My Secret Hotel (2014)

My Secret Hotel
TYPE: Korean Drama
YEAR: 2014
My Rating: 4 out of 5

SYNOPSIS: A divorced couple meets again as the manager of a wedding department of a hotel and as a groom. A murder case takes place.

A divorced couple reunites at the ex-husband’s wedding event. Oh and a murder disrupts the wedding. Hehe. Well, the last part is definitely something new. The wedding planner falling in love with her client isn’t new material (The Wedding Planner) or divorced couples falling in love as one of the ex’s is about to get married (The Philadelphia Story, The Parent Trap, etc). Granted, 90% of romantic comedy plots aren’t original. It’s just about adequate cute and swoon.
My Secret Hotel started out fun and intriguing and full of promise. Halfway through I think it lost itself and meandered around in two-ever-distancing plots: the murder mystery and the romance triangle. But what kept me coming back?
The cute, people.
In the end, the cute won out. Even though I wanted more conflict to the story, a better mystery, and had to fight the urge to throttle a couple of the guy characters (and the girl sometimes) – at the end of the 16 episode journey, I was mostly happy with the sweet moments throughout the drama.
I definitely give props to the actors who saved this drama from sinking into the depths. Likable leads save the day again!

Jin Yi-Han in drama Dr. Jin

I was pumped to see Jin Yi-Han play the leading man, Gu Hae-Young. I loved him as he was one of two shining lights in the train-wreck of a drama, Dr. Jin (laughs & shudders at memories of that schizophrenic drama). Jin Yi-Han is one of those blessed actors with that voice. That deep, velvety voice that you could listen to for hours.

Jin Yi-Han as ex-husband Gu Hae-Young

For the most part, I felt like the writing on Gu Hae-Young’s character was overlooked. His character was mostly childish and subjective in his viewpoint. Not exactly good stuff for a leading man, right? This is where the shining light that Jin Yi-Han is breaks into the darkness. His ability to emote and make you feel for him holds this character together. He gives Gu Hae-Young a hidden depth that the writers, I think, weren’t concerned about. And that’s what kept me rooting for Gu Hae-Young.

Yoo In-Na has populated many Korean dramas, mostly as the second leading lady with the bratty attitude. Queen In-hyun’s Man proved to be her break-out role as the leading lady. In-Na is easily likable as the go-getter wedding planner, Nam Sang-Hyo. 

While I disliked that her strong character got sucked into the tug of war gimmick between the two guys (literally at one point, lol) in the later part of the drama, she still had moments to shine throughout the 16 episodes. She also had the most character growth.

Actor Namgung Min plays the second lead, Jo Sung-Gyeom! Oh my stars, can it be true?? Another shining light in drama land, people. He’s the reason I went through an entire melodrama (Can You Hear My Heart?) where he went to the dark side and back. Because of the freakin’ emotion this guy brings! There’s such a raw intensity in his acting. He just gives that look and you’re already like: oh my gosh, is he the killer? Because that glower is killing me.

Namgung Min as a tortured soul in Can You Hear My Heart

Hotel manager Jo Sung-Gyeom took the vital role as the pendulum swinging back and forth between the who-dunnit mystery with his own obsessive investigation and the romance story as the cold-hearted boss who started opening up. As a romantic interest for Nam Sang-Hyo, I would’ve been rooting for Sung-Gyeom if Jin Yi-Han didn’t break my heart every time he said Nam Sang-Hyo’s name. sobs guts out.

rival Yeo Eun-Joo

bratty bride, Jung Soo-Ah

Two minor girl roles were both pleasant surprises: Yeo Eun-Joo was Nam Sang-Hyo’s rival for Jo Sung-Gyeom and a hotel employee. She circumvented the usual brat stereotype that takes many of these women down and became a breath of fresh air whenever she came on screen. Likewise Jung Soo-Ah, Gu Hae-Young’s bride-to-be, started out what seemed to be a one-dimensional spoiled brat but evolved through an interesting side story on her own.

Here’s to more dramas with Jin Yi-Han as the leading man (and hopefully Namgung Min getting one of his own)! Merry Christmas people.


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