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Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby

  • Premiered: 
    March 27, 2017
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: BBC2
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Reality
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter:
  • Tags: travel, hotel

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Plot Synopsis

From a remote island inn to a hotel boasting a sky-high floating infinity pool, Giles Coren and Monica Galetti roll up their sleeves to work alongside staff in some of the most extraordinary hotels across the globe. With wonder, curiosity and humor, they learn tricks of the trade and discover what it takes to offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences in awe-inspiring locations.

AMAZING HOTELS: LIFE BEYOND THE LOBBY had its U.S. premiere on Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 10pm-Midnight ET/7-9pm PT, as Ovation debuted back-to-back new episodes:

"Marina Bay Sands, Singapore" (10pm ET/7pm PT): In the first episode Giles and Monica join the 9,500 thousand-strong workforce in one of the world's biggest hotels: Singapore's Marina Bay Sands. This epic hotel caters for one million guests every year, cost 3.5 billion pounds to build and was created as part of a government plan to triple tourist income to Singapore within 10 years. The jewel in its crown is the longest elevated infinity pool in the world, the size of three Olympic swimming pools. As pool attendants, Giles and Monica discover the marathon laundry process that cleans tens of thousands of towels per day. One of the most surprising places unearthed is its high-tech uniform store, which supplies 160,000 pieces of uniform with 600 different designs. Giles and Monica explore extraordinary places beyond the lobby that the public never sees. Giles smartens up and joins the butler's team, led by an ex-Singapore special forces officer, while Monica helps prepare an eight-course tasting menu for 1,400 dinner guests. They also spend time with their new co-workers at home, uncovering moving stories about their lives beyond the hotel walls.

"Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador" (11pm ET/8pm PT): Giles and Monica head to the Andean Cloud Forest of Ecuador to work at Mashpi Lodge, a $10 million modernist hotel featuring an extraordinary gondola cable car that 'flies' guests one mile through the jungle canopy at a dizzying height. Built by a former mayor of the capital Quito, on the site of what was once a logging station, 70 percent of its staff are locals who used to be loggers or hunters but are now proud conservationists. Gloriously remote and perched 900m above sea level, guests are surrounded by one of the last remaining biodiversity hot spots on the planet. Giles and Monica reveal the challenges of delivering the highest standards of guest experience in the midst of teeming wildlife, mud and moisture, doing battle with the hotel's main enemy, mold, thanks to 90 percent humidity; abseiling through the jungle canopy for a safety drill; and preparing a unique local delicacy -- guinea pig. They also spend time with the hotel's resident biologist, who has captured on camera a species the area has not seen for 30 years. Going beyond the lobby, Giles and Monica unearth a story of luxury in a surprising place and pioneering eco-tourism that is saving thousands of species. They also spend time with their new co-workers at home, uncovering moving stories of how local people's lives have been transformed by the arrival of the hotel.

On Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 10pm-Midnight ET/7-9pm PT, Ovation aired the U.S. premiere of the second season of the series, debuting back-to-back new episodes
Tonight (Thursday, May 30, 2019) from 10-11pm ET/7-8pm PT, Ovation airs the U.S. premiere of "Christmas Special - St Moritz, Switzerland," the AMAZING HOTELS: LIFE BEYOND THE LOBBY Christmas special.

In this Christmas special, Giles and Monica travel to Kulm Hotel, St Moritz. This Swiss Alpine hotel was the birthplace of winter tourism more than 150 years ago. The Kulm's owner, Johannes Badrutt, made a bet with summer guests that if they returned in the winter and didn't enjoy themselves he would pay for their stay. The guests stayed for the season - and a new industry of winter leisure and sports was born. The current managers of the Kulm (one of whom was born there!) try to embrace the hotel's history whilst finding new ways to attract younger generations. Giles launches into the traditional grand hotel's life by being fitted up for a bellboy's uniform to work alongside veteran head concierge Silvio. With 44 years at the Kulm under his belt, Silvio dispatches Giles to collect the luggage of departing guests with a plane to catch. Armed with no apparent sense of direction, Giles wrestles a brass trolley with a mind of its own through the warren of corridors and lifts, just about managing to deliver the cases intact.

Monica helps joint MD Jenny transform her office into a private dining room for the evening. It is in the oldest part of the hotel and used to be the living room of the hotel's first owner, Badrutt. Using the first hotelier's original dinner service, silverware and glassware, today's office is restored to late-19th-century style for a nostalgic candlelit dinner. Badrutt's bet triggered a flood of privileged guests to this Alpine winter wonderland, who began devising forms of snow-bound entertainment. Jenny's husband Heinz shows Giles the hotel's historic Sunny Bar, which celebrates the 1884 creation of the infamous Cresta Run - an ice track that winds down to the village and is a forerunner of Olympic skeleton. Giles tries his hand at a favorite apres-ski challenge, and in the hotel archives he leafs through old magazines created by early guests: the 19th-century version of Instagram. In the present day, Monica heads up the slopes to get to grips with the monsters of the mountains - the piste-bashing machines that groom the slopes, including those forming the longest floodlit ski run in Switzerland. With head concierge Silvio, Giles delivers mail and meets one of the hotel's permanent residents (the largest serviced apartment here can cost 250,000 pounds a year). Giles also learns that Silvio is about to retire and discovers how Silvio has loved and lost during his nearly five decades at the Kulm.

Giles and Monica take the cable car to the highest accessible point on the mountain to meet suppliers of the hotel's Swiss whisky. In this high altitude cave, where lack of oxygen assists the ageing process, the presenters help to decant whisky into a wine barrel and hear how the producers hope to open one of the world's highest distilleries. Down in the hotel, Monica prepares dinner service with blue-haired Peruvian chef Claudia, whom Heinz hired to shake up the hotel's culinary offerings. As they make ceviche together, with the aptly-named 'tigers' milk' (hangover cure) dressing, Monica learns how bringing Peruvian cuisine to the Alps felt like a big risk but offers a refreshing Alpine alternative. Giles joins Heinz and Jenny for family time in a shepherd's hut and meet Heinz's parents, who ran the Kulm for 30 years, to gain their perspectives on some of the changes taking place. Heinz then takes Monica on a forward-thinking excursion that he's starting to offer guests - a helicopter ride to an isolated mountain peak for a cheese, champagne and truffle fondue (it is all very James Bond). On much lower slopes, Giles faces his lifelong distaste for skiing by working alongside ski instructor Matteo and accelerates from novice skier to leading (and not wiping out) a class of children.

By the end of the process Giles develops a tentative approval of the sport and a love of barking instructions in German. Finally, Giles and Monica's double dog date takes them across St Moritz's frozen lake, often used for winter polo matches, and provides them with a fresh view of the hotel.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by BBC Studios