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Elaine Reilly

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023: next episode, locations and interviews

In Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023 Monica Galetti and Rob Rinder visit Moroccan gem Kasbah Tamadot. .

In Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023 Robert Rinder and Monica Galetti embark on a globetrotting adventure, checking out opulent hotels around the world together. 

Here's our complete guide to the new series…

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023 release date

The opening episode of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023 aired on BBC Two on Sunday 6 August 2023 at 8 pm. 

It’s an eight-part series with new episodes showing weekly at the same time. Episodes are available on BBC iPlayer after transmission. 

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023 presenters

Monica Galetti

Monica, 47, has been co-presenting Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby since its debut in 2017. After Giles Coren announced his departure, it was revealed that Rob Rinder would be joining her on the newest instalment of the inquisitive travelogue.

Monica, a top-class chef, is also known to TV audiences as a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals since 2009. Monica’s other TV credits include A Cook Abroad, Saturday Kitchen, Further Back in Time for Dinner and Walking With.

Monica has a tea-lightful time in Morocco.  (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Rob Rinder

Rob, 45, shot to fame with ITV’s Judge Rinder (2014 — 2022). Since then his TV career has taken him in many different directions. He was a welcome addition to the Strictly Come Dancing family when he competed on the show in 2016, he movingly traced his Jewish family’s history in Who Do You Think You Are?, and he’s currently a semi-regular presenter on Good Morning Britain

Now the star's career takes another exciting departure when he becomes Monica's new traveling companion on the fifth series of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby.

Rob cut a dash in Strictly 2016. (Image credit: BBC)

With over 20 years experience as a criminal barrister under his wig, Rob is well-versed in not taking things at face value. This skill is set to stand the popular TV star in good stead as he joins Monica in discovering behind-the-scenes secrets of high-end holiday hotspots.

Made to order. Rob became a household name with Judge Rinder. (Image credit: ITV)

WTW’s verdict on the new pairing...

There's a moment in the opening episode of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023, where Rob and Monica are under the stars in the gardens of the Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco watching an outdoor screening of Casablanca, when they come to the conclusion that “this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”. We couldn’t agree more.

Filming locations

Filming for Amazing Hotels series five took place in eight very different destinations — Morocco, The Maldives, Norway, Sri Lanka, South Africa, two locations in Italy, and Scotland.

Rob Rinder says: “Expect everything from castles in Morocco to paradise islands. In some cases the hotels are like entire countries, in others they breathe life into local communities. Some you’d go to for a weekend like the Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, or one night, like the Nusfjord Arctic Resort fishing village on the edge of the world.”

Monica Galetti says: "Yes, there’s a vast collection of different types of hotels. The Ceylon Tea Trails in Sri Lanka was a really enriching cultural experience. Kasbah Tamadot stands out for its sheer vision and being brave enough to create something of that size in the Atlas mountains. They helped educate and train up local people to support the hotel that now makes up its workforce. It’s really impressive.”

More detailed information on each filming location below. 

Rob and Mon are on top of the world when they visit the Heaven and Hell spa at Hotel Hubertus in the Italian Alps. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023  — season 5 episode guide

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023 — episode 1 (Sunday 6 August 2023 at 8pm on BBC2)

Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco

Rob and Monica’s first stop in the 2023 eight-parter is Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco where they join the 140-strong local staff. Rob’s tasked with baking bread, hiking through the Atlas Mountains, and mucking out stables, while Monica goes shopping — twice! — and learns how to make the perfect Moroccan brew. 

After learning about the history of the 102 year-old building the duo meet with owner Richard Branson, who reveals his personal connection to the idyllic retreat. This may seem a departure for Rob, but his curiosity, warm, easy manner, and fully on-board attitude make him a first-rate replacement for Giles Coren and a complimentary co-host for Monica. 

Robert and Monica meet with Richard Branson in Morocco.  (Image credit: BBC Studios)
Monica in the kitchen with the Kasbah Tamadot staff.  (Image credit: BBC Studios. )
Rob with hotel stablemaster Mohammed at the Kasbah Tamadot.  (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Amazing Hotels 2023 — episode 2 (Sunday 13 August at 8pm on BBC2)

Joali Maldives

Monica Galetti and Rob Rinder are at the stunning five-star resort of Joali in the Maldives in this envy-inducing episode of Amazing Hotels. The luxury island getaway has five restaurants, a spa, yoga pavilion and dive centre, as well as secluded villas costing an average of £2500 a night! But it’s not all about sunbathing and sipping cocktails... before long, Monica and Rob are put to work.

While Monica helps the head chef with a delivery of lobsters, Rob reports for duty in flippers and snorkel to scrub algae from the ladders leading from the over-water villas down to the sea. During his time there, Rob is also given a tailor-made pink outfit to join the butler team for in-villa lunch orders, and gets a glimpse of the service area, complete with electricity generators, workshops and staff quarters. 

"To make the whole theatre of the hotel work you need your backstage area," observes Rob. "It’s like a mini city where people are sneaking things in and out without the guests noticing. Now I’m staff I’m seeing a different side to the place!"

Still, nice work if you can get it!

Rob and Monica soak up the sun, sea and sand in Joali Maldives. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Amazing Hotels 2023 — episode 3 (Sunday 20 August at 8pm on BBC2)

Rob and Monica are given a warm welcome when they visit the Nusfjord Arctic Resort in Norway, a winter wonderland with a fairytale feeling. This magical place isn’t just a hotel, but an entire ancient fishing village that combines historic preservation and modern luxury. Rob’s duties include mastering a snow shovel before graduating to tractor driving, followed by a splash of cold water swimming. Meanwhile, Monica is mesmerisingly in her element in the kitchen before getting the resort’s trawler shipshape for guests. But, after a whale of a time, will they experience the Northern Lights, or is that wishful thinking?

Monica and Rob staying warm by the firepit at Nusfjord Arctic Resort, Norway. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Amazing Hotels episode 4 did not air on Sunday 27 August due to live coverage of The Hundred — see our TV Guide for more. 

The series resumes on Sunday 03 September in the usual time slot with a visit to Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tea Trails. 

Amazing Hotels 2023 — episode 4 (Sunday 03 September at 8pm on BBC2)

Monica Galetti has said that this episode's visit to the Ceylon Tea Trails resort in Sri Lanka was a "personal highlight". And you can see why as, along with Rob Rinder, she embarks on a moving journey of discovery. When they first arrive at the holiday destination comprised of five British tea planters’ bungalows renovated in period style, Rob and Monica are concerned the complex colonial history of the estate will make for an uncomfortable stay. What they uncover is a unique blend of Sri Lankan history and hospitality that, to paraphrase hotel owner Malik Fernando, neither denies nor conceals the past. 

"Sri Lanka’s tea estates were established by British settlers from the 1860s. This hotel is owned by a local family who have taken the decision to preserve a slice of colonial life, from afternoon tea to around the clock butler service," explains Monica. "Yet owner Malik hopes for a more prosperous Sri Lanka and has decided to spend a share of the hotel’s profits on community projects."

Keen to learn more, Monica gets stuck into the breakfast service, makes authentic dishes, and hand picks tea on the plantation. Meanwhile, Rob joins thrill seeking tourists in jumping off cliffs in the surrounding rainforest before going leopard spotting. On their final day Rob and Monica end on a high together, partying with the staff!

"The New Year celebration with the hardworking hotel staff is a very special personal highlight," says Monica. "This is a hotel optimistic about the future and forging a new path. They’ve claimed the past, reframed it, and are now telling their story in their own words. We left full of Sri Lankan culture and food — and tea!"

Rob and Monica get a taste of Sri Lanka's unique history and hospitality… (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Amazing Hotels 2023 — episode 5 (Sunday 10 September at 8pm on BBC2)

Rob Rinder and Monica Galetti embark on an African adventure in this week’s outing of Amazing Hotels when they visit the Phinda Private Game Reserve. 

The spectacular South African safari hotel covers over 230 square kilometres, employs 360 staff and welcomes 15,000 guests to their six luxurious lodges a year. But the real stars are the wildlife, which includes elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, lions and leopards! So naturally animal sightings and safaris are top of visitors’ to-do list…

"Hotel guests and dangerous beasts are a tricky mix to get right," explains Rob. "It’s the job of Phinda and their staff to navigate the delicate path between tourism and what these wild animals need to survive." 

During their stay Rob helps prepare an outdoor dinner for guests and goes on a walk with a difference with one of the hotel’s trackers. Meanwhile, Monica transports guests’ belongings between accommodations on the vast estate and gets to grips with a machete when she joins the habitat team in a unique spot of gardening! 

What they discover through their duties is a chic and thrilling environment where wildlife roam freely and staff are strongly focused on conversation. 

"What better brand of magic is there for a hotel?" says Rob. "Guests come for what’s outside their hotel rooms and experience up close nature's most captivating show on earth."

Rob Rinder takes a walk on the wild side in the fifth episode of Amazing Hotels 2023. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Amazing Hotels 2023 — episode 6 (Sunday 17 September at 8pm on BBC2)

Forget Disneyland, Borgo Egnazia is in the running for the most fantastical place on earth. Rob and Monica are blown away tonight when they visit the hotel complex in Puglia, Italy. The resort is only 13-years-old but has been constructed to look like an authentic, historic village, complete with an old town, golf course, private beach, lavish spa and multiple restaurants. Madonna and a certain posh Spice Girl are among its patrons, and while Rob and Mon aren’t there to spend it like Beckham, they do get under the facade of the film-set feeling of the place during their unusual Italian job… 

Rob and Monica at Borgo Egnazia in Puglia. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Amazing Hotels 2023 — episode 7 (Sunday 24 September at 8pm on BBC2)

In Scotland, Monica Galetti and Rob Rinder discover Glenapp Castle where guests are treated to a magical stay made possible by a dedicated team of local staff. Monica and Rob are put to work collecting home-grown veg for the kitchens, giving eagle demonstrations in the castle grounds before joining forces to deliver an entrepid sea safari and glamping trip to the Hebridean Isle of Jura.

Rob and Monica cosy in front of a magnificent roaring fire at Glenapp Castle. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Amazing Hotels 2023 — episode 8 (Sunday 24 December 2023 at 8pm on BBC2)

Monica Galetti and Rob Rinder pull on their snow boots for a seasonal special of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby with a visit to the luxurious Alpine Panorama Hotel Hubertus.

Nestled in the Italian Dolomites, this family-run resort is no ordinary skiing and spa retreat. Over thirty years owner Christian Gasser has turned a traditional guest house into an architectural masterpiece, complete with a ‘Heaven and Hell’ spa and ‘sky pool’ that requires a head for heights!

On arriving Rob and Monica are blown away by the breathtaking views and stunning architecture and, after a warm welcome from Christian’s children, managers Daniella and Markus, the pair roll up their sleeves and get to work…

"‘Each winter millions of visitors flock to big name European ski resorts for festive fun, but we’re here to work in a lesser explored part of the Alps in the South Tyrol in the mountains of Northern Italy," explains Rob. "It feels like the best kept ski secret in the world."

Rob’s jobs include cleaning the pool’s viewing window and seemingly gravity-defying spas. Monica, meanwhile, is in the kitchen learning to make local delicacies. But it’s not all work and no play - they also manage to get in a spot of skiing, tobogganing, snowball fighting and exchange gifts!

But, before they leave, will they get to sample the delights and heights of the spectacular facilities?

"When the holiday season finishes the Gassers let staff enjoy the hotel spa, so it’s only fair that we finally give that tantalising sky pool a try!" reveals Rob. "It’s extraordinary."

(Image credit: BBC Studios)
(Image credit: BBC Studio)

Rob Rinder and Monica Galetti on Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby

Rob, how have you found joining the team?

“It’s been the ultimate gift. I’m obsessed with detail, but when I check in to hotels, it’s more than meticulous attention to detail, it’s the stories of the people, which is why I love making documentaries. I’m mindful of the privilege of staying in these places and hope viewers feel they can disappear into these extraordinary spaces. It’s wonderful escapism.

“It has to be the best job in the world, I keep pinching myself!”

Monica, how is Rob shaping up as your new travel companion?

“Rob is so much fun to work with. He loves getting stuck in and involved, and he’s not afraid to try new things. It’s a very colourful season and I’m excited for people to see it.”

What do you think makes a hotel exceptional?

Rob: “It’s all about dedicated people, breath-taking attention to detail and a unique thirst for every single guest to go away feeling like they’re not in a hotel, but in the home of a family member.”

Monica: “First and foremost, it’s the team behind it all. It's really important that they offer a warm, professional service. It’s really easy to forget about all of the hard work that goes into creating that experience. Second, I would say the amenities and that what they have to offer is of a high standard. And, of course, the food is incredibly important for me!”

Did anything surprise you during your adventures?

Monica: “I’m constantly surprised by the places we get to see and how they operate. I’m also really blown away by the architecture of the hotels themselves and the landscapes they are in. You can arrive and just be bowled over.”

Rob: “What surprised me is how these hotels can forge part of a community. The Berber community in the Atlas Mountains, before the Kasbah Tamadot opened, were on the edge of economic catastrophe. Now, it’s an epicentre of community.”

What memories will you take away from making this series?

Rob: “The sunrises and sunsets, and meeting a person in every hotel, who gets you to think about the world in a new way. I particularly loved Sri Lanka. I’ve been to some of these countries before but this time I have the gift of seeing communities working alongside each other. I was truly moved.”

Monica: “I have two very special personal highlights. One was the incredible New Year celebration we had in Sri Lanka with the hotel staff. My second is the cherry festival in Puglia where local families in the area go out picking cherries. They had dancing, juggling, baking and all kinds of things. They even make bracelets from the cherry seeds. It’s a real celebration!”

Is there a trailer for Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby?

No trailer is available.

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby 2023 — the hotels

Kasbah Tamadot

In the spectacular Atlas Mountains, Berber cuisine and culture are on the menu when Rob and Monica visit Sir Richard Branson’s award-winning Moroccan resort. The business magnate reveals the influence his late mum, Eve Branson, had on the hotel, which employs a team made up entirely of local people.

The stunning exterior of the Kasbah Tamadot. (Image credit: BBC)

Joali Maldives

Set over the Indian Ocean’s turquoise waters, this tranquil sanctuary has an ice-cream parlour, spa and yoga pavilion, with guests assigned a personal butler  — all while upholding a commitment to environmental sustainability.  

Monica and Rob on the beach at Joali Maldives. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Nusfjord Arctic Resort 

Elegantly refurbished 200-year-old fishing cabins in the picturesque Norwegian village of Nusfjord make this gem a sight to behold, with Rob and Monica hoping to glimpse the elusive Northern Lights during their stay.

The Nusfjord Arctic Resort, Norway - a village resort with a stunning view. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Ceylon Tea Trails 

Rob and Monica step back in time when they visit these luxurious, repurposed colonial bungalows with period furnishings in Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea region. Gold standard service and a wealth of activities, plus a focus on the region’s future makes for a tea-riffic stay.

Monica and Rob outside a tea planters' bungalow at Ceylon Tea Trails resort in Sri Lanka. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Phinda Private Game Reserve

Mountain views, luxury lodges and once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experiences are all available at this resort in South Africa, where Rob and Monica learn how a five-star hotel can also be a force for animal conservation. 

Monica in the great outdoors at the vast Phinda Private Game Reserve (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Borgo Egnazia

Constructed to look like a 200-year-old Puglian village, this vast resort in Southern Italy specialises in regional cuisine and promoting wellbeing, with two beaches, private pools, a golf course and a lavish spa.

Rob Rinder in the ancient-looking lobby of Borgo Egnazia in Puglia. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Glenapp Castle   

Closer to home, Rob and Monica visit this Scottish escape, set in 36 acres of gardens and woodlands, which specialises in tailormade services for guests to create a fairy tale experience. Tours, manicured gardens, fine dining, and even a sea safari are all on offer.

Rob and Monica outside enchanting Glenapp Castle. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Hotel Hubertus    

Nestled in the Italian Dolomites, Rob and Monica get their snow boots on in this family-run Alpine resort offering seasonal activities, spectacular views and the unique ‘Heaven & Hell’ spa that requires a head for heights!

Rob and Monica enjoy the Hotel Hubertus' pool with a view.   (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Additional information on Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby is produced by BBC Studios Factual Entertainment’s recently launched Glasgow production base, led by Creative Director Adeline Ramage Rooney.

The series is commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning. Factual Entertainment and Executive Producers are Adeline Ramage Rooney and Dunk Barnes, and the Commissioning Editor is Patrick McMahon.

Speaking ahead of filming of the 2023 series, Adeline Ramage Rooney said: “We are beyond thrilled that Rob is embarking on this brand new series of Amazing Hotels alongside Monica. As an outsider to the hospitality industry and mega fan of the finer things in life, Rob brings an authentic sense of wonder and a fresh new perspective to one of our most popular series. We can’t wait to share eight glorious new episodes with audiences soon.”

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