Anthony Melchiorri
PASSPORT Magazine|October 2017

Hospitality’s Mr. Feel Good

Jeff Heilman

Hosting and co-producing his top-rated Hotel Impossible and its two spin-offs on the Travel Channel, Anthony Melchiorri is a man constantly on the go. With a fourth show in the works, details under wraps, his enterprise extends to his hotel management and consulting company Argeo Hospitality, regular speaking engagements, his line of hotel products, and a forthcoming book.

“I travel more and sleep less than most humans,” said the charismatic Brooklyn native by phone from Daytona Beach, Florida, where he is consulting on the relaunch of the 1940’s Streamline Hotel, birthplace of NASCAR and with past incarnations that included a gay friendly bar and hotel. “But I love my job, which is helping hotel people be successful. I’m like the proverbial kid in the candy store.”

That’s a distant cry from his upbringing in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay, his birthplace and home to this day. “When my father passed away, my mother struggled to pay the rent and feed us,” he said, remembering “hiding in the closet when bill collectors came around.” Amid the instability, 15-year-old Melchiorri found awakening at Manhattan’s fabled The Plaza Hotel.

“Walking around the Plaza with my girlfriend, things seemed better,” Melchiorri recalls. “Not better than my life, just better. It looked good, smelled good, and I said to myself, one day I am going to run this hotel.”

In 1986, he joined the US Air Force, serving four years as a protocol officer in Missouri, plus six months in Honduras. Working fulltime, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at night from Park University. “On weekends, I worked as a night auditor at the original Embassy Suites hotel, in Overland Park, Kansas,” said Melchiorri, calling these times “life-changing.”

Seemingly small accomplishments, such as praise from his commander for the superior way he folded his clothes, went far. “That made me realize that business is about making people feel good,” he said. Invaluable, too, was welcoming dignitaries and military personnel at the base’s VIP lounge. “That taught me that whether dealing with employees or guests, make them feel better, and everything else takes care of itself.”

These formative experiences produced career-defining mantras well known to his Travel Channel fans, including “no excuses,” “everything matters,” and “everyday excellence.”

After graduating in 1990, he spent ten months at the Embassy Suites in Times Square (now a Doubletree). Then, he realized his teenage dream by taking the night manager position at The Plaza. Rising to director of front office operations, the once anxious kid was now a man confidently in charge.

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