Grand Hotel: The Great Unwatched

We journey to a fictional Spanish town and its Grand Hotel – which plays host to an elaborate web of deception, lies and scandal

Feature by Caroline Ring | 12 Mar 2020
  • Grand Hotel

It's the golden age of sitting in the house, streaming multiple TV shows at once or watching a brand-new film in the bath. But for every mega-hit like Game of Thrones or Marriage Story there are dozens of freshly-made series and films just waiting to be discovered, and hundreds of hours of classics sitting there with no-one watching them. That's what this new series is all about – unearthing some of the most interesting, intriguing and inexplicable wonders on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, MUBI, All 4, and the various other streaming platforms you're subscribed to.

Before even watching Grand Hotel (2011) on Netflix, I had heard plenty about it from my friends at university. One moment my roommate was raving about the captivating plots and attractive leads and the next thing I knew, Grand Hotel had taken the group by storm. Suddenly this Spanish drama became larger than life, living on in the hearts and minds of my closest gal pals. After witnessing Grand Hotel’s captivating impact, I simply couldn’t resist. Here’s to succumbing to peer pressure.

What’s Grand Hotel like?

Set in the early 1900s, Grand Hotel crafts a fairly standard murder mystery narrative surrounding the disappearance of a hotel maid, and the secret she took to her untimely grave. After the maid’s brother travels to the fictional Spanish town of Cantaloa to visit her, he is immediately introduced to the web of lies and deceit concealed within the luxurious hotel grounds.

Packed with blackmail upon blackmail upon blackmail, Grand Hotel houses a multitude of complex owners, guests, and employees. Comparable to Downton Abbey and Succession, Grand Hotel spotlights the malignant ambition of the haves and the have-nots of society and the implications of gaining and maintaining wealth. While Eva Longoria attempted to mimic the show’s success with a modern-day, English reboot under the same name, the thrills of the original Grand Hotel can not be matched.

Who stars in Grand Hotel?

OK, Grand Hotel is not full of famous faces, but falling for an unfamiliar cast is part of the experience while checking into Grand Hotel. Acting as the leading man, Yon González will make you question why his subtle curls and cheeky smile weren’t part of your life before. Amaia Salamanca, serving serious side eye as Grand Hotel’s leading lady, single-handedly takes up the mantle for feminism in a time of rigid traditions and limiting social expectations for women.

Why should I watch Grand Hotel now?

With all of life’s unexplainable mysteries, it’s always nice to watch one unfold that doesn’t necessarily involve you. Each episode of Grand Hotel reveals another piece of its puzzle which inevitably ends up luring you further into its puissant grasp. Even when you may feel like the plots of Grand Hotel become predictable, there is always an underlying layer of the story waiting to be uncovered. Besides, it’s always more fun to play the detective rather than the victim anyways.

So, is it worth watching?

Yes, for more reasons than one. Grand Hotel shines on account of its multifaceted dynamics. Home to romance, comedy, and mild action within its drama genre, Grand Hotel has plenty to offer the weary Netflix wanderer. Murderous cover-ups? Grand Hotel’s got it. Pregnancy-based extortion? Look no further. Romantic tension between the two main characters? Grand Hotel has that too.

What to watch next

Velvet (2014): Amaia Salamanca of Grand Hotel stars in this Spanish drama set in the 1950’s, surrounding a forbidden romance between the heir of a fashion empire and a seamstress.

House of Flowers (2018): A newer Netflix original, this Spanish drama showcases similar narratives of wealth dominating familial relations and generating dark secrets.

High Seas (2019): Another recent Netflix development, this Spanish murder mystery takes place on a luxury ship in the 1940s rather than a lavish hotel.

Cable Girls (2017): This Spanish drama takes place in the 1920s and spotlights the journey of four women towards equality at the first national telephone company in Spain. Having recently released part one of season five, a looming second piece of the season awaits.