ROCKLAND, Maine — A local hotel whose deficiencies were widely publicized earlier this year in an episode of the reality TV show “Hotel Impossible” has one month to fix its problems.
The Rockland City Council voted 4-1 Wednesday night to extend the Trade Wind Inn’s operating license for 30 days to give the inn’s owners time to fix building and fire code violations that were highlighted on the show.
At the council meeting, one councilor took the former owner of the inn, Robert Liberty, to task for running a shoddy operation.
“You had a complete disregard for safety and Rockland codes,” Valli Geiger told Liberty, who attended the meeting to request the license extension. “I have a problem giving you an extension. You have embarrassed Rockland nationally, and I am not inclined to do anything extra for you.”
The Trade Winds was featured on the Travel Channel show earlier this year. The show has “hotel fixer” Anthony Melchiorri and his team of designers “revamp and transform struggling hotels into successful tourist accommodations.” Filming occurred in February.
In the show titled “The Pain in Maine,” Melchiorri reported finding numerous violations of safety codes. Those included household extension cords being used in ceilings of rooms and charred wiring near insulation. There also were problems found with the room where the fire alarm control panels were located. The show also pointed out that that the kitchen had been closed by a state health inspector shortly before the television crew arrived.
Liberty declined to comment after the vote on the criticism levied by Geiger or the code issues.
The inn’s license renewal item will come back before the council at its Nov. 14 meeting, and repairs will need to be completed by then for the hotel to continue to operate.
Assistant Rockland Fire Chief Adam Miceli said after the meeting that the most significant problem found by the Fire Department when it inspected the inn during the summer was deficiencies in the sprinkler system. He said some unoccupied rooms were not adequately protected by the system.
Miceli said he watched the episode of “Hotel Impossible” and said it appears the show embellished some of the problems at the hotel.
The Trade Winds has 138 rooms, including 15 suites, according to its website. It is the city’s largest lodging business.
The Trade Winds was built in 1965 on Park Drive in downtown Rockland. Liberty built the hotel with a business partner and after later buying the partner out operated the hotel over the next five decades, expanding the complex on multiple occasions.
Liberty’s adult children now operate the hotel.
In the television show, Melchiorri concluded the problems at the inn were the result of an uncertainty on who was running the business, Liberty or his daughter, Aimee Liberty, who is president and general manager. At the end of the show, Robert Liberty said he would allow his daughter to run the inn.