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Homestead hotel to get TV makeover

 

msharp@MiamiHerald.com

The Floridian Hotel in Homestead will be featured in the fourth season of the Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible,” which premieres Monday.

Anthony Melchiorri, host of the reality television program in which struggling hotels nationally and internationally receive a makeover by him and his team, says that fixing a hotel requires a three-pronged approach.

“You need good owners, a good building that’s in good shape and a committed staff. If you have those three elements, you will be successful,” said Melchiorri, 48. “I start focusing on whether the owners are real or full of it, whether or not the building is falling apart and how the employees operate.”

Melchiorri, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., served in the Air Force from 1986-1990 before starting his career in the hotel industry.

He climbed the ranks and built his reputation while managing high-profile hotels such as the Plaza Hotel, Lucerne Hotel and Algonquin Hotel in New York City. He later became senior vice president of the first Nickelodeon Hotel and Resort before starting his own hotel and consultancy, Argeo Hospitality.

After 20 years in the business, Melchiorri decided to try his hand in television, and he pitched the idea of Hotel Impossible to the Travel Channel.

“Certain friends of mine had some connections to agents, and we put a sizzle reel together showing what I can do,” he said. “I was lucky enough that the Travel Channel bought the concept then let me do my job. I come in knowing very little about the hotel, and I figure it out in four days.”

For the Floridian Hotel, Melchiorri teamed up with interior designer Alison Victoria, who is the host of “Kitchen Crashers,” a home improvement series on DIY Network.

This is the third episode that features Victoria as a guest designer. She talked about the changes being made to the hotel, as well as her relationship with Melchiorri.

“It’s all about mutual respect, and it’s a matter of trusting. He trusts that I know what I’m doing, and I know he knows what he’s doing. We’re a team,” Victoria said. “We’re doing the banquet room, the front desk, the lobby and adding a business center. This project included two major renovations because the front desk and banquet center were complete overhauls.”

Marco Mejia, general manager of the Floridian, worked with Melchiorri and the owners during the filming of the episode.

He talked about how the hotel came across this opportunity.

“Our owners, Donald and Richard Groh, decided to write a letter to Hotel Impossible because they needed help with the property,” Mejia said. “The property was not generating revenues and they considered selling it. Now they’re 100 percent dedicated to it and look forward to its progress.”

Melchiorri’s goal is to give the hotels he works on the best chance to succeed.

“We have a very small budget,” he said. “We pinpoint what will have the biggest impact in a very short period of time, and we have absolutely no room for error. I don’t turn hotels around. I give them the opportunity to be turned around.”

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