Monday, 20 July 2015


Spain in the early 20th century. The prestigious Grand Hotel, located just outside the (fictional) town of Cantaloa, belongs to Doña Teresa, the merciless matriarch of the Alarcón family. The idyllic luxury of the establishment actually conceals secrets, lies, intrigue, and danger. 

The second half of the second series of Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel, 2011-2013), the acclaimed Spanish mystery drama, is available in France on DVD from Koba Films since May as "Grand Hôtel - Saison 3".  

Produced by Bambu Producciones, the company of Ramón Campos and Teresa Fernández-Valdés, for channel Antena 3, Gran Hotel was sold to more than 60 territories, including France (groupe M6), the UK (Sky Arts) and the United States. Series two of Grand Hotel consisted initially of 16 X 70-minute episodes but Antena 3 decided to reduce it by half to preserve ratings and the remaining 8, already filmed, were added to the 14 episodes of the third series (1). Lovers Julio Olmedo (Yon González) and Alicia (Amaia Salamanca), the youngest daughter of Doña Teresa Alarcón (Adriana Ozores), search for Fernando Llanes (Victor Clavijo), the man spotted in the film of her wedding with Don Diego Murquia (Pedro Alonso). They're convinced Llanes tried to kill Julio's best friend and fellow waiter Andrés Cernuda (Llorenç González).

Alicia is blackmailed by Diego's henchman Garrido (Miguel Mota) who plots revenge against his master. Doña Ángela, the austere head housekeeper (Concha Velasco), holds many answers to the questions of Alicia and Julio. Doña Elisa (Kiti Mánver) visits her son Alfredo, the marquis of Vergara (Fele Martinez), much to the annoyance of his wife Doña Sofia (Luz Valdenebro). Doña Beatriz (Cristina Brondo), an old flame of Alfredo, arrives at the establishment. Julio and Alicia get help from the shrewd inspector now simple agent Horacio Ayala (Pep Anton Muñoz) and his "superior" agent Hernando (Antonio Reyes). The life of Andrés is threatened again during the Grand Hotel masked ball and Alicia gets in big trouble. Belén (Marta Larralde) and Gonzalo Alarcón (Alfonso Bassave) join forces to bring problems.

Known internationally as "the Spanish Downton Abbey", Gran Hotel was in fact born from the passion of its creators Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira (Gran Reserva) for mystery stories and the work of Agatha Christie (2). A young incarnation of the novelist, "Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller" (Carolina Lapausa), even appeared in the sixth episode of this second series. Another real-life figure, Harry Houdini (Jorge Bosch), appears in an episode where the famous magician challenges Ayala and Hernando, Spain's Poirot and Hastings (regrettably they didn't get their own spin-off). It's all mystery, suspense and murder as the infamous Gold Knife Killer resurfaces.

Series two of Grand Hotel is definitely not exempt of problems: a couple of added characters (Don Ernesto, Angela's sister Violeta) don't work and the tiresome antics of Javier Alarcón  waste the talent of Eloy Azorin. Nevertheless, Gran Hotel remains generous in riveting twists and turns culminating in a spectacular cliffhanger worthy of the U.S. supersoaps of the 1980s. The settings are gorgeous (3), the cast is composed of Spain's best actors and the music of Lucio Godoy is both magnificent and ingenious. Asunción Balaguer (the Miss Marplesque Lady) and the great Manuel de Blas (the ex-maitre d'hotel Benjamin) are back.

The 8 episodes of this DVD set from Koba are on 4 discs in French only. French subtitles for the hearing impaired are available. An Italian adaptation of Grand Hotel produced by Cattleya (Gomorrah) and Beta Film for pubcaster RAI 1 will start this autumn. It stars Eugenio Franceschini and Valentina Bellè.

(3) Grand Hotel was primarily filmed at the Palacio de la Magadalena, an early 20th-century palace on the Magdalena Peninsula of the city of Santander ( 

See also: (First half of Series 2 DVD review) (Series 1 DVD review) 

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