Advertisement
  1. Breaking News

Shows you should be watching: 'Gran Hotel' on Netflix

Star- and class-crossed lovers Alicia and Julio — you've gotta love 'em.
Star- and class-crossed lovers Alicia and Julio — you've gotta love 'em.
Published May 21, 2015

Gathered around a table recently with margaritas and wines in hand, we here at the Feed were chatting Mad Men and Grey's Anatomy and so on when one of us struck a nerve: "hidden" shows. You know, the fabulous, addicting stuff buried so deep on Netflix or cable that you might never find it.

We realized as we each took turns gushing on and on that we've all got one (or two, or three ...) shows we've happened upon, started watching with low expectations and gotten thoroughly addicted to for various reasons. We're willing to bet you have your own that you just have to gush about even when no one listens.

But hey, we're going to do something about it. In an occasional series, we're going to tell you about shows you should be watching and why.

First up: my mega addiction Gran Hotel on Netflix. There could be an entire section of my Netflix list (and, really, my life) called "things my sister got me into," but this is among the best. It's a Spanish drama that has been picked up in several European countries, and Netflix's description probably sounds like something you'd never watch: "To learn the truth about his sister's mysterious disappearance, a young man infiltrates a hotel in the guise of a footman and begins an investigation."

Netflix is missing all of the juiciness, so let me help. Set in a fictional seaside Spanish town in the early 1900s, Gran Hotel (also called "Grand Hotel" on Netflix) follows the inner workings of a fancy hotel (just wired for electricity!) and the ruthless Alarcón family that owns it and will stop at nothing to keep owning it. Think Downton Abbey on steroids in Spain. But with less #richpeopleproblems, more murder.

It's amazing well-acted, but describing this show sounds like a telenovela (soap opera): It's a maze of who-is-sleeping-with-whom and who-knows-whose-secrets. Because everybody on this show has at least one reputation- or life-threatening secret ... per episode. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much. One character here pretends to be pregnant, steals someone else's baby, commits a murder, commits another unrelated murder and starts an affair with a priest — perfect for confessing her many sins, right?

This is madre. She means business.

The matriarch of the family is ruthless, demanding and the ultimate schemer who basically has the dirt on everyone and isn't afraid to use it to kill off "threats." Her son is an irresponsible libertine, a totally witless scoundrel. Then there's the fickle older daughter, married to a marquess whose title helps the family looking good amidst scandal upon scandal until one of the scandals forces him to sell it. The younger daughter is forced to marry the show's other major villain, the manager of the hotel complicit in all of mom's schemes, but she's really in love with the guy Netflix describes, the one who pretends to be a footman (and a nobleman, when it suits him) to find out about his missing sister who used to be a maid at the hotel.

And aside from the family's many, many backstabbing misdeeds, the hotel staff features a serial killer, a thief, an all-around schemer/aspiring social climber ... and a bastard Alarcón child. For good measure, add in brief apperances by Agatha Christie — finding "inspiration" for Poirot in Gran Hotel's police detective — and King Alfonso XVIII.

Intrigued? You should be. Time period gorgeousness aside, the mysteries are elaborate, the motives juicy, the romantic tension swoon-worthy.

Ah, the romance!

Gran Hotel is also insanely binge-worthy, in part because Netflix made it that way. The show ran on Spanish TV in 70- to 80-minute episodes, but Netflix broke it down into more digestible 45-minute episodes ... that break in weird and super cliffhanger moments that have you jumping right into the next episode holding your breath.

I'd been busy recently binge-watching The X-Files (my boyfriend asked me last week to "give Mulder a rest for a few days"), but it ground to a halt when Netflix finally threw up the third season of Gran Hotel. Those of you who jump on the bandwagon now are lucky: You can watch the series start to finish; the third season had been held up for months that I spent painstakingly attempting to find out via Wikipedia and subtitle-less YouTube videos who was alive and who was dead.

I speak a decent amount of Spanish (you can usually find me listening to reggaeton), but this early 1900s Spain Spanish is a whole other animal. It's beautiful to listen to even if you're glued to the subtitles (although honestly the typical Spain lisping sounds instead of C's, Z's and S's just about drove me mad at first).

And trust me, those subtitles have some zingers that lose nothing in translation. "If men were punished for the evil they did, you'd have been dead years ago." Yowza!

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The victim in Friday's shooting at a Tampa police officer's home has been identified as 15-year-old Bradley Hulett of Lithia. Hulett is pictured here on the Facebook page of Operation Lotus, a Hillsborough County non-profit that supports families coping with tragedy and is raising money for Hulett's family. [Facebook]
    Bradley Hulett, 15, was described as sweet, intelligent and charismatic.
  2. A transient mother is facing three counts of felony child neglect after an officer found three children alone on a dilapidated bus early Saturday morning. [Gulfport Police Department]
    She has been charged with three counts of felony child neglect.
  3. Off-duty detention Deputy Leighton Ricketts, 32, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol early Saturday morning. A four-year veteran of the Sheriff’s office, Ricketts was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the results of an internal affairs investigation. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office] [ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  HCSO]
    Detention Deputy Leighton Ricketts, a four-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the results of an internal affairs investigation.
  4. This is a booking photo of Eric Banks, who police say robbed a Dunkin Donuts in Gulfport in September. [Sarasota County Jail]
    The robber used a ball cap, clothing and sunglasses to try to conceal his identity. But he couldn’t cover everything.
  5. Blake Faine is charged with DUI manslaughter. His booking photo on that charge was not available Friday afternoon. This is a booking photo from a 2018 arrest. [Pinellas County Jail]
    A 71-year-old woman, Dorothy Wertz, was killed in the crash on Tuesday night.
  6. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.,left, speaks with House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., right, during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP]
    The charges now go to the full House for an expected vote next week.
  7. Traffic backing up on southbound Interstate 275 on the Howard Frankland Bridge Thursday evening after the Florida Highway Patrol said a fatal crash took place hours earlier. [Florida Department of Transportation]
    The collision of two pickups left traffic snarled for hours.
  8. WESH 2 News shared aerial video of a crew cleaning up the grapefruit spill on the Florida Turnpike Wednesday. [Screenshot]
    Loose fruit created a traffic squeeze that was not appealing.
  9. A rendering of what Clearwater's downtown waterfront will look like once Imagine Clearwater's plans come to fruition. The mock-up is oriented so the top is the western waterfront and the bottom is the the eastern waterfront. In the southwest, a lake is planned underneath the Memorial Causeway. A shaded bluff walk will run along the waterfront's eastern edge, and in the middle of the complex, Clearwater plans a 4,000-seat covered concert venue. To the north, what is now Coachman Park will be re-imagined as a new garden. [Stantec via the City of Clearwater]
    Here’s one thing: People are worried about parking.
  10. Rodney Davis, 56, shown in video released from the Polk County Sheriff's Office of Operation Santa's Naughty List. Davis, a Disney World security guard, is accused of soliciting prostitution. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
    His arrest was one of 124 in Operation Santa’s Naughty List, a prostitution and human trafficking sting from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement