A Hotel Impossible Community
Monday 10:00 PM on Travel Channel
Hotel Impossible has been... strange this year. Mainly because Travel Channel hasn't run many new episodes in 2017. They split "Season 8" in half, with the first seven episodes in 2016. Then they decided to go on a ten-month "hiatus" of new episodes, although the series continues to run in repeats. Then they decided to air six more episodes just prior to the end of 2017. If this was any Big 5 Network show, I'd say that it was the end of the road. And "Waterpark" has a finality to it, ending with a failure for Anthony and a sad little "Hotel Impossible" magnetic letter sign at the end as he walks out of the hotel.


The episodes that they did run weren't that thrilling, which why I haven't put up any reviews. Yes, there are the usual nightmares of maintenance and housekeeping. Assorted shots of filth and garbage, and hotel pools that look like they should be condemned rather than renovated. But usually there's some kind of reason (or "excuse" depending on your point of view). The daughter the parents bought the hotel for three years ago died, and the parents had no idea what to do with the place.

But the episodes this half-season just aren't that memorable. And I don't remember the stuff in the first half-season because, you know, ten months ago.

That brings us to "Waterpark", which features host Anthony Melchiorri in all of his bald suited Observer-like fury. He arrives at the Maui Sands Hotel and Indoor Waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio, and as is often the case, I wonder who called him in. It's not exactly a mom-and-pop operation like many of the hotels he helps: it's a 300-room property with an indoor waterpark. One gets the impression it's a setup: the owners asked for help, the production team reviewed the application or whatever they get, they found some initial problems that they thought would make good end-of-season "shock" TV, and they went for it. Certainly the chances of a successful renovation seem doomed from the start. We never even find out if the rooms need renovating, and Anthony never inspects a room. The staff meeting we do see doesn't seem to have enough housekeepers for 300 rooms.


Then again, there really isn't enough time for Anthony to check a room. When he gets there, he finds out that the water park water is freezing cold. One of the pool managers is a high school student with no pool management experience, and she notes that they have boiler issues but the owners won't fix them.

The managers also mention that there are roaches in the waterpark area. This leads Anthony talking to an incoming guest about the hotel's rodent problem. And since he has a suspicion that they have bedbugs, he calls in Bill Whitstein, a guy who shows up occasionally with his bedbug-sniffing dog. One wonders what Whitstein does for a living, since he seems to travel the country with Anthony. Or at least is available at Anthony's beck and call no matter where Anthony is in the U.S.


The hotel has big bedbug problems, as Anthony and Bill tell us repeatedly. Bill's dog sits down every time he finds bedbugs, and he does a lot of sitting down on the job. There are bedbugs in two rooms, there are bedbugs on a vacuum cleaner in the housekeeping closet, there are bedbugs in an arcade room, there are bedbugs in the convention center which has adjoining hotel rooms looking out on the central area. Which seems like an odd design for a convention center as I understand the term, and apparently has pool tables in it during at least one shot. But okey-dokey.


Anthony discovers that the GM, Nick, isn't particularly experienced. And in an odd bit, after Anthony confronts him about the problems, Nick quits and sends Anthony a goodbye letter along with a box of his personal items. This doesn't make any sense, as even Anthony notes. But then Anthony calls Nick back in, and Nick seemingly comes in freely for a staff meeting. All he says that he has his reputation (??) and his pride. So quitting in the middle of a job seems and sending your personal belongings (like a family photo) to a reality-show host seems like an odd way to keep your reputation as a General Manager, but okay.

At the staff meeting, Anthony breaks the news that the hotel has a bedbug problem and has Bill sniff down the staff for bedbugs. They have them, as does the banquette that they're sitting on. Anthony offers to have their homes checked, although perhaps understandably he says that the owners should pay for any treatment.

And as Anthony notes several times, treating bedbugs with big-box store chemical sprays is a) not the way to go, and b) exposes guests to toxic chemicals. One of the more amusing scenes is Anthony pointing this out to the head maintenance guy, who just kinda shrugs and has a "if looks could kill" look when Anthony asks if he can read the "do not risk possible human skin contact" instructions.


Anthony then calls in the owners, who are unnamed on the show but are Patel and Kirit Parmar. According to local articles, they called Anthony in because "This will give us the marketing we need." Yeah, I bet. It's not clear when Anthony visits the place: it seems to be December 2016, since he mentions December when he arrives. And later tells the owners to close the place from December through April. You can go to TripAdvisor to read the reviews if you want. One reviewer says that they were told the place is under new management since July 2017, and thinks the place is okay. Another one says that the place still blows.

Anyhoo, Anthony asks the owners if they'll cover the expenses of having their employees' homes treated if bedbugs are found. One owner hesitates and says that it depends on the size of the houses. Not totally unreasonable, but Anthony leaps on the guy and tears his head off. He talks about how it was a test and the owner failed. "You have failed this employee" Anthony essentially intones in a voice that sounds nothing like Stephen Amell. Although it wouldn't have surprised me if Anthony whipped out a bow & arrow and killed the guy on the spot.


Anthony then sits down and lays out how much money it's going to take at minimum to get the hotel up to industry standards. We don't find out onscreen if they did it, and judging from the end card they only shut down half the hotel when Anthony recommended they shut down the entire hotel for five months. Whether Anthony's recommendation is a blue-sky proposal and the owners had to keep half the place going rather shut down the entire place for five months, isn't clear.


As is almost always the case, there's also no timeframe given for the end card, so whether the hotel is still half shutdown isn't known. Or whether it was shut down for a while and is back up. Or what. Isn't at all clear. The 10-month gap in episodes doesn't help.

The show also seems to have focused a bit more on financials this season, or half-season, or whatever. Several of the owners wanted to sell their properties, or are in the process of selling their properties, or Anthony tells them that the only way they're going to walk away is if they do sell their properties.

Meanwhile, Anthony has brought in designer Carrie Lochlyn to renovate an empty space into a "Kid's Zone". But he pretty much gives up on the owners after they say that they have to catch a plane and won't be there for the big "reveal" of the renovation. Anthony isn't impressed with that, either, and tells Carrie as much. They still show off the Kid's Zone a bit, but at the end Anthony and his team walk. Putting in a Kid's Zone after spending the last 55 minutes showing us that the hotel isn't a place you should take kids seems kinda pointless. I would have liked to see what condition the rooms were in, although I understand that bedbugs were the issues rather than room conditions.


Like I said, the episode seems like a setup and they knew in advance that there wasn't much hope. So they gave Carrie a minimal-expense project. There's a huge banquet room and an on-site restaurant & bar that seem to need some work, but they give the designer a relatively small area and a relatively low-cost renovation. Yes, the area looks great and all, but it doesn't look like a budget-buster, either.

Overall, "Waterpark" is a decent season finale, although the term is pretty much meaningless for the show. Now new Hotel Impossible is off the air again. For another ten months? Who knows?

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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