Over the holiday break, while looking for my daily fix of La Rosa de Guadalupe but also trying to find something suitable to watch with my madre, I came across a little gem in Univision’s line up: El Hotel de los Secretos. Turns out Televisa remade Grand Hotel, the Spanish murder mystery series, and If you already watched Antena 3’s original version of the show, then ready yourself because you’re about to see how Televisa takes foreign ideas and regurgitates them with underwhelming results (see their remake of Betty la Fea or Big Brother).
I want to applaud Televisa’s efforts for attempting to recreate the original Spanish novela — at least it’s not another Rosa Salvaje remake, right? — but the problem with El Hotel de los Secretos is that the narrative isn’t there. The original Grand Hotel is a murder mystery filmed in the historical Spanish castle Real Palacio de la Magdalena. Since the Royal family actually lived in the castle, it gives the original show an authentic feel that fits perfectly with the vibe of the storyline, which revolves around Spanish nobility. In contrast, #HotelDLS’s effort to faithfully recreate the directing, acting, and convincing setting of Grand Hotel is a big fail. (I’ll give Televisa an A for effort but a C for execution.)
Both shows saw the return of famous television stars; Grand Hotel had Adriana Ozores, an actress belonging to a dynasty of well-respected directors and filmmakers, while El Hotel de los Secretos is lead by Diana Bracho, a well-known telenovela actress and movie star. Diana Bracho actually delivers a decent performance as Adriana Ozore’s counterpart, and both play the role of the Alarcon family mother, and soul of the hotel.
However, the real hero of #HotelDLS is none other than Daniela Romo, the popular singer from the ‘80s, and that’s because she plays the role of Angela, a mean-spirited governess who will stop at nothing to save the hotel’s reputation.
Unfortunately, while the original Spanish cast is full of talented actors who interact perfectly with each other — Grand Hotel is simply a great example of effortless storytelling — #HotelDLS did cast good-looking actors, but, as with most Televisa-produced novelas, their thespians are not wholly talented. For example, the original Javier Alarcón Aldecoa, played by Eloy Azorin, is a serious hot mess, but he’s also impossible to hate. The same character in the remake comes off as a condescending, spoiled brat.
Interested parties should check out Grand Hotel’s 39 episodes on Netflix because they’re nicely broken down into three seasons. In contrast, Televisa is probably going to drag out the story by pushing out hundreds of episodes because #ratings.
Here’s the official trailer for El Hotel de los Secretos: