Hotels, you could say, are her Forte

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 by

Two years ago, I was extolling the virtues of Five’s The Hotel Inspector. And I’m about to do just that again.

Alexis Polizzi

Alex Polizzi

The series returns this Thursday at 8pm – but with a significant change. Original inspector Ruth Watson has checked out – she’s off to C4 for a series about failing country homes. Thus we usher in Alex Polizzi, daughter of hotelier Olga Polizzi, and granddaughter of Lord Forte, of the legendary Trust House hotel chain.

And all of that is good, but is Alex fit to take over from Ruth? Having watched a preview disc of this week’s opener – in which she visits what’s purportedly the oldest hotel in Wales – I’m happy to say she is. Less shrill than Ruth, and at times more empathetic (rolling up her sleeves and helping an over-worked hotelier clear down after breakfast), she’s perhaps even more sure of herself than her predecessor. And – here comes that cliche – she doesn’t mince her words. “I like you as people,” she informs this week’s struggling owners, “but I have to tell you, you offend every hoteling instinct that I have. I’m horrified at your arrogance in thinking that you can do this with so little knowledge. Because if this was my hotel, I promise you, I would have a fucking nervous breakdown.”

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a chat with Alex.

“I’m very straightforward,’ she said, “And a bit more hands on than Ruth. I like rolling up my sleeves and mucking in.”

She continued: “I try and bear in mind that however crap I think some of the hoteliers in the show are, this is their livelihood they’ve got on the line. So I do try to be sympathetic – but I have had to deal with some complete loons! I tell them that openly to their faces, so it’s not like I’m saying anything behind their backs.”

And she sums up her role in the programme quite succinctly. “Sometimes I do feel like I’m quite a big hammer, brought in to straighten a pathetic nail.” Nail it, she does.


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