Wednesday, 27 January 2016


El Hotel de los Secretos the Mexican series/telenovela adaptation of the Spanish mystery drama Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel, 2011-2013), started this week on Univision.

The first of the 80 one-hour episodes (1) was aired on Monday and El Hotel de los Secretos is really impressive. This production of Roberto Gómez Fernández for Televisa based on the creation of Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira (for Bambu Producciones and Atresmedia), is very ambitious. The sets are lavish and the locations are superb. It's also, for now, respectful to the original even if there are some changes because of the format and the local audience.

The cast is excellent. Irene Azuela and Erick Elías are great choices for the Mexican Alicia Alarcón (now called Isabel Alarcón) and Julio Olmedo. Diana Bracho is an amazing Doña Teresa de Alarcón. Daniela Romo plays Doña Angela. Diego Murquia becomes Diego Montejo and he's portrayed by Jorge Poza. Carlos Rivera is stunningly convincing as Andrés Salinas (Andrés Cernuda in Spain) and fans of Gran Hotel will recognize Sofía Alarcón and Alfredo Vergara, now performed by Dominika Paleta and Alejandro de la Madrid.

Javier Alarcón is now Felipe Alarcón and he's played by Pablo Cruz-Guerrero. Queta Lavat is Señora Limantour ("Lady" in Grand Hotel). We particularly like the new Inspector Horacio Ayala/Agent Hernando, Detective Serapio Ayala (the incredible Jesús Ochoa) and Agente Dagoberto Suárez (Eduardo España). There's also Ilse Salas (Belén García/Belén Martín in GH), Luis Couturier (Benjamín Nieto), Ximena Herrera (Cristina Olmedo), etc.

El Hotel de los Secretos is set in 1908 and centered on Julio Olmedo, a smart and dashing young man of modest origin. Julio becomes a waiter at the prestigious Gran Hotel of San Cristóbal to discover what happened to her sister, who worked there as a maid before she disappeared. He gets assistance of his new colleague Andrés and he convinces Isabel, the ravishing youngest daughter of the owner of the establishment, to join his search.

For those who love Gran Hotel it's interesting to compare (2), especially if you know the Italian adaptation aired on pubcaster Rai 1 last autumn. Most regrettably, it seems that RAI doesn't want a second series of Grand Hotel in spite of brilliant ratings and the enthusiasm of its fans. Televisa USA is preparing an English-language version with Lantica Media at the Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios.

French fans of the original Grand Hotel can enjoy the complete series on DVD from Koba Films. Last month Koba released the second half of the third and final series as "Grand Hôtel - Saison 5".

(1) Univision is trying out a shorter form of telenovelas: 80 episodes instead of around 200. And El Hotel de los Secretos is closer to a series.
(2) For example, Maite Ribelles, a regular character from the third series of Grand Hotel already appears in the premiere. She's now called Matilde Salaberri and she's played by Regina Blandón.

You can find reviews of the Italian and Spanish versions of Grand Hotel on this blog.

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