary “It is so much harder than we thought” – what can I say – welcome to the world of hospitality… oh and where were you when your trainee receptionists had to deal with a complaint from the penthouse party? I do hope that as the week goes on there is more focus on the trainees. Emily on Reception dealt brilliantly with the complaint from the pent house party lot, although what did “housekeeper” Kim Woodburn do with so much noise coming from the room – she went in and joined them!
This episode ends with the arrival of Hilary Devey and her dogs. When discussing dietary requirements with Gordon her meal order of steamed chicken for the dogs did not go down too well. Her reasoning for this – giving them Pedigree chum would make them s**t everywhere – charming!
What will tomorrow have in store – we’ll have to wait to find out.
PS – if you want to have a meal at HotelGB email [email protected]