I had Grand Hotel featured as a recommendation on Netflix, so I went into the series not really knowing much. But let me tell you how pleasantly surprised I was by this little known Spanish Downton Abbey-esque drama. After binging quite quickly through the first two seasons (the final third season has not been added yet), it’s become one of my favorite TV series ever. One, it’s a period drama with the production quality of a Masterpiece Theater/BBC production. Two, it’s romantic. Three, the characters are three dimensional and entertaining (even if at times they are over the top). Four, the writing is engaging with an addictive quality (you can’t just watch one – especially since every episode ends on the strangest cliffhangers). Oh, and did I mention it’s romantic with an explosive chemistry between the two leads similar to that of Leo and Kate?
Grand Hotel tells the story of Julio, a young (and very handsome) man in his 20s who arrives at the hotel after his sister (who worked there as a maid) disappears. He changes his last name and goes undercover as a waiter to investigate what happened to her. Soon, he crosses paths with Alicia, the daughter of the hotel’s owner. She discovers his secret and together they work to uncover the mystery, only to fall in love. Unfortunately, the class divide and the many secrets of her family keep them apart. With murder, mystery, romance, a beautiful setting in the Spanish countryside and more, this series is a must watch!
Besides the charming and attractive leads played by Yon González (who has the appeal of a young Tom Cruise – think Far and Away) and Amaia Salamanca, the supporting players are just as intriguing and fun to watch. You have the manipulative and mysterious hotel owner Doña Teresa, the scheming Diego (who is obsessed with Alicia), the hilarious antics of Alicia’s brother Javier who has a Casanova complex, the sweet Andrés who is in on the secret with Alicia and Julio, the Poirot inspired detective Ayala (one of the episodes even has Agatha Christie make a fabulous appearance) and more. There’s never a dull moment between the upper class family who runs the hotel and the “servants” who work there.
As far as the romance goes, what makes it so refreshing is how fabulously old-fashioned it is. There’s nothing jaded or politically correct about this romance which we often see in a lot of movies and shows these days. The writers fully embrace the love story with amazing scene after amazing scene, episode after episode. There are so many wonderful romantic moments worthy of being rewound I can’t even count. There’s longing looks, hugs, rescues, star-crossed moments of epic proportions, running towards each other on romantic cliffs, etc…And yet, it’s not a cheesy romance. Even with the soapy moments, their story is believably told. Plus, the two leads are charismatic actors with the potential to become full blown movie stars.
But if romance isn’t really your thing, there’s still so much else going on you may still really enjoy it. The Revenge like soapy plots is rather entertaining. Besides the disappearance of Julio’s sister, there’s a serial killer on the loose and numerous other mysteries surrounding the Alarcón family and their hotel that you just have to keep watching to find out. The show is also disarmingly funny with clever, witty dialogue and situational humor especially in scenes with the Detective Ayala and his not so clever assistant, as well as Alicia’s brother Javier who manages to have more lives than a cat.
Now, be forewarned, as I already mentioned there are soapy elements to the show. But once you embrace them you may just discover (like I did) how great this series actually is. The writing is fantastic, the actors some of the best I’ve seen and the romance unforgettable. While it does have some “unbelievable” moments, it really is just part of the style of the show. If you were to take Downton Abbey, Titanic, Romeo and Juliet and Dallas, then put it all in a blender you’d find Grand Hotel.
If you do choose to jump into the series, you should know that since season 3 has not been added yet to Netflix, season 2 does end on a bit of a cliffhanger. So send those messages to Netflix and let them know how much you want season 3! I think if there were more people spreading the word about this great series, they’d have a huge hit on their hands. It really is that addicting and is the type of show Netflix viewers enjoy as it’s a fast binge watch.
In all, I can’t recommend this period drama series enough. If Grand Hotel ever comes out on DVD with English subtitles, I’ll be the first one lined up to buy. For now, you can watch the first two seasons on Netflix. Or if you’re lucky to live in the UK, Sky Arts is currently airing season three.
NOTE: As of November 2016, Grand Hotel is no longer available on Netflix. The first 9 episodes are available on Hulu, however. Let’s hope Netflix brings Grand Hotel back soon!
“The stuff that dreams are made of.”
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.
I have loved none but you.”
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35 thoughts on “Grand Hotel Review – An Addicting Romantic Series For All Period Drama Lovers”
If this were in English I’d watch it in a heartbeat. As it is now, I am too distracted by the subtitles to be able to pay attention to the scene talking place (coupled with trying to get the conversation)… but then again, I may change my mind if ever I try it again. 🙂
Yeah, I don’t mind subtitles! I even watch them with English films and shows sometimes. I’ve always watched foreign films since I was little so I’m used to it. I haven’t convinced my family yet to watch this one for the same reason even though I know they’d love it!
You should change your mind.. you’re missing out.
actually, season 3 is part of season 2 on netflix….there’s 28 episodes on season 2 instead of 14…the three seasons has 39 episodes. They probably change the original 70-80 minutes episode to make 45 minutes episodes for the american market, so 42 episodes instead 39.
True! But that would be confusing to explain in a review. I’d rather just stick with Netflix’s description! But yeah, hopefully they’ll add the rest of the season 3 episodes soon. They aired in the UK now with subtitles, so hopefully it’s only a matter of time.
You can find the rest of the series on line. If you are interested I can give you the name of the site. It is fabulous!!
I am learning Spanish just so I can understand what the hell is going on! Managed to binge through almost all of season 3. Great motivation for learning the language 😉
Proof of how addicting this show is! I only know minimal Spanish and considered doing the same thing. Hopefully they will add the rest of season 3 soon though for all of us not as motivated!
I just loved this series! I am a period piece junkie. I’ve watched all of the Jane Austen made for TV series and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.. I have also watched Downton Abbey.. So when I saw this show up on Netlfix as a recommendation, I thought ok, why not.. give it a try. And I was hooked for the first scene. I don’t think I have ever seen a more exotic looking man than Yon Gonzalez who plays Julio. He has me completely enchanted. So much so that I looked everywhere for the final season of Grand Hotel. I finally found an English subbed version on line and finally was able to watch the whole thing. I am really impressed by the Spanish TV these days. I think they do so much better than here in the States. And I totally agree with you, there was no jaded politically correct romance.. And, what it did, was bring kissing back into fashion.. The KISS is the ultimate act in this series.. You wait and wait and then you are completely satisfied just with the kiss. So different than the shows here.. Thanks for the review!!!!
Sorry for the late reply, but thank you for your thoughts on the show. I completely agree. There’s something about the “kiss” in this series.
All 3 seasons are available, with subtitles, on Plex (a channel on the ROKU). Loved every minute! And learned muy, muy bueno Español! 😉
Interesting! I didn’t know that. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
All three seasons are now on Netflix as well. 🙂
Yeah, I think I watched it the day season 3 showed up on Netflix! Plex gives another option though. 🙂
Hi, Just wanted to let you all know that Season 3 of Grand Hotel is now available on Netflix. Don’t miss it.. I have watched it in Spanish and am watching it again with English subtitles.. it is spectacular!
I accidentally found this show recently and am completely absorbed. The detail is pretty impressive, and the acting leaves nothing to be desired. I love the character dimension, the script, and even some of the humor. Ayala is quite a character himself.
Same here! I found it by accident and was completely absorbed. And yes, Ayala! Got to love him. 🙂
This is a great review. Thank you. You are absolutely right, I just started watching this with my mother last weekend on Netflix and we are hooked!!! I love mysteries and I have just finish watching the third chapter but I have to say this is also one of my favourites. I can’t wait to watch second and third season. I should also start watching Downtown Abbey. Greetings from Mexico!
Thank you! There is something very addicting about this series! And you should definitely watch Downton Abbey! And greetings! 🙂
I just finished binge watching this amazing series. I’m so relieved to be done because my husband has been missing me and my kids have been eating Ramen and pb&j for dinner the last 2 nights. I’m also really sad that my escape to the Grand Hotel has come to an end. I so highly recommend this series and find myself a little depressed that it’s really over and these people are fictional. Your review was spot on! I was going to try and explain it’s greatness to my husband but I might just have him read your review. So well done. I hope all of these actors make in big in other venues, but Hollywood is hardly good enough for their caliber.Long live Julio and Alicia!
It happened to me too – just sat in front of the smart TV until I could get through all the plots while my husband and kids were wondering what was keeping me so glued like never before..
I was pleasantly surprised by this show! My Spanish teacher recommended it to get in some practice, so I looked it up expecting a full blown sappy telenovela. And I absolutely love it! My family is left bewildered by the rapid dash Spanish, and the subtitles aren’t much help to them in Spanish, but I pick up most of it. I also love how much more… innocent? it is than current television, aside from Javier’s antics. I love that the Alicia/Julio relationship is so sweet and genuine and romantic. And I can watch it forever and pass it as homework!
To me it is a total shocker of a hidden wonder. I think it ranks as one of, if not the best show I’ve seen by far. If you ever wanted to sharpen your Spanish skills this is one for the books. The acting was exquisite, the story line flowed and the characters engaged us all. 10 stars if there is such a rating!!
Perfect description of this addictive series.
some episodes made me cry….when belen lost one of the twin babies and angella whipped her, threw her out of the hotel with nothing and Diego just moked belen yet he was the father of the babies…it was sooo inhumane and cruel…”it show the strength of the woman”
I just finished watching Grand Hotel this afternoon, finishing all three seasons within three days. I was totally engrossed by this series, and by the characters in it. I fell in love with Julio instantly, and, I admit, a little bit in love with Diego too. At times, I thought the characters were either the most gullible, or ridiculous, or just plain stupid people on the planet, but then I realized they were also the most real characters I’d seen in a long while. The romantic triangle between Alicia, Diego, and Julio broke my heart, as did the death of Belen’s baby and other tragedies in the show. I laughed so much at the antics of Javier and his child-bride. They were hysterical! And I cried when Samuel left Teresa, even though she was thoroughly evil. I have recommended this series to my Facebook friends. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did. I’m planning to watch it again, soon!
can someone please tell me what happens exactly at the end ?
cause my Netflix has been ended!!!!!!!
The show is awesome and addictive. And I like this website as well
It is definitely awesome. 🙂 And thank you!
I discovered this series last week and I’m absolutely in love with it. I like it even better than Downton Abbey which lost my attention after season 3. I just wish there would be more seasons than just 3 🙂
I agree! While I love Downton Abbey, I do like Grand Hotel better.
Just wanna ask, is this a clean romance???
Yes, for the most part. It’s not rated but if it was, I’d say most of the episodes are TV-PG with a couple of them TV-14. The characters do sleep together eventually but it was more implicit than explicit. The focus is more on old-fashioned romance.
Just watched this on Netflix – as you so correctly said, addictive was the word. Found this more entertaining than even Downton Abbey. And simply loved the costumes – fabulous eye candy indeed.
I love Gran Hotel, I think the leads are gorgeous. I love the story.
These Spanish shows are really something.
I have to admit my all-time love is Velvet, though.