June 18, 2019

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Grand Hotel”


GRAND HOTEL:  Monday 10PM on ABC

ABC’s cardboard summer soap GRAND HOTEL is set at a resort hotel in Miami that isn’t as much fun as the one in Jane the Virgin.  This one has a standard-issue set of crises:  the hotel is bankrupt, its owner Santiago Mendoza (Demian Bichir) in debt to shady characters we mostly haven’t yet met, and his fresh-faced business-school graduate daughter Alicia (Denyse Tontz) is desperate to save the family firm.  Alicia’s brother Javi (Bryan Craig) is a womanizer whose glib manner hides an inner sadness (he has one leg due to circumstances not yet explained).  Santiago has a second wife Gigi (Roselyn Sanchez), who’s a nasty bit of business, the former best friend of Alicia and Javi’s dead mother, and she has twin daughters, narcissistic Carolina (Feliz Ramirez) and insecure Yoli (Justina Adorno).  Meanwhile, a chef at the hotel mysteriously died in the series prologue, and Danny (Lincoln Younes) is secretly her brother, on the trail of her killer.  There’s also housekeeper Ingrid (Anne Winters), whose scam seems to be telling every man in the cast that she’s pregnant with their baby.

Grand Hotel, based on a Spanish format, has been adapted for the US by Brian Tanen, a former writer/producer on Desperate Housewives and Devious Maids, and the show’s big-name Executive Producer is Eva Longoria Baston, a star of the first and producer of the second.  (Rosalyn Sanchez was also a Devious Maids star.)  That makes the intended tone fairly clear, but Grand Hotel doesn’t have their pace or flair.  It’s a more routine piece of work, with reveals that unfold by rote.

Among the large cast, Bichir isn’t currently being asked to do much, while Sanchez seems to be working too hard compared to the rest.  Tontz is appealing, yet not commanding enough to feel like the leading lady her role appears designed to make her.  Pilot director Ken Olin, working in a broader style than he employed on shows like This Is Us and Brothers and Sisters, is caught between seeking a frothy comic tone and grounding the hijinks in some emotional reality.  Despite treading similar ground, Grand Hotel doesn’t have any of the kind of stylistic originality that makes Jane the Virgin so distinctive.

Grand Hotel has been given the post-Bachelorette slot for the summer, and it may serve well enough as televised wallpaper for viewers in pursuit of undemanding summer fare, but its twists aren’t sharp enough to be dramatically satisfying, and its comedy is soft.  There’s nothing about it that recommends an extended stay.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."