If you’re looking for the perfect summer drama to watch, then look no further than Grand Hotel on ABC, a modernized adaptation of the popular Spanish period drama, Gran Hotel.
While not as good as the original series (watch on Netflix – you won’t be sorry), there’s enough fun, addictive entertainment here to hook viewers. And as far as escapist summer shows go, this one’s got it all. Murder. Mystery. Melodrama. Romance. Wicked Stepmother. Wicked Stepsisters. Glitz. Glamour. Upstairs/Downstairs dynamics. And even Miami beaches.
This remake retains the overall structure of the original while turning it into a modern-day telenovela for an American audience. In all, ABC’s Grand Hotel is the seamless TV equivalent to a light beach read.
ABOUT GRAND HOTEL (ABC)
The official synopsis reads:
“Wealthy and beautiful guests bask in luxury, but scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior.”
If you’ve seen the original show, then you mostly know what to expect. But if you haven’t, it’s better to just watch and follow the twists than for me to tell you what happens. But in short, a hotel worker (Arielle Kebbel) disappears during a hurricane, seemingly murdered. This then leads to a series of mysteries at this grand hotel in Miami.
Front and center of the story is Alicia (Denyse Tontz), the owner’s daughter. She’s recently returned from college with a business degree only to find her father’s selling the hotel. And then there’s Danny (Lincoln Younes), a new hotel worker with a secretive past. Why has he come to this hotel and what’s he hiding? Soon the two are drawn to each other and an unspoken and budding romance begins.
Other characters include the owner, Santiago Mendoza (played by the Oscar-nominated actor Demian Bichir), his new scheming wife Gigi (Roselyn Sanchez), her twin daughters Carolina and Yoli, Alicia’s womanizing brother Javi, the creepy business partner Mateo, and the local celebrity visiting the hotel, El Rey.
In the “downstairs,” is Helen, the Mrs. Hughes of the hotel, her son Jason, and the troubled maid Ingrid.
GRAN HOTEL VS ABC’S GRAND HOTEL
In the original series, Alicia and Julio (Danny in this version) were the main characters with their star-crossed love at the center of the story. While the murder mystery was key to the plot, the old-fashioned chivalrous romance between them was the most important element – just as Jack and Rose’s was during the sinking of Titanic.
So, while the Spanish series is a romance above all other genres, this Grand Hotel TV show is more of a hybrid. The mysteries and melodrama are more central with the romance secondary. It’s also more of an ensemble series than its Spanish equivalent.
While Gran Hotel was Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie meets Spanish melodrama, Grand Hotel on ABC is more Devious Maids meets Jane the Virgin meets Revenge with a touch of Agatha Christie, Cinderella, and Gran Hotel on the side.
Fans of the original will also notice some plot and character changes. In this version, the mother’s dead instead of the father. And a wicked stepmother and her two daughters have been thrown into the mix. It’s a fun change – especially if you enjoy the inclusion of fairy tale tropes in contemporary shows.
In all, Grand Hotel is good, campy fun. Fans of the original may be disappointed that it’s not a period drama, or that the romance isn’t as unabashedly romantic and sweet (with oozing chemistry), but if you enjoy escapist melodramas, this series won’t disappoint.
You can currently watch Grand Hotel on ABC on Mondays 10/9c. You can also stream on HULU as new episodes are released.
Content Note: TV-14 for implied sexuality and intense moments.
Have you watched the Grand Hotel on ABC? Did you watch the original Spanish series? What are your thoughts on this remake? Let me know in the comments.
Featured image credit: GRAND HOTEL – ABC’s Grand Hotel stars Wendy Raquel Robinson as Mrs. P, Denyse Tontz as Alicia Mendoza, Chris Warren as Jason, Bryan Craig as Javi Mendoza, Anne Winters as Ingrid, Demián Bichir as Santiago Mendoza, Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, Roselyn Sánchez as Gigi Mendoza, Feliz Ramirez as Carolina, Lincoln Younes as Danny, and Justina Adorno as Yoli. (ABC/Ed Herrera)