Gordon travels to The Keating Hotel in the heart of the buzzing Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, California. The establishment is the brainchild of local property developer Eddie Kaen, who has created a destination reflecting by his personal tastes.
Kaen's idea for the venture came while he was at a luxury car dealership one day and thought, "Why not have the Ferrari of hotels?" But the 35-room boutique hotel is far from living up to his expectations. Eddie hired a sports car design company and sank a million dollars into the décor, but he spent peanuts on amenities that the hotel really needs. Eddie's choices have made life miserable for the guests and the staff.
Eddie is constantly wanting to add ideas that he's seen elsewhere, but his demands are hurting the hotel and the restaurant. Assistant Restaurant Manager David Oliver calls their four-page menu a joke. Guests complain that the food is horrible. Executive Chef Brian Rutherford just gives in to Eddie's every request and has stopped being proud of his food. With all of the problems mounting, the hotel is millions of dollars in debt and struggling to fill the rooms.
When Gordon arrives at The Keating, he is greeted by a Boston terrier named Smudge before entering a bright-red lobby. He meets lifestyle concierge Christos, who guides him to his sparsely furnished suite, which Gordon says is more like a garage than a guest room -- and for $759 a night.
When he sits down to relax, Gordon finds that the sports car--inspired furniture looks cheap and isn't functional. The uncomfortable stools are set too close to the television set. And, to top it off, the sheets on the bed are wrinkled.
Starving, he calls down to the room service and reaches Christos at the front desk. He orders the tomato soup, BBQ chicken, pizza and chicken Parmesan sliders. His food arrives in takeout boxes and plastic containers. He finds the sliders to be dreadful and spits the food out into what he dubs a "take-away puke box."
Gordon meets with Eddie and walks him through all of the problems he's experienced at the hotel so far. He remarks that the hotel may have been Eddie's dream, but the experience isn't a dream for guests.
In the lobby that night, Gordon meets General Manager Sandra Vivas and takes in guests' complaints. He then goes around the corner to the hotel's restaurant, The Merk, to get to the root of their room service problems. He discovers that the manager, Aaron, takes no responsibility for the issues.
Next Gordon goes to visit the laundry room with Sandra. He finds that the washing machines are built for homes not businesses. She confirms that all of the staff, including the lifestyle concierge, do the laundry. And she tells Gordon that they have no equipment to press the sheets. Sandra also reveals that Eddie ignores her comments, and she admits that she's ashamed of the state of the hotel.
Hoping that The Merk's food is better in the restaurant, Gordon sits down to have a meal. He meets David, the other manager, who makes sarcastic comments about the quality of their food. Gordon samples the dry brick chicken, the bland pasta and the inedible "chocolate pig" dessert -- a pizza of chocolate, strawberries and bacon.
In the kitchen Gordon meets Chef Brian, who says he suffers from the burden of meeting all of Eddie's ever-changing requests. As he admits that he's at the end of his rope, Brian actually passes out. Gordon asks that someone call 911 right away and stays by Brian's side until the paramedics arrive. Eddie tries to blame Gordon for stressing everyone out, but Chef Ramsay counters that Eddie's overblown menu could send Brian to an early grave and he has overburdened his employee.
The next morning, Gordon visits Brian, who was treated for dehydration and anxiety, for an off-camera chat. The chef agrees to go back to the hotel on his terms, feeling reinvigorated with Gordon in his corner.
Back at The Merk, Gordon gathers the team and asks them to share their honest opinions with Eddie. Gordon reminds them all that the most important person at The Keating is the guest -- not Eddie. So he arranges for Eddie and Sharon to hear from their essential visitors, who complain of rust in the Jacuzzi, cheap fixtures, the form-over-function design and terrible room service. Not a single person would return for another stay at the hotel.
Eddie finally seems to see how much things have to change in order for the business to succeed. Now Gordon must reignite Chef Brian's passion for cooking. After Chef Ramsay shows him a few new menu items, Brian is so moved that he breaks down in tears. Brian realizes he must stand up to Eddie in the future.
After a challenging week at the hotel, Gordon shows Eddie and his staff how his design team has turned The Keating into a place where guests will want to stay. Even Eddie loves the new white walls. In the suites, Sandra cries as she discovers a more inviting, comfortable atmosphere. And at The Merk, the more focused menu excites everyone.
As guests arrive for the relaunch of The Keating, those at the front desk can now focus on welcoming them. At the restaurant, Aaron is stepping up and taking a hands-on approach to room service. The simplified menu has brought Brian back to life. It's all good news for the guests, the diners, the staff, Eddie and the future of the hotel.