Hotel Babylon (Series 3, Episode 3)

Can money really buy you happiness?

It’s crunch time for Charlie. Hotel Babylon hasn’t hosted in a major event in some time, and the board of directors are on Charlie’s ass to get something big in the hotel, pronto. Luckily for Charlie, Emily has worked her magic: hotel tycoon Donald Stern (Gary Waldhorn) has a daughter named Naomi (Katie McGuinness), who’s getting married to American billionaire Earl Archer (Michael Landes). Because Naomi spent most of her life in her father’s hotels, she wants the wedding held at another hotel… and Hotel Babylon fits the bill perfectly!

Emily breathlessly tells Charlie the good news, but in all her wisdom didn’t bother telling anyone else. So now the staff of Hotel Babylon have to work overtime to make this the “society wedding” of the year. Charlie is happy that the hotel will make a lot of money off the event, but isn’t happy that Babylon’s hotel planner is out of the country on vacation. He’s also not happy that a book launch arranged at the hotel for black weight-loss guru Brad Shelford (Don Gilet) will now be rushed out of the way for the wedding. Nevertheless, Charlie agrees to holding the wedding at the hotel, and comes down to meet the Stern family:

Hotel Babylon (S3, E3 - 01)

Just as the family is meeting Charlie, Naomi squeals with delight at the sight of Emily. And now we see how Emily got the wedding for Babylon: she went to school with Naomi. So Emily once again uses her social network to assist the hotel. Which is fine, I guess, but at some point Emily’s going to run out of friends. And we’ll see how well that works. And poor Anna – the girl can smell money. Really. When the Sterns arrive, Anna flits all around them like a butterfly, giggling like a school girl on ether at their jokes, and trying to fit in as best she can (and, of course, she can’t).

Daniel and Charlie go to his office for a chat. Daniel, as a hotel tycoon, gives Charlie a bunch of useless “tips” for running a hotel. Meanwhile, Jackie and the housekeeping crew clear the 9th floor for all the wedding guests… by “inspecting” them with a Geiger counter. They said that some Russian diplomats had stayed in the rooms earlier that week, and that they had possibly been contaminated. In the staff canteen (cafeteria), Jackie and a member of housekeeping staff claim to have cleared the floor in a record 7 minutes. Meanwhile, Charlie comes in and announced that, due to the expected onslaught of tips, that he’s arranging a “trunk” (tip pool) for all the employees so that everyone can make a mint off the wedding. The staff have to decide who to trust with all the money. Geno is out, because the staff thinks he can’t count. Tony volunteers, but Jackie reminds everyone of just how much Tony “looks out for himself”. The staff settle on Ben as the “gatekeeper” for all the money.

Earl Archer soon arrives, and Anna fawns all over him. Emily appears and introduces herself to Earl as the wedding planner. Earl thanks them both, and hands each a couple of £20 notes. Anna is more than happy to take them, but Emily looks slightly annoyed. Her look turns to worry as Daniel shows up. Daniel says that things are hectic, but going well, and that it’s all worth it for his daughter, to which Earl replies that he (Daniel) coddles her too much (and he doesn’t say that in a joking voice, either. He’s serious). The look on Emily’s face says that she’s worried about her friend marrying a jerk. Anna, looking only at dollar and pound signs, is oblivious.

The tips start pouring in as the wedding couple hold a reception. Tony reminds Ben that he’s in charge of the money, and that the staff will “stuff him in the boot of an unmarked car” if anything happens.

Meanwhile, in another part of the hotel, Brad Shelford is holding a pre-book signing pep talk. At the end of the talk, he looks across the room at his girlfriend – a gorgeous blonde, kind of a “prettier Cameon Diaz” – who salutes him. James interrupts the book signing to introduce himself to Shelford and tell him that he’s available any time to discuss his dietary needs. As he’s walking away, Geno and celebrity chef Otto Clark stop him. Isn’t it odd, they wonder, why James, the dedicated epicurean, is so nice to an “anti-food zealot” like Shelford? James shrugs off their concerns. Geno sees Shelford kissing his beautiful girlfriend and wonders what he (Shelford) has that he (Geno) doesn’t.

Tony has a “gut feeling” that something isn’t right with Donald Stern, so he calls a friend to see what’s going on with the hotel magnate. Emily, meanwhile, is sitting at the dinner table with the Stern party, enjoying a rich dinner and champagne. Anna, once again trying to inject herself in with her social betters, attempts to hand Naomi some shoes that have just arrived via courier. Emily tells Anna to take them up to the bride’s room. On her way up, Anna runs into Charlie, who suggests that they “meet” in the bride’s room. Before he goes, though, he takes a long, hard look at Emily partying it up with the guests.

Brad has moved into the bar, where he’s enjoying a drink with his hot girlfriend. Geno starts talking to him, and soon falls under his spell. Brad gives Geno an autographed copy of his book. James comes over to review the menu (and again is strangely defensive of Shelford), when Brad’s girlfriend comes back from the restroom and whispers something in his ear. The two take off upstairs, Brand’s menu still unchosen.

Charlie meets Anna in the bride’s room, where she is admiring Naomi’s wedding dress. The two talk about getting married, and Charlie says that he’s never thought about getting married. Ever. It’s obvious to everyone (except Charlie) that Anna wants to get married. Charlie tells Anna that he wouldn’t want to “change what we have” (a romantic “friends with benefits” situation) with any talk of marriage. You can almost see the wind come out of Anna sails when he tells her this. She’s obviously disappointed, but won’t tell him directly. She bolts from the room as quickly as she can.

Hotel Babylon (S3, E3 - 02)

Geno, apparently, has fallen for Brad’s spiel hook, line and sinker. He uses his time during a break to visit Brad’s website… only to find pictures of James. James, it turns out, used to be quite fat (look for the horrible Photoshop job they did making James fat!). His main weakness was “macaroni cheese”. Geno, of course, shows the entire staff the website, and everyone gets a laugh out of it.

Meanwhile, up in Brad’s room, his girlfriend, Carla, has plans to go out. The two have a heated discussion about it, and it’s made clear that Carla has “been out” many times before. In fact, going out on the town and spending huge wads of Brad’s money seems to be her primary activity. She asks him for some money. He hands her a wad of £20 notes. She says it’s not enough (this is after she spent £8000 on a necklace and £3000 on a ring earlier that day). Brad opens his wallet and hands her some more money. Before putting the wallet away, Brad stops and looks at a picture of his “old family”. Brad, it seems, was married and had a family before. Carla tells him to look at the picture and remember how unhappy he was back then. But was he really that unhappy? He was certainly obese back then… but he had beautiful children and a wife that loved him. James knocks on Brad’s door to ask him once again about the menu. And once again, Brad blows him off. James thanks him for staying at the Babylon, calling himself a “loyal acolyte”.

Otto then catches Ben taking some money from the tip pool. He threatens to tell the rest of the staff… unless Ben hands him £3000 from the tip pool (which is odd, since Otto is a “celebrity chef” and everything). The two have a long conversation where Ben tries to do the right thing but ends up being persuaded by Otto into giving him the money. Otto heads back to the kitchen before leaving, and just then a huge room service order comes in. Otto makes a nasty comment about it and then leaves. James becomes concerned when he hears which room its for. Can Brad be falling off the wagon?

Back at the front desk, Ben tells Anna that tons of complaints have been coming in about noise on the 9th floor. She goes up to check it out. Tony, meanwhile, asks Ben about the tips. Ben says they’re “a bit light”, which Tony doesn’t believe. Tony also knows from people at other hotels that Otto has a gambling problem, and often borrows money from other employees and doesn’t pay them back. Just at that moment, Charlie walks by, and Tony tells him that something is definitely afoot with Donald Stern, and he’ll have all the details later.

Anna goes upstairs to check out the noise… and finds a “hen party” (bachelorette party) in full swing. The bride to be is nearly passed out of the sofa… and who’s the ringleader of the other girls? Yep – Emily. All dressed up in toilet paper (??), she leads the party girls out of the room to “take the party to the street”:

Hotel Babylon (S3, E3 - 03)

I hate her. I especially hate her after she sprayed some hotel guests with a fire extinguisher on the way out to “take the party to the street” (what does a rich, private school graduate know about “the street”, anyway?). Luckily, Jackie and Anna stop her and pull her into an empty guest room to sleep off the drunkening. Emily passes out on the sofa. On the way to the elevators, Anna asks Jackie about Charlie and his feelings about marriage. Jackie tells Anna that Charlie isn’t the marrying type. James, meanwhile, has delivered the room service to Brad. James tries cheering Brad up… mainly by using quotes from Brad’s own books. Brad appears to be happier after the talk… but is he?

The next morning, Jackie and Anna go to wake Emily up. She’s indeed nursing a hangover from hell. As the three of them make small talk, Emily reveals that her father is Damion Rushbie, another British hotel magnate. The three walk down to the staff canteen, where Emily gets a standing ovation for her “performance” the night before. James, having gotten himself a light, sensible breakfast, walks around the dining room… only to see Brad wolfing down a full English breakfast. When James asks Brad what’s going on, he announces that he’s decided to change his life yet again. Brad realized that he was happier when he was fat, so he kicks blondie to the “kerb” and invites his family to the hotel… which is kind of bizarre, because his wife is apparently happy to see him. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many big black women that would tearfully embrace a husband that walked out his family as soon as big money and white women came calling… but then maybe that’s just the company I keep.

Otto walks through the front door of the hotel with a giant scowl on his face. Tony sees him and asks if his “winning streak” is continuing. Tony knows who took the money. He’s also found out about Donald Stern, too. Apparently Stern made some huge investments in hotels and resorts in Eastern Europe, and apparently no one in Eastern Europe can afford to stay there. They’re all failing. Badly. So badly, in fact, that Stern is broke. Tony hands Charlie a press release that will be released Monday, announcing Stern’s bankruptcy.

Charlie calls Emily into his office, where he tells her that he’s canceling the wedding and asking the Sterns to leave. Emily is, of course, horrified. Not only are these people A-list guests, they’re her friends. Charlie says that the hotel can get most of their money back by making the guests pay their bills from the night before and also from the £45,000 deposit… only Emily tells Charlie that she waved the deposit! Emily says that they need the wedding, as rich people talk and the wedding will be in the newspapers. Charlie asks her how they’re going to pay for the wedding without the deposit. Emily says that they’ll “do what they least expect”.

Tony then forces Ben to show him the tip pool. It’s obviously light. Ben doesn’t want to rat on Otto, so Tony calls a staff meeting about it. Ben admits to taking £250 for a plane ticket for his mother, so that she can visit his ailing grandmother in Antigua. Geno points out the there’s far more than £250 missing. Tony, who has been watching Ben and Otto like a hawk, takes Ben aside, where he admits that Otto blackmailed him into giving him the £3000.

Charlie takes Donald aside and confirms that he’s not only broke, but that he used Emily to get a decent rate on the hotel and also wave the deposit. Donald claims that no one else in his party knows about it, and that he did it because he loves his daugther and he didn’t want Earl Archer finding out. Charlie isn’t unsympathetic to his situation, and with the ceremony taking place in less than 20 minutes, he feels like he has no choice but to let it go ahead.

Back in the canteen, Tony confronts Otto about the missing money. He denies all knowledge of it at first, but then admits it… just as Charlie walks in and tells everyone to stop arguing over the money – the hotel will keep all the tips to help pay the bill. Tony backs Charlie up, saying that he’s sure that Charlie will work out some form on compensation. And he does – after the wedding dinner (which has been downgraded to “shabby chic” fish & chips), Charlie announces that all of the staff will get a bit of a holiday, as the staff from one of Stern’s hotels will take over two days while the Babylon’s staff enjoy first-class dining, massages, room service… Ahhh, it must be nice!

Otto, by the way, refuses to “put his name” on the fish and chip dinner, and storms out of the restaurant… but not before hacking a plant to death with one of his precious knives (something no real chef would ever do). Good riddance – Otto was a jerk!

The episode ends with Anna leaving the hotel… looking good, too:

Hotel Babylon (S3, E3 - 04)

Charlie stops her in the lobby and tries to talk with her. He asks her if he said anything to offend her. She say no, that he only said what he thought. It’s apparently over between Anna and Charlie.

Wow – that was fast!


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