Popular television series The Hotel Inspector features presenter Alex Polizzi on a mission to salvage some of the UK’s worst-run hotels and B&Bs. Launched in 2005, the Channel 5 series is still going strong 12 years later, with Polizzi telling the clueless (and often downright irresponsible) proprietors what she thinks of their set-up.
When the show was first broadcast it was hosted by English hotelier, broadcaster and food writer Ruth Watson, who with her husband had previously run a 33-room hotel with an 18-hole golf course. Between 2005 and 2008, she presented four series plus a one-off series, The Hotel Inspector: Revisited, when she returned to previously refurbished hotels to see if they were continuing the good work.
Watson hosted The Hotel Inspector until 2008, when Polizzi took over. The current host – a British hotelier of Italian heritage – is a member of the famous Forte catering family. She has completed lengthy hotel training in many of the UK’s most distinguished establishments and runs a hotel owned by her mother in Devon.
Polizzi certainly doesn’t pull any punches when she advises the hoteliers on how to improve their ailing businesses. However, her criticisms are constructive and she does come up with an action plan to refurbish the premises and put proprietors back on the right track – she often completes renovations on their behalf!
The show was an instant hit in the ratings, attracting 2.5 million viewers and winning a Royal Television Society Award in 2006. To date, more than 100 of the 60-minute episodes have seen many failing properties brought back to life. Possibly for that reason, it has become one of Channel 5’s most watched shows.
Polizzi has said in interviews that it’s a stressful job dealing with the hoteliers featured in the series. She admits she doesn’t like feeling angry but her patience wears increasingly thin. However, she says being nice doesn’t work, mainly due to the limited amount of time she has for each programme. She says she sets an agenda quickly and has to go in with a tough attitude – otherwise, time passes pretty quickly and they accomplish nothing.
It is particularly frustrating when she tries to instil solid business sense and good practice into the hoteliers and they seem to fight her all the way, often continuing with their bad habits. It seems surprising that they have called on her to help them out of desperation, as some continue to resist her suggestions.
A new series of the Hotel Inspector was announced in February this year. This time around, the producers are seeking more high-end properties as opposed to struggling hoteliers and B&B owners – as in the previous 12 series. Polizzi will aim to help them step up to the next level, refine their brands or increase margins.
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