Hotel Renovator review: This could be heaven or this could be hell

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to get an old destroyed hotel and turn it into a five star destination? Me neither! But Hotel Renovator lets you experience all the creative joy and business stress of doing just the supernatural just cause.
Hotel Renovator screenshot. Courtesy Focus Entertainment
Hotel Renovator screenshot. Courtesy Focus Entertainment /

Title: Hotel Renovator
Release Date:
March 12, 2024
 Two Horizons
Publishers: Focus Entertainment
PlayStation 5 (reviewed on), Xbox Series X|S

I mention this alot at AppTrigger but I'm a big ol' fan of simulation games. Powerwash Simulator, Arcade Paradise, Mech know the sort. But recently I was able to get my hands on Hotel Simulator so I figured I'd sit down, check in and check it out and let you know my thoughts using as many Hotel California lyrics as I can wedge into this bad boy.

Hotel Renovator starts off with something of almost a jump scare if you're playing on the PS5. The initial boot screen starts with an image of a hole in a wall looking into a nice looking bedroom. But right before it goes away, "there she stood in the doorway", the image of a strangely shaped woman with a remarkably tall head suddenly materializes in the image near the entrance like a ghost as the picture is disappearing. I still remember my wife going "Oh god!" when she first appeared.

When you get to the title screen you're met with incredibly aggressive music. Not the kind you think though. It's the kind that I "dance to forget". It's the kind that anyone 35 and older would immediately associate film of the 1970s. It's an absolutely wild choice.

Your four choices for assistant. Yumiko and three wrong choices.
Hotel Renovator screenshot. Courtesy Focus Entertainment /

Then you start. You pick a logo and name for the hotel and then you pick from four assistants who will stand still the whole game but who are "programmed to receive" jobs and quests for you. I'll get back to these in a moment.

You start by having to redo the heavily destroyed lobby. And just like real renovation, you start by hitting everything with a crowbar, making it explode into wood chips. Wooden chair? Woodchips. Sofa? Woodchips. Throw rug and curtains? Woodchips. Those cobwebs in the corner? Woodchips. Everything is woodchips. "Any time of year, you can find it here."

You then sweep up the aforementioned woodchips and begin adding floors and redoing the walls. You have a certain percentage you have to fix and, oddly, it'll tell you you've hit 100% before you're done more often than not. It's really weird to still have a big area of exposed floor only to get notified you're done when you've "heard the mission bell" letting you know you're done.

From there you start redoing the rooms. Every time you finish a room you open it for rent and someone stays immediately. That's right, you have a mostly destroyed hotel but you're still opening that one room for a customer *in Mulaney voice* you know, like a CRAZY person. The thing that kills me with this game is that you'll have to set up the room in certain ways for most clients who'll have "showed you the way" and while the room will look really nice, the people models are terrible who can't clip into the chairs correct. "It's a lovely place, [but not so much] a lovely face." Below, in the video, you'll see what a bunch of NPCs did when they asked me to set up a wedding and, when letting the guests in...this occurred.

Also, VERY quickly the game will start adding missions that are BEYOND bonkers. You'll make a nice red and black room for a vampire, "just to hear them say" that they now want you to clear out the basement instead because they want to sleep in a box down there. Vampires exist in this world. "What a nice surprise." There's also a mission where some "cool" band knows you're about to redo the lobby and wants to film a music video while you destroy everything with a crowbar which requires you to set up instruments and camera equipment in the lobby. Luckily there's "plenty of room at the Hotel [Renovator}." When you're done, the band performs's the worse. They look like they kind of band that even Trump would turn down for an inauguration party. Having to hear it had me begging for someone to "please bring me my wine."

Eventually the bad music video ends and you find yourself having to "find the passage back to the place [you] were before" as if none of it had happened. It doesn't make your hotel more popular, you just had to listen to a friend of the game developer's band belt out commercial grade rock.

Before and after shots of a room. Listen...they wanted squares.
Hotel Renovator screenshot. Courtesy Focus Entertainment /

But it's something about the incredibly tacky nature of this game that also makes it addictive. As I watched the terrifying NPCs quietly enter the room I'm working on and sit down in the air or, find a chicken roaming the halls, I kept playing. I looked down at my PS5 controller realizing I was a "prisoner of my own device" and played for hours. My brain had completely checked out..."but [I] can never leave."

Hotel Renovator (PS5) Score: 6.5/10

Despite its dated graphics, stand control choices and ugly character models, there's still plenty to love about the Hotel Renovator. Whether you're trying to make your lobby more presentable, finding accommodations for a survivalist that wants a sleeping bag and tent in their room or just helping your run-of-the-mill vampire find a place for the night, it's a nice surprise. So before the game's graphics have you running for the door, take a stab at this with your steely knives.]