I played ITV’s The Fortune Hotel and was reduced to tears in just a few hours
Posted by  badge Boss on a week ago
The Fortune Hotel is hosted by acclaimed actor and Green Wing funnyman Stephen Mangan (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)

‘Fancy playing ’s new game show?’

As someone who is fiercely competitive, loves reality TV and will rarely turn down the promise of a free meal, being offered the chance to play The Fortune Hotel, ITV’s big budget new game show with twists bigger than , was a no-brainer.

Of course I was in. When do you ever get to experience what it’s really like to be pitted against a bunch of strangers for the chance to win a £5,000 cash prize for the of your choice?

Little did I know, just hours after arriving at The Gallivant Hotel in Rye, which had been transformed into The Fortune Hotel especially for the occasion, I’d be bursting into tears.

Hosted by acclaimed actor and Green Wing funnyman , The Fortune Hotel follows 10 couples after they’ve checked into the swanky $1500 (£1,197) per night Silversands resort in Granada hoping they’ll be staying in the Caribbean for enough time to get a golden tan and be able to take home £250,000.

But, obviously, it’s not going to be easy.

Each couple picks a suitcase at random that either contains the £250,000, wads of worthless bundles of paper, or the very unfortunate check-out card.

Inside the winning suitcase (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)
Adam knew this wasn’t going to be easy… (Picture: Adam Miller)

At the end of each episode, the couples will open their cases and if they discover they’re the owner of said check-out card, as the name suggests, their time in The Fortune Hotel is over.

For everyone else, it’s vital to keep your cards and the contents of your case close to your chest.

Just one wrong look or the slightest slip up could give your game away. And due to opportunities to have your case stolen during the competition, you could wake up with £250,000 one day and go to bed with scraps of A4.

We weren’t flown over to the Caribbean to play the game for a day, and there wasn’t a case filled with £250,000 for us to take home – but even without a life-changing amount of money at stake, stress levels were high.

We were put into pairs, and one by one we picked our case, opening it in front of the rival teams and hoping not to give any signals that might reveal the contents inside.

Ours had nothing – it was a case full of blank paper. Regardless, I was shaking like I’d just opened a chest of gold – or the card that would see me banished.

Suspicions were on us.

Adam’s cocktail had the delicious tang of vinegar-flavoured mouth wash (Picture: Adam Miller)

Shortly after we’d all got our cases, there was a few minutes to mingle and suss out the competition before the first challenge of the day.

We’d worked out who had the check-out card and had a good idea of who had the money through other contestants’ body language. Everything was about to change, though.

We were all sent to our rooms, clinging onto our cases, where we found an iPad and two cocktails.

By this point I needed a cocktail almost as much as the prize money, but with a quick sniff it became clear this wasn’t the type of Porn Star martini that was going to get me through the afternoon.

Instead, the cocktails were killer combinations of rogue ingredients that had been disguised as a Bloody Mary and a Sex on The Beach. Both tasted like vinegar-flavoured mouth wash.

We had to decipher the five ingredients in each cocktail and write them down on a blackboard, which we left outside our room. We then had to wait for a producer to tell us if we’d won.

Whichever team identified the most ingredients would get a knock on the door and the chance to steal a case of their choosing, without any other team knowing about the exchange.

Sadly, the knock never came for us. We were still stuck with our case of blank paper – but at least we didn’t have the check-out card.

Adam and his team mate during their second task (Picture: Adam Miller)

Once the exchange had been completed, we were all brought back together to find out what the second challenge would entail. We were all looking around to see who seemed to be behaving differently now that a secret swap had been made.

But there wasn’t much time before we were each given a map, a list of clues and were sent out of the hotel. Armed with a selfie stick, we had to work through the clues to reveal a series of local landmarks, then snap pictures there. Our correct answers would be tallied along with how quickly we got back at the hotel, and both would inform our score.

We thought we’d taken all the right photos in less than 10 minutes and smugly dashed back to the hotel, handed over our photos and kicked back with a glass of wine.

Turns out we were way off, taking just two correct photos out of four and ending up second to last.

In the last round of the day, teams would be able to swap their case with any other team, starting with the team that came in last place on the treasure hunt. The winners would therefore have the benefit of having the final swap, choosing whichever case they wanted knowing no one could take it from them.

For the first time all day it felt as though we were on the chopping block. Our chances of taking the prize money were doomed and now it was just a matter of survival.

If we had the check-out card, we were told it was curtains – we’d be going home, no overnight stay in the luxury hotel and we’d be lucky to get a sandwich from a petrol station on the way home.

The whole experience was wrapped up into a day (Picture: Adam Miller)

My nerves were shot. After we’d swapped our case with a rival team (who we felt had become visibly more nervous after the cocktail challenge) we were pretty confident we were holding the prize money.

But so did everyone else. The next team pinched our case from us immediately and we were stuck with theirs which, to my horror, felt noticeably lighter than the case we’d been clinging onto all day. Surely that could only mean one thing – we had the check-out card.

One by one the teams swapped, tensions were high and the wait was unbearable.

When it came to opening our case – convinced we were goners and about to do the walk of shame, escorted out of the hotel in front of the competition – I was trembling as we lifted the lid to reveal what was inside.

Staring back at me was a case of paper, not the check-out card, and I was so overwhelmed with relief, I burst into tears. I’ve cried at Come Dine With Me, a particularly moving episode of Deal or No Deal, but for the first time in my life I burst into tears over blank pieces of paper.

In the end, the pair we were convinced had the suitcase of money actually did have the cash – until it was taken from them after the cocktail challenge.

We weren’t even playing for life-changing money and the entire experience was wrapped up into a day. Contestants of the real The Fortune Hotel will have to endure the mental strain of playing for a six-figure cash prize and deceiving their rivals 24/7 for the entirety of filming.

Adam Miller on a losing streak trialling ITV’s new game show, The Fortune Hotel (Picture: Adam Miller)
Will you be tuning into The Fortune Hotel tonight at 9pm on ITV?Comment Now

After being a faux reality TV contestant for a matter of hours, I have a newfound respect for anyone brave enough to play these games for real and not buckle.  

I would crumble at the first hurdle, come clean with the money and ruin my team’s chances immediately.

I didn’t know life could be much more stressful than playing Articulate with your dad who thinks Kim Kardashian was in Game of Thrones, but it turns out I was wrong.

Playing The Fortune Hotel was by far one of the most exhilarating stresses I’ve ever experienced. If you’re watching along tonight, I can promise you it is 10 times harder to play than it looks.

If the contestants appear to be gradually losing their minds, you would too. I am living proof without having any life-changing opportunities at stake.

The Fortune Hotel airs tonight at 9pm on ITV.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Share your views in the comments below.