Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Secret Hotel - 2014

My Secret Hotel is a Korean drama in 16 episodes of an hour each starring Yoo In Ha, Jin Yi Han and Namgung Min.  It was aired from August to September 2014.

I finished watching Empress Ki some time ago.  It was a fabulous series, but quite serious and full of violence.  It was full of politics among the royalty in the 14th century.  After that I needed something fluffy and romantic to lighten my mood.  I had been quite impressed by Jin Yi Han who had an important side role in Empress Ki as Tal Tal. He looked very handsome in ceremonial robes and a long glossy ponytail.  I picked Jin Yi Han's series My Secret Hotel to get more eyefuls of the hunk.

I was NOT disappointed.  Right at the start, while the credits are rolling, Jin Yi Han bursts into a fabulous dance. Sigh. 

It was a typical K-romance.  Two guys vie for the affections of a girl. She is equally torn between the two.  Who will win?  This romance is embellished by a some mystery-thriller elements.  Here is how the initial story goes:

Nam Sang Hyo (Yoo In Ha) is a dedicated hotelier.  She has risen from a waitress to the Manager of a Banquet Hall.  She specializes in Wedding Planning.  The hotel she works at, called Secret Hotel, is one of the best in Seoul.  Her hotel has just got some bad press.  The Managing Director of her hotel, Jo Sung Gyeom (Namgung Min) asks her to deal with this crisis.  The PR Manager Yeo Eun Joo (Lee Young Eun) and Nam Sang Hyo plan a fancy celebrity wedding to bring back the Hotel's mojo.

The bride is the daughter of a cosmetic company owner. The groom is a well educated son of the richest man in Seoul.  This wedding represents the creme de la creme of the Seoul Society.  But Nam Sang Hyo gets a shock when she sees the Groom. It is Koo Hae Young (Jin Yi Han).  She was married to him for three months when she was in Las Vegas. It did not work out and they got a divorce.  She is cool as she greets him, causing him to do a double take.  He expected her to burst out in tears or at least, act shocked.

Nam Sang Hyo decides to act professional and carry on with her work despite feeling upset about Koo Hae Young. She murmurs a goodbye to him and walks away as the wedding commences. However, the grand wedding is rudely interrupted by a corpse falling at the Groom's feet as he walking down the aisle.

The murdered man is an Assistant Manager under Nam Sang Hyo. He was a nasty piece of work that no one liked much.  This brings in Kim Geum Bo (Ahn Kil Kang).  He is the best detective on the police force in Seoul. He is uncouth in appearance, but has a sharp mind.  He sets to work trying to solve the murder mystery.  He finds that Secret Hotel has many people with secrets.  There are several suspects and he must examine them all, and try to find the murderer.

The Managing Director is here to find out more about his father. His father used to work for The Secret Hotel in the past.  He died when he fell from the sixth floor of this hotel in an accident.  Jo Sung Gyeum has been getting cryptic messages from someone claiming to have information about the death of his father.  He has reason to suspect that it was not an accident, but murder.

 The Secret Hotel hides many secrets.

 Jo Sung Gyeum is interested in Nam Sang Hyo and wants date her.  She agrees, as she is also eager to move on from Koo Hae Young. She does not bargain with Hae Young reacting badly to her relationship with Jo Sung Gyeum and doing his utmost to wreck her new budding romance.  There are times when she finds she still has a soft spot for Koo Hae Young who had ditched her seven years ago and run away from her.

 She had followed him to New York and found this woman in his apartment.  It had broken her heart and she had fled back to Vegas and from there, back to Seoul.  How can she forgive him for running away with another woman just three months after being married to her?

Is Koo Hae Young really a player? Or was there a reason why he ditched Sang Hyo?  If he did not care for her, why does he chase her so relentlessly?

The PR Manager of The Secret Hotel, Lee Eun Joo is also sweet on Jo Sung Gyeum and is forever trying to drive Nam Sang Hyo away from him so she may have a chance to date him.  She even engineers a fix-up between Koo Hae Young and Nam Sang Hyo to get her out of the way.  Will her machinations be fruitful?

In the meantime, there is another murder at the hotel and detective Kim Geum Bo has to step up his game.

With just 16 episodes, the pace of the series is fast.  We have the issue of Jo Sun Gyeum's father thrown in to spice up the story. Nam Sang Hyo was an international adoptee (this means that she was adopted by an American couple when she was a child).  Her foster mother was a Korean too which explains how she can speak good Korean.  The story of her parentage is also linked to one of the secrets of the hotel.

I enjoyed the series thoroughly.  My only grouse was with the character of Nam Sang Hyo.  Initially she is a very spunky character, full of beans.  The hotel workers are laying bets to see which young lady of the two - Nam Sang Hyo and Lee Eun Jo will bag the handsome Managing Director.  Nam Sang Hyo loves playing the game of one-up-man-ship with Lee Eun Jo.  But later, she plays a rag doll who is being pulled one way and another by the two men in her life. 

With Jin Hi Yan looking like this, fresh faced with his curly mop, I had no problem with this minor irritant.  The series concludes to the satisfaction of all.


  1. Arrrghh! I left a comment here yesterday, and blogger prompted me to sign in - and now my comment's vanished. :-(

    Had written that though I've never seen this one, I've seen Yoo In Na in one series I really liked (Queen In Hyun's Man, which is a time travel tale) and I've seen Namgung Min in a series I liked, too (The Girl Who Sees Smells), which was fairly intriguing as a serial killer mystery.

  2. Yoo in Na was also in Secret Garden as Ha Ji Won's best friend who works in the big departmental store. It is because of her that Ha Ji Won first goes to that store.

    Ahhhh.... the more we watch the more we know. This was a very feel-good series. I loved the peppy music in the background. I will rewrite this in a day or two. So watch this place. :)

  3. Yes, when I watched Queen In Hyun's Man, I knew Yoo In Na looked familiar, but I'd forgotten which series I'd seen her in.

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