Myrtle Beach hotel gets reality show transformation

A Grand Strand hotel that was struggling to improve is getting a makeover thanks to a reality show airing Monday on the Travel Channel.

The new owners of the 40-year-old Carnival Motor Inn weren't having much luck turning the place around, so they contacted the producers of the show Hotel Impossible, and before long the TV cameras showed up.

When Dewey Hill and his father-in-law George Brickwedde bought the 24-room hotel a few years ago, they were not hoteliers, but they soon became big fans of the hotel makeover show.

They applied to get on the show last fall and soon found out the producers were anxious to come to Myrtle Beach.

"They loved the area, they loved this story, and they understand what's going on in the business, so they thought it was a really good fit," said Hill.

During the makeover last January, hotel expert Anthony Melchiorri offered tips big and small.

He suggested adding closets to the rooms, plus light fixtures that swivel, so guests can read in bed. He advised them to dump the carpeting and replace it with hard flooring.

It was advice to help the little mom-and-pop hotel compete against the big boys.

"They worked with my wife, to establish policies and procedures and to show her the ropes on how to manage a hotel," Hill said.

The show's crew even suggested a name change. The Carnival Motor Inn is now The Waves Hotel.

It may be exciting stuff, but a similar show did a makeover on the Old World Italian restaurant in Murrells Inlet last year and within nine months, the restaurant closed.

The hotel's owners are confident that won't happen to them.

"I think this is going to work out. I've got high hopes for it," said Brickwedde.

Before the show aired, Hill and Brickwedde said they were excited about seeing the final product, but a little nervous, too.

"We're going to hide in our rooms and see how the show turns out. Anthony can be tough, but we know his heart's in the right place," said Hill.

The two owners say they now understand some things they were doing wrong. Hill's wife has been busy since January implementing the changes, and since then they say their business has improved.

The Carnival Motor Inn episode of Hotel Impossible was set to air Monday at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel.