Tonight, a few of Channel 4’s most famous faces, along with a band of unemployed hopefuls, will descend on Hotel GB. And for one week only – from cooking the breakfast and cleaning the toilets to pampering the guests and dealing with customer complaints – they will run the London-based hotel.
As if that wasn’t challenge enough, this is a team game. It’s boys v girls, with all the proceeds going to employment charities. Which team will come up trumps and raise the most money, Gordon’s or Mary’s…?
And which, if any, unemployed trainees will walk away with a job at the end of it?
Co-General Manager in charge of the Restaurant, the Bar and the Gym
No-nonsense Gordon will be taking the helm as the boys’ team leader. As well as his penchant for expletives, the Michelin-starred chef is famed for his ability to rescue failing restaurants and currently runs several of his own successful establishments.
So it’s only fitting that the culinary master will be found sweating over the Hotel GB stove. He’s a stickler for presentation, service and – of course – fab food, and whether the guests want breakfast in bed, a slap-up dinner or something a little fancier, Gordon and his trainee chefs will be on hand 24 hours a day to make sure everything is spot on.
We know he has got what it takes in the kitchen but this role will see him venturing into unknown territories. Gordon will also oversee the bar, room service and gym to make sure they are both providing excellent customer service and generating as much money as possible for the boys’ team…
Co-General Manager in charge of Rooms, Reception and Spa
The queen of the high street is turning her hand to hotels. If there is one thing this designer-come-retail manager knows it’s great customer service. And she’s determined that this will be the key to her team’s victory: “My team and I will deliver service with not only a smile, but innovation, brilliance, fun, entertainment and the ultimate style. So boys, watch out…”
Not only has she helped turn around countless businesses across the high streets of Britain, she’s also a retail consultant who recently lead a government review of the country’s town centres – and she’ll be bringing this expertise to her role as leader of the girls’ team.
Overseeing the running of the front desk, the rooms and the spa, Mary will be keeping an eye on the rest of the girls as well as her team of trainee hospitality staff, and making sure all the guests have a faultless stay.
Bar and Events Manager
From accessorising on a budget to whipping up some tasty Chinese cuisine, Gok truly is a man of many talents. We know he’s the master of control pants and can make us all look good naked, but can he mix the perfect martini..?
At Hotel GB, Gok will be taking his perky personality and eye for style behind the bar. His aim? To make this hotel bar a cut above the rest. With fun drinks and cocktails, and Gok’s trademark smile, Hotel GB’s bar should be the perfect hang out for the hotel’s guests.
And the fashion guru will be on hand if the guests have something a little more elaborate in mind, too. Wedding, birthday or party, Gok’s got it under control.
“For guests who tip generously, I might even throw in a free Gok-tail,” he says. Oo-er…
Tonight will see property darling Kirstie swap the estate agent’s window for the Hotel GB front desk.
She’s proved she can satisfy the pickiest house hunters – and even fight her way to first place in a country craft competition – but will she be able to bite her tongue or pander to the needs of the most demanding customers? Especially when her partner in crime, Phil Spencer, is working for the other team…
She certainly thinks so, saying: “There is no question as to who will raise the most money!” As concierge, Kirstie will be going that extra mile to make sure the guests have a perfect stay. From offering advice on London’s nightlife to fetching an extra blanket, nothing will be too much bother for Kirstie.
The other half of Location, Location, Location’s presenting duo will be on Gordon’s team, managing the restaurant.
The property guru will be working alongside Gordon to ensure the hotel’s restaurant runs smoothly. Phil’s job will include booking tables, managing reservations and always going the extra mile to make sure all guests – and especially VIP guests – get the best possible service.
He is certainly a smooth negotiator when it comes to the housing market, but he admits to having “zero experience” in the hospitality sector. Will he be so calm and charming with Gordon breathing down his neck?
Spa and Salon Manager
Katie is no stranger to overcoming adversity, and found her place in the nation’s hearts after appearing in a number of Channel 4 documentaries charting her recovery from an acid attack in 2008.
A member of Mary Portas’ team, this former beautician can’t wait to get started in the Hotel GB spa and salon. Katie says: “I’m really excited about getting back into a beauty uniform again and getting stuck in! I love a challenge and having met the rest of the girls I’m confident we will make the most money!”
Whatever the guests require – from manicures and blow drys to spray tans and full body waxes – Katie and her team of fearless trainees refuse to be fazed by anything. And they mean anything…
Dr Christian Jessen
Hotel doctor and Manager of Health and Wellbeing in charge of the Gym
Dr Christian has made a name for himself by examining the nation’s ailments on national TV. We know he has a cool and professional manner (as well as a strong stomach) and he certainly knows his away around the human body, so the Embarrasing Bodies doc will likely feel at home in the Hotel GB gym.
Dr Christian’s role will include running exercise classes, getting up close and personal with the guests in individual training sessions, offering personal health assessments and responding to medical emergencies.
Who better to help you shift those extra pounds or come rushing to your aid if you’re feeling a little bit poorly during your stay?
Head of Housekeeping
The queen of clean is donning her marigolds once more and becoming Hotel GB’s Head of Housekeeping.
Famous for poking around the nation’s homes exposing grime and shaming us all into cleaning our bathrooms more often, Kim and her trainees will be in charge of making sure the hotel’s rooms are spotless in time for the new arrivals each morning. She’ll also keep an eye on the rest of the hotel, making sure every area – be it Gordon’s kitchen or Katie’s spa – is kept at the very highest standard.
And it seems it’s a match made in heaven – “I love cleaning, and have stayed in so many hotels over the years and am always horrified by the little bits of dirt you find in the corners and behind the beds, so relish the thought of helping to put those things right,” says Kim.
Manager of the hotel shop, the House of Devey
The scariest Dragon will be testing her mettle as a shop manager in Hotel GB. And she sure is competitive – “Starting and developing businesses is what I’ve been doing all my life, so managing the hotel shop should be easy enough, and though I will be the living, breathing embodiment of good customer service, behind the scenes, I will not suffer fools! However, as long as I raise more money for charity than anyone else, I will be content.”
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.