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What It’s Like to Be on the Receiving End of Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Hotel Hell’

Aug 03, 2014 6:30 pm

Skift Take

Despite the train wreck that hotels tend to be on ‘Hotel Hell’ or Travel Channel’s ‘Hotel Impossible’, many owners come away from the experience more invigorated than shell-shocked.

— Jason Clampet

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Fox

Hotel Hell's logo. Fox


Joanna Davis didn’t just receive a first-hand dose of Gordon Ramsay’s tough love, she’s here to say he was practically a pussycat.

“He was unbelievably nice to me,” says Davis, the co-owner of Applegate River Lodge, in Southern Oregon. “I had a lot of respect from him, and he treated me really kindly.”

Which is all the more surprising, since Ramsay — the chef/restaurateur/TV personality known for hollering at hapless cooks on such shows as “Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef” — – was at the lodge to film an episode of “Hotel Hell.”

The Fox series, now in its second season, sends Ramsay around the country as he visits hotels and lodges, diagnoses what they’re doing wrong, and tells them how to straighten up and get in shape.

The “Hotel Hell” episode featuring Applegate River Lodge will air Monday night at 9 p.m. on Fox (12.) [Clip below]

Though having your establishment featured on “Hotel Hell” might not sound like good publicity, Davis was pleased to have Ramsay and the production visit.

“I didn’t apply,” she says in a phone conversation. “They called me in January of 2013 and said they were interested in doing a family-run business. And I was kind of flabbergasted how they found us. They wanted to meet our family, so who am I to turn Gordon Ramsay down?”

Davis co-owns the lodge — which is located between Grants Pass and Medford, near Jacksonville — – with her ex-husband, Richard Davis.

The two, originally from Pismo Beach, Calif., bought the property 23 years ago, when their sons, Duke and Dusty, were 6 and 7 years old. There was a restaurant on the property, and the couple built the lodge, and opened it in 1997.

“We literally built it ourselves,” says Davis. “It was really a labor of love.”

“Richard and I got divorced 10 years ago,” Davis says, “but we decided to work things out because we didn’t want to lose the lodge. We’ve had our ups and downs, like any divorced family.”

Ramsay and the “Hotel Hell” crew filmed at the lodge in early June last year, for six days. “They literally took over,” Davis says. “I got there in the morning, and they put a microphone on me. It’s pretty amazing to be under the microscope like that for 12 hours a day. It was pretty intense.”

Davis hasn’t seen the episode yet, but she hopes that the healing process that Ramsay brought about for members of her family and how they run the business comes across.

“We had some great healing times,” Davis says. “It inspired us to appreciate what we have.”

“Hotel Hell” airs at 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4 on Fox (12.)

Do you have questions, rants or raves about what you’re watching? Join Kristi Turnquist for TV Talk Live, our weekly live chat here at Oregonlive.com/tv, every Thursday at noon.

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