What happens to a hotel when the owner spends a lot of money on gym equipment and forgets about the hotel upkeep? The answer is a hotel in deep trouble. This week’s Hotel Impossible episode featured the Newport Inn, a 120 room hotel that had seen its image and revenues decline for over a decade as a result of a neglected hotel room and asset maintenance.
Episode Recap – No Maintenance?
The show began with host Anthony Melchiorri looking through the windows of a giant indoor pool that needed major work. He then met with the owner, John, telling him that the online reviews generally described the hotel as needing substantial renovations, looking run down and having ratty and scary looking bedding.
The owner’s response was he has purchased over $100,000 worth of gym equipment which he placed in the main banquet room. He had also purchased two hot tubs for 20k that were disconnected. His goal was to build revenues through a gym membership. There was obviously a tremendous disconnect between the owner and the hotel’s maintenance needs.
Hotel Maintenance had Disappeared
The result of the owner disconnect was a lack of hotel maintenance and terrible financial decision making that had nearly left the hotel in ruins. Anthony’s inspection of the hotel premises and talks with staff revealed:
- The hotel had 3 different names including the Newport Spa and Whirlpool Suites, the Newport Inn and Spa and the Newport Inn.
- From the Premier Luxury Suite
- Their premier luxury room had no headboard, a giant mirror and a high end massage chair.
- The bedspreads were disgusting and ugly.
- The mattress cover had not been washed in years and was covered in snot, hair and severely stained.
- The Jacuzzi in the room had dried out caulking and was stuck in a space the size of a closet.
- Garbage in the wastebasket.
- The sink drain PVC pipe had been disconnected under the sink.
- There was a nasty stench coming from the pipes.
- The toilet seat snapped off without effort.
- Toilet bowl had not been cleaned.
- From other areas
- There was no maintenance system, maintenance records and no preventive maintenance being done.
- The maintenance crew had dwindled from 6 to 1 during owners tenure.
- Rusted overhead and leaking pipes in the pool area.
- Ceiling was discolored or rotting.
- HVAC vents had dirty filters
- $20,000 in hot tubs were disconnected, had standing water and mold and bacteria everywhere including in the pipes making them a health risk.
- Lighting fixtures were rusted and falling apart.
- The pool was stained.
- The hotel GM had no decision making authority.
- There was no housekeeping system.
- There was no marketing effort to work with local vendors of other services to attract guests.
In short, the Hotel was falling apart and was going to be empty for the upcoming yachting summer events that included the America’s Cup coming to Newport.
After sizing up the issues Mr. Melchiorri made an important comment:
“90% of all people booking hotel rooms in Newport want an indoor pool”
Source: Anthony Melchiorri
Lastly, just like the Southern Oaks Inn episode the hotel’s best asset, the pool, was not being marketed.
The Fix for the Newport Inn
The fix for the Newport Inn was a little different than other hotels featured in the show that had severe maintenance challenges. As with other shows the Hotel Impossible crew renovated selected areas such as the pool, the luxury room and even put a new sign that effectively changed the name of the hotel to The Newport Inn.
“Hotels are built on systems: maintenance, housekeeping and service.”
Source: Anthony Melchiorri
These changes were only cosmetic and a bigger change needed to be made in order to make the hotel run alike a hotel should. Instead of asking the general manager to step up, Anthony brought in a new experienced VP of hotel operations to take charge. He was tasked with keeping the owner out of the day-to-day decisions and establishing the needed hotel systems.
Lastly, the owner was introduced to local marketing and business owners where he quickly established a partnership with a yacht owner that offered dinner cruises. He was also able to get listed on the number one source for Newport hotel information.
As the show ended the only real question that remained was whether or not the owner would revert back to his old ways once the Hotel Impossible crew left and try to make the hotel into a gym again.
Tell us about the best hotels you have stayed at. Was maintenance noticeable? Come back next week for another recap of Hotel Impossible.