For many of us working in hospitality, now is the time of year when business slows down or even enters a seasonal pause. This downtime can be a great opportunity for you to focus on your marketing efforts. That said, sometimes you need a break from thinking about budgets and marketing channels and ROIs. Sometimes you need a little inspiration to revive your marketing motivation and replenish your focus.
And sometimes you just want to be under your blanket watching TV. Because you’re human, because you’ve just gotten through a hectic holiday season, and because you’ve earned the right to relax.
We’re with you.
We support your right to relax once in a while. Especially if you’re relaxing by watching classic hotel TV series, getting inspired by characters and situations you can identify with. Here are my personal favourites; chances are high you may even recall some of these titles. They’re classics after all, and for good reason.
So make yourself a hot cup of tea and settle in, because your hotel TV series marathon is about to begin.
The Duchess of Duke Street
Nominated for an Emmy in 1980, this is the only hotel TV series on my list inspired by actual events. Centred on the career of larger-than-life hotelier Rosa Lewis, The Duchess of Duke Street follows her from her early years as a servant who becomes a famed chef, and finally, a legendary hotelier.
The 30 episodes reveal Rosa’s bold business dealings in a rags-to-riches story—reason enough to watch. On top of that, she’s not just any hotelier, but the proprietor of a luxurious hotel in London, frequented by some of London society’s most intriguing characters.
Rosa Lewis was a force to be reckoned with. Which is why her real-life guests affectionally referred to her as “the Duchess of Jermyn Street,” where her hotel was located. In the dramatised BBC series, the hotel is set around the corner from there, on Duke Street.
Watch The Duchess of Duke Street if you appreciate sharp wit and bold characters. And if you’re full of entrepreneurial passion, you’ll also find a kindred spirit in the protagonist.
Naturally, this list would not be complete without Fawlty Towers. Chronicling the fictional lives of the incredible hotelier-couple Basil and Sybil, this series tells the tale of a tyrannical hotel manager and his disdain for the general travelling populace.
Though only 12 episodes were made, Fawlty Towers is one of the most beloved series in British television history. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know why: The scripts are priceless. And if you’re a hotelier, it’s bound to make you feel better about your managerial style. You know those days when tough guests really test your mettle? You’ll take comfort in seeing you handled them better than your Fawlty Towers’ counterpart.
Fawlty Towers is a good one to watch if you’re new to the business. Just do the opposite of whatever these hotel owners do and you’ll be fine. If you’ve been working in hotels for some time, watching this series will give you some perspective and a good laugh.
Prior to my career in marketing, I worked as a cook. Spending day in and day out working in restaurants and running kitchens, I came to know the archetypal characters who make these places what they are. Which explains why Chef! became an instant favourite of mine; it captures the eccentricities of chefs beautifully.
Crazy cooks aside, this critically acclaimed series is lauded for its production value, scripts, and acting. Filmed in part at the real-life luxury hotel-restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxford, England, the 20 episodes begin with a hilariously tyrannical chef and go on to portray the trials and tribulations of the husband and wife duo in charge.
Watch Chef! if you run a family hotel. You’ll be able to relate to the frazzled main characters as they work tirelessly to outdo the competition.
What hotel TV series will you watch tonight? Does an old favourite of yours appear on the list above—or do you have a recommendation we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments below.